McMinnville is the heart of Oregon’s Wine Country. Historic brick buildings in an urbane downtown shaded by overarching broadleaf trees provide a lively mix of diversions. A big adjoining park beckons with luxuriant naturalistic landscaping, a major recreation/swim center and library. A small college is within strolling distance. The result is genteel sophistication with deep Eastern roots. Surrounding hills and valleys have a moderate four-season climate ideal for growing classic wine grapes, and for enjoying outdoor activities most of the year.
The town was founded in 1843 by William Newby, a pioneer who came west from McMinnville, Tennessee. He opened a grist mill which became the town’s main industry. The substantial business district was built between 1885 and 1912. Happily, most of those buildings are being meticulously preserved by an active preservation effort and continue to serve as shops, residences, and lodgings.
McMinnville is now prospering, as appreciation of Oregon premium wines has brought recognition to this burgeoning district with more than fifty wineries. The town’s infrastructure has kept up with its success, with colorful gardens, park and recreation facilities, museums and other public buildings blending seamlessly with the historic heritage. Upscale shops, restaurants and lodgings are located both downtown and in environs interspersed with lush vineyards, pastures, and forests in all directions.Wine grapes, first planted in the area in the 1970s, have become the key to the region’s economic future.
For more information, go to McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce.
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