Looking for live music? We’ve got it. Local electronic improv quarter Smudgepot — featuring Abe Stevens, Chris Reed, Joe Silliman and Eric Skutch — performs in the ballroom of the Hood River Hotel starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 3. Admission is free. Beverages will be available. Party on, Garth. Abe, BTW, is a partner in one of our favorite local beer stops, the Volcanic Bottle Shoppe. Check it out. Relaxed vibe, rotating taps, lots of fresh bottled beer selections.
Ask someone how they like to travel, and the answers will range as far and wide as the population you ask.
With a group of like-minded souls on an air-conditioned bus.
Restaurant to restaurant.
Where the cathedrals are.
With Nora Roberts and an umbrella drink.
You could add to the list (please do, through our comment link below this post). But OUR POINT is, if you’re one of those people who likes to come home enriched — smarter, more skilled, more confident and deeply connected to a place and its people — you like traveling to learn.
Funny, that’s what the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce and its members (that would be us) are offering you in the new Travel to Learn program. Beginning March 23 and running through April 22, all sorts of talented Hood River (and environs) residents will help you learn … what you’d like to know.
Acupressure? Check. Cooking with spring’s bounty? Yep. Wine tasting 101? Sign me up.
There’s lots more, something for everyone. Check out the class lineup. Then select one or two. And give us a call at the Hood River Hotel (you ARE going to need a place to stay, aren’t you?)
Other questions? Call the Chamber at 541-386-2000.
We all need a little help now and then. Now, thanks to the members of the Columbia Gorge Wine Growers Association, two local groups that help others are getting a little help of their own — all you have to do is PAR-tay! Like it’s 1999, or like it’s Saturday, March 24.
The Gorge Wine Celebration with Heart of Hospice Foundation also incudes a benefit for Helping Hands Against Violence. Get wine tasting, sit-down dinner, and dance music — all for $75 per person. If that isn’t enough, you get a commemorative wine glass.
Do you ever think about ditching the city life, for something a bit more … like Hood River? Smaller? More intimate? More amazing, in unexpected ways?
Do it. This is why.
On a weekday morning, sitting at your desk at the Hood River Hotel (for example), you hear your boss say, “Want a free cup of coffee?”
Even though you’re already jacked up on jolt from the free coffee that your employer provides, you’re a bit of a bargain hog, so you say, “Sure.”
“Well, get across the street, because Brian is training people at Hood River Bagel and they’re going to throw away the lattes if somebody doesn’t drink them.”
So, you wander across the street, coffee cup in hand (you want it “to go”). Inside, you meet Tim, a buddy of Brian Graves, the owner of Pacific Rim Coffee Roasters. As it happens, Pacific Rim supplies the Hood River Hotel, source of your first jolt of the day, as well as Doppio Coffee + Lounge, another source of lovely cups.
Tim looks familiar. Yes, he was the customer on Saturday night, with his brother, at the restaurant you own and work at in your “spare” time. But he tells you he is really a barista at Doppio, and today is helping the bagel shop’s owner, Autumn Woods, and her staff learn how to make killer lattes.
Tim takes the crew through a demo, and hands the results to you, and you wander back across the street to your desk, thinking, “I love this town.”
In 10 minutes, you have connected with two friends, who know two other friends, all together representing four different businesses, and, in the process, scored a free cup of very fine coffee.
Yes! Just another daily reminder of why we live here. Until you do, come on out and visit us.
For example, the epicenter of the Hood River arts scene on Wednesday, Feb. 29, will host noted National Geographic photographer Erik Boomer, who also happens to be the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2012.
Boomer will speak and show slides about his 1,485-mile circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island in Canada with fellow adventurer Jon Turk.
For those not inclined to do-it-themselves, just imagine:
- The world’s 10th largest island
- Lots of dangerous ice (compared, say, to the stuff in a cocktail glass).
- Days spent dragging a 220-pound, 13.5-foot kayak across the ice.
- 800 miles of dragging later, the ice begins to break up — and you have to jump (like they did) over cracks and between unstable ice floes.
- Until you can begin to paddle through slivers of open water.
After hearing about all that, you’ll probably need a restroom break. Phew. Hard work.
You can experience all this, warm and indoors, for a mere $10. A reception at 7 p.m. leads up to the show at 7:30 p.m.
As the Hood River Chamber of Commerce winds up its two-month Winter Getaway promotion, you still have a chance to win.
If you entered previously, you’re already in the running for this week’s prize – two nights at the Gorge B&B, and tastings for two at the Full Sail Brew Pub and Springhouse Cellar.
