Exploring the Hood-Gorge Region of Oregon, Part 2

This is the second installment of a two-part travel guide to exploring Oregon’s Hood-Gorge region in a weekend. Part one introduced the exquisite, outdoorsy area of the Hood-Gorge, which is just an hour’s drive east of Portland. We began by exploring the popular scenic waterfalls, as well as stopping by the Bonneville Dam and Hatchery. The night was spent in the windsurfing capital of the world, Hood River, at its historic namesake hotel. Happy hour beers at Full Sail Brewing Co were enjoyed, followed by a nourishing multi-course meal with wine pairings at Celilo Restaurant. This follow-up guide begins with breakfast at the bottom of the Hood River Hotel.

Total Stats

2.5 Days
11.27 Miles Walked
193 miles driven
70% Avg Daily Temp

hood-gorge-oregon-travel-guide

Get In

The absolute best and most convenient way to sightsee around the Hood-Gorge region is by car. Rent a car, carpool with friends, or take advantage of ReachNow’s day rates, but having a vehicle is an absolute must.

Itinerary – Day 2

Broder Øst

Begin your morning at the base of the Hood River Hotel, where you’ll find the local outpost of popular Portland restaurant Broder Øst. This Scandinavian and Norwegian-inspired brunch hotspot features the likes of Danish pancakes (œbleskiver) and Norwegian potato crepes (lefse) for breakfast, and burgers, fish cakes, and Swedish meatballs (köttbullar) for lunch.

Broder Ost Hood River Oregon

Broder Ost Hood River Oregon

Mount Hood

On day two, we’ll head south of Hood River to the valley for a self-guided Fruit Loop. The 35-mile long course takes you through the nation’s largest pear-growing region, Hood River Valley. Following the course, you’ll encounter fruit and vegetable stands, wineries and vineyards, U-pick farms, and even an alpaca farm.  While driving through the valley, you’ll be able to see scenic views of nearby Mount Hood. Rising 11,00 feet above sea level, Mount Hood has the longest ski season in the nation.

Mount Hood Oregon

Scenic Mount Hood, as seen from Kiyokawa Family Orchard.

Kiyokawa Family Orchards

After breakfast, take off down the Fruit Loop and make a stop at the family-owned Kiyokawa Family Orchards. Third-generation farmer Randy traces his roots back to his grandfather who immigrated to the U.S. from Japan, by way of California and Hawaii. Today, Kiyokawa Family Orchards grows over 100 varieties and apples and pears, including 15 varieties of Asian Pears.  Our guided walking tour of the orchard allowed us to sample freshly picked honey crisp apples and new varieties including crimson crisp. We also sampled several unique pears and a stellar plum that had the taste of bubblegum.

Kiyokawa Family Orchards Hood River Oregon

Randy Kiyokawa, the third generation owner of his family’s fruit orchard.

Apple Valley BBQ

Load up on fruits at the orchard and then go about a mile away to Apple Valley BBQ. Featuring fresh, 100% Angus beef, this casual BBQ joint offers an array of proteins included their finger lickin’ good ribs and a coleslaw made of pears fresh from Kiyokawa Family Orchard.

Apple Valley BBQ Hood River Oregon

Cascade Alpacas of Oregon

Following lunch, head further inland to Cascade Alpacas of Oregon to feed and pet these friendly, inquisitive creatures. Depending on the season, you might even be lucky enough to meet a baby alpaca! The on-site store offers an assortment of knitting and crocheting tools including the largest selection of alpaca yarn in the Columbia River Gorge.

Cascade Alpacas of Oregon in Hood River

The Gorge White House

While Oregon and Hood River have booming craft breweries, it also makes perfect sense for the fruit-producing region to be fully into the hard cider scene. With 11 established cideries and more in the works, craft cider makers feature the fruits produced by the region’s 440+ orchards to make a fully local product. One especially notable cidery takes up residence in a charming 1908 Dutch Colonial house. Dubbed The Gorge White House, this 100-year old landmark is a highly recommended stop while touring the Hood River Valley. Tasting flights and full bottles of the cidery’s award-winning hard ciders include flavors in apple-pear, blueberry, and both sweet and dry apple ciders.

The Gorge White House Cider Tasting Oregon

The Gorge White House Cider Tasting Oregon

The Gorge White House Cider Tasting Oregon

Twin Tunnels Trail Bike Ride

After exploring the Fruit Loop, head back towards the water to top off your afternoon with a refreshing walk or bike ride along the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. Offering stunning vistas and a tour through the historic five-mile Twin Tunnels, this trail is closed to motorized traffic and is popular among runners, walkers, and bike riders.

Hood Gorge Bike Ride

The Dalles

Continuing further down I-84 East (approximately a 40-minute drive) is the historic, wild west town of The Dalles. Located along the banks of the Columbia River with views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams, The Dalles has amazing weather with over 300 days of sunshine every year. Weather and location make The Dalles an ideal base for a variety of activities including cycling, hiking, rafting, kayaking, and even snow sports in the winter, given its relative proximity to Mount Hood.

