Posts

For those looking for a Hallmark Card-perfect holiday experience, you need to look no further—and go no farther—than Hood River. The picture-perfect historic downtown is alight with holiday spirit, and with snow-capped mountains as a backdrop and warm cafés and restaurants for refueling, there’s no more picturesque place to get into the holiday spirit.

Throughout the month, visitors can enjoy stress-free shopping in Hood River’s historic downtown, where there’s something for everyone on their list, and support small businesses at the same time. (You won’t get views of Mount Adams and Mount Hood while shopping in a mall or from your couch!)

To help make holiday shopping stress-free, the City of Hood River will host free metered parking from December 10-25 (Sunday parking is always free!). For zero driving stress, those coming from the Portland area can leave the car at home as the Columbia Gorge Express bus service is continuing through winter, with a new Hood River stop location right in front of Full Sail Brewing! Check the Columbia Gorge Express website for the winter schedule, which begins on December 3.

Shoppers can reward themselves with handcrafted drinks from one of Hood River’s breweries or cideries, enjoy a meal that’s locally inspired, and then spend the night in a historic hotel, cozy bed-and-breakfast, or riverside lodge.

Hood River, OR — 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the Hood River County Fruit Loop – the popular 35-mile scenic drive that provides the ultimate self-guided tour of the area’s acclaimed agritourism, with numbered stops at farm stands, u-pick farms, wineries, cideries, and lavender farms. New for 2018: Updated number signs that makes finding each stop even easier!

To get there from the Portland Metro area, take I-84 Exit 64 and head up Hwy 35 towards Mt. Hood. To get a feel for the variety of agriculture that defines Hood River Valley, stop at Panorama Point where you’ll also have a view of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams on a clear day.

We recommend you stop at all the locations on the Fruit Loop map, but here are some suggestions to help get you started: The Gorge White House is a working pear orchard that offers wine tasting from most all of the Gorge region wines. Here you can also sample and purchase local fruit, u-pick berries, and u-pick flowers.

Fruit Loop Fun Facts:

  • Started in 1993 with 19 stops
  • Of the original members, four are still on the Fruit Loop today: Kiyokawa Family Orchards, Mt. View Orchards, Smiley’s Red Barn, The Farm Place (formerly Rasmussen Farms)
  • Current number of stops: 28
  • In addition to the self-guided driving tour from April through November, the Hood River County Fruit Loop also offers annual special events, including Cherry Days (June), Lavender DAZE Festival (June), Summer Fruit Celebration (August), Gravenstein Apple Days (September) and Pumpkin Patches (October).
  • Things you can do on the Fruit Loop: Pick (fruit, flowers, pumpkins), sample (fruit, cider, jellies, pies, and more!), sip (cider & wine), pet (baby goats, bunnies), swing (Draper Girls Family Farm), picnic, photograph (orchards in bloom, Mount Hood & Adams, fruit galore), fill (growlers of cider, stomachs), relax, recharge.

More food for thought:

  • The lavender farms offer u-pick lavender starting at the end of June, all the way through October.
  • The upper valley offers berries in July and August, and Heirloom Apples and Pears in the fall.
  • The Fruit Loop is beautiful year round, but be sure to visit during the April Blossom Fest time to see acres of orchards in bloom, and the Fall harvest when the fruit is piled high in the bins.

The Fruit Loop is also famous for its many festivals. Get all the details here: http://hoodriverfruitloop.com/

Hood River Valley is home to 14,000 acres of fruit trees, making it one of the best places for people to get their blossom fix this spring!

Here are three top ways to celebrate this springtime feast for the eyes in and around Hood River:

Explore the Hood River Valley. Nestled between Mount Hood and the Columbia River, this vast and bountiful valley is home to pear, cherry, and apple orchards and vineyards. During April, many of the seasonal businesses feature special springtime events as a part of Hood River Valley Blossom Time. Visit hoodriver.org/hood-river-valley-blossom-time/ for a regularly updated list of events.

Get a bird’s-eye view. To get a feel for the variety of agriculture that defines Hood River Valley, stop at Panorama Point, where you’ll also have views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams on a clear day. This is a perfect picnic spot, so be sure to grab a to-go lunch in town before you head up the hill!

Drink the fruits of the orchards’ labor—while surrounded by orchards—at the fifth annual Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest! The festival returns Saturday, April 21, and is presented by Pacific Northwest Federal Credit Union and produced by the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce. It features more than 25 local and regional cideries, including six that are new to the festival. The participating cideries will be sampling more than 50 original ciders that showcase the wide variety of styles coming out of the Pacific Northwest’s cider scene.

Hood

Hard-Pressed Cider Fest.

