Gateway to Wine Country: Newberg, Oregon
Hipster coffee shops are not usually my cup of tea. You’re talking about someone so sensitive to external stimuli that she picked her gym based on its color scheme. I wasn’t built to write in a setting that requires earbuds to hear myself think—let alone the distraction of good-looking lumbersexuals in plaid shirts and neatly-trimmed beards strolling in empty-handed and leaving clutching their cups of Stumptown Holler Mountain, sending the bell above the door clanging both ways.
But on a recent book research trip to Oregon’s Willamette Valley, my Airbnb up on Ribbon Ridge had “no phone, no lights no motorcars, not a single luxury” (kidding, I had a rental car). After a few days’ solitude to edit my work-in-progress, The Crush, I needed to touch base with my editor in New York. So I asked one of the farmhands where I could go to get Online. She recommended Chapter Books and Coffee, just down the road in the town of Newberg.
Newberg is an authentic, small farming community founded by Quakers. But it gives off a vibe of being on the edge of something. Beneath the typical American Main Street lined with small businesses runs an undercurrent of change. As soon as the Newberg-Dundee Bypass is finished, the town is gearing up to take full advantage of its location as the gateway from Portland to the wine region known as the Willamette Valley.
The Willamette has the ideal, maritime climate for the finicky Pinot noir grape. Pinot has brought an influx of tourist dollars and new homes and businesses. The Newberg Downtown Coalition has a vision for Newberg to become not just a gateway, but a destination in itself, with wine tasting rooms, restaurants, and art galleries. For those who prefer finer amenities than my Airbnb offered, a world-class resort called The Allison is already getting rave reviews.
That’s how I ended up spending a couple of hours tucked into a corner of Chapters, steeped in the rich aroma of freshly ground coffee while emailing back and forth to the concrete jungle on my MacBook Air and studying the local characters. Though I’m still not a coffee shop kind of girl, that day, I felt very lucky to be there.
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