Tag Archive for: Travel

If you are planning a trip this holiday season, one of the best gifts you can give yourself is to plan well ahead of time. Whether you’re going to visit family at their home or planning a holiday vacation, treat it like the trip of a lifetime. After all, it’s the holidays. So, you want it to be special and, hopefully, stress-free. This means to plan, budget, and plan some more. Here are five tips to follow when traveling this holiday season.

Study Your Destination

Know as much as you can about your destination before you arrive. Use Google Maps to look up where you’re going. Determine the distance between the airport, if you’re flying, and the destination.

Find restaurants and other sites of interest near the hotel or wherever you’ll be staying. Mapping out your stay will help ensure you’ll fit in all the items on your itinerary. Plus, it will make it easier to create and stick to a budget.

Know the weather and, as best as you can, the places you’ll be visiting so that you pack appropriately. Also, be aware of any local customs that require different clothing than what you’re used to wearing.

Next, plan for an emergency by learning which hospitals are in the area, including those with trauma centers. It’s a good idea to take medical information with you, beyond what you might already carry in your wallet, especially if you have a chronic illness, such as diabetes.

Make Lists

One of the biggest mistakes people make when packing is trying to get everything ready without writing up a list first. To-do lists make travel plans so much easier.

Make a list of what to pack, everything you need to do before you leave, and the itinerary for when you arrive. Be sure to keep in mind the items you use every day because whatever you don’t have to think about are the very things you’re most likely to forget.

Next, make a pre-travel list. Include pet, plant, and house sitters, any necessary prescriptions to be filled, travel insurance, upcoming bills so that they’re paid on time, and checking luggage for damage.

Then, make an itinerary for the trip itself. Be sure to do whatever it is you want to do while you’re there.

Be Flexible, but Organized

Be flexible with your plans but stay on top of things.

If you can, work your schedule so that you can leave a few days before the holiday. This way you may be able to avoid the busiest travel days. If you’re driving, plan your trip so that you will avoid the worst of the traffic.

If you’re driving to your destination, have your car inspected. You don’t want to have car problems while traveling. Also, apply for a driver’s permit if you need to drive in another country.

As you prepare for the trip, periodically double-check everything: dates, times, arrivals, departures, etc.

Save Yourself Time

Save time where you can. This includes packing as lightly as possible while taking everything you will need. This uses less luggage.

Book what you can in advance, such as the flight, airport parking, and rental car. If you know the restaurants where you plan to eat, go ahead and make reservations. If you know ahead of time events you want to attend, see if you can buy tickets online.

Mail the presents before you go unless you’re driving to your destination. This way you won’t have to worry about losing your luggage or passing through security, assuming you have your packages wrapped. If that’s not an option, put small gifts in your carry-on bags.

Make Alternate Plans, Just in Case

You never know. Sometimes life gets in the way of the best-made plans. Maybe you’ll need to cancel a flight and drive to your destination. Maybe your transportation doesn’t show up, or the hotel makes a mistake with your reservations. Be prepared for the unexpected with a plan B, just in case. Whatever happens, go with the flow and enjoy yourself. It’s the holidays.

By: Katherine Robinson, a writer for Edmunds

There’s a new way to experience the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, thanks to The Society Hotel Bingen. Offering a refined, off-the-beaten-trail experience, the multifaceted campus – which occupies 2.6 acres – features a variety of lodging options for different kinds of travelers, plus a spa, café, underground sanctuary, and indoor and outdoor community gathering spaces. It welcomed its first guests over Memorial Day weekend, and reservations can be made by visiting thesocietyhotel.com/bingen.

“The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is one of the country’s natural gems, and we created The Society Hotel Bingen to be both a basecamp for exploring the region, plus a relaxing escape for those who want to rest, relax and recharge without leaving the property,” said Jessie Burke, one of the owners of The Society Hotel. The Bingen property is the second location for The Society Hotel.

Like they did with the original Society Hotel in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood, the team restored, renovated and revitalized a historic property, melding modern comfort with historical preservation. 