Interested? Just go to the Chamber web site to sign up. FYI, prize packages need not be taken in the winter.
We know what you like, and you like what we know.
• Breakfast included with booking (Hood River Hotel has it)
• Guest loyalty points (nope, but we’ll remember your name)
• Restaurant (Hood River Hotel has it)
• Shuttle service to local attractions or airport (Hood River Hotel can arrange it)
TripAdvisor surveyed more than 1,000 travelers. Of them, 54% said they canceled a hotel reservation after finding better amenities at a competing property.
Things that didn’t matter that much to travelers?
• Turndown service (we don’t offer it; we figure you’re smart enough to pull back your own covers)
• Pets allowed (we offer it, but only in three ground-level rooms)
• Spa (we have one, but we don’t offer fracials and pedicures; neighboring businesses can take care of that for you)
• Tours, excursions or activities (we work with local tour operators; we’ll also help you create your own tour)
• Room service (nope; we’ve got an antique elevator that takes you to the lobby, which is 50 feet from the dining room).
If one of our guests has a hankering for a great glass of wine, they could almost fall out the front door of the Hood River Hotel and hit a tasting room.
One of our favorites is that of Springhouse Cellar. It’s the first winery in Oregon to promote use of refillable bottles by its regular, local customers (it may be the first to do this anywhere, but we haven’t checked). A one-liter refillable sells for the same price as one of its traditional 750 ml wine bottles. The first purchase includes the $5 cost of the bottle.
It’s no wonder the refillables have been a huge success: More wine, less money, no waste.
Tucked two blocks from the front door of the Hood River Hotel, at the far east end of the parking lot that also serves the Mt. Hood Railroad, the tasting room fronts a large meeting space. Anchoring a lower level are the winery and an outdoor patio area surrounded by concrete walls. As lore has it, the walls were once the foundation of the Hood River Distillers.
It’s a great space for group events, sitting outside, sipping wine under the summer sky, sheltered from the prevailing westerly breezes.
And what wine. Winemaker Carey Kienitz crafts something for every palate. These days, the lineup includes a chardonnay and a sauvignon blanc on the white side, and five reds — a pinot noir, the Ruins Red blend (dominated by sangiovese), a syrah, cabernet sauvignon and petit sirah.
“We can also do custom blends for weddings and other events,” says Trina Riemersma, marketing manager.
Kienitz says his goal is to celebrate the diversity of the grapes grown in the Columbia Gorge. He says this approach has led him to release wines reflective of the different climate zones north and south, east and west along the big river.
Cool climate wines would include German (Alsatian) styles and Oregon’s favorite Burgundian, pinot noir; moderate climate varietals such as sauvignon blanc and syrah; and warm climate wines such as viognier and cabernet.
The facility supports a busy event schedule, ranging from presentations by local nonprofits to family get-togethers and parties. Looking to booking? Contact events manager Angel Green.
In case you have missed earlier notes, you’ve got two more weeks of drawings for the Hood River Winter Getaway prize drawings.
The Hood River County Chamber of Commerce and local guest service providers — hotels, restaurants, recreation businesses — are teaming up to offer one lucky winner, every week through the end of February, a getaway to our favorite place on the planet — Hood River and the heart of the Columbia River Gorge.
If you’ve entered your info previously, you’re good. No need to do it more than once. But if you haven’t, there’s still time. Get on board here.
What do the presidents of the United States have to do with great wine? Well, when you pull a few “presidents” from your pocket, you can buy yourself some — wine, that is, as in “tastes,” “glasses” or “bottles.”
So it makes perfect sense that the Columbia Gorge Wine Growers Association is rolling out the barrel for President’s Day Weekend Feb 18-20.
More than 30 Columbia Gorge wineries will host open house events. Visitors will find special releases, food and discounts on wine.
Wineries stretch from the west side of Hood River and Underwood Mountain across the Columbia River, east to the sere bluffs overlooking the historic community of Maryhill. It’s a great excusre to take a leisurely drive, enjoy the majestic views of Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood, take an early-season hike on the Syncline or at Catherine Creek, and explore the diverse quality wines of the Gorge’s mostly boutique wineries.
To get a full lineup of events, just visit the CGWA events page. The association also offers a map downloadable from any page on its website. The map contains a full listing of member wineries and tasting room hours, not to mention (duh-uh) locations, for those of you who like your directions “old-school.”
And if you happen for forget your “presidents”? Plastic works just fine.