Becker Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon the best.
As we flew into Portland we had an upclose look at Mt. Hood. Sure enough, topped with SNOW. Very cool to be flying by it. When we landed in Portland we made a beeline to Hood River along the Columbia River. The freeway was the prettiest highway ever. I'm not sure how my hubby got us to our B & B in one piece. I would have run us off the road gawking at the river, the mountains, the rocks, and waterfalls.
We lodged at the Inn at the Gorge. We had a two room suite with a kitchenette. It was spacious and comfy. And the innkeepers served enough breakfast that we did not need lunch.
Nora's Table - Simple interior with a focus on local fare. The best trout (from Idaho) we've ever tasted. The place is also passionate about pork in multiple forms. The rillettes with the farm fresh egg was very yummy. And we discovered that Columbia Gorge wines were delightful, including the Jacob Williams Merlot that was recommended to us.
Stonehedge Gardens - Just out of town, so we needed to drive. Recommeded by our innkeeper. The food was very good, but not exceptional. The setting was phenomenal. It had been a lovely sunny day and we ate outside in the garden patio. Frogs serenaded us as we admired the lush canopy of trees. Because it was a weeknight and the real tourist season had not started, we had the garden to ourselves. Duck, flaming bread pudding, and a Rogue Valley Anthony Dell wine were part of our meal. Definitely, a magical setting.
3 Rivers Grill - Once again we dined outside and had a nice view of the town and the mountains in the background. Mirabelle Brut Rose, albeit from California, was at a very nice price and paired well with shrimp and chicken with orange cream sauce and hazelnuts.
Gorge White House - Old restored house with spectacular views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. Features about 12 wines from both Oregon and Washington state for tasting (offerings change up on a regular basis) and many others for purchase.
Marchesi Vineyards - Tiny operation with the Italian winemaker pouring his offerings. Great Sangiovese.
Maryhill Winery - Located on the Washington state side. Large, well-run, impressive operation. Great views of the river and Mt. Hood. Newly built amphitheater for concerts. Wonderful Cabernet Franc.
Cascade Cliffs - Also on the Washington state side. Small, casual, rustic atmosphere. Make sure to try the Nebbiolo. A bit pricey, but delicious. The Goat Head Red was very tasty and a better price point.
Old Highway 30 between Hood River and Troutdale running west is a must drive. Be prepared to make lots of stops along the way for hiking and viewing waterfalls and panoramas of the Gorge. Multnomah Falls is a must-see and has options for viewing and hiking a steep but paved path all the way to the top. Vista House offers incredible 360 degree views of the area.
Timberline Lodge allowed us to park and get up close to Mt. Hood. Skiing and snowboarding were still in full swing. We were able to buy a footsie pass to ride the chair lift. Spectacular! SNOW! We then made our way down the mountain to Lost Lake with nice views of the mountain.