Two of this year’s new participants are Hood River institutions introducing new beverages to their lineups. Hood River’s original brewery, Full Sail Brewing, is launching KYLA Hard Kombucha—a new take on the popular fermented probiotic drink, with an alcohol content of 4.5 percent. Hood River County Fruit Loop favorite Draper Girls Family Farm will be sampling its new hard cider line, Draper Girls Cider Company, which uses its homegrown apples, pears, cherries, peaches and plums.

For more information on the festival, visit www.hoodriver.org/cider-fest

 

Hood River, OR — This February kicks off the inaugural Hood River County Foodie February, a month-long celebration of the area’s outstanding dining scene that gives visitors and locals alike the chance to support local restaurants and discover some of the best food and menus in the region.

Located in the agriculturally rich Hood River Valley, Hood River has an innovative, regionally inspired food scene that rivals its big-city neighbors but is infused with small-town charm. (Heads-up on great Valentine’s Day destination idea!)

Foodie February specials include:

  • Camp 1805: Taco Tuesday! Happy-hour tacos all day, along with $6 Mt. Hood Mules and $6 margaritas
  • Full Sail Brew Pub: On February 8 (5-8 PM), join the February Brewmaster Dinner, which features five courses paired perfectly with five tasty beers. $45 per person, limited seating. Reservations: 541-386-2247.
  • Riverside: 2-for-1 Winter Pasta Special, Sunday-Thursday
  • Hood River Farmers’ Market: Go right to the source every first and third Saturday of the month (1-4 pm), when the winter farmer’s market is held indoors at Springhouse Cellars (1st and Cascade Streets). The market features a variety of local food, including local produce, veggies, meats, eggs, cheese, baked goods honey and other artisanal food stuffs. Customers can also shop for unique products from local artists and makers. Foodie February live music: Feb. 3 – Henry Schifter; Feb. 17 – Ole Rusty
Foodie

Come join the fun!

There’s fresh snow on Mount Hood, which means it’s time for winter vacation planning. Hood River is the perfect winter destination with something for everyone, both on and off the slopes.

Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Hood River is a welcoming winter destination for art lovers, foodies, outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs and anyone just looking to get away from it all. Here are just a few compelling reasons to plan a winter vacation to Hood River this year:

1. There’s no better place to take a nature bath. When you stay in Hood River, you’ll find lots of ways to get back to nature. Go for a hike on one of the local trails. Cross-country ski or snowshoe in the Mt. Hood National Forest. Take a bike ride on the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. Or check out the area’s beautiful vineyards during Thanksgiving Wine Weekend.

2. Hit the slopes! Just 45 minutes from downtown Hood River are two great ski options: Mt. Hood Meadows, the mountain’s biggest ski area, and Cooper Spur Mountain Resort, which is perfect for families. A huge extra incentive: Throughout the winter season, those who stay at participating Hood River lodging partners gain access to special Ski & Stay deals for Mt. Hood Meadows (see below for additional details).

After an awesome day on the slopes, ease back down from the mountain via the beautiful Highway 35 (avoiding congested Highway 26). Once in town, refuel at one of Hood River’s great brewpubs or restaurants, and then spend the night. Need a down day? Go wine tastingmuseum hoppingor shopping in historic downtown.

3. A cornucopia of art. The winter season is jam-packed at the Columbia Center for the Arts (215 Cascade Ave.), which offers a full calendar of eventsranging from live performances to lectures to painting classes—and just about everything in between. Spend a sunny day discovering the unique sculptures along Hood River’s BIG ART Walk. This 4.5-mile walking tour of public art winds its way around the community, including stops at local eateries. Or you can browse the numerous galleries and shops featuring local artists.

4. Breathtaking scenery. With a dry, arid climate and fascinating geology, the eastern Columbia River Gorge offers year-round hiking opportunities. Located within a 20- to 30-minute drive from Hood River, local hiking trails such as Catherine Creek, Columbia Hills State Park, and the Deschutes River Trail are off the beaten path and nothing short of spectacular. After your hike, go wine tasting at one of the area’s beautiful vineyards.

5. Post-holiday recovery. With its Gorge-ous views, spas, coffee shops and more, Hood River is the perfect place to unwind in January and recover from the holiday season. The historic Columbia Gorge Hotel is also home to Spa Remedease, where you can immerse yourself in one of their relaxing spa treatments, from a holistic facial to a couples massage. Want to kick back with a good book? Stop by Waucoma Bookstore in downtown to find their staff picks for good reads. Then head to local favorite Dog River Coffee for a freshly brewed cup of joe or tea while sitting in cozy armchair.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The Hood River Valley County Loop explores the heart of the area’s agricultural scene, and this gorgeous 35-mile scenic drive has something for everyone. The route passes by gorgeous pear, cherry, apple, nectarine and peach orchards, as well as numerous farm stands, wineries, cideries, alpaca ranches and lavender farms.

