Our staff members love taking care of our guests — and people they don’t even know, in the latter case by taking part in the 2012 Color Run at Portland International Raceway.
The run — in which participants start out in white garb, and receive blasts of colorful chalk dust during their passage so they end up … colorful — raises funds for the benefit of the children in Latin American countries, through the group Child Aid.
Based in Oregon, Child Aid is the best-rated of five nonprofit organizations providing similar services. It earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. Of total expenses, 94.7% goes toward programs. And, it should be noted, participants in the Color Run pay for their own soap and water upon returning home.
As a destination within a destination, the Hood River Hotel and its team love travel. Yours. And ours. And others. So, reading a good travel yarn is the next best thing to packing our bags and heading out. One of our favorite travel sites is World Hum, which aggregates the best in travel writing from around the web. They recently produced this cool infographic, teasing their list of the 100 best travel books of all time. Yum-yum, World Hum.
We love to read, and we love to travel so we can read even more. Nothing like blasting through a novel in an afternoon by the pool.
But when we’re done with the book, what next? Haul it with us all the way to Rangoon? Or toss it? Such a waste.
Book exchange is the answer. Some of our best reads have come quite by accident, when we run out of our own literary stock and find ourselves perusing a very motley and eclectic mix of stuff that other readers have donated, or simply left behind when they moved down the road.
Many hotels and B&Bs curate these orphan reads on “exchange racks.” Leave a book. Take a book. Simple rules.
The Travelodge hotel group in the United Kingdom recently compiled a Top 10 list of books “left behind.” Can you say “Shades of Gray.” Other familiar titles dot the list.
Use our comment link to tell us about marvelous books that you never knew you wanted or would even like, but found yourself reading with gusto after you picked them up from exchange shelves in your travels.
Heads up, foodies. You want “heirloom,” right? Heirloom this, heirloom that.
Well, we’ve got heirloom — apples, that is. Comin’ atcha, Oct. 27-28, during the Hood River County Fruit Loop’s Heirloom Apple Celebration.
The Hood River Heirloom Apple Celebration celebrates classic varieties of apples — those also referred to of late as “heirloom.”
Although they make for delicious eating and baking, some “heirloom” apples may not store as well or as long as more familiar varieties, or they may be more difficult to grow, or they may bruise more easily.
Whatever other liabilities they may have from a commercial standpoint, taste is definitely not one. They are … um … YUM!
Varieties include Spitzenburg, Rome Beauty, Newtown Pippin, Winter Banana and Ortley.
In addition to fresh classic apples, many Fruit Loop farms are offering special activities throughout the weekend.
Kiyokawa Orchards will serve up more than 75 kinds of apples and 24 kinds of Asian and European pears during its 10th annual Heirloom Apple Tasting.
The weekend brings the Cider Days Celebration at Draper Girls Country Farm. Sip into a collection of cider blends, including cherry, pear, and grape.
Apple Valley Country Store, down next to the Hood River, will host its Heirloom Apple Butter Festival. Watch preparation of apple butter, or munch into some fried biscuits — with apple butter — or cherry-wood smoked barbecue ribs, pulled pork or chicken sandwiches.
There’s loads more goodies to peruse along the Loop. Admission and parking is free. Farms and attractions along the Fruit Loop are open from at least 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (wineries open at 11 a.m.).
For complete information, visit the Fruit Loop website. Printed copies are available at the Hood River County Visitors Center (Hood River exit 64 off Interstate 84), at various Hood River Valley area businesses, and at Fruit Loop locations.
For more info, call the Fruit Loop at 541-386-7697.
Dawn Sisson, one of the fine front desk clerks at the Hood River Hotel, was driving to work the other morning when she saw a library book lying in the road.
It had settled into a striped-off triangle where two lanes merge into a freeway on-ramp. She was moving too fast to stop and pick the book up.
Later, she happened to overhear one of our guests asking if anyone at the hotel had found a library book.
Pamela Nagashima and her husband, Hajime, had been down at Marina Park in Hood River, helping their visiting nephew with windsurfing lessons.
Loading up to return to the hotel, Nagashima set the book on top of her car, and forgot about it. Heading onto the freeway, the book — “The Reluctant Communist: My Desertion, Court-Martial and Forty-Year Imprisonment in North Korea” by Charles Robert Jenkins — slid off the roof of their car.
“Dawn was checking me out that morning, and heard me asking about the book, and she froze,” Nagashima says. “She said, ‘I swear I saw a book back by the freeway.’”
Nagashima went back, and found it where Sisson had seen it. It was pretty dinged up. Bent cover. Holes where gravel had punctured pages. Tire tracks.
“It looked like IT had been in North Korea for 40 years,” Nagashima says.
When she got back to Portland, she took it to the Multnomah County Library, and told the same story, somewhat chagrined. They charged her $10, roughly half its original value.
Nagashima was grateful, for several reasons. She doesn’t like to lose books. And she was able to finish this one: She had 15 pages left to read when she lost it.
