Oregon – The Beaver State

Which craft brewery is the best? Which hiking trail is blessed with the best views?

These are hot topics of debate for many Oregon residents – but they can all agree on one thing: Oregon is a wonderful state.

In fact, many well-traveled Oregonians would venture to say it’s one of the best kept secrets in all of the US.

Only in The Beaver State can you wake up a stone’s throw away from some of the world’s most breathtaking beaches, strap on your snowboard or skis atop an alpine mountain before brunch, and dip your toes into a majestic river on your way home.

Oregon really does have it all!

Portland, OR

Portland is the largest city in Oregon. The City of Roses as it’s so affectionately called is also one of the most popular cities in America.

Despite being the world’s most dangerous port city a century ago, this reputation is long gone. Today, Portland and the surrounding areas of Beaverton and Lake Oswego are a mecca for foodies, beer and wine lovers, outdoor adventurers, families, and everyone else in search of top-notch beauty, culture, and quality of life.

Do It All in Washington Park

Spanning 410 acres, Washington Park is home to a zoo, arboretum, Japanese gardens, children’s museum, and a number of other popular Portland attractions.

Don’t want to spend time at an attraction? Don’t worry – this expansive park in the heart of The Rose City also has playgrounds, picnic areas, tennis courts, and plenty of green rolling hills and forest to explore.

If you like the beaten path, Washington Park also has over 15 miles of walking, jogging, and biking trails, some of which connect to Council Crest, Forest Park, and the impressive Pittock Mansion.

Drink Up in Portland’s Breweries

If you like craft beer, Portland is the city for you. In fact, there are 75 breweries in Portland, which is more than any other city in the US and the entire world. Just talking about all the delicious craft beer in Portland is enough to make your mouth water for a Rogue Dead Guy or Ecliptic Orbiter IPA.

The tough part is deciding on which brewery (or 10) you want to visit should you need a beer break or timeout from a Premier League soccer marathon on your Dish TV.

Explore an Urban Forest Reserve

Located in the Tualatin Mountains just outside of Portland, Forest Park is one the largest and most expansive urban forest reserves in the US. The park covers an astounding 5,000 acres and stretches for not one or two but eight miles.

Even more impressive is the park’s 70 miles of nature trails, making it an ideal exploration destination. In addition to showcasing the sheer beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the trails range from easy to difficult and cater to a wide-variety of people and abilities. In other words, there’s something for everyone.

That being said, much of Forest Park overlooks the heart of Oregon, the Willamette River. This makes it even more scenic. So too do the dozens of bird species that call the park home. If you fancy yourself a birdwatcher, you should definitely bring along a pair of binoculars.

Salem, OR

Travel 50 miles south of Portland and you’ll arrive in Salem, Oregon’s capital city. Located smack dab in the center of the beautifully lush Willamette River valley, Salem became the capital in 1851 and has grown to a population of 150,000 Oregonians.

Today, this bustling medium-sized city is heralded for its ability to blend modern development and conveniences with the area’s natural scenic beauty. Surrounded by vineyards, gardens, green pastures, and fields of flowers, Salem is a fairytale location in every sense of the word.

Along with Silverton, Independence, and other nearby locales, the city is ideally located between the Cascade Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. With its bustling population, Salem offers an abundance of restaurants, events, and attractions that appeal to a variety of interests.

Sample Mouth-Watering Cheeses at the Willamette Valley Cheese Company

With DISH Network’s impressive lineup of over 200 national and international HD channels, you can watch chefs cook amazing meals with premium cheeses and other ingredients. However, if you live in Salem in the heart of the Willamette Valley, you can visit one of the finest cheesemakers in the nation and actually taste the fine cheeses and ingredients firsthand.

The Willamette Valley Cheese Company makes some of the highest quality farmstead, cheeses in the country. From Brie and Gouda to Cheddar, Mozzarella, Havarti, and more, each of its cheeses are handmade and certified organic. One bite and you can tell their commitment to quality is second to none.

At the Willamette Valley Cheese Company, it all starts with the cows. They live happily on the farm’s naturally fertile soil and are never treated with any hormones or antibiotics. This results in award-winning cheeses that consistently garner top honors. Yum!

Step Back in Time at the Historic Deepwood Estate

If you live in Salem or the surrounding area, the Deepwood Estate is certainly worth a visit. In fact, according to Sunset magazine, it’s one of the “best historic homes” in the entire western US.