Anchoring the renovated retreat is the 80-year-old Bingen Schoolhouse, which was originally constructed 1908, and was rebuilt in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps after a fire in 1933. Melding modern comfort with historical preservation, the schoolhouse hotel was designed to retain most of its original feel, with a library in the reception area, lockers in the hallway, hotel rooms reflecting school subjects, and the refurbished gym open to guest use.  


The Society Hotel Bingen bridges the gap between hotel and hostel by offering both cozy private standard rooms and bunk room accommodations in the main schoolhouse building, along with a cabin ring with 20 units.

For guests seeking the full hotel experience while still capturing that sense of community found in old-world lodging houses, the 10 private standard rooms make ideal accommodations.

Rooms feature a queen and king bed option and include a refurbished school and vanity, and a shared bath one might expect to find in a European boarding house. (Rates: $65-$133)

Also located in the schoolhouse, the two 24-bed bunk rooms with custom, built-in triple bunks are a great option for travelers on a budget, or groups. Each bunk includes a privacy curtain, luxury twin-size mattress, power outlet, storage cubby and reading light. (Rates: $25-$52)

An interior at The Society Bingen.

Surrounding the spa in the center of the property is the cabin ring. Each attached cabin is a miniature home for travelers, families, and professionals who want a more traditional room with more space, more views and the privacy of their own bath. Cabins include complimentary spa access, kitchenette, indoor lounge area, and outdoor seating area with table and hammock. The one- and two-bedroom cabin options include one king bed, two queens or ADA-accessible queen plus bunk beds. (Rates: $180-$316)

The three accommodation options are perfect for the variety of travelers who are drawn to the Gorge for its incredible diversity of activities in a stunning setting – from hiking, cycling, and whitewater rafting and other watersports, to wine, beer and cider tasting, to exploring the famous Hood River County Fruit Loop and nearby Mount Hood and Mount Adams.


Warm and welcoming community spaces are also a signature of The Society Hotel, and the new property features numerous gathering places for groups. In the schoolhouse, The Library Café & Bar provides a bright and airy space with ample seating and serves regional coffees, teas and pastries and light fare such as salads, sandwiches and bowls, as well as cocktails, beer and wine. The hallowed, restored School Gymnasium & Gameroom serves as a multipurpose room for everything from shooting hoops to corporate meetings.

In the center of the property, the Spa & Bathhouse features a saltwater soaking pool, sauna, hot tub and cold plunge, as well as massage rooms and a Spa Café. Guests staying in the cabin ring have full access to the spa, while guests staying in the schoolhouse and bunk rooms can access it for a day fee. Passes for non-guests are $20 for 2 hours; passes for standard or bunk room guests are $10 per day.)

Literally tucked in the corner of the property, The Sanctuary is a unique subterranean building that can be reserved for retreats or other groups of travelers for yoga, team-building activities, family gatherings, etc. It’s flooded with natural light through a roof cupola and south-facing glass doors from the courtyard entry.

The property is located close to the Bingen-White Salmon Amtrak Station at Highway 14 and Walnut Street. Service from Portland is $14 and takes about 90 minutes.

For accommodation pricing and further details, visit thesocietyhotel.com/bingen/.

The Society Bingen
The hotel complex in Bingen.

About The Society Hotel

The Society Hotel is a collection of experience-focused boutique hotels built within unique reclaimed buildings. The design-focused minimalist aesthetic, authentic staff and one-of-a-kind amenities have made the hotels a celebrated destination for travelers from all over the world.  The hotels offer social spaces that encourage worldly and adventurous travelers to convene, connect and collaborate. The original Society Hotel opened in fall 2015 in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown, and the second Society Hotel opened in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in Bingen, Wash., in May 2019. For more information, visit www.thesocietyhotel.com.

With world-class fruit blossom displays and wildflower hikes, Hood River always welcomes spring with open arms. Here are the top three ways for visitors to fully immerse themselves in the splendor:

1. Explore the Hood River County Fruit Loop, the epicenter of Hood River’s blossom bonanza. Just driving along this 35-mile self-guided route, past acres upon acres of cherry and apple blossoms, is a feast for the eyes. Starting in early April, the cherry, apple and pear trees in the Hood River Valley welcome spring’s return by releasing vibrant pink and white flowers. They start in the lower elevations and, like a domino effect, move up the valley creating a patchwork of color.