The Dalles Oregon J.C. Penney

Freebridge Brewery

In late 2015, co-owners Steve and Laurie Petroff opened Freebridge Brewery in a former U.S. Mint Building in The Dalles’ downtown area. Originally named after the first bridge to cross the Deschutes River on the Oregon Trail, Freebridge features an active production floor with a small event space and a 45-seat tasting room. Craft beers are central to the menu, but there is also a food menu. The spent grain pretzel bites with beer cheese and house mustard are to die for!

Freebridge Brewing The Dalles Oregon

Freebridge Brewing The Dalles Oregon

Freebridge Brewing The Dalles Oregon

Baldwin Saloon

After indulging in beer tastings and a flight of appetizers at Freebridge, stroll a few blocks down the street to the old Baldwin Saloon. With roots dating back to 1876, this building has gone through lots of transition, at one point as a coffin storage warehouse. Today, the Baldwin Saloon is a popular eatery featuring the talents of chef Tamara Huffman, and is renowned for making everything on its massive menu from scratch. Culinary highlights include chèvre stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, homemade pasta, scallops provencal, and 12 decadent desserts (also all made from scratch). In addition to a robust menu, the Baldwin Saloon is worth a visit for its simple, yet elegant interior including turn-of-the-century oil paintings that adorn the walls.

Baldwin Saloon The Dalles Oregon

Day 3 Accommodations: R&R Guesthouse

As a regular bed and breakfast traveler, I’ve experienced my fair share of b&bs around the country and world. But nothing compares to the quality of service and overall design and comfort offered by R&R Guesthouse. Located in The Dalles just a short walk (or drive) away from downtown, this private, turn-of-the-century classic home has been tastefully remodeled with suites and gathering spaces to make you feel as if you were staying in a luxurious chateau. Amenities include a heated outdoor pool and massage hot tub, private outdoor deck and fire pit and media room with flat screen TV. There are three private rooms, with three and a half bathrooms. The lower level of the house is an apartment suite that can also be rented out.

R&R Guesthouse The Dalles Oregon

Itinerary – Day 3 (last day)

Meet The Floozies

Wake from a restful sleep at R&R Guesthouse and enjoy a home-cooked breakfast at the crack of dawn. You might be fortunate enough for your visit to coincide with the arrival of the Portland Spirit River Cruise and the Fort Dalles Floozies and Friends welcoming committee. Operating in Cascade Locks from May to October and in Portland from November to April, this unique river cruise aboard an authentic Sternwheeler takes guests on brunch, dinner, and sightseeing cruises. When the cruise docks in The Dalles, they are greeted by the local Fort Dalles Floozies and Friends. Their mission is to promote enjoyment, laughter, and overall entertainment for residents and visitors to The Dalles.

The Floozies and Friends of The Dalles Oregon

Morning SUP yoga

Before the winds pick up, head out to the shores of the Columbia River for a peaceful session of standup paddle boarding (SUP). Stand up paddle board rentals are abundant and easy to find in The Dalles. The early morning calm makes standing on a board and paddling much easier as the waters clear and virtually free of any currents. Those brave at heart can even try some SUP yoga moves. Wondering what to wear for stand up paddle boarding? Clothing that can withstand possible wetness is definitely recommended, as well as a dry bag to hold any items of value.

 

Stand up paddle boarding The Dalles oregon

Stand up paddle boarding The Dalles oregon

Lunch at pFriem

Following SUP yoga, it’s time to start making your way back to Portland. But first, lunch! Head back toward Hood River and stop by the newly revitalized waterfront for a beer and meal at pFriem Family Brewers. Influenced by the brewers of Belgium, pFriem beers are artisanal and complex with classic, select, and barrel-aged brews on the menu. Fancy a particular beer? Take it home in a growler. Food-wise, the usual lunchtime suspects are available, but the mac and cheese or vegan bowl featuring local Oregon summer squash noodles are special highlights.

pFriem Family Brewers Hood River Oregon

Return to Portland

The Dalles is the last stop on this three-day, two night trip to the Mount Hood/Columbia River Gorge region in Oregon. At this point, you are 85-miles away from Portland, roughly an hour and a half’s drive.

And so concludes this two-part mini travel guide to the Hood-Gorge region of Oregon. Hopefully, it entices you to visit sometime soon!

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By | 2016-12-21T17:57:26+00:00 October 18th, 2016|Comments Off on Exploring the Hood-Gorge Region of Oregon, Part 2

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Suzi Pratt is an event, food, and concert photographer based in Seattle. She started Intrepid Freelancer to inspire and teach others how to start a photography business. View her at photography portfolio, and subscribe to herYouTube channel.

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