We have almost made it to the end of our adventure in the Pacific Northwest. Today, I want to share our “Oregon day” with you. Both of our sons had traveled the Historic Columbia River Highway and told us it was an amazingly beautiful drive with numerous waterfalls and places to hike. So that was our itinerary for our last Saturday.
(Do you see how many waterfalls are there??)
We left Seabrook, Washington under cloudy skies, and unfortunately, by the time we made it to the Columbia River, rain began to fall…and fall…and fall. 🙁 Regardless, it was an amazing area to visit.
Our first stop along the way was Vista House at Crown Point.
It was built in 1918 as a rest stop at the request of female travelers and as a memorial honoring Oregon pioneers. Over the years, with constant exposure to the elements, the building began to deteriorate, but in 2004 Vista House was restored. Inside we found local artwork, a gift shop, and even an espresso bar!
The view of the river from there was simply beautiful.
We drove on after taking in all those views, and our next stop was Latourell Falls.
One of many waterfalls we saw that day.
At some point we followed a trail (in the rain 🙁 ) through wildflowers. I think perhaps this was Shepperds Dell.
A bit further down the road was Wahkeena Falls.
Now remember, this was a Saturday, and this is a major tourist drive because of all the waterfalls, so there were many many people around. Don’t let the no-people-in-the-photos fool you. I just tried hard to find ways to get the pictures without other tourists in them. 🙂
But I am afraid I could not do that at Multnomah Falls Lodge, the next place on our route. It sees over 2.5 million visitors each year, and the falls are the #1 visited natural attraction in the state of Oregon. So it was quite crowded – even in the rain. The lodge is not actually a place to stay overnight, but there was a nice restaurant located inside.
You can see why it was so crowded. Multnomah Falls are the highest falls in Oregon and one of the highest in the mainland United States. (I’ve read 2nd or 4th, so I am not sure.) And that bridge! Can you imagine what went into constructing the Benson Footbridge across the lower falls back in 1914? Amazing.
It was raining pretty hard at this point, so we decided to not stop at any other falls and just drive on to the town of Hood River, Oregon – a town that both my husband and son kept telling me I would love. And just a bit of trivia for you – Hood River is the windsurfing capital of the United States. (You needed to know that, right? 🙂 )
Well… we arrived in Hood River at 5:05 p.m. And guess what. All the shops had closed at 5:00. Needless to say, I was disappointed. We did walk around the empty town and look in some shop windows, and yes, I would have loved it.
This was the one night of our trip that I had not made any plans for overnight accommodations. I was not exactly sure where we would be at that point – still touring the Columbia River Gorge, visiting Portland, or back in Seattle. So we decided to start making our way back in the direction of Portland. We crossed over the river at the Bridge of the Gods.
This is what it looks like on a sunny day.
And if you have read Wild or seen the R-rated movie, you will remember that this bridge is the last stop for Cheryl Strayed (played by Reese Witherspoon in the movie) on her Pacific Crest Trail adventure.
There is a great article about all the film locations from the movie here. It really showcased the natural wonders of Oregon.
Still not sure where we were going to spend the night, we stopped at Skamania Lodge, 45 minutes from Portland, to see if they had any available rooms.
They did, so my husband, our son, and I discussed what to do for the evening. Skamania Lodge would be gorgeous. It had a pool, a golf course, a spa, and an outdoor hot tub.
It had that wonderful view from so many of its rooms.
And it had a fine restaurant.
But the next day was Sunday….our last day of the trip – the day we had planned to have brunch at one of our son’s favorite restaurants in Seattle and finish touring that city. It was raining. We would have to get up early to drive back to Seattle, and we would not really get to take advantage of all the amenities at Skamania. So we made the decision to have dinner in Portland (at a restaurant that I cannot even remember!) and then drive on to Seattle for the night. Skamania will have to be on our list for our next trip.
Both of our sons love Salt and Straw ice cream in Portland, and we had planned to stop there after dinner. Well we finished dinner at 9:00 p.m. and drove down the street from the restaurant to Salt and Straw. I knew it stayed crowded most of the time, but would you believe that even at 9:00 at night the line was out the door, and about 25 people were waiting outside in the rain to get in?! (They must have taken the photo below when the store was closed because it is never this empty!)
Besides the fabulous taste of the ice cream itself, the big draw (I think) is all the creative flavors. Here is a look at just part of their menu:
They offer seasonal specials each month – like July is berry month, so they offer half a dozen new berry flavors just for the month. Last Sunday was National Ice Cream day, and they gave away tokens for a free scoop of ice cream.
We decided to forego the looooong wait at Salt and Straw and drive on back to Seattle. Again I was disappointed, but it was just too late to wait that long for ice cream. Salt and Straw will also have to be in our plans on our next trip.
Now take a look at what arrived at our house about a month after we returned home from our trip. 🙂
Inside was 5 containers of Salt and Straw ice-cream shipped all the way to Georgia from Portland, Oregon!
(And all were still frozen solid!)
Our sons had shipped them as a gift to me. After they thawed for a bit, my husband and I did some taste-testing (and out daughter got in on it too when she came home for a weekend.) All were delicious, but the Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons was the overall winner for both me and my husband. I could have eaten all of it in one sitting! Our daughter’s favorite was the Honey Lavender. What a great gift that was!
And that bring us to the end of the Oregon part of our adventure. I really feel like we did not get a true taste of the state, so I hope we will make another trip to the area soon. When we do, we can see more of the Columbia River Gorge (hopefully on a sunny day!), shop in Hood River, stay at Skamania Lodge for several days, and go to Salt and Straw for ice cream. I can’t wait!
There is just one post left in this adventure, and that one is coming up next with all our “tourist-y” things from our last day in Seattle. I hope to see you back here for that very soon.
Until next time….enjoy your weekend. 🙂