The Fruit Loop experience is enhanced exponentially by stopping at one or more of the many orchards for cider, jam, fresh-baked goods and other farm-made goodies, or visiting the cideries, where you can sample hard ciders made with local fruit. During Blossom Time, which takes place throughout April, various Fruit Loop stops hold special events, from family-friendly farm events and craft shows to wine tastings and culinary specials. The centerpiece for Blossom Time is the Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest (April 20, 2019), which brings together 29 local and regional cideries and more than 50 hard ciders on tap for one spectacular, cider-infused afternoon. (See below for more information on this year’s festival.)
Photo credit: Bear Boot Productions

Hood River
Photo credit: Bear Boot Productions

2. Hike among the wildflowers. The Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area is known for its amazing wildflower displays. The Mosier Plateau Trail, located just five miles east of Hood River in the town of Mosier, offers more than 30 different flower species. This 3.5-mile loop follows Mosier Creek through Pocket Park and ends on Mosier Plateau, which is owned by Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust. More wildflower hike ideas are here.

Hood River
Enjoying spring weather. Photo credit: Peter Marbach.

3. Pair blossom viewing with wine tasting. Hood River’s numerous wineries are the perfect place to relax and take in the blossomy views during the spring. Stave & Stone’s new tasting room, tucked high up in the Hood River Valley, is one such perfect place to do so.
Photo credit: MountNbarreL

Hood River
Enjoying a Spring day. Photo credit: MountNbarreL

Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest

On April 20, 2019, Hood River will again be the epicenter for the region’s hard cider scene, thanks to the sixth annual Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest. The 2019 festival – which appropriately takes place at a fruit-packing house in the heart of Hood River Valley, surrounded by fruit orchards in bloom – features 29 local and regional cideries, including five that are new to the festival. The 2019 cidery lineup is at hoodriver.org/cider-fest/.

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. To add to the festivities, there’s live music all day, plus local food carts.

Families and those with ‘fur babies’ should take note: New for 2019 is an expanded interactive kids’ zone, hosted by Our Children’s Place Academy, with games, crafts and cider-centered projects, plus a new “dog parking” service, thanks to Kind Animal Services. The latter is by reservation only; space is limited, and there is an hourly fee. For reservations, email [email protected]. (Note that dogs are not allowed within the event area.)

For online tickets, go to hoodriver.org/cider-fest/.

Abbey Road Farm Open House September 29th & 30th in Willamette Valley Wine Country

Weekend Festivities Include Music, Artisan Fair, Food Trucks, Wine Tastings, and Cornhole Tournament

September 4, 2018 – Carlton, OR – Abbey Road Farm, newly-revitalized in the heart of Oregon wine country, will hold its first open house “Silobration” at the end of September. Named for the refurbished grain silos that house the bed-and-breakfast lodging, the Silobration is intended to re-introduce the community to the farm, thank supportive vendors and friends, and celebrate the beginning of the grape harvest. Entry to the weekend-long event is free and open to all ages, taking place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, September 29th and Sunday, September 30th.

Local restaurateurs Sandi and Daniel Wilkens, owners of Quaintrelle in Portland and Hanko’s Sports Bar & Grill in Lake Oswego, purchased the property in October 2017 and immediately began improvements to the 82-acre farm to turn it into an all-encompassing agritourism destination. Today, Abbey Road Farm boasts one of the most unique lodging opportunities in the area, offering five silo guest suites, and a three-bedroom guest ranch house. The property’s vegetable garden and chicken coop provide fresh ingredients for gourmet breakfasts. Sweeping lawns provide breathtaking views and a gathering space for up to 200 people. Abbey Road Farm’s permanent residents are available to greet guests: mini donkeys, chickens, mini goats, ducks, llamas and alpacas. The facility offers a variety of lawn games including horse shoes, cornhole, croquet and giant Jenga. With close proximity to some of Willamette Valley’s premier wineries, hiking and biking trails, horseback riding, Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey, and Agrivino Fine Dining Event Center, there is no shortage of activities, wining and dining.

