Archive for the 'Columbia River Gorge' Category
With an amazing Olympics from our neighbors in the north completed we were extremely excited and proud here in the Hood River Valley. Rooting for the amazing skills and talent that our athletes have is always a fun event. But also knowing that one of our own residents was the head coach leading them was thrilling. Here’s a little bit about Hood River resident and U.S. Head Ski Coach Jim Tracy from the U.S. Ski website:
Jim Tracy, former women’s head speed coach from 1997-2004, returned to lead the U.S. women’s alpine program following the 2008 season.
Tracy, who grew up in Mammoth ski racing, started skiing around the age of 10. Tracy made the move from California to Vail, CO, where he spent 24 years of his life. While in Vail, he raced Masters and won the national downhill title for the 25-35 age group.
Tracy coached for Ski Club Vail from 1976 to 1986 before joining the coaching staff at the U.S. Ski Team where he coached the men’s and women’s speed programs and the development and Europa Cup teams. Tracy has also coached through five Olympics and eight World Championships in his career.
Tracy lives in Hood River, OR with his wife Sue.
Way to go Jim! For more information on the exciting sport of skiing please visit US Ski team website and get involved!No comments
Oregon-Washington: Columbia Gorge Region
“The U.S.A.’s Rhineland,” not just for the wineries, but for “an incredible job of protecting the views and many towns with considerable charm.” Great potential for “agritourism and geotourism.” On the downside: major dams and highways.
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
“Remains a beautiful and highly significant area to visit. River tours are seemingly in decline, and economic stress has hit some towns—shops and some restaurants have closed. The two states have done an incredible job of managing and protecting the resources and views, and many towns have considerable charm and appeal.”
“Burgeoning wine industry is bringing a new kind of cultural and environmental awareness to the area that is certainly going to be a boon for tourism and for the area’s prospects. Major issue to be negotiated is viability of the salmon habitat.”
“This is a federally recognized scenic area. Benefits from some of the best land-preservation programs in the nation. The historic road that is the gateway to the region is one of the best-managed historic roads in the nation. Despite large numbers of visitors, the region still has pockets of authenticity, and the magnificent natural scenery is well protected.”
“The U.S.A.’s Rhineland. While major highways along the Columbia River detract from its attractiveness, the 1915-era scenic drive is memorable, and the windsurfing capital of Hood River shows how tourism can positively alter a depressed lumber town.”
We are glad that people are seeing how truly wonderful living here in the gorge can truly be!
It’s been far too long of a wait. We are excited to let you all know that the Columbia Gorge Hotel has Reopened! Its beautiful, majestic buildings are lit once again and we look forward to the joy of the Holiday lights it shines on our community with every holiday season.
For more about the reopening we have included an article from our friends at the Hood River News:
By RAELYNN RICARTE
News staff writer
September 2, 2009
The 65 employees at the Columbia Gorge Hotel have polished up their hospitality skills and are ready for Friday’s public reopening.
“We had a ‘soft’ opening last weekend that gave us a chance to make mistakes and test ourselves,” said John Taffin, general manager. “Everyone has been cross-trained and understands the style of this business.”
Two unexpected guests invited to sample the new menu on Monday were Lucy and Pat Drury of Kirkland, Wash.
The pair drove for hours to enjoy lunch at the Gorge hotel — only to discover that the facility was still closed. Taffin, after hearing of their plight, invited the Drurys to order a meal prepared under the supervision of Chef Matt Grimsley.
His resume includes service as a sous chef at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. The Drurys both chose the Pacific Coast Dungeness crab salad that was served with homemade bread and two choices of butter.
“It’s excellent; I like a light lunch and this is very light,” said Lucy in her review.
She and Pat, like the handful of other lunch guests, had been handed a yellow notepad instead of a check at the end of their meal.
They were asked by Taffin to write down any comments that they wanted to share about their dining experience.
“We want to know how we are doing to help us get ready for this weekend,” he said. “So far, people are telling us that they’ve had a really good time.”
