This beautiful place along the Columbia River Gorge has many things to do and see. I can’t resist walking the grounds of the Columbia Gorge Hotel early morning in 60 degree temperatures. Just as lovely as the night before. There are lovely gardens along either side of a creek that tumbles into a waterfall. The flowers are eye-catching as are the views to the river.
Our objective is breakfast at Bette’s rated #1 in Hood River. A small diner in town along Oak Street. Delicious food! Sorry no pictures of food….the Buckwheat pancakes with berry syrup were pretty tasty!
After a hearty breakfast, time to walk it off. A 2.7 mile trail that runs along the Hood River just outside of town is quite unique. It follows the railroad tracks and then cuts over to a pipeline that runs along the river. On top of the pipeline is a catwalk that goes for almost a mile. We learn the pipeline was built to feed more water to the power company. No longer in service, and the pipeline partly destroyed, turns now into an interesting hike. We see lots of Red Alder and Big Leaf Maple trees, a huge osprey nest with two osprey’s guarding it and the Hood River rushing along towards the Columbia River. All while working off some of Bette’s breakfast.
After the hike, we take off to drive the “Fruit Loop” road. This drive takes you past many orchards, vineyards and fruit farms all while heading towards Mt. Hood. Mt. Hood looks quite impressive sticking up in the distance with the farms in the foreground. The best is at the Lavender Valley Farm. A large field of lavender is situated in such a way you can capture Mt. Hood in the background. You can pick lavender or just go into the gift shop and find lots of products. The smell is so refreshing and nothing like we’ve ever experienced before.
Next stop is one of the many fruit stands, vineyards. Small farms, sourcing the local towns’ restaurants and residents. U-pick is an option too. Nothing really shipped out of state from this area of Oregon.
Heading back to the town of Hood River, our next exploration takes us down to the riverfront. There are a couple of local breweries in this area and this is also a well known windsurfing and kite-boarding location on the Columbia River. There is a trail along the river that allows you to get a good look at the amazing water sports – from kite sailing to a new sport called wind foil surfing. We see many people of all levels enjoying these sports using the incredible winds blowing in the gorge.
Ending the day, dinner at Riverside Restaurant with a view of one of the bridges that cross the Columbia River to Washington state. The American Empress riverboat is lazily going by. Great way to end the day!