The Silobration will include a mix of food, beverages and fun for all ages with 28 artisan vendors and four wine tasting stations featuring wines from Marshall Davis Wines, Suzor Wines, and Abbey Road Wines.


An amazing entrance.

Saturday, September 29
Artisan Fair, Food Trucks, Wine Tasting: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Cornhole Tournament: 11:00 a.m.    


Letters & Dust Chalkboard Lettering Class, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Alice’s Table Flower Arranging, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Ukalaliens Workshop, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.


The Old Yellers, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Kenneth West Music, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
The Big North Duo, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, September 30
Artisan Fair, Food Trucks, Wine Tasting: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Olivia Grace Paper Sign Painting Class, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Sprinkles of Joy Cookie Decorating, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.


Jeff Ward, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Wanderlodge, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Mood Swings, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

All food and beverage will be available for purchase.  To register and purchase classes, or enter the cornhole tournament, sign up at http://abbeyroadfarm.com/silo-brationnw.html.

About Abbey Road Farm

Located at 10501 NE Abbey Road in Carlton, OR, Abbey Road Farm is a destination in the heart of the Willamette Valley wine country offering lodging, gathering spaces, Agrivino restaurant and a working farm. To reserve a stay or for more information, please visit www.abbeyroadfarm.com or call (503) 852-6278.

We tried this recipe at a recent camping trip at Cold Creek in Yacolt. The result is a fun food activity that’s easy to prepare and when fully cooked, the rolls have a flavor of smoked orange. It’s delicious!

Two Cooking Methods

Cooking Method #1: On Pan Over Coals

  1. Cut four oranges in half, and scoop out fruit (eat for breakfast with your cinnamon rolls).
  2. Put one Pillsbury Orange Cinnamon Rolls in each of the orange halves (cinnamon side up).
  3. Put orange halves on old baking pan on grill over campfire. Cover loosely with foil.
  4. Bake until they rise and look done (keep checking on them).
  5. Cool a few minutes, then top with icing.

Cooking Method #2: Directly On Coals

  • Cut the tops off of four oranges (save tops), then hollow out the oranges.
  • Stick one cinnamon roll in each orange and put the cap back on.
  • Put the oranges in heavy duty foil and wrap up the bundle fashioning a handle at the top.
  • Rest them in the coals of your campfire, and bake them for about 12 minutes.
  • Cool, then take the caps off and drizzle with icing.

We got this great recipe from our friends at https://www.organizedchaosonline.com

If you ever wanted to explore Italy’s famous places along with its special, lesser-known areas, you may want to consider the Insider’s Italy Tour. There a multiple tours from which to choose, including two this Fall — and all are organized by local professional artist, Elida Field, and guided by Catholic priest, Father Bruno Segatta, who ran Gonzaga University’s Study Abroad program for 25 years.

The September 20-27 tour includes stops in Venice, Cinque Terre, and Florence. In Venice, explore famous sites and experience some very special, lesser-known areas of the city that contain beautiful architecture, art, and an abundance of history. In Cinque Terre, you’ll get to hike and explore five towns via train or boat, and soak in the beaches and scenic coastline. As a bonus, Father Bruno and Elida will introduce you to Porto Venere. Florence includes a walk with Father Bruno as he highlights the city’s most amazing treasures and history. You’ll also experience a private tour of a leather shop, a visit to Fiesole, or a walk through the lesser-known parts of the city.

Tour Details

The cost of the September 20-27 tour is $2,795 per person (excluding airfare), which includes:

  • 8 days and 7 nights in Venice, Cinque Terra, and Florence
  • Accommodations (double occupancy)
  • Two meals per day
  • Transportation between cities
  • Walking tours and museum entrance fees
  • Painting and Sharpie sketching instruction and materials

To register, go to www.elidaart.com/tours


Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The second tour, which can be added to the first tour, or taken separately, runs from September 27-October 5, and includes stops in Florence, Rome, and the Italian countryside. In Florence, explore famous sights and unknown corners, enjoy majestic views of the city from Camp Michelangelo, climb the dome of the Duomo and sketch Michelangelo’s “David” at the Academy. Florence is Father Bruno’s old stomping grounds and he knows all the great stops, secret alleys, and best restaurants. In Cagli, you can escape the tourists, hike the countryside, and connect with locals.