Twenty-five percent of the workforce — returning employees — is already familiar with the routine at the hotel.
Back on the job after an eight-month layoff are four members of the Martinez family.
“It feels great for the hotel to be open again; everyone’s excited,” said Carlos Martinez, a server and banquet attendant.
He spent most of 2009 studying for his associate degree in science and is glad, once again, to be earning a paycheck.
Taffin said the hotel will be at 80 percent occupancy this weekend, a good economic indicator of times to come.
He said the décor has remained virtually unchanged but Grimsley has altered the menu.
For breakfast, guests can enjoy a light start, such as a huckleberry scone and fresh fruit, or heartier fare that includes a Meat Lover’s Omelet, and Spicy Sausage Skillet.
The morning meal is served from 6:30 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday. Lunch selections include homemade soups, a variety of salads and sandwiches and chef favorites like Cilantro Crusted Sushi Grade Ahi.
The mid-day meal is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 2 p.m. on weekends.
Dinner specialties include everything from Charred Sturgeon Fillet and Zinfandel and Juniper Scented Denver Leg of Venison to Dry Aged Painted Hill Filet Mignon.
Taffin said a limited menu is available in the lounge, which is open from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. or later to meet customer demand.
The hotel now has flower baskets and numerous café tables on an terrace to encourage patrons to sit outside and view the scenic landscape.
On Wednesday, Sept. 16, Hood River County residents are invited to enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast at the hotel.
The community event will take place from 7 to 9 a.m. and all interested parties are welcome. A second social opportunity has been planned by Taffin for Friday, Oct. 9, from 4 to 6 p.m. Beverage specials will be offered during the happy hour time period.
“We are looking forward to these opportunities to reach out to the community and get local people involved in the property,” said Daina Galster, director of sales management for North Pacific Management, which is now running the business.
The Columbia Gorge Hotel has been closed since Jan. 30, when operations shut down abruptly. One hundred and thirty employees lost their jobs after Boyd and Halla Graves, the previous owners, encountered financial problems that led to the foreclosure of the property.
ShoreBank Pacific’s headquarters in Portland acquired the property for $4 million in a July 20 foreclosure auction. The financial institution then turned operation of the Westcliff Drive facility over to North Pacific.
That company, also based in Portland, has owned and managed prime hospitality and commercial real estate for more than 20 years.
ShoreBank plans to keep the hotel largely unchanged while a new buyer is being sought.No comments
Exciting news from our friends at the Hood River News.
By RAELYNN RICARTE
News staff writer
The cobwebs are being swept away and the Columbia Gorge Hotel is receiving a “top to bottom” cleaning in preparation for its early September re-opening.
One hundred and thirty employees lost their jobs when operations were suspended on Jan. 30. The previous owners, Boyd and Halla Graves, had encountered financial problems that led to the foreclosure of the property.
Former workers — and other community members looking for a job — will now have a chance to be hired by ShoreBank Pacific, the new owners.
“The closure of the Columbia Gorge Hotel was a big hit to the local economy, especially the employees who were most impacted,” said Bill Fashing, county economic development coordinator.
“We are all hopeful the pending re-opening of the hotel will be long-term and will result in a major reinvestment in the facility.”
The bank acquired the property for $4 million in a July 20 foreclosure auction. At that time, Adam Monshi, senior vice president of ShoreBank’s operations in Portland, said the hotel would reopen while a buyer was sought.
The bank has since turned operation of the Westcliff Drive facility over to North Pacific Management. The company, also based in Portland, has owned and managed prime hospitality and commercial real estate for more than 20 years.
“The hotel is a great asset to the community and we are just thrilled to have found a great management company that can get it up and running again,” said Erin Fitzgerald, director of marketing for ShoreBank.
North Pacific will be holding a job fair at the hotel in about two weeks, according to Daina Galster, director of sales management. She said that event will be well-advertised once the date is decided upon.
All inquiries into current employment with North Pacific, or reservations for future dining and lodging at the hotel, can be directed to www.northp.com.
