Oregon Mt. Hood Territory – vacation in gorgeous natural geography

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We recently wrote about the Jackson Family’s lovely wineries and Pinot Noir wines of Willamette Valley, Oregon. After meeting recently with the tourism rep for Oregon Mt. Hood Territory, we learned even more about Oregon wines. We learned that the area isn’t just rich with grape vineyards. It’s also veined with “farm loops” that harbor berry fields, nurseries, nut groves and farmers’ markets.  Sustainable farming and all-star chefs – delivering the best of the Pacific Northwest, no matter what season you decide to visit.
Mount Hood, with Trillium Lake in the foreground.
Mount Hood, with Trillium Lake in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And there are a hundred other reasons to take your next vacation to Mt. Hood Territory – whether solo, with your significant other, or with the grandkids. It’s a long way from Chicago but offers a plethora of outdoorsy enticements that are not so readily accessible in the Midwest.

The Territory is home to a variety of one-of-a-kind lodging options – from 2000 different campsites and RV camps, a Victorian bed-and-breakfast, or a WPA-era lodge to luxury resorts and hotels so you can rough it or live it up. And one of the coolest things is that, when you’re visiting, the Mt. Hood tourism folks will help you plan ways to enjoy the sights to the max while also minimizing any negative impact on area resources or on the environment. Sustainable tourism – an innovative concept, born out of respect for their position as stewards of the Earth and all its Oregon glories.
What to do? White water raft on Sandy River Water Trail leading up to Willamette Falls. Kayak on the Willamette River. Multiple lakes let you standup paddle boat, camp, fish, paddle and watch the wildlife. Cycle through river valleys or along ridge-top panoramas. No car required – public transit service gets you up there.
Ride horses, run trails, or hike through 6000 acres of pristine forest, towering basaltic cliffs and spectacular vistas in the Cascade Mountains. Observe the wildlife along the 4-mile Mt. Talbert Nature Park trail network. Ski, snowboard, snowshoe, or cross country all winter.
The history of Mt. Hood Territory could be really fun for kids to explore. The Willamette Falls Heritage Trail, for example, is home to Philip Foster Farm, where you can experience scrubbing your laundry on a washboard, building a log cabin, or grinding your own corn – the way life was in Oregon in the 1800s. Or take a ferry across the Willamette River.
If you’re going to the west coast, don’t miss a chance to see this beautiful area – blessed with bountiful natural wonders and working hard to preserve them all. For all the details on that and more, check out the Mt. Hood Territory detailed travel planner here.
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Father’s Day gift idea – High-end 1MORE Quad-Driver In-Ear Headphones

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Who doesn’t want really good sound in their headphones? Whether you love music or conduct business on the phone or listen to movies or love the sounds of your video games – or all of the above – headphones are a critical investment item for the modern audiophile. And if your dad’s one, too,  what a great Father’s Day gift idea. And in case he’s never actually had good headphones, it might come as a nice surprise for him.

There’s a consumer electronics audio company out there called 1MORE – we wrote last year about some of their high-quality headphone models – that’s all about sound quality and innovative
design. They’re also dedicated to the idea that you ought to be able to get great sound no matter what your budget is, starting as low as $20 and all the way up to their newest innovation, the Quad Driver In-Ear Headphones for $200.

1MORE quad-driver in-ear headphones

The company has just put this new model on the market as a followup to their success last year with the Triple Driver headphone. You can pre-order this new flagship headphone from USA.1MORE.com and, like all orders placed on their website, it comes with free shipping and the 1MORE 30-day money-back guarantee.  Nothing to lose.  Great sound to gain.

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Bullets, books and bottles – Mom, Dad & Grad gift ideas 2017

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Green n Blacks dark chocolate

Forget the candy – unless maybe it’s an anti-oxidant-rich, organically produced and sinfully delicious dark chocolate from Green & Black’s (our favorite is the 70% – mmm, granddaughter says it tastes like raspberries). It’s always fun to think of unique gift ideas for upcoming Mother’s or Father’s Days or anytime someone-who-has-everything needs a birthday, graduation or celebration gift. So here are a few for 2017: 1 bullet-shield bag,  2 books,  wines.