Elida says they are often invited into someone’s home to enjoy their homemade wine, tour ancestral homes, or take a personal tour of historical areas. In Rome, you will be able to take in breathtaking views of the city, walk the ancient ruins and special sites, along with a semi-private tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel before it’s opened to the public.

Tour Details

The cost of the September 27-October 5 tour is $3,245 and includes:

  • 9 days and 8 nights in Florence, Cagli, and Rome
  • Accommodations (double occupancy)
  • Two meals per day
  • Transportation between cities
  • Walking tours and museum entrance fees
  • Semi-private tour of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel
  • Italian cooking class and artistic instruction

Each tour requires a $500 deposit, and final payments are due by July 15.

Elida said they started the tours in 2010, the year after she met Father Bruno, who is a fellow artist.

“We met while I was in California visiting my grandma,” said Elida. “I went to his art show, which was at a private home, and we just connected. I later invited him to my art, women and wine class in Washougal, and he suggested we take a tour of Italy. At first, I thought I had no business planning a trip to Italy, but here we are. We’ve gone on 20 tours already!”

She encourages people to learn more about these great experiences, and to consider traveling on one of the tours. She also offers tours during Spring Break.

”Each trip is different and we work hard to make sure each tour is filled with fun, leisure, and good company,” said Elida. “You’ll have a great time!”

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


Come join the fun!

Beacon Rock State Park, WA — We intended on climbing Beacon Rock, but due to a rock slide, that hike was closed, so we moved across the freeway to check out Mount Hamilton Trail — and what a treat!

This hike is full of the best things the Columbia River Gorge has to offer — easy access and parking, a well-maintained trail, stunning waterfalls, and some incredible views.

As part of Beacon Rock State Park, you can approach this hike a couple ways — by hiking straight up and back for a six-mile journey or by taking the fun 7.5 mile loop.

The first mile is a steady, easy uphill pace with a wide trail (enough for passersby from either direction to get by). You’ll hear the waterfalls then head to the Hardy Falls viewpoint. Keep going until you see another trail leading up to Rodney Falls and the breathtaking Pool of the Winds. The hike to this enchanting pool is easy for people of all ages, and just seeing Pool of the Winds is worth the short trip.

There are lots of protective rails to keep one from falling, but they don’t detract from nature’s beauty.


Half way to Pool of the Winds.

The trail gets steeper past the falls, and it gives you two options: Hamilton Trail — More Difficult, and Hardy Creek Trail — Difficult. The More Difficult option takes you up the Hamilton Mountain Trail, and switches back for 1,400 feet. You can take the Hardy Creek Trail for a 3.2 mile loop.

At the summit, you have walked three miles up. The highest part of the trail is 4 miles in with signs pointing toward the Hardy Creek Trail. You can enjoy a picnic lunch near Hardy Creek. To get back, continue on the Hardy Trail, and after 1.4 miles you’ll be back on the Hamilton Mountain Trail and make your descent.

Mount Hamilton Trail Directions

From Camas, drive 22 miles east on Highway 14 until you arrive at the Beacon Rock State Park entrance. Go past the ranger station, and take the road that angles up to the hill (to the left, on the north side). Look for the brown hiking sign. After .3 miles turns right into the Hamilton Mountain Trailhead parking area.

Mount Hamilton Trail Photos

Camas, WA – Varo Interior Design just announced that the Motor Yacht Chasseur has won best power yacht in the 40m to 65m category by the International Superyacht Society.

The M/Y Chasseur was built by local Vancouver, WA based Christensen Shipyards and designed by Tonya Lance of Varo Interior Design, a Camas company. Chasseur was also the recipient of a ‘Special Achievement’ award at the at the Showboats Design Awards earlier this year.

“When we started the process, I met with the owner to see his vision, and learned he loves the modern design,” said Lance. “I got his reaction to every sample, which included fabrics, carpets, wood, and stone. I brought as many materials as I could for him to view, and then started to build pallets for each room. We selected every piece of wood and stone, and every door is custom.”

Lance said most communications with the owner were by email, but that major presentations were made at Christensen Shipyards, which is located right on the Columbia River. The project took 36 months to complete.

