I have always found it hard to embrace autumn. You won’t catch me posting about how excited I am to break out my scarves, boots and sweaters. I don’t particularly enjoy brisk mornings and sipping on hot drinks under a blanket with a good book. I have a love affair with summer so autumn has always been my rebound season, tiding me over until winter sports are available. But that changed when I visited Columbia Cliff Villas, Hood River.
Last weekend my best friend and I set out to soak up what would likely be the last beautiful sunny fall weekend of the year. The leaves were still on the trees and it was forecast to be around 62 degrees Saturday and Sunday. We chose Hood River to take full advantage of the fall colors, outdoor recreation possibilities and because of its proximity to Portland, Oregon.
We had the opportunity to stay at Columbia Cliff Villas, photograph Boardman Tree Farm, go wine tasting, fit in a local Columbia Gorge hike and discover a new favorite brewery. You could say it was a fully maximized weekend in Hood River and that ‘I turned a new leaf’ while growing an affinity for fall.
Columbia Cliff Villas – Hotel Review
The Columbia Cliff Villas are conveniently located in Hood River right off the I-84 freeway overlooking the Columbia River. They are a truly unique lodging experience in the gorge as they offer Euro-style options for almost any traveler, including one, two and three bedroom suites as well as queen and king rooms at very reasonable prices. They are the perfect jumping off point for exploring the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area with many of the rooms offering expansive views of the river, balconies and pet friendly options.
The villas were actually developed in collaboration with the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel to provide upscale, modern accommodations that would still capture the ambiance of its historic neighbor.
We stayed in a Euro-king suite complete with a fireplace, gourmet kitchen and dining table for two. The view from the bed overlooked a beautiful maple tree bursting with fall colors and the Columbia River.
Our favorite Columbia Cliff Villas experiences were:
1.) Having the opportunity to cook our own breakfast in our suite and then enjoy it on a stone greenspace overlooking the Columbia River. There was even an eagle in the tree in front of us. We loved having the option to cook for ourselves and also be able to enjoy our meal in such a scenic outdoor seating area.
2.) Exploring the garden paths and stone bridges between Columbia Cliff Villas and Columbia Gorge Hotel. The gardens are award winning and are exploding with red, orange and yellow fall colors. The villas sit 200 feet above the river and there is a creek spilling out over a 210 foot waterfall on the villa property. It is truly stunning.
For booking information and best rate match guarantee, contact the Columbia Cliff Villas directly at (866) 912-8366 or www.columbiacliffvillas.com Thank you for providing the perfect place to stay during our Hood River fall adventure weekend.
Hood River Wine Tasting with Pets
Beatrix joined us last weekend so we selected two wineries that welcomed dogs on their patios.
Mount Hood Winery: Here you will find the views are as good as the wine. On a clear day you can see both Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood.
Wy’East Vineyards: I really loved this vineyard because it has a friendly, local vibe. The patio overlooks a green pasture and they also grow pears and board horses as well as have two full bocce ball courts on property. Make sure to ask the owners about the story behind the vineyard name.
A Sunset at Boardman Tree Farm
The Boardman Tree Farm is located about 2.5 hours east of Portland and 1.5 hours east of Hood River. We drove out to catch the sunset and what we found was an autumn wonderland. Rows of poplar trees with bright yellow leaves provided amazing photo opportunities. We arrived at 4:30pm to capture the entire sunset through the trees. Sadly, it is believed the tree farm has sold to a dairy and many of the trees will be cut down. I recommend going soon before they are all gone.
Fall Hiking in the Columbia River Gorge
It was difficult finding a hike that was open after the Eagle Creek fire damage in August. However, using the REI mobile app The Hiking Project, we were able to locate a hike just east of Hood River on the Washington side. Coyote Wall provides both mountain biking and a hiking trail up to the top of a cliff with sweeping views of the Columbia River, and you can see Mount Hood on a clear day. The Coyote Wall hike is ranked moderate with 1,775 feet of elevation gain and is 7.8 miles roundtrip.
100 Percent Discovery: Favorite Brewery in Cascade Locks
My best friend and her husband discovered an incredible hidden gem located right on the Columbia River in Cascade Locks…and now I am going to share it with you…Thunder Island Brewing Company!
Thunder Island Brewing Company is an adventure-based small batch brewery, handcrafting beers with respect for all that the scenic Columbia River Gorge has to offer. Fittingly, the brewery patio is stocked with picnic tables, heaters and a ceramic fire pit that overlooks Thunder Island and the river. The food and beer were both delicious especially the nachos made with local Juanitas chips.
To uphold their commitment to protecting the gorge scenic area, patrons are encouraged to either bike, paddle or hike to the brewery and receive $1.00 off their tab. So clever!
The Columbia River Gorge was massively affected by the Eagle Creek fires and many of the local businesses rely on tourism for financial support. There are still plenty of things to do and see in the gorge. Check here for park closure updates and advice on hiking routes and together let’s keep the gorge alive.
This is a handsome life,