So she sent Sisson a “thank you” card.
“That was indeed my lost library book lying in the highway,” Nagashima wrote. “I am so grateful to you for spotting it and mentioning it to me Tuesday morning. A little the worse for wear, but I brushed out the gravel and ironed the pages with a clothes iron, and it looks OK.”
Nagashima has no clue if the library will return the damaged volume to circulation. But if you happen to check the title out from the Multnomah County Library and wonder what the heck happened to it, now you know.
We love Hood River, or we wouldn’t live here. And we love helping visitors have a good time in Hood River, or we wouldn’t be in the hospitality business.
But here’s a little secret: Around about Labor Day, we’re beat. If you run across one of us sporting that Zombie Stare, don’t take it personally. It’s the exhaust fumes talking.
It’s about running 150% for three months, bouncing around a dining room, pulling sheets and mopping shower stalls, schlepping plates and platters and pans of food up and down hillsides in the heat for 200 wedding guests from New York and D.C. and Atlanta and yada yada.
Labor Day is NOT a holiday for us in the business of helping you take a break and relax before heading back to life, autumn leaves, school and chilly days.
For us, Labor Day is … well, it’s laborious. Things slow down just a bit in mid-August, but during that deep breath, we’re all like people at the bottom of the slope, looking up at the wall of snow heading their way. We know you’re coming. We know when you’re going to hit. And thennnnn … wham, it’s Labor Day.
People everywhere, walking and talking and gawking, shopping and hopping and bopping, sliding and gliding and flying across our big river (uh, that would be the Columbia).
Bikers are biking and biking and biking, going out and back all head-down and spandex up, rigorously masochistic, lean and lithe, hunched and hungry.
A hundred people, wet and bedraggled, cold and hungry show up in our dining room, craving breakfast, stat, just minutes after swimming across the Columbia River in the annual Roy Webster Cross-Channel Swim.
“Um, we’ll have your table ready — in about an hour.”
For the more sedentary and chill among our guests, all the wineries are pouring, all the eateries are feeding face, all the country properties with scenic views are thronged with brides and grooms and hungry hordes of inlaws and outlaws.
For one, two, three days at the tail end of our peak summer season, this insane frenetic buzz settles over our little zone, like a cloud of bees dropping in to the picnic.
And then it’s gone. People pile into their cars and RVs and aim their hoods toward home. The freeway fills. You can almost hear it happen, like a whooshing sound, the air going out of the balloon.
As if someone flicked a switch, a benign calm settles on the town. And, after a day of work, one of our number loads his board on his car and heads a bit east, to a favored windsurfing spot near Rowena.
The parking lot, jammed with cars two weeks earlier, holds four. Stragglers. One of the locals sits, watching the whitecaps. There’s a steady breeze. Our boy rigs his sail, heads out in swim shorts and a cut-off T-shirt. The air is warm. The water is … comfortable.
His board pops up onto a plane and heads toward Washington at a brisk clip. And back. And forth. In the zone, he revels in the moment, the lowering early-autumn light throwing shadows off the basalt outcroppings and scattered pines, illuminating the golden grasses and flicking diamond sparkles off the brisk blue water.
As the seasons slide one over the other, he is overcome with gratitude.
A visitor once himself, he counts himself now among the more fortunate few.
Home. Here. Lucky. So very very lucky.
Sad, reading the news after last weekend. Seven people drowned in the Pacific Northwest. Why?
It was hot. People wanted to cool off. Beyond that, there were as many stories as bodies.
People get careless.
People can’t swim.
People get tired and slip under the surface.
People slip blithely into calm water on an inflatable raft, and the next thing you know, they’re tumbling through rocks and whitewater.
All the reports involved people 15 years old and older. It’s hard to tell a teenager or young adult what to do. We’ve all been there — full of ourselves, cocky, sure about our place in the world.
“Nobody’s gonna tell me how to live to 23.”
Then, in a second, gone.
So, what’s our point? We at the Hood River Hotel live at the center of a water sports town. Windsurfing. Kiteboarding. SUPs and kayaks and rafts and swimmers and anglers.
Be careful? Duh.
Given the recent losses, we’d like to speak to parents about preparing your kids for time in and on the water. Help them become smarter, more cautious young adults.
And old adults.
If you’re a parent, take extra care to make sure your kids are safe. DO NOT take your eyes off the little buggers. It only takes a second to aspirate some water, and go under.
There’s much more to preparedness than this. You owe it to yourself and your babies to get smart.
Clean, clean, clean.
More than anything else, that’s what you want in a hotel room. New research from Diversey shows that hotel guests rank clean linens, no visible signs of previous guests, and a pleasant smell (no nasty odors) ranked highest in sleeping quarters.
Bathrooms? Did you really need to ask? Clean toilets, clean area around the toilets, clean … clean … clean.
Read the survey results. Then tell us what you value most in a hotel room — cleanliness, low price, comfy beds, etc. — by using our comment utility.