Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Day in Hood River Country

Hood River, OR is one of our favorite places; it's got a charming downtown, it's pretty with lots of greenery, mountain and river views and beautiful old homes, and it's a fruit growing capital of the country. The Hood River County Fruit Loop is a good way to immerse yourself in this beautiful countryside. Stone fruits, berries, apples and pears are big crops here, though we've arrived too early for most of them. Still, the drive itself is gorgeous and many farm stands sell items year round such as honey and jams and antiques.

First though, we needed to stretch our legs. The Hood River Visitor Center tipped us off to a neat little hike nearby that overlooked the fruitful valley, they called it the Handy Little Hike.


The hike up to the ridge was through a tunnel of green.


The view from the ridge was amazing, fruit orchards as far as the eye could see
and Mt Hood peeking out from her blanket of clouds.



Back on the Fruit Loop we stopped at a couple of farm stands and even though we didn't purchase anything we enjoyed the bounty hanging from the trees.

Apples were originally the largest crop around, but a severe freeze in 1919 damaged trees
prompting a transition to hardier pears.

Cherries are on the brink and just beginning to be picked depending on the warmth of their zone.

Pears are the biggest crop around here; these have a ways to go.

Our favorite stop on the Loop was at Cascade Alpacas and Foothills Yarn and Fiber. Alpacas are incredibly cute and we arrived just hours after a new one was born! The yarn store was just as wonderful and I was able to buy my daughter some wool, she spins and dyes her own yarn, check out her Etsy shop,\: Stitched Bliss.

Just hours old, this baby alpaca stole our hearts!

Everyone was interested in the youngster, it's got a sibling on the other side of the fence.


I just love their faces and they look so funny having just been sheared!

Hans had some company while I explored the yarn store...

Making our way back to Hood River, it was time for some beer! Full Sail Brewing gives tours four times a day so after a pint in their brewpub we took their brief, free tour.

Full Sail Brewery

Thursday evening is farmers market day in Hood River, where we picked up some delicious Cascadia Creamery cheese. Then off to Double Mountain Brewery for beer and pizza. This came highly recommended to us by several RV friends and they were spot on. Double Mountain rivals our favorite breweries in Bend, absolutely worth the stop!

Every one of these beers were complex, full bodied, and delicious!

One of the best thin crust pizzas ever; crispy, not too much cheese, fresh toppings.

And this was just one day in Hood River...!

17 comments:

  1. Love the name of that hike - Handy Little Hike, makes me laugh. Beautiful green, views and flowers. I'd like this one I know. What time of year do I need to get there in order to eat that delicious looking fruit fresh off the tree and have one of those HUGE pizzas with fresh toppings and not too much cheese. That's just what I prefer. Boy that looks yummy. I have an alpaca shawl and it is the warmest thing ever. Loved seeing the pictures of baby and Mama. Thanks!

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    1. Well the cherries are barely getting started, driving around we saw some of the plums were getting close, and of course the apples and pears are much later in the summer. July, August, Sept are probably prime time...and I bet the crowds will be too!

      That pizza was truly one of the best thin crust I've ever had!

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  2. That Alpaca baby is adorable!
    We frequented Hood River when we volunteered for 3 months at Bonneville Dam in '09 but don't remember that brewery. We may be going that way and if we do will definitely give it a try.

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    1. I think Double Mountain is newer than that. So worth a stop! We loved the Hop Lava and Clusterf*ck IPA's.

      If you've done the Deschutes Brewery Tour, the Full Sail tour is a waste of time. It's extremely brief and you can barely hear the guy even with a microphone.

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    2. Oh the names they give beers... one of Sharon's favorites here in the Salt Lake City Utah area is Polygamy Porter... hah!

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    3. Heyduke, I love the Polygamy Porter name, cracks me up every time I hear it!

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  3. The trail name reminded me of our LGBs here in the neighborhood (Little Gray Birds). The baby alpaca is precious and the older ones all look like aliens with their sheared coats :-). Another beautiful area in Oregon and with all the fruit and good breweries it is certainly someplace we want to visit!

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    1. I love it when a place gets creative with their names! But then, a place this beautiful doesn't even need to get creative to get my attention!

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  4. Hmmmm we need to get back to Bend... maybe on the way to San Diego for the winter. Good looking pizza by the way....

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    1. Maybe we'll see you in San Diego...we'll be there from 11/24 - 2/2.

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  5. That is one yummy pizza which I think we also had when we got there. Since we did not do this hike Im seeing beautiful sceneries we have missed since we did a driving tour on this one.

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    1. Things to do next time you're in the area...! ;-)

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  6. What a pretty hike! And that baby alpaca is absolutely adorable! It looks like a very fun visit in every way. We love Hood River, too, and are looking forward to going back. I think the fruit harvest varies from year to year -- we were there the third week in June last year, just in time for the end of the cherry harvest. We picked huge amounts of organic cherries for $1.50 a pound. (If you are interested in more info about the petroglyphs on the Columbia, here's the post: http://ravenandchickadee.com/2013/06/petroglyphs-biking-and-bluegrass/)

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    1. Thanks for the link...those petroglyphs are beautiful and unlike any I've seen before! The otter family sighting is awesome! I love the variety of things there are to do in this area!

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  7. This is such a wonderful area. I hope you are able to get some cherries before you leave. They have so many varieties. Yum!!

    The alpacas are so adorable, especially that one with the hat on the sofa:)

    What a beautiful pizza!! Yum!!

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  8. The newborn alpaca is so sweet...and I love the expression on mama's face. She is so proud! We experienced our first brewery in Moab a few weeks ago...I decided on Squeaky Bike! What silly names they have.

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  9. We absolutely loved the alpaca place! Glad you made it there. We'll have to try the Handy Little Hike next time we're in Hood River. Although, we enjoyed the Mosier Twin Tunnels Trail on this trip.

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