Oregon in Print
History -- Although it is almost 20 years old now, Timothy Egan's The Good Rain, which uses a long-forgotten Northwest explorer as the springboard for an examination of all the forces that have made the Northwest what it is today, is still one of the best introductions to Oregon and the rest of the Northwest. Some of the more interesting episodes in Oregon history are highlighted in It Happened in Oregon by James A. Crutchfield.
Nineteenth-century explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark spent the winter of 1805-06 in present-day Oregon (and had a miserable time). The Journals of Lewis and Clark is a fascinating account of the difficult 1804 to 1806 journey across the continent, and it includes a wealth of observations on Native Americans and North American flora and fauna. David Freeman Hawke's Those Tremendous Mountains: The Story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is a more readable form of the journals and also has a considerable amount of background information.
If you're interested in learning more about the Oregon wine industry, read Paul Pintarich's Boys Up North: Dick Erath and the Early Oregon Wine Makers, which chronicles the early years of contemporary Oregon wine making.
Natural History & the Outdoors -- If you're a hiker and want some great hiking trail recommendations, pick up one of William Sullivan's many hiking guides. These include 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range, 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon, 100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades, 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon, and 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon. If, en route to the great outdoors, you want to learn about the rocks by the side of the road, pick up a copy of Roadside Geology of Oregon by David Alt and Donald Hyndman. Want color photos to go with that geology information? Get a copy of In Search of Ancient Oregon by Ellen Morris Bishop. Lots more gorgeous photos are to be found in the coffee-table picture books by photographer Ray Atkeson. Among his many books are Oregon, Oregon II, and Oregon III.
In his book Voyage of a Summer Sun: Canoeing the Columbia River, Robin Cody writes of his 1,200-mile canoe journey down the Columbia River from its source in the Canadian Rockies.
Fiction -- Oregon has not inspired a great deal of fiction. The best-known work of Oregon fiction is probably Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion, which presents an evocative portrayal of a logging family. Kesey also set his novel The Last Go Round among the cowboys and bucking broncos of the Pendleton Round-Up, in 1911. The life of a 19th-century mountain man is the subject of Don Berry's Trask.
Ernest Callenbach's Ecotopia is a novel of the near future in which the Northwest secedes from the United States to pursue its own environmentally conscious beliefs (unfortunately, much has changed in the Northwest since the idealistic early 1970s, when this novel was written). In The River Why, David J. Duncan writes of the search for self along the rivers of Oregon. This book could best be described as a sort of "Zen and the Art of Fly-Fishing." Robin Cody's Ricochet River is a coming-of-age story set in the 1960s in a small Oregon logging town.
Oregon on Screen
Twilight, the film version of the hugely popular teen-vampire romance novel of the same name, is the most popular movie to have been shot in Oregon in recent years. Wait, you say, Twilight takes place in Forks, Washington. Well, yes, but it was filmed mostly in Oregon, with shots of the Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls. Some scenes were also filmed inside the Columbia Gorge's Viewpoint Inn. The second film in the Twilight series, New Moon, was, however, shot in British Columbia rather than Oregon.
Yet Oregon's role on the silver screen isn't something new. Silent-screen star Buster Keaton shot his 1926 Civil War comedy The General near the town of Cottage Grove, south of Eugene. This same town later served as the backdrop for the 1986 movie Stand by Me, a story of boyhood pals on an adventure in 1950s Oregon. The hilarious John Belushi comedy classic National Lampoon's Animal House was also shot in Cottage Grove and nearby Eugene.
Gus Van Sant is Oregon's most acclaimed film director, and several of his highly rated, though often somewhat disturbing, films have been shot here. These include Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho, and Elephant.
The town of Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia River, has been the setting for several films, including the family cult film The Goonies, Arnold Schwarzenegger's Kindergarten Cop, and hit children's movies Free Willy and Free Willy 2. For a while, the orca whale star of the Free Willy films even resided at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The Ken Kesey classic Sometimes a Great Notion, starring Paul Newman and Henry Fonda, was also shot on the Oregon coast, though in the Newport area rather than in Astoria.
Other movies shot in Oregon include One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, starring Jack Nicholson; The River Wild, starring Meryl Streep; The Hunted, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro; Bandits, starring Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton; and Without Limits, a film about Oregon running phenomenon Steve Prefontaine. Timberline Lodge stood in for the hotel in the Jack Nicholson's horror movie The Shining.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.