What would you do with an open meadow overlooking an 80-acre botanical sanctuary? Dirk Winter, owner of the Moonstone hotel chain, had a fertile idea. An avid gardener himself, he decided to build a resort in Silverton, Ore., just outside Salem, for travelers visiting the Oregon Garden (which Moonstone manages). "I once joked that I built hotels to fund my gardening habit," Winter says. "Now I realize that I wasn’t kidding."
The Oregon Garden Resort opens September 1 with 17 craftsman-style guest cottages, a spa, and a restaurant, all strung across a hilltop. Each cottage contains six guest rooms decorated with botanical prints and garden-gate headboards.
When they aren’t relaxing on private decks and patios, guests can use their free tickets to the garden next door to explore a mind-boggling array of plants in 20 themed areas.
A stroll through the Lewis & Clark Garden is a tour of flora the explorers would have encountered en route to Oregon. The Children’s Garden introduces weirdly named specimens such as the monkey puzzle tree and unicorn grass, while the A-mazing Water Garden refreshes with waterfalls and lush aquatic foliage.
After a day wandering the gardens, visit some local family-run wineries or walk around downtown Silverton to peek into shops selling antiques, art, and knickknacks. From $109. (800) 966-6490, moonstonehotels.com .
Photography by Robbie McClaran
This article was first published in November 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.