Being a Tourist in Hood River
So the lovely little town of Hood River is just a hop skip and a jump down the road from Portland. In fact, I've lived here around Portland my entire life and have never spent a night in Hood River (although many-a-day). That said, my family and I just spent 3 glorious nights and days in this oh-so-cool town and, well, we all feel a bit transformed. Hood River serves up just the right amount of small town mixed with high-end offerings and is bursting with energy old and new. And...it's only about a 50 minute drive from Pioneer Square! Nice. Of course, the current wildfires will keep you at bay for a bit...but when that all clears up, this great town will be waiting!
From the bustling new waterfront area that boasts a collection of brew pubs, unique parks and swimming/sporting beaches, to the main downtown that has everything from excellent coffee to an incredible array of shops and restaurants, spending time in Hood River is one choice you'll not regret. Then, there is the "Fruit Loop," which is the amazingly beautiful Hood River Valley area that sits above the town and merges, eventually, with Mount Hood and the Cascade Mountain Range. Replete with dozens of wineries and fresh fruit farms, you feel like you are living in some kind of dream. Of course, a bit of great wine can make anyone feel a bit shimmery...but it really is something special up there. And how couldn't it be? With a monicker like the Fruit Loop, well, it all just makes sense.
So Many Chocolates, So Little Time
When we planned to take a few days vacation in Hood River I was a little unsure what we'd be doing. After all, I'm not a windsurfer or a kiteboarder, although I do love the water as well as good restaurants. I knew we'd be hitting some wineries (always fun), but I wasn't sure what would be the real stunner. Turns out, it's the combo of everything, and how close and easy it is to access things. I mean one minute we're out on jet skis, ripping the river (the water was a perfect 73 degrees), the next minute we're up at the Gorge White House, eating freshly picked pairs and drinking Pinot Gris. Shortly after we're walking along the waterfront, awaiting our table at Solstice (fantastic wood fired pizza, microbrews and a great kids play area), and watching kiteboarders boost huge airs in the 90-plus degree heat. Awesome. It seems everything is just "5-minutes away" so in a given day you can do many different things. It's hard to imagine Hood River staying this quaint and accessible forever, but then again, it is far enough from the metropolitan area that it may just work out fine. All that said, don't forget some good sunglasses when hanging around Hood River...it's far enough east to be extra sunny and all that water makes for some major reflections. Header Image Courtesy: cascadekiteboarding.com