The hours of sunlight might be getting shorter, but activities are only picking up in the Willamette Valley. Fall and winter mark some of the most beautiful months to get the real Oregonian experience, and when the rains return, winemakers move their events indoors, swapping out picnic table tastings for gourmet winemaker’s dinners and educational tastings. So if you’re hoping to keep the momentum of summer going by participating in winter this year, here are a few of the exciting events happening throughout the Valley from November 1st to New Year’s day.
1. Thanksgiving Dinner(s)
Nothing says making the most of winter like showing thanks and gratefulness to your friends and family. So it’s probably not a surprise that there are multiple Thanksgiving events around Independence this year. The first (no shocker here) is our top recommendation, and that’s to join us here at The Independence Hotel for a Thanksgiving Dinner at our restaurant, Territory.
- Partake in a meal curated specifically for Thanksgiving that takes full advantage of the bounty of fresh ingredients, and inventive cuisine that the Pacific Northwest is known for.
- Sit at our covered atrium and receive all the perks of dining outside (the incredible view of the river, the colors of the leaves changing, and the delicate frost announcing the arrival of winter) while receiving all of the benefits of an enclosed space (the heat of being inside, the peace of watching the outside world carry on as you take a break with friends and family).
- Take advantage of being in Oregon Wine Country by feasting enjoying world-class wines.
- Make it an easy commute by staying with us and taking the elevator to your room (no clean-up, no hassle).
To make dinner reservations, call 503-837-0203
*And if you’re in town for a few days around Thanksgiving, you’re in luck, because Thanksgiving activities abound before and after the official holiday. For example, check out the Pre-thanksgiving Open House at Airlie Winery, or the Thanksgiving Weekend at The Wine Collective.
It’s Thanksgiving weekend! Make your reservations at Territory for a fantastic Thanksgiving Buffet (503-837-0203) and enjoy riverfront views and the crisp fall air!
Stay with us over the holiday and enjoy cozy beds, proximity to great outdoor recreation with bike trails, walking trails, and so much to explore!
2. Winery Events
Throughout the fall, and winter, wineries across the Willamette Valley hold special parties and events. From Winemaker’s Dinners to annual events and holiday-specific pairings, take advantage of Giving Season and Cellar Season and turn your tasting into a winter fun event in wine country.
Here are some of our favorites:
- Giving Season: November through December, several establishments in the Willamette Valley partake in ‘giving season,’ where they offer discounts and special deals while donating a portion of the proceeds to various charitable organizations. Beyond that, many of these wineries also hold ‘Giving Season’ events, not to be missed.
- Brooks Bubbles and Caviar Celebration November 18th 6:30 – 8:30
- Willamette Valley Vineyards is holding several events this winter, including their Winemaker’s Pairings Wine Dinner on November 16th and their Holiday Pairings Wine Dinner on December 14th and 15th.
- Check out Willamette Valley Wineries Associations handy Thanksgiving in Wine Country planning tool, for events around Thanksgiving!
2. Winery Comedy
As much as we may hate to admit it, sometimes things can get a little tense around the holidays, and often the best remedy for that kind of stress is laughter. Luckily for us, The Winery Comedy Tour is coming to Dallas, Oregon this November 19th. Held at Chateau Bianca Winery, The Winery Comedy Tour is composed of comedians who travel around the country performing seven nights a week in 48 states. This nationwide tour has already performed at over 1500 venues, and they can’t wait to bring some holiday laughter to the Willamette Valley.
3. Holiday Fairs and Festivals
Polk County holds an annual Craft Festival on November 25th and 26th, (perfect for purchasing any upcoming holiday presents) as well as a specific Holiday Fair on Friday, November 4th. 2022 will celebrate the 58th year of the fair and brings in thousands of people from throughout the Willamette Valley and beyond. Salem displays their Salem Academy Christmas Market on November 12th, and December 11th marks the historic annual Christmas Parlor Tour in nearby Albany.
Looking for something for more wine-specific? (I mean, we are in the Willamette Valley.) Make sure to stop by the Airlie Winery Holiday Market for hand crafted ceramics, gifts for your doggos, local jams, and of course, lots and lots of wine.
Celebrate Christmas at the Monteith House and six other lovely historic homes on the 43rd Christmas Parlour Tour in Albany, Oregon (15 minutes from the hotel).
4. Get outside
Yes, the temperature is dropping, but there’s perhaps no better way to live like PNW locals than getting outside on a chilly day and refusing to let winter keep you stagnant. We recommend attending the Eola Hills ‘No Hills’ 5/10k. This is a great event for experienced runners and complete beginners alike, as there is no judgment if you choose the walking route instead. Proceeds are shared with field and track teams of local high schools and the top finishers will receive an Eola Hills Wine Certificate. You don’t need to finish first though to enjoy a post-run afternoon at the winery, with a slice of pizza and a glass of wine, beer, or soda included with participation. Just make sure to book ahead of time as this event is popular and tends to fill up quickly! (With that said, exact date is TBD, so make sure to check the website for updated info.
5. The Holiday lights of Independence
Nothing quite marks the winter season for us like watching the holiday lights flicker on around the city, marking the beginning of GLOW, Independence’s annual holiday light display. The city brightens up Riverview Park to set the tone for a cheery season, encouraging visitors and residents alike to take long evening walks admiring the display and perhaps checking out a decorated window or two. The lights will be up this year from November 28th-January 9th, and if you’re staying with us, you shouldn’t miss the view from our rooftop deck!
The City of Independence lights up Riverfront Park – adjacent to the hotel! Go for an evening walk and enjoy thee lights!
Nothing says the holiday season, like twinkling lights! You’ll find the City of Independence brings the glow!
The City of Independence hosts an excellent Holiday Parade with the chance to meet Mr. Claus himself!
Snow falling downtown Main Street, a picturesque Christmas in Independence!
During the holidays, the City of Independence hosts holiday events in Riverfront Park, including shopping opportunities featuring local businesses and makers.
8. New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve can be a lot of fun, but also a lot of pressure, which is why at The Dundee Hotel we offer balance. Celebrate by partaking in a special New Year’s Eve Dinner at Territory, while also keeping the stakes low to either venture out later that evening or return to your room and ring in the new year snuggled up in a warm blanket with some wine (as always, doggos are welcome, too!) Check out our packages, great for a holiday or New Year’s getaway, or check out this database of events and celebrations in the Valley.
Kick off the new year with time and space for restoration.
There are so many opportunities to taste and experience bubbles in the Valley, or you can order a bottle to enjoy in your room!
*Whether you choose to participate in all of these events, one or two, or just come visit and stay warm inside your room, we at The Independence Hotel can’t wait to see you here this Holiday Season! Add an extra day to your visit, book via the link below, to stay two nights with us and get the third night free (good for reservations through April 30th).