Tag Archives: Columbia Gorge

Heaven In Hood River?

by Kimberly A. Cook                               (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Last month I took off on a day adventure with my family to celebrate my birthday. One of those decade birthdays and I’m not telling which one. Now this trip came about because the two special places I wanted to go for lunch only served dinner. Drat it all. After trying other ideas, I asked myself what I really wanted to do; road trip to Hood River was the answer.

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Packer Orchard and Bakery pre-made pie fillings. Seriously, the easy button for pie bakers. 


Born and raised in Oregon, sometimes it’s easy to take our amazing state for granted. A quick trip up Interstate 84 and I feel miles from Portland. It’s a short trip unless it’s winter, then it can be a skating rink for semi trucks. Which is why Troutdale has a big truck stop for the gazillion truck drivers who need to sleepover when the Gorge highway closes to all rigs.

This summer day was perfect with fabulous sun, a great view of the Columbia River, waterfalls on our right and excellent company. Ever the operations officer/sergeant, my mission op was in place; first stop Packer Orchards and Bakery, at 3900 Highway 35, on the road up to Mt. Hood.


North View from the Packard Orchard and Bakery parking lot. They have picnic tables you can use in the orchard. The view is Mt. Adams in Washington state.   


This is the mother ship for big cookies and the fabulous cookie bar. In addition, there are pie fillings you can buy, jams and jellies and even pickled asparagus and white honey to name just a few treats. Since I’d bought a bargain tiara before the trip I’d decided to wear it only in the car, but upon a few glances from other patrons I realized it was still on my head. Every woman should wear a tiara into a fruit stand at least once in her life.

After loading up on jams and cookies, piled back into the car and headed for? Foothills Yarn & Fiber, 4207 Sylvester Drive, my favorite alpaca yarn store that comes complete with alpacas. The herd had been shorn for the summer and they were quite happy to bound toward us to get the feed we purchased from the former quarter candy machine.

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Sunny day, shorn alpaca, daisies. Be still my heart.


After playing with the alpaca kids and the greeter dog, bounced into the store and bought more yarn I don’t need for my collection. It was my birthday so I could buy yarn; it’s the law.

Next it was off to the Sixth Street Bistro and Loft, 509 Cascade Avenue, for my favorite salad of all time and a grilled cheese sandwich where cheese goes to die. The 6th street pear and walnut salad with maple vinaigrette is the closest I’ve come licking a dish in public, every time.


Local pears, sugar coated walnuts, dried cranberries, gorgonzola cheese, maple vinaigrette, sourdough bread, three cheeses; my life is complete.


Went for the gusto and finished off the meal with the chocolate mousse, which I hope is served in heaven or I’m not going. Amazing dessert. Almost licked the glass too.

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Local chocolate mousse!


All in all a wonderful day with family, food and laughs; life doesn’t get much better when you throw in sun and alpacas too.

I’ll let you in on a little secret about the Hood River area; it’s the setting for both fiction series I’m writing. More about them in the months to come.

Also explains why more Hood River road trips are necessary to eat and soak up the ambiance with a chocolate mousse chaser. I LOVE research!

Got a favorite summer place? Hit the road and explore!


P.S. Working on combining my web site and blog, moving domains and a web page redesign. If everything disappears it’s not my fault.  Heading off to get a dump truck load of Dove Dark Chocolate to make this happen in the coming weeks. Pray for me, send chocolate or tech help. Preferably all three…….


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On September, Pears And Alpacas

by Kimberly A. Cook           (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

On this first day of September it’s fun to look forward to the fruits of Fall. That’s what I do to distract myself from the coming shorter days when the sun retreats to Bermuda and we get longer nights and shorter light. That rhymes!

Alpacas, sun and a pasture with a view. What more could you ask for?

Alpacas, sun and a pasture with a view. What more could you ask for?

Part of this ritual included escaping the storm we had over the weekend and venturing off to Hood River last Sunday. The promise of sun peeking out after the wind and rain squalls had us driving out-of-town up the Columbia River Gorge, one of my favorite spots in Oregon.

First was lunch at the Sixth Avenue Bistro for the famous Walnut and Pear Salad; which I have threatened to lick the plate to get all the maple vinaigrette. Then on to Packer Orchards and Bakery to the Cookie Bar and picking up some pears and jams and a cookie, of course.

Then the highlight, baby alpacas and yarn at Foothills Yarn & Fiber! Since getting to the alpacas is quite easy with a right turn right after the Cookie Bar, it’s the perfect expedition. The baby alpacas were four to six weeks old and had already been shorn of their coats.

We watched the babies lie in the sun, chase squirrels and chew grass.

Summertime and the liv'in is easy. I'm sure this little guy is singing that song in the sun.
Summertime and the liv’in is easy. I’m sure this little guy is singing that song in the sun.

A fabulous outing! A thorough recon of the yarn shop turned up two skeins of alpaca yarn I had to have, plus a backup pair of my favorite cold weather alpaca boot socks. I use them as slippers. Toasty toes this winter.

Pear a palooza! Are these ripe and ready or what?

Pear a palooza! Are these ripe and ready or what?

On the trek back down to Highway 35 I stopped to take some quick photos of the laden pear trees ready to drop their beautiful bounty.

September is pear month and harvest time in Hood River, so we might have to come back. There are some new hard ciders I need to try to support the local economy. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I’m telling you, this harvest season shopping is a great way to enjoy Fall! It might become my new fav season yet. Fresh pears anyone?

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