Hood River Valley
Located a scenic sixty miles East of Portland, Hood River and the surrounding valley offer up the bounty of a century of fruit growing and the taste of a dynamic wine-growing region, producing a variety of wines. Home to a dozen wineries and tasting rooms, classic farm stands, sophisticated restaurants and endless lodging possibilities; to truly discover our passion for the good life, plan on staying for 2-3 days.
1. Portland to Hood River
Enjoy your drive through the national scenic area, either zipping along the Columbia River on I-84 or winding through the views on the Historic Columbia River Highway. Arrive in Hood River for lunch at the Full Sail Tasting Room and Pub, open daily at 11:30, tours on the hour from 1– 4p.m. Begin your discovery of the wines of the area as you stroll downtown. Four tasting rooms (Springhouse Cellars, Naked Winery, The Pines 1852 and Quenett) are located within a few blocks, giving you a chance to browse our many shops and art galleries (point of interest – Columbia Center for the Arts) in between tasting wine.
Lodging options in Hood River range from the grand romance of the Historic Columbia Gorge Hotel to the modern luxury of the Columbia Cliff Villas – both perched on a scenic cliff above the Columbia River. The Best Western Hood River Inn offers riverside lodging with dining and features an award-winning wine list. Located in the heart of downtown Hood River – the Hood River Hotel has vintage charm in a lovingly restored historic setting. For more options, visit the Columbia River Gorge Bed & Breakfast Association. You might be surprised at the abundance of dining options in a small-town like Hood River. Count on Celilo (open daily for lunch from 11-3 and dinner at 5) for seasonal, local dishes that support sustainability. Enjoy fine dining in an upscale, yet relaxed atmosphere at Three Rivers Grill (open daily at 11). Both restaurants feature award-winning wine lists with local and regional selections.
2. Discovering the Hood River Valley
If you need to start your day with a burst of activity, take a run or walk on waterfront park trail along the Columbia River. It has breathtaking views, year-round, but can be a bit windy, so bundle up in the cooler seasons. If you’d like to take a trip back in time, visit the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (known as WAAAM ).
Grab a lunch to go, South Bank Kitchen has some delicious options, and continue your discovery of the wineries of Hood River; many feature scenic picnic spots. Start with 2007 Oregon Winery of the Year, Cathedral Ridge, open daily 11am – 5pm. Next, visit the charming Phelps Creek Vineyards tasting room (open weekends Feb-Apr & Nov, daily May-Oct 11-5), located at the Hood River Golf Course. Follow the fruit loop south to Pheasant Valley Winery (open daily 11-5, closed Jan), Hood River’s first Organic vineyards and wines. On your way out, don’t miss Apple Valley Farm’s famous Huckleberry Milkshake if you need refreshment. Continue your wine tasting adventure to Wy’East Vineyards, (Open weekends Feb-March, Daily May-Oct 11-5). Their estate vineyard, a few miles south of the tasting room, is one of the highest elevation in the state. Head north on Hwy 35 to Mt. Hood Winery, a new tasting room located on the family’s recognized Century Farm. Next door, experience the rich agricultural history of the Hood River Valley at The Fruit Foundation Historical Society.
Just north on Hwy. 35 The Gorge White House (Apr, May & Oct Fri-Mon 10am-6pm; June-Sept, daily 10am-6pm), is a historic home on a century-old working farm. You’ll find a complete selection of Columbia Gorge wines, including their Estate Grown Pear wine, gourmet foods, farm stand, seasonal u-cut flowers and more. Located behind the Gorge White House is the Annex, currently home to Viento Wines, made by Hood River native, Rich Cushman. Ease into the evening with dinner at the Columbia Gorge Hotel, the Riverside Grill at the Best Western Hood River Inn or Cornerstone Cuisine at the Hood River Hotel, or catch the Dinner Train on the Mt. Hood Railroad, April-Sept (Sat 5:30pm-9:30pm) Oct-Dec. (Sat 4:30pm-8:30pm). If you are up for it, catch live music Thurs-Sat at Naked Winery or The Pines.
3. Birding and Farm Life
Before you leave town, enjoy a morning stroll or bike ride at the Twin Tunnels, 4 miles of paved trail on the Old Columbia River Highway. This trail is also part of the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail, so keep a watch out for Black Headed Grosbeak, Western Tanager, and Brown Creeper; wintering Hermit Thrush and Canyon Wren. Or stop by The History Museum, featuring the exhibit “Farm Life: A Century of Change for Farm Families and Their Neighbors” – March 25 – June 20, 2010; Hood River is the only Oregon stop for this exhibit. For complete visitor information, please visit the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce on the web: www.hoodriver.org
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