Green Escape: Oregon

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If the winter weather's got you down, there's nothing like planning a trip to provide a bit of optimistic escapism. And we've got just the thing: a week or so this fall in beautiful, lush Oregon, a hotbed of the green building movement. Plan your trip in early fall, when many cities put on solar and green building tours. And along the way, you can stop off at a winery or two...

Read on for where to find a state-wide listing of green tours... and a few of our favorite wines side trips.

October can still be sunny, if not warm, in Oregon, but you can appreciate the beauty of the landscape in any weather. Pick out a few tours from the 2007 listings at Solar Oregon's website; the 2008 dates haven't been announced yet, but mid-September through October is when they usually happen, and you can still plan an tour route without the dates. (And of course, you could take advantage of Portland's legendary bike culture and cycle to all those tours.)

We'd suggest starting in Portland, as that's where you'd likely fly in. Top up your green cred with a stay at The Kennedy School, a renovated 1913 elementary school that's now a hotel, restaurant, bar, and movie theater. Spend a few days in Portland, then make your way down the Willamette Valley, with a stop at the Erath, Adelshiem, and Sokol Blosser wineries for a bit of liquid inspiration to bring back home...

Heading South from Portland in the Willamette Valley, Salem, Eugene, and Ashland all usually have green tours. On the way back north, head over to the coast and check out Yachats for a different kind of landscape.

If you've got a favorite place in Oregon, share it here!