Each weekend, without fail, you see limos of all shapes and sizes driving through the Yamhill Valley wine country.
You have the stretch SUVs, the classic Lincoln town cars and the like, taking people from tasting room to tasting room exploring the natural bounty of the area.
Then there is something different, The Trolley.
Started by Bob Bunn, a native of Dundee, the trolley was found and constructed by three friends and the next thing you know, the red trolley was travelling the hills around the Willamette Valley wine country. Jeannie Johnson, also known as “Trolley Girl” has taken over the operation of the business, and continues its tradition of offering many different types of tours around the valley.
The trolley offers five different wine tours, that take you across the valley from a tour around McMinnville to Dundee Hills or Amity Hills.
The tours are more than just wine tasting, the wineries that are on the tours will present their wine selections in a manner that will create a quality wine experience. Their wines will be presented with an explanation of what makes each of the American Viticulture Area in Oregon unique. This makes for a more complete understanding and appreciation for the wines being presented.
Riding the trolley for these tours gives you an opportunity to not only not have a designated driver, but also a chance to enjoy the rolling landscape, talk with friends and not worry about finding the next winery.
Especially for out-of-town visitors, this is a hassle-free way of enjoying wine country without having the hassle of following the GPS or planning your day. All of that is done for you if you take a trolley wine tour.
While they have tours that you can select, you can also make up your own tour, seeing sites and you can even rent the trolley for an hourly rate, so you can take a tour of wineries, scenery, parks or whatever tickles your fancy.
The Trolley comes with experienced drivers, who dress in vests and conductor hats, who have a deep knowledge of the Willamette Valley and its highways and byways. If you call them, they will also give you a free quote, especially if you are planning your vacation and want to make a day trip with the trolley. They can help you get the most out of your visit and will even pick you up from local hotels or bed and breakfasts.
But the trolley is for more than just wine tours. With a 27-seat capacity, the trolley is often used for community events, such as the Turkey Rama in McMinnville, the Art Walk in Newberg and even the Pendleton Roundup in Central Oregon. Instead of using buses to shuttle people, many times events will contract with the trolley to provide movement for people from parking lots to the events – or even offer a quick tour of the area in the antique trolley.
The trolley takes you back in time to ‘the good old days’ when life was at a slower pace. Imagine taking family and friends on the trolley and spending the time catching up, sharing your experiences and taking in the scenery.
The vehicle is used for corporate functions, weddings, and if you see it during one of the local events, it’s a great experience for kids who don’t get to ride in this type of vehicle that often.
About The Trolley: The ever imaginative Bob Bunn, native of Dundee, Oregon is the founding father for The-Trolley. Having seen limousines travel the roads to the local vineyards with their passengers, it became obvious there had to be a better way. Friends and family should be all together to enjoy that special day. He spotted the unit on line, contacted his good friend Dick Oviatt and golfing buddy Borge Paulmann. The three put their heads together, and they were suddenly driving The-Trolley back to the red hills wine country of the Willamette Valley, which is just south west of Portland, Oregon. Today the trolley is operated by Jeannie Johnson, also known as “Trolley Girl,” and operates out of McMinnville.
What to bring: Bringing weather appropriate clothing is always a good idea and make sure to bring your camera, as there is stunning scenery all around the Yamhill Valley. In addition many of the wineries are very picturesque.
Tip: During the summer months, June through September, there is a high demand for The Trolley, so be sure to book your trip in advance. While there is some down time during other seasons, it is best to make sure to get your space. In addition, the trolley is enclosed, so don’t worry about having to sit in the open air during the rainy Oregon Spring or even Summer months.
Season: The Trolley is available year-round.
By Patrick Johnson