Galster said a full contingent of employees will probably not be needed for the initial re-opening of the 42-room hotel. She anticipates that workers will be added as business “ramps up” and the holiday season begins.
“We are really excited to be in Hood River and will be reaching out to the community as well as to visitors,” she said.
Mary Closson, director of the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce, is already working with North Pacific to help ensure a smooth transition. She said the hotel is not only a major employer in the region, but a popular tourism attraction for romantic getaways, weddings and events.
“We look forward to seeing that grand old building come back to life and be part of the community,” said Closson.
Called the “Waldorf of the West,” the hotel was built in 1921 by tycoon Simon Benson. The scenic setting of the structure that was built on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River has attracted several U.S. presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge.
You can Read this article here at The Hood River News.No comments
What county leads the nation in pear production? The answer is Hood River County.
A total of 11,000 acres puts this county at the top of the list. Jackson County is ranked fifth, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
Onions? Malheur is tops.
Green peas? It’s Umatilla.
Grass seed? Linn County, followed by Marion in second place, Polk in third, and Yamhill, Benton, Lane, and Washington in fifth through eighth among U.S. counties.
Christmas trees? Clackamas County is tops nationally.
Also, Oregon produces almost all the hazelnuts grown in the U.S. Yamhill County is the national leader, followed by Marion, Washington, Clackamas, Lane, Polk, Linn,. Benton and Douglas in the top nine. The census reflects Oregon agriculture in 2007.
For a state not always recognized as an overall agricultural leader in the U.S., Oregon has a large number of counties that crack the nation’s top 10 list in a variety of categories as listed in the latest Census of Agriculture. In those categories, which include acreage and value in sales, Oregon counties make the top 10 list of all U.S. counties at least 75 times. This from a state that ranks 25th of all states in value of agricultural products sold.
“There are more than 23,000 counties nationwide, and for us to show up in the top 10 in so many categories is a great testimony to the industry we have in Oregon,” said Katy Coba, director of the ODA.
Some of the high rankings should come as no surprise as Oregon tends to corner the market on several specific commodities. As the nation’s leading producer of Christmas trees, Oregon is home to the top two producers and four of the top five. Marion County is second, and Polk, Benton and Lane are fourth, fifth and 10th nationwide.No comments
by Jed, eCommerce/CS
As I drove aimlessly down the strip on my first trip through Bingen Washington I noticed out of the side window a sign that spoke of pizza. Weeks later wanting something that tasted good, and being too lazy to actually go home and cook, we turned into the gravel parking of Solstice Wood fire Café. After examining the menu, which was varied and filled with an assortment of creative pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and pasta a decision was made. It seemed as though the build your own option was the best way to satisfy the taste buds. 15-20 minutes later after topping of a salad, we dug in to the wood fire baked pizza.
There is something to be said for this method of baking. The pizza came out with a great taste and texture that was immensely enjoyed. Also a great touch was the fact that they offered a whole grain crust that made my guilty conscious somehow feels better!
Overall this was a great pizza and fun environment. On a hot day there is nothing better than sitting out in the shade outdoor eating area that is a relaxing setting to have a cold drink and have a taste of what is quickly becoming a must stop in the gorge. Having been there multiple times now I can’t help but not recommend the Chicken pasta special. Its always a great choice! You can’t ask for a healthier, hip, local spot to stop and enjoy a taste of what the gorge has to offer.
Click here to check out their menu!No comments
by Jed, eCommerce/CS
When I first moved to the Hood River area my wife and I spent several weekend days driving around aimlessly trying to find somewhere to explore. We had talked with several people who had passionately tried to explain all the glories to be seen in the area that surrounds The Fruit Company. But after multiple hours of directions explained, and eventually forgotten, we gave up with our search.
Within a week a close friend of ours was listening to me express my disappointment and failure as a directional specialist (Guy), when he clued me into the best kept secret in the gorge. Curious Gorge.
