Photos / Laura Schulte
Hundred-year-old storefronts now host a variety of
shops offering everything from toys to tableware and
from art to adventure gear.
ABOUT HOOD RIVER
The 15 or so blocks of Hood River's historic downtown
lie between the Columbia River and a steep rise to
the Mount Hood orchard region. Resembling the setting
for a Western, the charming historic district can
be explored in a few hours.
Add some overnight stays to give yourself time to
try windsurfing or hiking, or visit nearby wineries
Hood River is a year-round destination with snow boarding
and skiing in winter, fruit blossoms in spring, windsurfing
in summer and harvest time in fall.
Situated on Oregon's northern border, Hood River is
most easily reached by taking Highway 84 East from
Portland. Driving time is about 1 ½ hours. Take exit
No. 63 and follow signs to Hood River's City Center.
you are coming from Central Oregon, take Highway 26
to Highway 35, which intersects with Highway 84 at
Hood River and follow signs to City Center. Bring
quarters for metered parking.
ON THIS PAGE
When you've had enough shopping, here are places
to rest and enjoy a view
Hood River's history is rooted in its soil and
Annual events to consider
Schulte is a free-lance writer based in Portland.
Historic Hood River
from a bygone age house shops celebrating the good life of today
The Old West’s
Main Street has a new look in Hood River. From the town's early days as
a fruit growers’ shipping depot located an hour east of Portland on the
Columbia River, it has evolved into a destination for visitors seeking
the better things in life.
natural beauty, fertile orchards, impressive vineyards and perfect windsurfing
conditions, Hood River has much to offer.
years the town’s businesses have come to reflect the interests and tastes
of their new patrons. Once home to practical shops serving the needs of
the region's farmers, Hood River’s historic district now caters to customers
who want to indulge in everything from fine wines to exhilarating winds.
With adventure sport outfitters next to art galleries, the mix of unique
stores makes for a wonderful shopping experience.
the Historic District
your shopping excursion under the vintage sign for the
Hood River Hotel, located at the corner of Oak and 1st
Begin your day at 102 Oak St. from the grand lobby of the oldest hotel
in town, the Hood River Hotel. The building was completed in 1913 as an
annex to the original Hood River Hotel, which dated from 1881 and
stood just across First Street.
door to the Visitor's Information Center for free maps of town
and brochures for Hood River's many attractions, activities and accommodations.
The downtown core of Hood River runs along Oak and Cascade Streets from
1st to 6th Streets.
Information Center walk west to the corner of Second and Oak. From here
you can see signs for sporting goods stores in nearly all directions.
The stores support the region's thriving outdoor adventure industry
with everything you need for kayaking, hiking, swimming, windsurfing,
skiing, snowboarding, kiteboarding, fly-fishing, camping, biking, mountain
climbing and more.
to the south corner to visit Yum Gallery, one of the many venues
in town where talented local artists exhibit their work. Cross to the
northwest corner of Oak and Second to visit G. Williker's Toy Shoppe
at 202 Oak St., where specialty toys look at home in the vintage storefront.
2nd Wind Consignment a few doors down at 210 Oak St. for used sports
equipment. Low prices and a great selection (fueled by the town's avid
outdoorsmen) make trying a new sport more tempting.
Oak to check out Frolik Clothing for Girls and Guys for styles
that keep pace with the trendiest stores in the Northwest. For gifts and
odds and ends with a style all their own, try Antiques & Oddities,
Inc., at 215 Oak.
to 305 Oak to reach Twiggs where chic candles, elegant hand-made
jewelry and hip knickknacks adorn the display cases. For the cook with
taste (and hunger pangs) venture on to Annz Panz at 311 Oak St.
Browse a huge selection high-end cookware or just sample what such cookware
can produce at the on-site café.
In the next
block visit the artist's cooperative Made in the Gorge at 403 Oak
Street for pottery, jewelry, essential oils and more - all crafted locally.