Built in 1894, this beautifully restored Queen Anne Victorian home is nestled on four garden-filled acres in the heart of Salem. In 1973, it was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Homes. Since then and to this day, it is a popular venue for weddings and receptions. However, you can tour the estate whenever you like to view its splendor, walk its beautiful gardens, and learn a little about life over a century ago.

Travel the Salem Wine Trail

Oregon may boast some of the fastest internet speeds in the US, but if you tire of watching 24/7 sports with the Multi-Sport Pack or endless free movies on HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime when you sign up as a new customer, the Salem Wine Trail won’t disappoint.

On the trail, you can enjoy nature’s beauty and explore the magical history and treasures of the many wineries that dot the Salem area’s landscape, among which is the oldest winery in Oregon, the Honeywood Winery. The Salem Wine Trail will also give you the opportunity to taste a variety of artisan cheeses, sumptuous chocolate-covered cherries, delicious hard cider, and more.

You can hit the trail for a day or make an enjoyable weekend out of it by staying in one of the many lodging facilities or hotels in the area. By doing so, you can take your time strolling through several vineyards and orchards while sampling the wines, cheeses, ciders, and endless other delectables this fertile land produces.

Eugene, OR

Located where Oregon’s Willamette and McKenzie Rivers meet, Eugene is a vibrant and unique university city unlike any other. In addition to being home to the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!), it’s also the home of endless activities and a thriving hippie movement that continues to perpetuate environmental awareness, ethical sourcing, and other progressive ideas.

In Eugene and the surrounding towns of Springfield and Creswell, the arts, food, and nature are also taken quite seriously. From Mt. Pisgah’s idyllic natural beauty and outdoor adventure opportunities to the bustling Saturday Market, dozens of art galleries, and some of the best naturally sourced cuisine in all of the Pacific Northwest, Eugene is a natural and cultural hotspot like none other.

Join the Flock at the University of Oregon

Sure, you can catch the Ducks games with DISH’s award-winning HD DVR technology and pause, rewind, and record every last play, but there’s nothing like joining the flock in person with thousands of other quack happy fans.

At the University of Oregon, they take their sports seriously. Football is particularly popular in Eugene, with 59,000 fans cramming Autzen Stadium on any given Saturday in the fall.

The rest of the year, you can watch the PAC 12’s top athletes compete on the basketball court, baseball diamond, or the track. Whatever your preference, Ducks athletes are regularly drafted high by several pro sports franchises, so the quality is guaranteed to be top-notch.

Shop and Socialize at the Eugene Saturday Market

The counterculture or hippie movement is alive and well in Eugene, and nothing speaks to this more than the iconic Eugene Saturday Market. Held at Park Blocks, this thriving craft market has been taking place each Saturday from sun-up to sun-down April-November.

Unlike other markets, it’s just as much about socializing as it is shopping. Between the live music, incredible international food court, and countless wares for sale by hundreds of local artisans, it’s easy to make a whole day of it.

There’s also a weekly farmer’s market right across the street, so you can pick through some of the freshest organic produce in the Willamette Valley, which is renowned for its quality and selection.

Hike Mount Pisgah

This undulating “mountain” southeast of Eugene is a favorite destination for hikers. It features several well-tended trails and an abundance of natural splendor all the way up to its 510-yard summit. At the top, you can witness a beautiful panorama including views of Eugene and nearby Pleasant Hill and Springfield.

Here, you’ll also find the Mount Pisgah Arboretum. Within this managed eco-system, there’s seven miles of trails winding along the expansive Willamette River and a variety of ancient woodlands to marvel at and explore. The arboretum also holds a mushroom and wildflower festival each fall and spring.

Gresham, OR

Nestled between majestic Mount Hood and the awe-inspiring Columbia River Gorge, Gresham is Oregon’s fourth largest city and blessed with an abundance of scenic beauty and things to do. The city and the surrounding towns of Troutdale and Milwaukie are studded with acres of parks and miles of nature trails to explore.

In addition to the great outdoors, Gresham offers a bevy of other attractions and activities for residents and visitors to enjoy. In keeping with the city’s pioneering history, there are several historical buildings and museums to explore and learn about its story from the present to the good ol’ days of yore.

Other fun Gresham attractions and activities include farmers markets, community theaters, sports parks, a planetarium and more. Plus, it’s just a stone’s throw away from Portland and all it has to offer.