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MTS laptop bag. If your giftee is highly concerned about personal safety in any situation, consider the MTS laptop bag that becomes a bullet and/or attack shield in an emergency. For the many folks who believe in guns and worry about the need to protect themselves, this item could be just right. It’s kinda heavy (8 lbs.) so most women wouldn’t want to carry it around on a regular basis, but we could see it if you were going to, say, a demonstration, or a big political rally where craziness can happen. But families, schools, law enforcement, first responders, hospitals, businesses and private security personnel who are concerned about protection during a physical attack could use the MTS™ to protect one or more people. Plus, it includes an expandable utility pouch with covert accesss where you could store a handgun or Taser or a laptop or tablet. Read more here.
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Book #1
From C-Student to the C-Suite, by Tami Holzman. If your giftee is a grad who’s really nervous about going out into the real world, here’s a book that might give them some peace of mind. A study by The World Economic Forum confirms by 2020 having high Emotional Intelligence is a top trait people will need to succeed. This book talks about how to develop Emotional Intelligence and how to turn insecurities into assets. The author believes you can be successful by being yourself – and still have fun. It’s a tough world out there, and it’s encouraging to hear that building relationships is what matters most.
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Book#2
Aging Disgracefully, by Danny Cahill. We all talk about page-turners, usually in connection with mystery novels, but this one is a just-released memoir. Written by a guy who was tremendously successful from his first job out of college as a recruiter, and then went on to buy the company. His success is chronicled somewhat incidentally as he bares his soul about his love life and his marriage and his relationships. Cahill includes some embarrassingly frank descriptions of the sexual predilections of younger-persons-who-learned-about-sex-from-Internet-porn. Other topics he hits on: adultery, divorce, depression, aging, dating in mid-life. Danny Cahill is one hell of a storyteller. I literally couldn’t put this book down – didn’t get a lick o’ work done over the two days it took to read it – and chances are your Mom, Dad or Grad giftee won’t be able to either.
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Haut-Logat Haut Medoc

The wines. If your Mom, Dad or Grad giftee enjoys wine, here are three unique reds suitable for anyone who likes dry reds with roasted meats or cheeses. The first two are super- and ultra-premium from Colangelo & Partners and the third, a luxury Cabernet from Delicato. Visit here for more information about wine price categories. So know your giftee, check your budget, and be assured if they love dry red wines, they will love these. And even more fun, we’ve included links to two recipe to pair with the wine. Invite your giftee to dinner – or bring it to his/her house!

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Wine #1
Les Dauphins Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Puyméras Rouge 2014. A deep red color, ripe red fruit fragrance and hint of spice, this wine is complex and soft with a rich finish. Produced from vineyard sources with an average age of 30 years in Southern Rhône’s classified winegrowing commune of Puymeras, it is a blend of Grenache (70%), Syrah (20%) and Carignan (10%). Pair with: Pot-Au-Feu – Classic French beef stew slowly cooked with vegetables. Recipe: Pot-Au-Feu. Read an excellent full review here. SRP ~$18.
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Wine #2
Haut-Logat Haut Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2012. A grilled meat dish pairs perfectly with this vintage that’s well-structured with a touch of unmistakable elegance. The château’s vineyard overlooks the village of Cissac-Médoc, between Saint-Estèphe and Pauilac and has been classifined as Cru Bourgeois in 2012, a level below Cru Classé but satisfying some strict quality criteria each year. Haut-Logat is a blend of Merlot (45%), Cabernet Sauvignon (45%) and Cabernet Franc (10%). Pair with: Steak in red wine with shallots and French fries. Recipe: Entrecote Bordelaise. SRP ~$25.
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Wine #3
Black Stallion Transcendent 2013

Black Stallion Transcendent 2013. Surprise your wine enthusiast giftee with a luxury red wine to lay down for the future! Wine Enthusiast says: “A full-bodied, dense and powerful wine with notes of tar, chocolate, leather and tobacco leaf. Black pepper-laced tannins fill the palate alongside a generosity of bold, brambly black cherry and blackberry, begging for more time in the bottle. Enjoy best from 2023 through 2025.” From Delicato Family wines, this wine will pair beautifully with grilled or stewed meats. Mark your calendar to celebrate together when you open the wine in 5, 6 or 7 years. Here are tips from Wine Spectator on how to store wine without a cellar. SRP ~$150.

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Chicago premieres arts program to help early-stage Alzheimer’s

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Chicago arts program helps early-stage Alzheimer’s and others

This June 15 Chicago is pioneering a new arts-inspired idea. Arts Camp for Brain Health is a half-day workshop just for those with early-stage memory loss, diminished cognitive and neuro-motor function, and those who care for them. The goal is to help attendees experience new ways to feel their best through artistic endeavors. Several of Chicago’s most-respected arts institutions are participating (see listing below).

Attendees will choose from programs that consist of discussion and hands-on activities in seven areas: adaptive dance, rhythmicity with drumming, improv theater, video biographies, modern portraits, stained glass and singing. At only $10 a person, this is a unique opportunity both for those with early-stage Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or other conditions that limit cognitive or neuro-motor abilities, and for their caregivers.
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This collaborative effort is a significant achievement for arts organizations that were already offering this kind of programming, but hadn’t previously thought to tailor it to this particular target group, according to Stacey Foisy, creator and co-chair of the undertaking. Potentially a model for other cities, the workshop will take place right here in Chicago on June 15 at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4545 N. Lincoln Ave. Get more details and register here.
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*Brain Camp participating organizations:
Art Institute of Chicago, Boomers Plus, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Loyola University Museum of Art, Northwestern Medicine-Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Old Town School of Folk Music, and Video Family Biographies.
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