Sunday, September 4, 2016

Hood River Getaway and Airbnb

The views are stunning from so many locations. It is never tiring. Mt. Hood.

I'm so thankful that we live in the beautiful Pacific NW. I feel like we live in one of the most beautiful areas of the U.S. Now, I also realize that there are beautiful spots in every state and I would love to be able to visit them. One "dream" I've had is to go on a leisurely road trip, visiting different areas, tasting their cuisine, enjoying their sites. Not sure that'll happen but I'm fascinated by those things. In the meantime, I'll thoroughly enjoy our little slice of heaven. 
We had to find a spot to take our signature shot!
It's so easy to get caught up in the everyday hum-drum of life and I'm the first to admit that we don't take advantage of opportunities to just put things aside and go for a relaxing walk through nature, or a cool neighborhood, or get in the car and go on a random drive. I know that I often think way too much about the "time" and "money" it might take, and is it "worth it" when we have such a short amount of time, it's easy just to stay home and do the same ole' same ole'. I want the mindset that "it's always worth because if not now, then when?" 
This last year and a half we have take shorter mini-trips rather than the one longer trip that we have normally done in the past. We've yet to get back to our favorite spot, Sunriver, Oregon. They have typically been trips to the beach since the Oregon Coast is a short drive from where we live (anywhere from an hour to 2 1/2 hours), not too bad when you're only going for a couple nights. 
Recently, my hubby, youngest daughter and I traveled to Hood River, Oregon for a 4 night stay. I shared awhile back about a day trip my daughter and I took there, and we decided it would be great for a mini-trip. It's still weird not having our oldest along (as well as her hubby since she got married last December). Their work schedules and school just don't always allow for that extra time off. 

I always like to be prepared, especially when we don't have a lot of time. I want to have a general idea of where we might want to go while there, where we might eat, what we might do. It's obviously still spontaneous, but at least we have an idea. It was a great trip and I think we will totally do it again. 

One thing I love about the area we live is it is filled with so many natural attractions and living and sourcing locally and sustainably is huge. I love that. You don't have to drive far for hiking trails, mountain lakes, waterfalls, or cool and hip downtown shopping and eateries, not to mention Hood River is one of the top destinations in the US for Kite Boarding and Wind Surfing, oh, and let's not forget it's abundance of fruit...it really is a great location. 

We used Airbnb for the first time ever. We had a great experience with it. We have found that you need to plan ahead when visiting popular areas, especially if you have a budget. We had a hard time finding something in Hood River, so we went across the river and rented a large studio in Husum, Wa. The family was so sweet and our apartment was roomy and perfect for the three of us. I plan to look into Airbnb for a trip we are planning to NYC next year. 
It was a relaxing trip. We spent time just chilling and watching the kite boarders and wind surfers, which is absolutely fascinating. My hubby and daughter rented a wave runner for a few hours and had a blast. I sat on the shore and read. One thing the Columbia River Gorge and Hood River are popular for is the Hood River Fruit Loop. The loop consists of 31 stops and each are marked and maps are available at most locations in the area. While it would probably take an entire day to visit all of them, we chose just a few to stop at. One of my favorites is Packer Orchard and Bakery. Everything they sell is made in their own onsite bakery and canned on their farm. I came home with some Raspberry Jalapeno Jam and we purchased a few boxes of peaches. They also sell ice cream, milkshakes and a variety of baked goods. Not to mention shelves of jams, preserves, and so much more. One of the other stops and a new favorite is The Old Trunk. A quaint antique and soda shoppe. Here I browsed the shelves and my hubby and daughter enjoyed fresh made peach soda, and blueberry and huckleberry ice cream, all made with their own fruit. So good! During our stay we enjoyed quite a bit of ice cream because it was so hot. One of our faves is Mikes Ice Cream. This place was packed each time we went and just celebrated 30 years in business. Another place we frequented several times was The Farm Stand in The Gorge, which was an awesome Organic market and cafe. We stopped there a few times for fresh fruit and one day for lunch. I actually think we stopped there every day we were there. For coffee, our one stop was Doppio Coffee. Hood River has several great coffee shops but we only went once and this was where we wanted to stop. Since it was hot we sat and enjoyed our drinks, ate a snack, and just chilled for about an hour in the coolness of the cafe.
 The Farm Stand Cafe. Awesome food and Komboucha

Doppio Coffee...chocolate croissant and an iced coffee
The Old Trunk! Loved these seats at the counter.
We took one day and did a bit of hiking. There are so many places in the gorge to hike from easy strolls to grueling all day hikes. We chose a somewhat easy hike called Falls Creek Falls (well, okay, easy according to the book Curious Gorge, but I thought I was going to die!). The view at the end was gorgeous and totally worth it and the trek down was easy peasy. Thankfully my hubby and daughter let me stop when I needed too. The second spot we hit was Panther Creek Falls. A quick trek off the road but gorgeous as well. We stopped at a few viewpoints along the way and also stopped to watch the boarders and surfers before heading home to shower and go to dinner. 
 Beautiful trails meandering through old growth forest and along the creek.
 Falls Creek Falls

Panther Creek Falls
Despite the weather being in the upper 90's, our car's AC being out and the studio we stayed in not having AC (they did have fans and their was a lot of shade from trees), we had a great time. I completely recommend this area for anyone wanting to experience some wonderful outdoor activity, shopping and great food. We also took in a movie because it was so hot. We went to this awesome theater and pizza place called, Skylight Theater and Andrews Pizza. After the movie we purchased 3 slices of pizza to take home and eat later. We were so tired, we decided to chill, watch the Olympics and eat our pizza (which was really good). 

 Another favorite stop was Draper Girls Farm. Antiques, fruit and beautiful flower gardens. 


With Joy Unquenchable,


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