April 30th, 2019

Tiny Travels: What your mom wants for Mother’s Day is to meet in McMinnville

Moms. We’re all different. Some of us want breakfast in bed, some of us want to be taken out on the town. But nearly all moms like a change of pace and scenery. This Mother’s Day, set your compass for McMinnville, not just the place where the grass is always greenest but quite possibly a place tailor-made for Mother’s Day outings.

Brunch Babes

Take your pick of places around town for the upscale brunch. The Barberry has one of the most special, with coffee cake French toast, oysters on the halfshell, and a wild mushroom Benedict on the menu. Valley Commissary runs its brunch menu on Sundays, including its addictive chicken and waffles with fried sage, hot sauce butter and maple syrup. Bistro Maison, the French classic on Third Street, offers a reservation-only, multi-course Mother’s Day menu with seasonally inspired dishes and is truly an event. The Diner, near Evergreen Museum, might have the most exceptional fruit salad you’ve ever ordered (try it alongside one of the Benedicts). There is truly no wrong choice for brunch.   

Mavens of Main Street

In McMinnville, the main shopping avenue can be found in the city’s historic 3rd Street, which Parade magazine once recognized as being the second best Main Street in America. The street brims with shopping. Mes Amies should be your first stop for upscale women’s fineries. Right next door sits Accessory Appeal, home to the best selection of affordable jewelry in town. Yamhill Valley Dry Goods carries several lines of Pacific Northwest-perfect style brands like Toad, Prana and Keen. Dare I say it? There just happens to be a novelty sock out there for every personality, and you’ll find them at Third Street Books and Many Hands Trading. If home goods are more her jam, we love La Bella Casa or Found Objects.

Craft Masters

If you’re mom’s super-crafty, she’ll be very happy at Boersma’s Sewing Center, one of the country’s best quilting shops. New cotton patterns, 30s prints, Moda fabrics, natural-dyed felts, embroidery floss — creativity finds its purchase here. Consider taking a class there (check them out here. Or, if her medium is plants, consider signing her up for a class at Durant Olive Mill: The Mother’s Day Hanging Basket class is coming up!


Coffee and tea truly need no advocates. For single origins and award-winning lattes, head to Flag & Wire, or, if tea is her fancy, get the London Fog, a mixed tea drink with Earl Grey, milk and vanilla. The closest to downtown is Union Block Coffee, though you can also nab an Italian espresso at Pierano & Daughters market. Incahoots  has a great tea selection, metaphysical gift shop and nursery and houseplants galore. In the basement of La Bella Casa, the Velvet Monkey carries a wide range of loose leaf teas, including medicinal teas, as well as Moonstruck chocolates. It’s a nice place to end an afternoon.

Wine Devotees

So let’s be honest here. There are over 300 wineries in the county and picking just a couple is a fool’s errand. Throw a dart at a map and you’ll probably be happy. However, I’ll offer just a few great ones. I like Vista Hills for the ambiance of a porch set amid trees and surrounded by vineyards. Dominio IV is currently my favorite for its exceptional Viognier and modern farmhouse location. I take people to Sokol Blosser if they’re into architecture, and to Van Duzer if they want to pair wine tasting with a hike at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. If your mom enjoys wine, the options for crafting the right experience are boundless.

Breakfast in Bed

So here’s a novel idea: Do breakfast in bed: A bed someone else made! Get mom a room at one of McMinnville’s overnight destinations. I like the Atticus Hotel for the complete luxury experience. Plan ahead and reserve the Nick’s room at McMenamin’s Hotel Oregon and then go to Nick’s Italian Cafe and see the man in person (in the backroom bar) for inventive Italian-inspired Pacific Northwest fare. Book her a room at the Victorian on 10th if she wants to pack her pooch, or an entire apartment at 3rd Street Flats if she wants to live like a local on the city’s famed historic 3rd Street. There are options to suit every budget here.

Are you local? What’s your favorite thing to do with your mom in McMinnville? Tell us what you think.

Emily Grosvenor is the voice behind Tiny Travels and the Editor of Oregon Home magazine. Follow her on Twitter @emilygrosvenor.