PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — KOIN 6 News and Travel Oregon continue the week celebrating tourism across the Beaver State.
Today the virtual van is heading south to Southern Oregon — a region that sits just off the radar for many Oregonians. The region is home to arts and cultural celebrations that draw international crowds — and well-known natural wonders like Crater Lake.
But there’s an especially hidden side of Southern Oregon: wine country.
“The culinary scene is up and coming especially in the Ashland, Jacksonvile, the Rogue Valley area, Grant’s Pass has some fantastic restaurants, and I think this goes hand in hand with the wine industry,” said Brad Niva, CEO of Travel Southern Oregon. “So often people think of Oregon’s wine country being the Willamette Valley, but believe it or not, the other big wine country, and where a majority of the grapes that are produced in wine in the Willamette come from, is Southern Oregon. This region has well over 140 different wineries now and very small intimate experiences, great places to travel around and visit.”
One of the biggest events Southern Oregon is known for, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, typically draws crowds all summer long. Some of this season’s earlier performances have been cancelled, but they’ve delayed a few others and organizers are hoping to get shows on stage starting in September.
Another event happening in September is the annual Ride the Rim Oregon. Cyclists enjoy riding 33 miles around Crater Lake. It’s scheduled to happen on two different weekends this year.
“Outdoor [recreation] is one of those things I think we’re very undiscovered. A lot of folks choose to go to other parts of the state to recreate and don’t event realize what we have in our own backyard. A great little ski resort, great hiking, great mountain biking, hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, our rivers and lakes are spectacular, and we’re world renowned for white water rafting.”
While some businesses remain closed, others have adapted well to the changes prompted by COVID-19, like the Wildlife Safari in Winston.
“It’s also home to the most successful cheetah breeding program in the world. They’re doing a great job because people don’t get out of their car – it’s a drive through zoo.”
For National Travel and Tourism Week, KOIN 6 News will be giving virtual tours of Oregon—from some of the best-kept secrets to bucket list trips—all featured on AM Extra on Portland’s CW. That way, when it’s safe to get back out there, you’ll know exactly where to go, equipped with the best advice from Travel Oregon.
Check out previous excursions here: Your Next Adventure
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