This Frommer's Guide to Oregon is researched and written by experienced author and Oregon resident, Karl Samson. He and Frommer's try to pack the Beaver State into about 380 pages from the Abacela Winery in the Roseburg Area Wine Country through to Zumwalt's Myrtlewood Factory near North Bend – right there on the Pacific Coast Highway. Oregon is almost 100,000 square miles, the 9th largest state in the United States, and that's a lot of ground to cover.
Author Karl Samson lives in Oregon and is also the author of the Frommer's Seattle and Washington State guides. He's clearly a Pacific Northwest expert, and his interests in outdoor sports and wine certainly add something to his knowledge of the region.
Oregon produces some of the best wine in the world, and with its unspoilt coastline and great places where you can go skiing, fishing, hiking, biking, and windsurfing (amongst many other things), it's also one of the best areas in the nation for outdoor activities. No wonder the author lives there.
Frommer's books are written to a pattern, and if you like that pattern – and we do – you go back to them again and again. And if you do go back to them again and again, a useful feature all books have is a 'What's New' section right at the front. If you had an older issue of the guidebook and have updated it, you get a quick summary of what changes have taken place – new hotels and restaurants, and sights that have opened or changed location.
Frommer's Guide to Oregon follows the What's New section with its 'Best of Oregon' pages. This is a section we really like, listing as it does the author's pick of the half-dozen or so highlights in various categories, including hotels, restaurants, and sight-seeing. The Pacific Coast Highway fares well, of course, along with the whole of the Oregon coast.
In fact the Oregon Coast is the first selection in the very first category, The Best Natural Attractions, followed by the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, Mount Hood, Crater Lake National Park, the Central Oregon Lava Lands, and Hells Canyon (deeper than the Grand Canyon, the author reminds us.)
One stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway is also the author's choice of one of the best scenic drives in Oregon. He calls the short 30-mile stretch from Gold Beach to Brookings 'Oregon's single most spectacular stretch of coastline', and suggests you allow a full day to cover it because you're sure to want to make lots of stops. His other choices of scenic drives are the Historic Columbia River Highway, the Santiam and McKenzie Pass Loop, Crater Lake Rim Drive, and the Cascades Lake Highway.
The Frommer's Guide to Oregon includes a 73-page section on the Oregon Coast, and though we might be biased, we don't think this is enough! But the author is as enthusiastic about this part of Oregon as he is about the rest of his home state. He calls it a 'shoreline of jaw-dropping natural beauty.... with its drama and grandeur. Wave-pounded rocky shores; dense, dark forests; lonely lighthouses; rugged headlands – these all set this shoreline apart.' And it's descriptions like this that set this writer apart from many other guidebook authors – this guy can write.
We're about to hit the road ourselves and will use this book to help guide us along every mile of that Oregon Coast. If the book has any major faults we'll report back here, but for the moment it's certainly whetting our appetite to get going – and that's a plus point in itself.
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