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  • Writer's pictureHolly Kirby


Trust yourself like you haven't let yourself down yet.

“ Trust yourself, you will start to trust others.”

— Santosh Kalwar

I don't think I like trust. I mean I need it, need to give it and receive it, but like it? I don't know about that. It feels out of control and a bit scary if I'm honest.

There's a bit of moving a part of yourself from a place of safety in trust. It's more than a mental assent to something, it's a putting your heart or something important to you or even your whole self in a place where outcomes are not guaranteed.

I have had this word come up a few times in as many weeks. I think I'm being called into more of this childlike characteristic. How is it that children trust so easily? They have no context for anything else. Their instincts are strong, their inner voice is clear and they haven't let themselves down yet.

The above quote felt a bit like a gentle but firm wake-up call. My mind could go round and round with this concept but bottom line, it's empowering because I can choose it. I can decide to trust myself and then from that place, trust ripples outward.

My childlike pursuit: To be open and ready to jump and then trust that I will be caught when I do.




We're honored to have been invited to participate in the High Desert Museum's annual fundraiser, High Desert Rendezvous! A Serendipity Wine Tour will be part of a desirable wine country package including a two-night stay at the Atticus Hotel in McMinnville, charcuterie boxes from Gather + Give and possibly even a hot air balloon ride! This experience will be auctioned to help raise money for the museum. The show, live and silent auctions, raffle and more will be held on August 28, 2021.


We have been invited to participate in The Gathering benefit for Saving Grace Maternity Home where their goal is to raise $100,000 to make significant progress in paying off the home's mortgage balance of $245,000. Stay tuned for more details!


This is a space created for appreciating those who go above and beyond. It's fun to catch people in the act of being kind!

This edition of Two Claps goes out to Sherry Parker of Embrace Oregon wine tours. Sherry has been a kind face for me at various ITC events and on a random meeting in the parking lot of a winery where we both had guests, she brought her sweet and friendly self over to commiserate about the biz. If you're from around here, you know about the road work in various spots and that can make for a bit of a challenge when driving tours. Sherry had wonderful advice about detours and about how to explain them to guests in a way that make them sound like the best route anyway. Her experience shines through and her desire and ability to teach as well. On top of that, Sherry sent a tour my way the very next day and called my business phone to let me know the guest information. Truly first class, Sherry! So happy to know you!



If you're looking for a great gift idea, look no further! Serendipity Wine Tour Gift Certificates now available! Can be purchased in $100 increments or "The Works" for $600.



Prioritizing work with my career coach around creating a Project Plan for the founding of the Willamette Valley Wine Tourism Collective. The creation of the mission statement has been first step. First meeting targeted for end of August.

Serendipity's very first Wine Guide Reception will be scheduled for July. The goal is to create culture, provide training and a forum for communication. I want those who work with us to feel like family.

I am working with Hannah to plan our first Serendipity Business Retreat. We think it will provide a forum for reflection, forward-thinking and fun.



I just learned that Oregon's Willamette Valley was connected to California's Central Valley by the Siskiyou Trail! (Thank you!) It was developed by the HBC (or Hudson's Bay Company) in 1827, following Native American trails, in their hunt for furs and pelts. It was eventually widened for cattle driving by Ewing Young in the 1830's and later utilized by US Exploring Expedition and miners of the California Gold Rush. Next up for the Trail was a widening in the 1860's for stagecoach travel, telegraph line in 1864 and then finally a modern highway in the 1960's.

Roads and their histories and development are always fascinating to me. What feats of engineering! This one is extra special to me though because my family unknowingly followed that same path from the Central to Willamette Valleys when we made Oregon our home in 2001.

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What a joy to be able to get to know people more through these interviews. Dan and Maureen, the innkeepers of Willamette Valley Bed and Breakfast, are treasures and I'm so happy to introduce them to you here! They would be lovely hosts for your next Oregon wine country getaway. Their vision has created a space that will make you feel cared for, relaxed and like you just may have found a home away from home.

What is one of the most rewarding things about what you do?