Cross Oak St. again - being careful to mind the Route 30 traffic - and
head for Gorge Dog where you will find everything for the outdoorsman's
to October stop in for a cone at Mike's Ice Cream located in a
little cottage on the north side of Oak between Fifth and Sixth. A landmark
and local hangout, Mike's is well known for its ice cream give-a-way on
the last day of the season, usually sometime around Halloween.
on Fifth. Tucked in an old warehouse at 104 Fifth St. is Bart's Better
Boards Consignment Shop, where the owner specializes in matching the
right carefully inspected used board to the buyer.
downhill on Fifth to the next block, then turn left (west) to find Full
Sail Brewing at 506 Columbia St. Tour the state-of-the-art, employee
owned brewery then enjoy the river view as you sample craft beers from
the tasting room deck.
on a smaller scale, make your way east on Columbia, then turn right up
Fourth Street to find Hood River Hobbies. Store shelves hold hard-to-find
model trains, planes and automobiles as well as comics, kites and remote-contolled
of full-size trains will want to backtrack to Fourth and Cascade Streets
and walk east three blocks to arrive at the historic craftsman-style Hood
River Train Station, from which the Mount Hood Railroad excursion
train departs. The train offers its passengers excellent views of orchards,
forests and streams as it winds its way from Hood River up more than 1,700
feet to the tiny fruit-picking town of Parkdale at the base of Mount Hood.
To complete your shopping tour, walk up First Street to return to the
Hood River Hotel.
Take in a movie at the Skylight Theatre & Pub across the street
at 107 Oak Street inside Andrew's Pizza. Fairly recent releases, beer
and food during the show (no alcohol at matinees) and a see-through projection
booth make this theater a hit with locals and visitors alike.
Sculpted salmon swim upstream year round in the
fountain at Hood River's Overlook Memorial Park.
Walk up Second
Street and State Street to find the Overlook Memorial Park. Here
a beautiful fountain depicts salmon making their way upstream. Turn toward
the river for a great view of the gorge or climb the stairs for more impressive
views from the garden above the bluff. If the climb makes you thirsty, a
visit to Horse Feathers Brewpub for its strong brews and icredible
views may be in order.
Walk or drive down Second Street to the waterfront
to see windsurfers and kiteboarders enjoying the Columbia Gorge's famous
winds. Variations in air temperature on the east and west sides of the
Gorge cause the wind tunnel effect that is responsible for the thrilling
gusts sought out by adrenaline junkies throughout the year on the Columbia
River. If you dare to join in, lessons and rentals are available from
several outfitters located at the river's edge.
In 1854 the
first Euro-Americans, Nathaniel and Mary Coe, settled in what is now Hood
River to develop a mail route in the Oregon Territory. When Coe noticed
his apple seeds thriving, he decided to make his fortune through fruit
instead of mail.
With the arrival
of the railroad in 1882, Hood River experienced growth and prosperity as
fruit and timber could be shipped easily and cheaply out to buyers. Many
of the town's galleries, gift shops, eateries and recreation outfitters
occupy buildings that date from this era. Plaques commemorating the original
tenants, including the Johnsen Shoe Store, Otten Power & Electrics, Kelly
Bros. Hardware, Paris Fair Department Store and many others are mounted
on historic buildings.
years later in the 1980s Hood River began to see another period of growth
as adventure sports such as skiing and windsurfing caught on nationwide.
The town's proximity to year-round snow on Mount Hood, ideal wind conditions
on the Columbia River and beautiful wilderness throughout the Mount Hood
National Recreation Area has made Hood River a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts.
recent years, a wine industry has begun to make headway in Hood River
as some farmers have been replacing orchards with vineyards. The region
is already producing some very respectable wines which can be sampled
at many of the vineyards along the scenic "Fruit Loop" driving tour. Maps
are available at the Visitor Information Center.
Hood River Saturday Market - 5th and Cascade, from May through October
- First Friday Art Walk - Throughout the downtown historic area, March
- Hood River Valley Blossom Festival - Third weekend in April