Getaway madness: Evergreen Aviation founder Del Smith’s $ 18 million estate can be leased overnight
Do you feel locked in, eager to get away and lie down? Are you ready to splurge? If so, you can rent a winery, with 11 bedrooms, a ballroom and a pool pavilion, an hour’s drive from Portland for about $ 3,500 per night.
The 46-acre estate on the Willamette River in Dundee boasts an Italian-inspired mansion, a restored Victorian-era farmhouse, and other landmarks that help tell the fascinating story of the elaborate holiday escape built by Delford (“Del”) Smith, a high-flying aviation entrepreneur who felt he had nothing to lose until he did.
Smith founded the Evergreen Aviation Empire, comprising Evergreen International Airlines and its subsidiaries. His pride and joy were the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, where Smith presented the trophy from another great dreamer: Howard Hughes’ H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose”.
Smith invested $ 18 million in creating his home on the Willamette Valley River before his airline companies went bankrupt.
After his death in 2014, his heirs listed the property at $ 6 million and then lowered the asking price to $ 5 million. It eventually sold at auction for $ 3 million in December 2019 and the new owners, who updated the furniture, are leasing it out. Vrbo and Airbnb when traveling.
The main house alone has 26,000 square feet of living space, the equivalent of Portland’s Pittock Mansion and Oregon Governor’s Mansion combined.
“The villa can accommodate up to 30 people” with 15 beds among eight suites and a three-bedroom wing, said estate manager Emily Peterson. “Divide the average fare among your friends and family, and it’s less than $ 150 per person, per night.”
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Visitors to the wine country destination have included celebrities and reality TV stars, Peterson said.
The estate has also been a gathering place for corporate and political meetings, family reunions and vacations as well as wedding parties to prepare for a ceremony that will take place off-site.
“Plus, due to Del Smith’s work in the aviation industry, we’re getting a good handful of bookings related to this,” Peterson said.
She said it is popular for guests to enter and exit the grounds by helicopter, “since we have our own landing areas.”
Peterson put on a fantastic fall day at Villa Del Mar:
- Sleep in a sumptuous 780 square foot suite and wake up gently to the sound of birds and the flowing river.
- Take your time getting ready in an oversized spa-style bathroom with a soaking tub, walk-in shower, double vanity, custom bidet and mirrors, lighting and louvered windows.
- Follow the scent of a freshly prepared, locally sourced breakfast served on your private garden terrace.
- Stroll along the landscaped paths and enjoy the views and features of the property.
- In the early afternoon, a travel agent can pick you up and take you to some of the more than 200 tasting rooms and cellars nearby. Then stop at the legendary Red Hills Market in Dundee for a picnic with fresh seasonal ingredients and a bottle of wine to taste at the villa.
- Take advantage of the afternoon to pick grapes from the vines on the shaded arbor or pick fresh blueberries, persimmons and apples.
- Shoot a few hoops on the basketball court or play a quick game on the tennis court.
- The villa has a chef’s kitchen, three kitchenettes and three dining areas: the formal dining room which seats 24; a dining area and a pub table off the kitchen. Or choose a seat on the patio by the fireplace or fountain and enjoy a peaceful evening in the most unique surroundings of the Oregon wine country.
- Enjoy a game of pool or shuffleboard in the third-floor games and entertainment room, or watch a movie on the inflatable movie screen on the lawn or in the ballroom. End the evening with a ‘Netflix and chill’ moment in your luxury suite retreat.
The estate name, Del Mar, is a combination of the original owner Del Smith and his wife, Maria.
In 2002, Smith set his sights on building a Mediterranean-style mansion, with five fireplaces, patio doors, and seemingly endless hardwood floors to 22111 Riverwood Road in Yamhill County.
Guests walk through 12-foot-high entry doors into the lobby with travertine tile and marble staircases that curve to create a view of the third-floor ceiling.
The manor’s terraces and balconies offer elevated views of a rose garden, an arbor covered with wisteria, blueberries and hazelnuts, fruit trees and water fountains that echo the sound of the river.
A closed colonnade leads to a pool pavilion with arched veranda-style windows. The mansion has 10 full bathrooms; the swimming pool has two bathrooms and paneled dressing rooms, as well as a hammam and an additional shower.
The floors are heated throughout the mansion and around the pool terrace.
For outdoor entertainment, there is a lighted tennis court and a sports field for basketball, badminton or sports field hockey.
A Victorian-era guesthouse, the renovated 1906 JD Gordon Farm, is part of the estate. The 4,836 square foot home has its original exterior siding, windows, oak floors and staircase. The built-in breakfast nook buffet could also be over a century old.
The renovations include adding a family room to the fir floor, updating the kitchen and creating a dog wash station on the main level. There are suites on the second floor and a game room on the third floor with a wet bar with two keg taps.
– Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072