Thursday, June 11, 2015

Maryhill Winery, Museum, & Stonehenge #Washington {#travel} Columbia River Gorge

Camping or travel in the Pacific Northwest is so rewarding - from the great outdoors with fantastic hikes, climbs,  surfing and more to wine tasting, fine art and  - gasp - Stonhenge.  Yes,  you read that correctly…no joke.

You may remember that our first tenting trip of 2015 too us yet again to Memaloose Oregon State Park in the Columbia River Gorge; it usually is always a nice hike however my foot has been bugging me so since that was out of the question why not sightsee…

I have heard many things about a supposed replica of Stonehenge in the Columbia River Gorge so this was the perfect opportunity since we were pretty much already half way there {from Portland that is}.  We crossed the Columbia in The Dalles and from it there it was less than an hour to reach Maryhill Winery - our first stop. I honestly did not know what to expect.  Yes,  we have been wine tasting in Willamette Valley but never before in the Columbia River Gorge.  Oh my what have we missed…

Maryhill Winery has a very nicely appointed large tasting room, the most amazing place however is the patio.  There is a lovely, large patio with stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge, and Mount Hood.  You could bring along a picnic {saw many people with that thought} order a bottle of wine and enjoy a lovely afternoon on the patio.  Now let me also say,  that the wine was quite delicious and we may have added a few bottles to our collection :)

Next stop - Stonehenge; now let me preface by telling you that we {as in Ron & I pre-kids} have been to actual Stonehenge.  Stonehenge that is surrounded by green and seeing a fully intact replica in a dessert environment was - how can I say this correctly - a little surreal, but at the same time super cool.  Samuel Hill built the replica of Stonehenge as a memorial for those fallen in World War I.

Our last stop was the Maryhill Museum of Art - let me admit that I did not have high expectation but was I wrong; we were blown away.  Starting out with the amazing collection of pieces and drawings by Auguste Rodin to the amazing collection of American Indian Artifacts to the Théâtre de la Mode; oh and did I mention the girls favorite which which is collection of royal memorabilia from Queen Marie of Romania.

We stopped at the museum cafe for lunch and it was delicious; not only were they able to cater to our kids but the food was yummy.  Ron and I shared a salad with local smoked salmon….

Good to know if you go
- Maryhill is about 90 miles or about 2 hours drive from Portland
- the weather is quite a bit warmer
- there are several vineyards along the route so be sure to have a dedicated driver
- pack a picnic and stop at Maryhill Winery
- have fun

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Camping in the Columbia River Gorge at Memaloose {#Travel #Oregon #GoCamping #Food Family #Fun}

How can it be that it is already June 10th - another few posts are still locked up in my head and there has been zero output on this blog lately.  Yes, shame of me…time keeps just on rolling by…so now no more fretting from me…

Summer is here meaning the tent camping season is now fully open {for us} -  we kicked off the season with a two night stay at Memaloose Oregon State Park; actually the same campground we kicked the season off for a few years now.  Memaloose State Park is in the Columbia River Gorge just past Mosier and few miles west of The Dalles; this is the place - at least we think so - where the lush green changes over to a more desert feel.  The mighty Columbia is just below the campground and Rowena Crest rises high above;  Memaloose is located where the gorge is super narrow.  The train line is below the campground separating the river from the park; I-84 runs right above campground and Rowena Crest towers above.  Yes,  it is loud - there is the highway, trains all times of day and night, and - since this is the Columbia River Gorge - one the premier wind/kite surfing places around the world super, duper windy.  WE - for some odd reason - love to kick off the season here.  It is always a lot warmer, and drier than Portland plus there is a lot to do.

We love hiking up Rowena Crest, or the Tom McCall Preserve but since I hurt my foot {hello Plantar Faciatis} a hike was not in the cards.  Let's just say that MiaRose was slightly excited about that fact.  Instead of the hike we headed to the Washington side in the gorge, tasted some wine,  went to an awesome museum and visited Stonehenge.  More about that tomorrow, or soon thereafter...
Roasted Marshmallows and s'mores by the campfire

Other things to do include biking, wind/kite surfing, hiking, more wine tasting, visit the the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, taste fantastic beers at Full Sail and/or Double Mountain in Hood River…

Oh yes and finally figured out how to improve our camping fare; parboil.  I obviously did not invent the idea but how on earth did it take me so long to think of it?  We finally had great food - perfectly roasted corn on the cobb {parboiled at home before packing} plus potatoes, bacon, and eggs for breakfast - I parboiled the potatoes and they came out fantastic….

Good to know before you camp at Memaloose

  • It is loud - there is no way of sugar coating it; trains run throughout the night, and so does the traffic on the highway
  • It is windy and the wind can be really gusty; so if you are tenting be prepared to anchor it down
  • It is dry and hot
  • and yes,  despite it all we love it , but it is not for everyone - so if you are looking for a quaint spot to camp this is not it…
  • Great Junior Ranger program in the summer


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