Heading east from Portland, one travels along the lush green treelined landscape of the Columbia Gorge. The beauty that engulfs is filled with waterfalls and Mount Hood looming in the background. This journey takes you to the Hood River, a city that abounds with days of yore. Nestled along the Columbia River in the heart of the Columbia Gorge, Hood River lies at the confluence of the Hood River and the Columbia River.
Although Hood River is an hour from Portland, you know you are off the beaten path when you set foot in the town. The atmosphere is completely different from downtown Portland, its suburbs, and the towns just south. You find yourself in a laid-back environment filled with old-town charm.
Beyond the town, you will find the Hood River Valley, known for its apple, pear, and cherry orchards. Today Hood River County is the leader in producing Anjou pears. It is also home to one of Oregon’s lesser-known and smaller AVAs. The area has about forty vineyards, which grow a variety of grapes, including Syrah, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Sangiovese.
Visiting Hood River
Hood River is a walking town, so getting into its groove, you need to stroll its streets, take a glimpse at its art galleries, enjoy its local dining, and pop into a tasting room on Oak St. Many of the area’s wineries require taking your car.
A Vineyard Dinner
Chef Mark Deresta of Riverside at the Hood River Inn created a dinner at Analemma Wines. This dining experience was a special treat, unique and off the beaten path. It was a memorable moment for my visit, testing the waters for future winery dinners.
I first discovered Analemma Wines during a zoom tasting showcasing wine regions of Oregon. Located in Mosier Hills, winery owner Kris Fade utilizes biodynamic practices to produce wines that reflect a sense of place. At that time, I was so impressed with the 2018 Analema Mosier Hills Grenache.
As we walked the vineyard at dusk and settled into a farm-to-table dinner paired with Analemma wines, I knew my journey to Hood River was special. My favorite course, the scallops, paired with Mencia, an intriguingly rustic styled wine rarely produced in the United States. For dessert, Chef Deresta tried his hand at a Coconut Panna Cotta with Peach Compote to accommodate my dietary restrictions. Yummy, but pairing with the lesser-known Petit Manseng from Mosier Hills completed the evening. This meal makes me want to return, explore Analemma Wines and dine at Riverside.
You get to know an area by visiting the local farmer’s market. What are the locals shopping for, and what types of purveyors attend these markets? Hood River is no different. It is the place to discover gorge-grown products.
Breakfast at Broder Ost Dinner at 3 Rivers Grill
When visiting Hood River, one must have breakfast at Broder Ost. With a Scandinavian flair, eggs will never taste better. From egg skillets to Danish Pancakes, start your day in style. I promise you will not leave hungry. All ingredients are sourced locally.
Dine at 3 Rivers Grill, a family-owned restaurant by Jim and Courtenay Dey serves American cuisine in a charming, homey atmosphere offering a relaxed dining experience with river views.
Hood River Art Scene
There are lots of art galleries and studios in Hood River. One, in particular, is the Columbia Center for the Arts. Not only does the gallery feature local artists, but it is also home to one of the local theaters for the performing arts.
This is an excerpt of an article I wrote for FWT Magazine.