Wine Country Cottage Industry

By Karl Klooster

Bed and breakfasts began to evolve as an alternative to traditional hotel and motel accommodations decades ago. In both urban and rural environments, many out-of-town visitors preferred this more personalized experience.

With choices ranging from historic homes in the heart of town to hilltop havens offering panoramic views to charming retreats tucked away in the countryside, the common denominator is a feeling of relaxed exclusivity shared by only a few.

Attentive on-premise owners serve as hosts, chefs, waiters and travel advisors. Enjoying the private residence and its immediate surroundings, as well as the opportunity to interact with other lodgers, completes the B&B package.

As attractive as these attributes may be, however, another alternative is emerging that possesses a special appeal all its own. In the Yamhill Valley, these lodging facilities, rented primarily by the night or weekend, are often called wine country cottages. Not all of them are actual cottages, of course. Houses, cabins, duplexes, even apartments can be counted among the facilities that comprise this growing “cottage” industry.

What they all have in common is privacy—a place entirely your own, at least for a time, where you can do your own cooking, or not, meet other people, or not, get out and explore the surrounding area at whim, or not. The luxury of not having to do much in the way of cleaning up after yourself may not be quite as immediate or thorough as with hotel room service, but you’ll scarcely notice the difference.

It’s kind of like having a home away from home without the responsibility. Except that this home is most likely entirely different than yours in both style and location. And, lest you forget, wineries, restaurants and other points of interest are all close at hand.

Following is just a sampler of wine country cottages that currently await Yamhill Valley visitors this season. Word has it that more such beguiling getaways will soon be on the way.

Martha’s Cottage Dayton

The pioneer riverport town of Dayton boasts more historic residences than any other Yamhill Valley community, and this quaint Victorian cottage, built by blacksmith Benjamin Morse in 1881, is one of them.

Proprietor Martha Good-rich has packed its cozy rooms with comfy charm, while completely modernizing the kitchen and bathroom. It’s located on a quiet, residential street just a few blocks from Dayton’s central district.

Guests can take advantage of quick and easy access to all the Valley has to offer, including the Joel Palmer House, one of the area’s most acclaimed fine dining restaurants, which is within walking distance. • 971-241-8044

Carlton Cottages Carlton

If you really want to be immersed in wine, there’s no better place in the Yamhill Valley than the self-styled great little town of Carlton. Matt and Darci Haney undoubtedly had that in mind when they bought and renovated two small houses right in the heart of town.

The couple’s M.D. Haney & Co. is a contracting firm that specializes in design and remodeling. And the best of the husband and wife team’s talents have gone into Carlton Cottages.

Both houses have been totally updated with air conditioning, DVD and wireless Internet. From interior amenities to exterior landscaping, they offer an informal experience of quiet comfort and total privacy.

As for wine immersion, there are more than two dozen wineries and wine tasting rooms within a ¾-mile radius, many of them right on or adjacent to Main Street. • 503-857-8176

The Lake House Rural Yamhill

Like to be right next to a private lake? Here’s a fairy-tale cottage ensconced in the woods on its own five-acre piece of property. The secluded house literally oozes with gabled roof charm. Step out the door, and the placid lake is only a few feet away.

It’s located northwest of the town of Yamhill in the heart of the Yamhill-Carlton District AVA, which means there are so many outstanding wineries within a five-mile radius, you couldn’t visit all of them in a week, much less a weekend.

The house features beamed ceilings and cherry-planked floors. Its beautiful furnishings create an atmosphere of laid-back luxury. A stone bridge leads over the lovely, waterlily-laden lake to a miniature island where weeping willows abound.

Guests have called the Lake House magical, serene, stress-free, the perfect place to relax and get away from it all. • 503-537-8121

Guest Suite at Red Ridge Farms Dundee Hills

Ken and Penny Durant were pioneering winegrowers who purchased prime Dundee Hills property in 1973. In addition to their vineyards, the couple later started Red Ridge Farms, an herb and specialty plant nursery.

When designing a retail facility at the hilltop nursery site, they incorporated a guest suite into the building plan. That suite, which occupies the entire second floor above the retail store, is one of wine country’s little-known gems.

A wealth of wood and warm tones enhance the interior, while walls of windows and two decks afford guests sweeping views in all directions. The light and airy effect is almost like letting the outdoors in. • 503-864-8502

Oregon Wine Cottage McMinnville

Nothing has been spared in the interior appointments of this 1949 brick bungalow that for all appearances is an impeccably maintained, tastefully landscaped neighborhood home.

From luxurious leather couches and chairs to Oriental rugs and antique decor items, you feel pampered just being here. The well-equipped kitchen is a gourmet cook’s delight and the elegant marble bathtub invites a long, self-indulgent soak. (proprietors prefer e-mail)

VineRoost Newberg

Winery owners Matt and Holly Kinne hit upon the idea that a cottage in the midst of their 12-acre vineyard would give visitors a unique experience available nowhere else in Wine Country.

The couple’s McKinlay Vineyards wines are, of course, available for guests to swirl, sniff, sip and savor as they gaze across the vines from their patio perch at the aptly named VineRoost.

Though most other cottage facilities can accommodate only two to four persons, the Kinnes’ cottage sleeps up to eight. Since it is located six miles east of Newberg, a different group of nearby-winery tour opportunities are available. • 503-625-2534

Fox Farm Cottage Dundee

As if it’s not enough to own a nationally acclaimed restaurant, Jack and Heidi Czarnecki decided they’d offer Valley visitors a delightful place to stay as well as an outstanding place to dine. Reservations at the Czarneckis’ Joel Palmer House in Dayton aren’t part of the deal, but guests staying at their cottage on Fox Farm Road just outside Dundee might very well be tempted.

Situated in the midst of 2 1/2 pastoral acres, guests couldn’t be more serene as they sit on the covered deck surveying the surrounding scene and contemplating which wine country excursion to embark on next. • 503-880-0209 or 503-537-9059

Gahr Farm Cottages Rural McMinnville

Guests who choose these unique accommodations will find themselves staying on a 350-acre farm and forest managed as a natural preserve. It’s a living testament to the world-view of owners Ted and Harriet Garr.

You don’t have to be a nature buff to readily appreciate what’s being done here, but you might become one before you leave. The first cottage was already there when the Garrs purchased the property, and they have made modifications to reduce its carbon footprint.

With the new cottage, they were able to fully pursue their green philosophy. Energy-saving design elements include solar panels, skylights, a roof garden, a sunroom, awnings, trellises and directed air flow in the floor.

It’s a good feeling to know that the numerous amenities offered don’t come at nearly as high a cost to the environment. • 503-472-6960 

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