At first I was not interested. Why would I want to read a book with a play on words of a children’s classic? After moving past that I began thumbing through the book. And to my amazement all the information that we had been searching for was laid out in front of me. Organized and including all the facts we needed to know. It included directions to many locations all over the Gorge area. All the hiking and biking trails leading to lakes and running along streams explained and rated as to the difficulty of the endeavor.
Still skeptical I found a hike that didn’t look too hard. We set out the next Saturday only to find the directions given accurate and easy to translate. After a great afternoon hike I was ready to go buy my own personal copy.
So if you’re in the area and looking for things to do that doesn’t involve windsurfing or all the in town amenities that Hood River, White Salmon, and Bingen have to offer I would recommend adding this book to your visit.
It’s a little more difficult to find but I did find it at Dog River Coffee in downtown Hood River. If you’re planning ahead of time you can order it online at REI.
Happy Explorations!No comments
Once again our fair hamlet has made a national magazine’s top list of the best places to live in the United States. The September issue of National Geographic Adventure touts Hood River as one of the best towns in the West to live and play. While I could go on longer about how wonderful our town is (especially as they failed to mention the plethora of fruit and fresh goods made here, but hey, that’s not the magazine’s focus. We understand.), I’ll let the magazine summarize their impression of our hometown.
5. Hood River, Oregon
A River Town’s Next Wave
The steady westerlies churning the mighty Columbia nearby have been drawing windsurfers and kiteboarders to Hood River for years. But lately an almost equal number of mountain bikers, powderhounds, and whitewater paddlers have started calling it home as well. Judging by the signs above all the new restaurants, the recent arrivals are partial to sushi joints, wine bars, and bistros with hard-to-pronounce European names. But this recreational boomtown hasn’t abandoned its roots—the focus here is still centered squarely on the action outside. Tucked between the looming basalt cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge, an hour east of Portland, Hood River is cementing its multisport identity with a new riverside park. Plans call for a long public green, a swimming beach, and, naturally, kiteboarding and windsurfing put-ins. Kayakers dip into the placid Klickitat River, where local outfitters hold beginner lessons on the gorge’s Washington side, or navigate the gauntlet of Class IIIs and IVs on the aspen-flanked White Salmon. Landlubbers get their fat-tire fix at Post Canyon, where freeriders have been adding jumps, bridges, and seesaws. And half an hour south of town, the lifts on Mount Hood’s Palmer Glacier stay open straight on through summer, giving snowboarders and skiers access to 1,524 feet of vertical corn nearly year-round.
Median home price: $369,300
We couldn’t agree more. Almost everyone here at The Fruit Company is involved in one outdoor sport or another, all of which take place almost literally in our backyards. Between all of us you have a fair number of people who go mountain biking, hiking, camping, mountain climbing, skiing, snowboarding, whitewater rafting and backpacking. We’re an active bunch!
One thing we wonder about though: what local bistros have hard-to-pronounce European names? We can’t think of a single one.No comments
One of my favorite times of the year is nearly here… the flowering trees growing at the lower elevation along the Columbia River have already begun blooming, and the trees up the valley where our facility is located are about to burst into bloom. We’re talking acres upon acres upon acres of white and pink blossoms from the valley’s pear, apple, cherry, and peach trees. Absolutely stunning. With the forecast for phenomenal weather this weekend (77 degrees and sunny!), those remaining buds will pop open at just the right time.
Naturally we celebrate this gorgeous time of year with the Hood River Valley Blossom Festival, taking place this year on April 19th and 20th. Thousands of people from around the world come to our charming hamlet to view the cheerful blooms set against the looming snow-capped peaks of the Cascade mountains and relish the opening weekend for many of our local fruit, food and craft stands located all along the Fruit Loop.
Here at The Fruit Company we’re cleaning up the store for its one-day-only debut, to happen on Saturday the 19th, before closing again until Memorial Weekend. We fully encourage anyone who is taking the weekend to visit the Hood River Valley to stop by that day, say hi, and snag up any of the delicious gourmet goodies we’ll have on hand. We look forward to seeing you!No comments