This winter, instead of heading east as soon as Spring arrived, we decided to go up the west coast.
We truly wanted to further explore the northern part of California and the Pacific North West. There are so many places we haven’t seen yet that we keep hearing about! So, we decided to check it out for ourselves.
Planning the itinerary is always key to a great road trip.
I know you’re probably thinking right now that the best plan is no plan, but let’s agree that a general overview and a few milestones along the way always help. This time around, we planned our way up to Canada by using a network of hundreds of unique properties, called Harvest Hosts. As a member, you get to stay for a night or two on places such as farms, wineries, breweries and golf courses!
You do need to call prior to your arrival, as the properties usually have limited spaces. In most cases, calling 24 hours in advance is fine. You can always call back and push back your arrival from a day or two if your plans are changing. The best thing with this network is that once you’ve subscribed, it’s free. The only rule is that you need to buy something from the producer. You’ll agree with me that you’d probably be buying a bottle if you stopped for a wine tasting anyways. Might as well spend the night on the vineyard!
As we were driving up the coast, one of our goals was to experience a variety of hosts.
We were looking to try out wineries and farms and wanted to be directly on the coast instead of going back inland. There are over 700 locations across the US and Canada, and often times on properties you can’t even dream of! As you plan your route, the search tool on their app or website offers multiple options to make your travels as smooth as possible.
Our first stop was Crystal Basin Cellars located between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. This winery is right next to highway 50.
However, be assured there is plenty of space to park your rig. We parked right next to a small tree with a picnic table available for use. When we arrived, the team was finishing bottling and we were lucky enough to do our wine tasting with owners Melissa and Mike. We were able to taste a variety of whites and reds and even their special blend Chateau Meaux-Faux!
Second on the list was Melrose Vineyards. Located in the Roseburg area of Oregon, this winery was one of a kind.
A big lush barn welcomes all travelers for a great wine tasting experience. Our host, Staci, made sure we tasted a few of their signature wines and showed us where we could park for the night. As dusk was showing its colors, we decided to enjoy the scenic views of the Umpqua Valley, sipping one of their top wines. The beauty of sleeping on the vineyard is that you don’t need to worry about who can have a glass of wine or not!
Next on the list was a cheese company called Blue Heron, a lovely farm directly on the famous 101 in Tillamook.
Known for their famous smoked brie, you will most definitely have a great experience as they also offer several local products from the area. Another great attraction there was the petting zoo with alpacas, sheep, and they even recently got some piglets. Between you and me, I almost wanted to take one back with us in the van but Julien would not agree…
Last but not least, as we were going through Washington, we spent the night at a lavender farm. The Willapa Valley Lavender Farm is just incredible!
Our host Jeff allowed us to sleep right in the middle of the field. Does it get better than that?
We were parked right in the center and submerged with lavender smells.
We wished we had a drone to show an aerial view, as you could really see a circle in the middle and four fields all around us. I’m sure if you looked on a map you’d see what I mean! This family-owned farm just started hosting and we were the second lucky ones to sleep there. I most definitely recommend anyone that is passing through to stop and enjoy this farm. I guarantee you’ll leave with a couple of their products!
The drive up to Canada was much more fun knowing that we’d be experiencing all these local farms and wineries. The scenic views, the calm fields, and the local products are part of the vanlife experience and this makes our lifestyle even better! We are looking forward to staying at other locations in Canada next, as they are adding more and more locations.
Lastly, thank you to Safari Condo for fueling our ever-exciting adventures!
You can save 15% on your Harvest Hosts membership using this link here.