- Spring snow
The Hood River flows from the foot of Mount Hood down to the banks of the mighty Columbia River, and the drive up the valley is a scenic excursion that will leave you wide-eyed and slack-jawed for the journey.
For as winter’s grip gives way to riotous spring, the mountains’ surrounding countryside invites us to play.
Kerry Cobb works for Hood River County and she said, “It’s all about the blossoms right now – we have over 40,000 acres of flowering fruit trees so you want to be here to see it.”
Along the valley‘s famous 35 mile long “Fruit Loop” you can experience an endless wash of foamy white, pink-tinged blossoms from pear and apple orchards that rise and plunge toward distant horizons.
“The higher you get up the valley, the longer the blooming season lasts. Sometimes it’s a three week period,” added Cobb. “Even people who have lived here forever – they are stunned by how beautiful it is right now.”
Jack Kennedy is proud to be a life-long local whose family roots run four generations deep across 300 acres of orchards and farmlands – the centerpiece is the historic Gorge White House.
He said that his family grows it all, “Cherries, apricots, peaches, pears, apples; we try to get the whole fruit table out there and we want people to stop in and see it all too.”
He admitted that he has to pinch himself sometimes because it is all so beautiful: “Especially on a gorgeous day like this one – you wake up and it’s a joy to look out and see two beautiful mountains – Mt Hood and Mt Adams.”
Many roadside stands – like Rasmussen Farms - are shaking off winter’s long, lonesome run and have opened up for daily business. Manager, Julie Milling said that their farm offers flowers and vegetable plants. She enjoys the colorful landscape that surrounds the family farm.
“It certainly does make the day go by easier!” said Milling. “When you see Mt Hood or Mt Adams or Mt Defiance - plus all the pretty fruit blossoms make the day go by a lot faster.”
The Hood River Valley Fruit Loop is enjoyed by a slow and easy cruising pace – and it’s best to slow down on the winding roads and pull off the roadway to enjoy the stunning views.
This is how getaway days are meant to be enjoyed – perhaps with a stop that provides a delicious reward for your efforts at the Apple Valley Country Store where they whip up some of the richest, thickest huckleberry milkshakes around.
It’s a place that stays in touch with its local history too! The store reaches back more than a century when hardware, antiques and even fishing tackle ruled the scene.
These days it’s all about “pastries, pies plus jams and jellies,” according to owner Bob White: “Many of our preserves and pie fillings are wild fruit that people pick and bring to us too.”
For example, they offer wild blackberry and mountain huckleberry in varied form. Each offers a taste of the valley that you can take back to your home town.
“Mother Nature at its best,” added White “Just a real beautiful place to come and relax.”
I love to ramble across Oregon at this time of year and I hope you fall in love with the Hood River Valley for the simple peace of mind that it offers - plus the absolutely stunning view to Mount Hood – taken together, it’s a thrilling getaway experience.