The Fruit Loop really comes into its own in summer and autumn, with a highlight being the numerous u-pick opportunities – strawberries, cherries, peaches, apples, pears, flowers and more. Hood River County Fruit Loop Stands offer a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers, fresh fruit pies, jams, syrups, fruit smoothies, local artisan gifts, all around the county.

In addition to the fruit stands and vineyards, enjoy local lavender, alpaca, and chestnut farms, plus you can experience our seasonal Blossom Festival, fruit celebrations, and fabulous eateries, including Hood River Cherry Days in July and Gravenstein Apple Days in August.

Top tip: Avoid the crowds by planning a mid-week trip, or by exploring farms on the Fruit Loop’s eastside.

To learn more, go to hoodriverfruitloop.com to find a calendar that lists what’s in season, along with a full calendar of farm events and a searchable map. Head to hoodriver.org for a listing of u-pick farms and a suggested Fruit Loop itinerary.

Some Fruit Loop Area Attractions

Hood River County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center
The Hood River County Visitor Center welcomes visitors from around the world and provides information about all the things to see and do in Hood River.

720 East Port Marina Drive
Hood River, OR 97031
541-386-2000
800-366-3530
www.hoodriver.org

Hood River U-Pick Organic
Open:
Cherry season through Apple Season
8am-5pm daily
A Certified Organic Family Farm.  It’s all Organic U-Pick – Cherries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Heirloom Tomatoes, Honey Crisp Apples, Wedding Dahlias, Roses.  A fun day!
4320 Royal Anne Drive
Hood River, OR 97031
541-359-4481
www.hoodriverupick.com

1. Lose yourself in fruit blossoms.

Hood River Blossoms

To take it all in, visitors can drive the gorgeous Hood River County Fruit Loop, a gorgeous 35-mile drive that follows the county’s Scenic Tour Route and passes the valley’s plethora of orchards, wineries and farms.

Blossom-lovers can drive it in its entirety or in short hops from Hood River. Stop along the way to pick up baked goods, preserves, yarn, fresh produce, wine, cider and more.

During the month of April, the area celebrates spring with the annual Hood River Valley Blossom Time  (April 1-30), featuring family-friendly farm events, craft shows, culinary treats, wine and cider tasting, and the Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest (April 16).

The Blossom Time event guide is available online at hoodriver.org.

2. Get a taste of Hood River’s craft hard cider scene at the Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest on April 16.

Hard Cider Hood RiverNow in its third year, this family-friendly event is an opportunity for seasoned and novice cider drinkers alike to sample the best of Hood River County and other Northwest cideries. More than 20 cideries will be there, with more than 30 ciders on tap. The day-long event also features local food vendors, produce and arts vendors, a kid’s area and a line-up of local music, from bluegrass to classic rock. Spring showers aren’t a problem, as the tasting takes place in a covered hall.

With 11 cideries and counting, Hood River is at the forefront of the new national hard cider movement. These craft cider makers source fruit from the over 440 orchardists surrounding their production facilities to make a unique, local product.

Each of the Hood River-area craft cideries has its distinct personality.

3. Get up close and personal with the Historic Columbia River Highway during its centennial year.

Travel Hood River2016 marks the 100th anniversary of this Oregon icon, and visitors can walk and bike the Columbia Gorge Historic Highway State Trail from the Mark O. Hatfield West Trailhead.

This 5-mile trail section – which is closed to vehicles – features amazing views of the Gorge and passage through a double tunnel. It ends near the small town of Mosier. A great family adventure!

 When it was dedicated in 1916, the Historic Columbia River Highway was considered one of the great engineering feats of the early 20th century. America’s first scenic highway, it runs a total length of 73 miles through the Columbia River Gorge. It was modeled after the great scenic roads of Europe and designed to accommodate Model T cars, plus showcase the natural beauty of the Columbia Gorge.

Today, the Historic Columbia River Highway and State Trail looks and feels much like it did in 1920s, but it is no longer simply a highway for cars. The two-lane road is divided into different segments – some of which are only accessible by foot and bicycle – and is one of the most amazing 73 miles visitors can experience in Oregon.

4. Take a wildflower hike.

Hood River WildflowerAvoid the crowds at Dog Mountain and head to Mosier Plateau.

This trail, completed in Summer 2013, begins in the town of Mosier, follows Mosier Creek through the Pocket Park (community park), and then ends up on Mosier Plateau, which is owned by Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust.

The best time to hike is March through May. Top off your hike with a cider or pizza from Rack & Cloth in Mosier.

 

5. Head to a waterfall.

Hood River FallsSpring run-off from Mt. Hood means thundering waterfalls in the the Columbia River Gorge, which has the highest concentration of waterfalls in North America.

Beautiful Tamanawas Falls is just 20 minutes from downtown Hood River. A 3.5-mile loop takes hikers to a 125-foot falls that you can walk behind into a large dry cave. Other Gorge waterfall hikes can be found at Friends of the Columbia Gorge.