Making someone’s dream trip come true. We help them plan the whole experience, help make it happen. Creating a good environment for them to relax and enjoy. It's rewarding when they're happy and comfortable here.

"Dan takes good care of people," Maureen states. It starts before they arrive. He answers lots of questions, does research. Having information is helpful and we're happy to share it. We also feel we're supporting the economy and businesses around here. There are so many places to recommend! Listening is very important. Dan is a good listener and asks good questions. We like helping people.

Did you both have separate careers or have you always done this?

Smiling, Maureen looks at Dan and says, "He got me into this." Maureen used to run a ceramic paint studio in Washington. With her background in retail and teaching art classes, she remembers being busy processing and not getting to do her own art as much. Here she gets to play a bit and do her own stuff. (You will see some of her creations decorating and dazzling corners of the property.) Dan had been in the hotel industry for 30 years and brings all he learned to the experience they create in their Bed and Breakfast. They are also both well travelled and bring their best takeaways to this endeavor as well.

As far as the timing of this long-talked about dream, they had decided to wait until their kids were grown. In regard to the place, Oregon was really Plan B or C. The dream was always to be in wine country and originally thought they would land in Woodinville, but circumstances changed. They eventually opted to be in Willamette Valley by default. Other destinations were not ideal and with two of their sons close by, that nailed it down for them. Property-wise, they had five or six things that they needed and this little piece of paradise checked all the boxes. With the ability to add on and not convert, the proximity to town and yet feeling of remoteness, the acreage and ability to have their own chickens, garden and fruit trees, they were sure they'd found the perfect spot to bring their vision to life. Adding personal touches is something they love to do and the land and layout allows for that.

What is it like, working together?

Looking at each other they both say, "It’s great." "We have our 37th anniversary coming up!" They talk about how they both have their strengths and weaknesses and divide up tasks that way. "I set up this way, she does rooms. She does baking and I do the cooking. She does serving and I do the talking." They are both comfortable with what they like to do.

What are the most important qualities for hospitality?

Being friendly, considerate and knowledgable. Maureen recalls how Dan can "get you anywhere way before GPS." It's important to be a good listener, to have high standards or values. Notice the details. Also, in helping guests, never just say, "No," but instead help to refer. Manage expectations in communication.

The goal is to be exhausted at the end of the year. If you're exhausted, no need to worry about the numbers. They would have fallen into place.

What is one thing you love about the Oregon wine industry as it is now?

The collaborative nature of it. Everyone is willing to share and help. You get to meet the people, the actual people making the wines…the story behind the wines. Accessibility to winemakers and ownership. A lot of first families are still here. They are open to ideas and suggestions.

We also love the wine customers as our guests. We like their schedule and style and that they're supportive of the wine industry. They're the prime reason we're here.

What is one thing you would love to see improve in the Oregon wine industry?

I would like to see it be protective of being Oregon wine. I would love the Oregon wine industry to be able to maintain its integrity (i.e., who makes the wine, what they can put on the label, etc.). Hopefully any outsiders would be encouraged to partake and become part of the community and not just doing their own thing.

For people who may not know you, what are some of your passions, outside of wine?

We really put all of our passions into this project. We like food and wine. We like to travel. Family is a big thing…large families. We used to ski a lot. Oh, and we enjoy art and craft fairs, and music.

Since we know that we can’t pour from an empty cup, how do you keep your own cup full?

Enjoying what we're doing and we're doing it together. Sometimes you get that part but have to be away from family, but we get to combine the two. We have our own private and separate space in the B&B. We love walking our dogs and gardening. We love the energy from guests.

We also have a Guestbook and what guests share there is more personal and keeps us going.

What is your best advice for other couples who work together?

"Roll with it. Be patient and roll with it. Support each other." They can make breakfast without talking with each other and make it all happen. There can be a wrench in routine and they help each other and communicate if one is dealing with more. "Just step in and do it."

What is the difference you would like to make or the legacy you would like to leave?

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -- Maya Angelou

If people had a great stay, felt rejuvenated or relaxed, our work is done.


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