Cliff-Top Lodge with Panoramic Views of Columbia River Gorge
It was love at first sight for Lucy Cranmer when she saw a magazine photo of children playing in lush apple orchards with Mount Hood towering in the backdrop. So, in 1954, she and her husband, Clarence, packed up their family and moved to Hood River, Oregon, where they built the original eight-room Vagabond Lodge on the cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge. Nearly 60 years later, the lodge is still owned and operated by the Cranmer family, but it's now grown into a 42-room inn situated on five wooded acres adorned with native flora, natural rock formations, and towering ponderosa pines. Beyond the park-like grounds, Vagabond Lodge's chief attraction is its panoramic view of the Gorge; you can see it from the balcony of a large view room. These spacious rooms are decorated in rustic Pacific Northwest fashion with exposed ceiling beams and gas-burning fireplaces (in some rooms). The adjacent White Buffalo Wine Bar & Bistro has regional microbrews on tap. Every Thursday night, the eatery offers live music and free wine tastings of local varietals from wineries in the area.
Hood River, Oregon: Historical Riverside Town Where Columbia River Meets Cascade Range
Hood River is essentially the epicenter of outdoor recreation at the Columbia River Gorge; it’s located right on the waterfront. In addition to being the Windsurfing Capital of the World, Hood River offers world-class skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing at nearby Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort, which provides discounted lift tickets to guests of Vagabond Lodge. Downtown, shops and restaurants occupy historical buildings that date back to the late 19th century. You can catch theater and dance performances at the Columbia Center for the Arts, as well as exhibitions of work by local visual artists in its gallery space. There’s also a cluster of wineries downtown. The award-winning Cathedral Ridge Winery and Springhouse Cellar host tastings and talks by winemakers extolling the area’s unique grape-growing qualities and its herds of undomesticated sommeliers. If you’re looking for a beer instead, the Full Sail Brewing Company headquarters offers free, 30-minute tours of its earth-friendly craft brewery as well as $1 microbrew tasters and fresh, seasonal, Pacific Northwest–inspired pub fare.
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