May 3, 2013

Posted by in Articles, Featured | 0 Comments

3rd Street Flats: The Place To Stay in McMinnville, Oregon

IMG_6138A couple weeks ago, I headed up to McMinnville, Oregon, to meet up with fellow wine writers and owners of R. Stuart & Company, Maria and Rob Stuart.  Our meet up was all about the R. Stuart & Company Pinot Noirs that several groups of writers blended last August during the Wine Bloggers Conference – an event that was aptly called The Blogger’s Blend.  About 30 of us joined at the R. Stuart winery in the historic Granary District of McMinnville, Oregon, and after sampling six 2011 single vineyard Pinot Noirs (straight out of the barrels), we broke off into groups at tables set specifically for blending wine and blended our own wines.

Fast forward to March of 2013, and we met at the downtown McMinnville R. Stuart Wine Bar to pop the corks on the wines we had created eight months ago.  Most of the writers that attended the Blogger’s Blend were from somewhere other than Oregon, but two of us, Michele Francisco (winerabble.com) and I, were able to meet with Rob and Maria Stuart, along with several of the R. Stuart staff members, to taste all five wines that were produced.  Meeting with the other writers via a live chat on Twitter, using the hashtag #Bloggers Blend, we tasted our wines for the first time, took photos and tweeted our thoughts about each of the wines – it was a ton of fun.  And, we were the number two trend around the world on Twitter! I’m always amazed by the impact many voices can have in the world of social media.

IMG_6096

The dining room and wine bar

Although I’ll soon be writing about all the juicy details of each of the five Pinot Noir blends that we sampled, this piece is all about the place I stayed at while visiting McMinnville: 3rd Street Flats – loft style apartment accommodations in the heart of downtown McMinnville.  Lucky me, the only apartment available for the night I was visiting was the largest of the four, called The Retreat.  And a retreat it was. 750 square feet of retreat.

With free parking across the street from the doorway that leads to the second story of the historic McMinnville Bank building, circa 1885, the entire second story of this building is comprised of the four apartments that are the 3rd Street Flats. There’s no front desk or lobby, just a key for The Retreat waiting for me in a lock box located at the street-side entrance.  Once upstairs, a long, outdoor themed-painted hallway leads to each of the four apartments, and mine was at the end of the hall.  With a quick turn of the key, I entered and found myself in a dining area with high ceilings and a skylight that offered a beam of natural light.  Exposed brick walls, gorgeous bamboo flooring and a larger than life daffodil photo (turned into beautiful art) hung on the wall. The bamboo flooring extended into the kitchen and living room, which also had exposed brick walls and high ceilings, along with floor to ceiling windows that looked out over the bustling main street of downtown, 3rd Street.  The living room had a flat screen TV, a fireplace, and beautiful furniture that had a modern mid-century feel.  Hints of blue colored decor items popped among the surprisingly flattering gray walls and couch – it was absolutely warm and inviting.  Waiting for me were two sea salted caramel chocolates from local chocolatier Honest Chocolates and a bottle of Pinot Noir.  I put my things in the bedroom, which was off of the living room and decorated beautifully as well, and headed straight back to the Pinot and chocolates.

IMG_6088

The stylish, inviting living room

Although I soon discovered the kitchen was fully stocked with everything anyone could need during their stay, including the ever-important cork screw (even though I always have one of those in my purse – just in case), the screw cap on the Pinot was convenient and no opener was needed.  I grabbed a wine glass from the wine bar located in the dining room, poured myself a glass of wine and sat down to enjoy the sea salted caramels.  Let me tell you, I have never had anything so decadent in my life – this little chocolate, with creamy caramel inside and sprinkled sea salt on top was the best piece of candy I’ve ever had.  No kidding, the best.  Honest Chocolates is located just down the street from 3rd Street Flats, and although I didn’t have enough time to check out their shop on this particular trip, it’s on the top of my list of must-dos the next time I’m in McMinnville.  The Pinot Noir was excellent, too.  Produced by Cultavin Cellars, this light bodied and silky smooth Willamette Valley Pinot had beautiful dried cherry and berry aromas and flavors with a hint of spice and earth.  Well rounded and smooth, it was a superb welcoming.

IMG_6095

Divine sea salted caramels from Honest Chocolates and Pinot Noir

As I looked out the big windows down to the street below, I took note of the small grocery market across the street – a convenient thing to have so close; therefore, I could get a few breakfast items for the next morning.  After kicking-back in my home-away-from-home and rather stylish loft apartment, I headed out to the R. Stuart Wine Bar for the Blogger’s Blend tasting and reunion.  On my walk to the wine bar, I passed by many well-kept boutiques, cafes, tasting rooms and bars – McMinnville really has charm.  Not only is it home to many fine shops, but it is located in the heart of Oregon wine country.  There are a plethora of nearby wineries that offer world-class wines; including, a few urban wineries located in the Granary District just a few blocks from the main downtown area: Remy Wines, Dominio IV, The Eyrie Vineyards and Grochau Cellars are just a few.

One night wasn’t enough to experience all there is to to see and do in McMinnville, and with a bed as comfortable as the one in The Retreat, I would have absolutely enjoyed my relaxing get-away for many more nights. I’ll be back, sooner than later, and I am really looking forward my return.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks to Maria and Rob Stuart for suggesting and booking The Retreat at 3rd Street Flats for me, it was truly a treat and I enjoyed every minute of it! I was a #HappyWineGal.