Lifestyle & Parenting

Falling for Oregon

April 26, 2019

The coast is stunning and Portland’s cool but venture a little off Oregon’s beaten path to the Mount Hood/Columbia River Gorge region and prepare to be wowed by surging waterfalls, striking mountain vistas and a burgeoning wine industry that’s sure to keep Napa on its toes. —Rachel Johnston


stay. Just an easy-breezy 30-minute drive from Portland’s airport, settle in at Bridal Veil Lodge—an immaculately kept B&B resting along the Historic Columbia River Highway. Owners Beatrice and Nina have pulled out all the stops while embracing the rich heritage of the property, originally constructed in 1927. Go for the private cottage rooms nestled in the forest, with skylights framing starry skies and delicious details such as luxury linen, Turkish terry cloth robes, prettily packaged natural soaps and books to set the mood amongst the mid-century modern esthetic. In the a.m., head to the communal lodge for a delectable farm-to-table breakfast, complimentary with your stay. The menu changes daily but imagine fresh-caught Chinook salmon and soft-boiled egg atop asparagus and greens or an artfully placed nut and dried-fruit board with fresh sourdough and cold-pressed OJ.


see. After seeking out the lodge’s namesake falls just across the way, hop in your ride and wind along the Historic Columbia River Highway’s “Waterfall Lane” for more cascading goodness. Formed during the most recent ice age when floods ripped through the canyon, the region boasts nearly 50 and while some require a hike in, many can be viewed right from the road. Don’t miss Multnomah—a two-tiered, 620-foot beauty coined the “Granddaddy” of the Columbia Gorge waterfalls. Witness the majesty from a couple of easily accessed vantage points before dining at the Multnomah Falls Lodge Restaurant for more epic views while enjoying a locally inspired menu and Oregon wine.


shop + spa. Whether you’re into trendy boutiques or thrifty finds, the area offers loads of options in the shopping realm. Spend an afternoon in The Dalles with a toasty cup from Kainos Coffee and perusal of Klidt’s Booksellers (the oldest book store in the state) before browsing vintage dishware and décor at Breezeway Antiques & Gifts. Then to Hood River for upscale shops like Twiggs Unique Jewelry & Home Accents and Arome—a gourmet tea heaven. Finally, slot in some self-care at Hood River’s Spa Remedease, situated in the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel overlooking yet another stunning waterfall. We chose an antioxidant facial utilizing both the Osmosis and Natropathica lines (request the cherry exfoliator!) that left us positively radiant.


savour. Ask any local for a lunch suggestion and Sugarpine Drive-in is sure to be raved about. Perched on the Sandy River, the walkup resto’s nosh ranges from waffle grilled cheese (try it with kimchi!) or pulled pork sammies to seasonally inspired salads. Grab a The Larch Mountain sundae for the road—the mind-blowing treat features vanilla chocolate soft-serve swirl dazzled with blueberry lavender sauce, honeycomb crunch and blondie brownie. For evening eats, head to Hood River’s Celilo and indulge in Pacific Northwest gems. Think skillet-roasted mussels in fennel sauce, Cascade Natural Hangar steak with local gold potato and sautéed asparagus or trout cakes over lentils and ruby chard with farm-fresh greens.


sip. After experiencing one of MountNBarrel’s cycle tours we’re convinced there’s no better way to explore the abundance of award-winning wineries in the area. Hosted by owner Ali McLoughlin, each stop has been thoughtfully chosen to not only showcase the beautiful wines but the story behind each vineyard. Pedal through u-pick orchards and grab a peach or two en route to the first stop: Marchesi Vineyards. Originally from Italy, Franco and his wife, Sandy, focus on Italian varietals (like the swoon-worthy Nebbiolo Riserva) and serve freshly-sliced charcuterie platters on a wrap-around patio overlooking the vines. Onward to Hood Crest Winery, where Jill-of-all-trades Tess Bar is winemaker, chef and head of a country-and-western band that gigs at the vineyard weekly. After a stop at Stave and Stone Estate Winery’s for luscious sips in a gorgeous new tasting room overlooking Mount Hood, we cruised to Phelps Creek for the grand finale. One of the oldest wineries in the region, the stunning estate is known for its Pinot Noir and “Lynette” Chardonnay, which owner and winegrower Bob named after his lovely Canadian wife.


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