06 September 2009

PNW Farm Tour: Lavender & the Hood River region of Oregon

On our last 'walk' way back here we traveled to the Columbia River Gorge---an area renowned for its incredible beauty. In this post we'll continue that 'walk'--this time in the Hood River area, located on the river between Portland and The Dalles.
Since I am SO into lavender this summer (having visited 3 farms thus far) we'll start there--at a lavender farm that is.

Now to do this walk well you'll need to use your imagination a little. I want you to imagine yourself in this field with me. We're surrounded by several kinds of fragrant lavender; all set within sight of two beautiful snow capped mountains under a warm summer sun.
The flower stalks are swaying in the breeze, on this nice day, and you aren't rushed for time. You don't need to run and get groceries, gather dirty laundry or wash the dishes piled in the sink. No phone is ringing, no TV is on and you have plenty of time to stop and gather lavender bouquets to bring home and dry for later use
(and if it is culinary lavender you can even use it for cooking or making lavender sugar).
You can take a moment (or maybe more then a moment) to relax in the picturesque gazebo and savor the sweet atmosphere of this idyllic setting
or sit in the Adirondack chairs and bask in the sunshine.
It truly is a place where the views are beautiful and the setting peaceful.
As I've already said, you can see two mountains from the lavender fields. The first as you look towards the field's end is Mt Hood, located not too far from Hood River, and this one, located to the north, is Mt Adams. You can see it, peeking above the green trees, as you walk towards the gift shop/farmer store. Mt Adams is located in Washington right across the river.
Isn't it beautiful? I SO love snow capped mountains, don't you?
After you've gathered armfuls of fragrant bouquets, taken your fill of beautiful photos and made memories of this incredible place---there's still two more to make here!

The first is in the farm store!

Since I LOVE farm stores we just have to stop and shop there for a bit. Besides it's great when you can actually talk to the owners of the stores where you visit--hate to say it but today's supermarkets, although well stocked with products from A to Z, are just too impersonal for me. I use them but not with the delight I feel when shopping at a farm store :)
Well I found what I came for--besides the views and lavender that is. Lavender flavored honey and lavender-raspberry jam for winter toast, and maybe an aebleskiver or two! And as long as I'm here, I have to pick up a few of the trial sized lavender toiletries--nice for guests and me!
But there is just one more thing I HAVE to do before we can leave---Yep, I just have to peer inside the Lavender Loo! After all, not everyone can visit a Loo that is this pretty...

and lavender.
Time to leave now as there are many more places to explore in this area. Since we're a bit short of time, we won't get to drive the Fruit Loop or visit the numerous farms there, but maybe-hopefully when you're in the area again we can do that!
This area has a large agricultural presence and in some ways reminds me of the farm areas of north-central Washington and British Columbia that are located along the Columbia River there. I think this area gets more rainfall though. Another thing to keep in mind for any future visits is that, depending on the season, there seems to be many festivals and celebrations here--events that honor the fruit blossoms, lavender, hops, heirloom apples, pears and more!
But now it's time for us to move on to our next stop. All that talk about fruit and strolling through the lavender fields has made me very, very hungry and there are some nice places to eat here, some with great views of their own!
Nope, we are not eating at a pear orchard--although the restaurant we're eating at is known for its yummy pear dumplings! It also has great Caesar salads too (and Aimee has loved her Caesar salads since she was much, much younger then she is now). We will be eating at the Riverside Grill where we can get both AND a good view of the river!
While we are there enjoying our food we might get to see a windsurfer; after all the Gorge is THE spot to windsurf! But don't expect this grandmother of 5 to engage in that very popular pursuit; NO way will I EVER go there with you--no matter how much I like you, BUT I will be most glad to show you my support by staying right here while you do your thing. OK?
And I will even try to get a picture of you doing your thing--in between bites of pear dumpling that is! Yum, munch, munch, yum!

After a relaxing lunch we can do a bit more sightseeing if you'd like. We can drive the road again that took us to the Lavender farm. Wow! Look at that view of Mt Hood; one just never gets tired of seeing that mountain!

I wonder what my pioneer forefathers and mothers thought as they viewed her for the first time when they came through here in the 1850's. What a change from the drier areas of the eastern part of Gorge they had just traveled through. Both have their own beauty though, as does all God has made.

And here is part of the Hood River Valley.

Love it here; always have.
Wish we had more time. If we did we could run up to Panoramic Point, located not too far from here where there is a gorgeous view of the valley and more! And travel the rightfully famous (and often photographed) Hood River Fruit Loop drive mentioned above.
But we'll just have to do that at another time, won't we?
Until later...
Blessings, Aimee

Photos: 1-4: Lavender Valley; 5,7, 8: Locations near Lavender Valley; 6: Riverside Grill deck

Links of Possible Interest to the Hood River Visitor:
Note: Let me make a little disclaimer note here. Though the businesses (farms, shops, eating establishments, etc) I feature here on my blog have all kindly given me permission to do so, they may or may not agree with the writings and opinions found on this blog. I didn't ask them so I don't know. Also, I have not been paid to feature them here or are, in any way associated with these businesses, but because I TRULY think they're wonderful places to visit and felt, from my own time there, that others might enjoy doing the same, I am featuring them here.

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