Just Do It at the Gradin Community Sports Park

When in Gresham, the Gradin Community Sports Park is the place to go for outdoor fun. The park is home to over 30 acres of sports fields and regularly hosts baseball games and soccer matches. So, if you’re into these All-American sports, Gradin is the place to be.

That being said, there’s a skate park here too, where on any given day you’ll find dozens of little Tony Hawk’s practicing their moves. There are also several grassy knolls and restful picnic areas dotted around the park for a little R & R between the sports action.

Gaze Up at the Stars at the Mt. Hood Community College Planetarium

Whether you want to learn about the stars twinkling in Oregon’s night sky or enjoy a romantic date night, the Mt. Hood Community College Planetarium is a must-visit destination. The planetarium’s sky theater is open to the public and offers viewings several days throughout each week.

During a viewing, you’ll learn all you could ever hope to know about the universe and our solar system as you’re guided through the night sky on a whistle-stop tour. If you’re keen on astronomy, the planetarium also provides interactive programs for a more in-depth educational experience.

While they don’t offer 24/7 customer support and aren’t ranked first in the nation in customer service like DISH network, its guides and instructors are top-notch and will happily answer any question to satisfy your inner Stephen Hawking.

Get Scared at the House of Shadows

For a different type of fun, consider checking out Gresham’s House of Shadows. Unlike many tamed-down haunted houses, the House of Shadows is a ‘full contact venue.’ This means it’s only for the bravest of thrill seekers.

The haunted house includes a scary cast of characters who will guide you through a terrifying night of fully interactive storytelling in which you will play a key role in the plot. As you move through the various sections of the walking tour, you’ll be immersed into pure adrenaline-pumping mayhem and madness. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

Oregon is Great – If you Can Find a Home

As you can see, Oregon is a fantastic state to live in. With an abundance of natural beauty and so many things to do, it’s easy to see why it has become the nation’s top relocation destination.

However, no state is perfect, and with four million residents now, the biggest drawback to living in Oregon is, well, actually finding a place to live. At 3.6 percent, Oregon’s rental vacancy rate is the lower than any other US state.

If you are fortunate enough to find a place, chances are you will pay mightily for it. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see monthly rates as high as $2,000 or more per 1,000 square feet.

Of course, if high monthly rental rates don’t appeal to you, buying is always an option. However, homes in Oregon are not only equally expensive, but they are few and far between.

From Portland to Gold Beach, the Willamette Valley, and Bend, home prices are rising at an alarming rate, and they have been for quite some time. This means for many Oregonians, owning a home is a stretch, if not downright impossible.

In an interview with Oregonian’s Luke Hamill this past December, Windemere Real Estate’s chief economist, Matthew Gardner, said he anticipated demand would continue to outpace supply.

Oregon Services

There are 56 Internet providers throughout Oregon, ranking it 13th on the list of most connected states. As such, a whopping 98 percent of the population has access to lightning fast broadband speeds of 20 or more Mbps.

The largest Internet service provider in the state is Xfinity. In fact, it’s available to nearly 60 percent of Oregonians

Another of Oregon’s largest service providers is DISH Network. DISH is available throughout the state, allowing you to view local programming and stay up-to-date on all of the latest shows. Many DISH packages also include three free months of HBO, Showtime, and other premium channels. Some packages even include free HD for life.

Nonetheless, arguably the best part about being a DISH customer is access to its award-winning DVR. With it, you can go out and about and enjoy all that the wonderful state of Oregon has to offer without worrying about missing a sporting event or your favorite show. It truly is must-see TV.

Experience Everything Oregon Has to Offer

The US is a diverse country filled with amazing states offering something different from the rest. While every state is unique and beautiful in its own way, Oregon is by far one of the best in several regards. That’s why more people move there than any other state.

Not only is there no sales tax in Oregon, which is a big plus for all of you shopaholics out there, but it’s a naturally beautiful state filled with awe-inspiring mountains, picturesque vineyards, trout-filled rivers, and of course, miles upon miles of Pacific Ocean beaches to explore. It truly is a state ripe for exploration and relaxation.

Perhaps that’s why nearly every Oregonian seems happy and laid back? In fact, according to a Gallup Poll, more Oregon residents consider themselves happy and satisfied with their lives than the residents of any other state in the nation.

In addition to beautiful natural surroundings, endless activities, and tons of attractions to see, Oregon also boasts excellent Internet speeds and top-flight DISH Network TV service coverage, so its people are definitely connected as well. No wonder they’re so happy!

Thinking about moving to Oregon? Come check out The Beaver State today! You’ll be glad you did.