The yacht’s interior really is the pinnacle of refined luxury. Each detail was mindfully designed to pleasure the most selective connoisseur. Milk glazed figured Sycamore walls filled with an abundance of impressive windows graciously surround Chasseur’s light, modern, elegant interior. Her classic teak interior flooring is beautifully accented with holly inlays and adorned with plush silk area rugs. Each piece of furniture is customized to offer the highest level of comfort and performance.

Her handcrafted Santos Rosewood casegoods are embellished with elements of polished stainless steel and shagreen. Chassuer’s main stairwell is a sculptural work of art showcasing glass and woven leather walls with floating glass treads. Her six luxurious staterooms with en suite bathrooms comfortably accommodate 12 guests. Each stateroom is equipped with autonomous control of an extensive movie and music library, U.S., Caribbean and European satellite television, iPad interface, and the fastest internet speeds available. Every guest bathroom aboard the vessel is clad in exotic onyx stones sourced from the finest quarries around the world. The interior and exterior bar surfaces are composed of backlit crystal agate and mirrored glass. The outdoor living areas provide abundant opportunities for dining, entertaining and basking in the sun. The Sun Deck arrangement features a full height bar, large Jacuzzi tub and lavish lounge areas. The bridge deck will offer two alfresco dining arrangements as well as a chic open air lounge area. The main aft deck provides a lavish seating arrangement and a full height service bar area. All exterior decks will be fully equipped with ample room designated for a helipad and toys.

“The yacht has a natural progression from the outside to the inside,” said Lance. “There’s no tinting on the windows, which keeps it in harmony with nature.”

The yacht is owned by a U.S. resident, but will be docked in the Mediterranean, and is currently en route to France.

M/Y Chasseur is 160 feet long, has a range of 4,000+ nautical miles, and has a maximum speed of 16 knots.  It is powered by two CAT 3512C series engines with a C-rating 1650 HP at 1800 RPM maximum continuous rating.


Chasseur Sky Lounge.

About Varo Interior Design

Varo Interior Design was started in 2007 in Vancouver, WA by Lance. Varo Interior Design’s mission is to gracefully design, plan and manage optimal environments through inspired collaboration and interactive process. Varo Interior Design takes a client-driven approach to every project.

“We are guided by integrity to create designs that will last and be loved,” said Lance. “We accomplish this by carefully detailing interiors in ways that encourage the highest levels of flexibility, durability, performance and appreciation. Our designs capture the spirit and vitality of the surrounding context, focusing on the integration of the project goals with the heritage of the built and natural environment.”

She said from client to client the context may vary, but they always produce designs inspired by the surroundings and reflect the uniqueness of each individual situation. Their inherent nature is to be creative and artistic problem solvers, and believe that only through a collaborative process can excellent design be achieved. To that end they are open and inclusive, welcoming inspiration from all. They also like to challenge the status quo.

About Tonya Lance

With over 17 years of professional experience, Lance is eager to help clients achieve optimal comfort and visual harmony. Tonya is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with a wide range of clientele. She is noted for achieving high echelons of design within any budget. Tonya continually strives to develop strong working relationships to foster open communication and overall clarity. She is continually developing and in search of innovative design solutions. Her formal education includes a Bachelors of Art in Interior Architecture for Marylhurst University as well as a Certificate in Architectural Project Management from Portland State University.

To learn more, visit www.varodesigns.com


John, Oliver, and Tonya Lance, of Camas. Photo by Jennifer Barnes.

About Christensen Shipyards

Christensen Shipyards was founded in 1983 in Vancouver, Washington by Dave Christensen, and builds state of the art yachts of 120’ and more for discerning clients who recognize Christensen’s global reputation. Christensen Shipyards has been a staple in the yachting community and the Pacific Northwest for over 30 years. The shipyard encompasses over 300,000 sq. ft. of climate controlled manufacturing space and employs over 100 craftspeople. State of the Art facilities and modern manufacturing techniques enable Christensen to adhere to high manufacturing standards and build yachts of unsurpassed quality and beauty.

To learn more, visit www.christensenyachts.com

Yacht Image Gallery

All photos by Jeff Brown.

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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.

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