I’ m completely hooked on the incredible wines and the superlative setting of the Maryhill Winery, situated on a cliff high over the mighty Columbia River, which separates Oregon and Washington. The winery, which is on the Washington side, is only about 120 miles east of Portland, an easy drive on I-84 and a non-toll bridge crossing over the river.
The winery has a huge deck where you can enjoy the view and, on weekends, there’s usually some live music to entertain. Nothing loud or fancy, maybe a guitarist who sings old favorites and very soft rock. There’s also an outdoor bowl, where big name acts are booked in the warmer months.
And the wines… A Zinfandel and Cabernet to kill for. A Muscat, White Riesling and Viognier to satisfy an urge for sweetness. And many others. All reasonably priced for the extra high quality of these wines; and if you show an Oregon Driver’s License, you don’t have to pay Washington’s sales tax. There’s also a small area where you can purchase deli-style munchies — pickles, crackers, and dips and spreads.
There’s a couple more terrific attractions in the immediate area. Just down the road to the east is the Maryhill Museum, which exhibits the prolific and eclectic collection of art, artifacts and oddities assembled by Sam Hill. Mr. Hill, who made his fortune from building the Northern Pacific Railroad, was a noted Portlander who helped create and finance the famous, scenic Columbia River Highway, which runs for many miles up and down the cliffs on the Oregon side and features breathtaking waterfalls, seemingly after every twist and turn the road takes.
Beyond the Museum, still heading east, is an exact replica of Stonehenge that Mr. Hill commissioned. Its detail and alignment with the heavens is identical to that of the original, located on the Salisbury Plain in southern England.
If you live in the Pacific Northwest or are spending a few days here on business or pleasure, the Maryhill Winery is a must. I guarantee you’ll return time and again, just as my wife and I do.