Local Adventure & Flavor on a Drizzly Day

I've been content with a cozy winter, but a quiet Friday nights ago I felt a need for a little something different over the weekend. Daniel had a race the next day and I had a Jazzercise event so we wanted to keep it local. We remembered a couple of nearby places we had wanted to check out, and the outing ended up being exactly what I needed: a little adventure, novelty, and beauty.

Our first stop on that drizzly day was a new restaurant in Aurora, just 10 minutes from us, called Filberts Farmhouse Kitchen. Daniel had watched this restaurant go up everyday on his way to work for months, and I'd heard about the farm to table menu online. I didn't expect the restaurant to have such a beautiful aesthetic of farmhouse elegance. I imagine much of their decor was discovered in Aurora's many antique malls. 
Old fashioned jazz music played through the speakers as we had a little wait for our table and settled into this sweet little day of adventures together. Filberts Farmhouse Kitchen has a large dining room with a gorgeous chandelier I regrettably didn't get a photo of, a dining area near the bar, and what looked to be reservable dining rooms, and lovely orchard-view outdoor seating for warmer months. The restaurant is an addition built onto an original 1865 farmhouse, and they maintained the aesthetic beautifully. We were seated at a table near the bar, tastefully simplistic napkins and silverware complemented the marble surface. 
The lunch menu has a variety of tempting starters, sandwiches, salads, burgers, and brick oven pizzas. Daniel ordered the farmhouse burger with perfectly crisp battered fries. I had the seafood croissant that had a really lovely pesto mayo. The standout for my meal was the side, a tomato bisque topped with filbert and basil pesto. I never had thought to add a dollop of pesto to tomato soup, but they make a delectable pair. 
Our server asked me about dessert while Daniel was in the bathroom, so without his consultation of course I said yes. We enjoyed the chocolate brownie cheesecake served with raspberry coulis and a generous dollop of freshly made whip cream. The crust was amazing.
We enjoyed the food at Filberts, but what I was eating up most of all was the ambience. The mix of elegance and comfort was lovely, and it felt like a place to linger. Their dinner menu looks a bit more upscale, and their cocktail menu has some wonderful sounding flavors- I'm especially intrigued by the Farmhouse Pear Martini.
Our next stop was a winery we had heard about from a few sources: a beautiful Italian inspired villa on a lake, also just 10 minutes from us. A local blogger's post about it recently convinced me we had to check it out. When we heard about this winery we couldn't believe how close it was, and that we had never heard of it! Even though the drizzly weather was less than perfect for an outdoor winery visit, we went to check it out. Villa Catalana is open Saturday from 1-4 pm. 
A short drive into the country and a turn around a bend revealed this rare Willamette Valley architecture. Ducking under our umbrella, we headed up the path to the tasting room, marveling at the building and grounds. 
Before we'd even made plans to go, I knew that this winery would be ideal for a spring or summer visit, not so much winter. I expected that the tasting room would be inside the building, perhaps with a fireplace and a few tables. However, we tasted wines in an indoor courtyard that almost felt like a greenhouse, teeming with tropical plants that grazed the ceiling. Enchanting glass lanterns hung above and water features hummed around us. 
The tasting was $10 each and included 5 wines and a berry liquer. We especially enjoyed the 2017 Pinos Gris and 2015 Red Blend. We chatted with a sweet older couple at the table next to us, they were raving over the last of the tasting, the berry liquer. They had left by the time we got to the liquer, and were relieved because it was way too syrupy-sweet for us, and we wouldn't want to have to hide our reactions! However, I would say the liquer would be wonderful with a rich semi-sweet chocolate dessert. 
I kept telling Daniel that this outing was exactly what I needed- a chance to just sink into beauty, flavor, and new surroundings. A chance to connect with one another without the tv on, grad school going, or thinking about work. Days like this feed my creative soul. It's wonderful that we can find culture, great food and wine, and a little escape within 10 minutes of home!

We're excited to return to Villa Catalana in the warmer months to explore the grounds more, we've read that they have a chef on site sometimes too.
 It was such a nice afternoon outing to enjoy some time connecting and exploring local offerings. If you enjoyed reading this post, check out some other day trip adventures appropriate for winter like Edgefield Getaway and Dundee Wine Tasting.

linking up with:


  1. Your photos are just so lovely. What lovely things to do :) And that food looks amazing!

  2. Yay I'm glad you got to visit Villa Catalana, and that my blog post inspired you! Looks like we both have to go back and visit this summer when the gardens are in their prime. :)

  3. What an amazing day! Catherine's post inspired me to visit Villa Catalana too, so I can't wait to go. It was fun to see your pictures of the gorgeous spot too!

  4. I haven't been out to Aurora and neighboring areas in a long time, but you've inspired me! Looks like such a lovely day :)

  5. Sounds fun!! Keeping this in mind if we are ever in the area!


Feel free to comment! I'd love to hear your thoughts.