Personalize Your Travel: Oregon Wine Country Add-Ons Part 2


Mt Hood Oregon

View of Mt Hood While Driving the "Fruit Loop"

Leaving the Willamette Valley and Astoria behind, (click here for Part 1) we pass through Portland on our way to the other great wine region of Oregon, the Columbia River Gorge.

The first add-on I’d suggest if you want to break up the drive and stretch your legs is a stroll in Portland’s International Rose Test Garden or the Portland Japanese Garden. Then make a beeline for the Columbia River Gorge! McMenamins has a great lodge in Troutville at the mouth of the Historic Columbia River Scenic Area. Founded in 1911 as the county poorhouse, Edgefield is celebrating its 100 year anniversary this summer with all kinds of festivities and world-class music at Edgefield Concerts on the Lawn. If you enjoy live outdoor music, be sure to check the dates of your favorite acts before you pull the trigger on your tasting (or is it tippling?) tour.

Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge Multnomah Falls

The Columbia River Wine Region isn’t far, but you’ll thank me for suggesting that you stop to smell the roses – or in this case, to count the waterfalls. The Historic Columbia River Highway has 5 magnificent waterfalls to wow you between Corbett and Dodson. You can take some short but steep hikes up, or enjoy them from the car or the base of the falls. Spending any amount of time at the falls is like entering another world, a very green, damp world of moss, fern and mist spraying from the water cascading from above.

The town of Hood River – and the start of the 35 mile Fruit Loop – starts here. You’ve arrived in pure sensory heaven. Orchards, family farms, wonderful wineries (many of which stock locally produced picnic supplies), lavender and alpaca farms dot the loop which meanders with stunning views of Mt Hood in the distance. I’ll mentionĀ Cathedral Ridge Winery here as one of many standout wineries for it’s exceptional, award-winning wines in many varietal categories.



Hood River Oregon

Windsurfing, Hood River

Hood River is a delightful small town ruled by the hordes of windsurfers who give the town a relaxed, festive vibe. On a sunny, windy day you’ll see hundreds of bright sails out on the river, and there are plenty of outfits that’ll give you lessons if you’re so inclined.

You’ll feel like you’ve found the promised land. The land of milk and honey and wine and artisanal cheese and cabernet chocolate sauces.

And when your taste buds and nose are spent and your eyes glaze over from too much of a good thing, the Gorge will be waiting for you. Whether it’s behind a colorful sail or atop a dazzling waterfall, hiking in the incredibly fecund forest or circling Mt. Hood by car, or retreating to the comforts of Edgefield for pampering, relaxing, and storied musicians, aren’t you glad you took the time to sample more than the region’s fabled wines?

Lavender Farm, Hood River, Oregon

Lavender Farm


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