The Gorge Magazine - Spring 2016

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AN INSIDE LOOK The Open Studio Tour

GO EAST IN SPRING The Deschutes River Trail

PLANTING FOR BEES Landscaper Creates a Buzz

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Visit Historic Downtown

TROUTDALE the gateway to the gorge Take Exit 17 off I-84

Visit our many Specialty Shops, Art Galleries, Antique Shops, Fine Restaurants, and more!



Taste of Village


Chinese RestauRant & Lounge

now available online

{ Cantonese and Mandarin Cuisine }

Troutdale Vision Clinic

503.618.VINO (8466)

277 East Columbia River Hwy Appointments (503)-328-8455

Eye exams, diagnosis and treatment Eyewear styling to fit your lifestyle Most insurance accepted

(503) 492-3897 • 226 E. Historic Columbia River Hwy

oRDeRs to go: (503) 666-7768 302 e. historic Columbia River hwy sun-thur, 11-10pm • Fri & sat, 11-10:30pm

gifts HomE dECoR EspREsso


(503) 618-9394 319 E. Historic Columbia River Hwy

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We buy antiques Tuesday - Saturday 10 - 6 Sunday 11 - 4

(503) 328-6278

149 E. Historic Columbia River Hwy.

café • gifts • candy • souvenirs espresso • ice cream parlour

(503) 492-7912


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An Inside Look Gorge artists welcome visitors for the annual Open Studio Tour BY JANET COOK


52 MORE THAN JUST A HOBBY Pursuing creative outlets when the day job is done BY PEGGY DILLS KELTER 58 THIS IS BIG ART A walking tour in Hood River PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PETERSON

Michael Peterson 4


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Discover your adventure…experience ours! ANTIQUES & ODDITIES Antique furniture and architectural items from around the world. Open 7 days a week, 10 am to 5 pm Located on Hwy. 14 in downtown Bingen (509) 493-4242 • antiques

TRELLIS Fresh Flowers & Gifts We provide unique fresh cut flower arrangements delivered with a smile. We are known for our exceptional service and attention to detail that we put into each arrangement. Give us a call for expert floral guidance! (509) 493-4844 • 165 E Jewett Blvd • White Salmon



Find specialty groceries and meat, local produce, gifts and cards, local arts and crafts, local wine selection, hard ice cream. We are also a garden center and feed, grain, pet supply store. Visit Angel’s Bakery inside for fresh pastries, pies, breads, cake.

Delicious, locally roasted, fair trade, organic coffee, and fresh pastries. For lunch try a savory panini or wrap with a fresh organic green salad. We also serve local wine and NW beer. Dine inside or on our private patio. Ask about our catering services.

(509) 493-2636 • Find us on Facebook 806 West Steuben St • Bingen

(509) 281-3100 • 120 West Steuben St • Bingen



The Lyle Hotel Restaurant & Bar is a historic railroad hotel newly renovated with nightly stays & dinner serving local beers, wines and cider in the heart of wine country.

The Columbia River Gorge has a new winery! Tetrahedron Wines is making its debut! Experience our fine wines from small lot production and winemakers regularly pouring at the tasting room. Stop on by and see what we have to offer!

(509) 365-5953 • 100 Seventh St • Lyle

STAMP THE EARTH Specializing in decorative and artistic design, we are your local source for concrete, new or existing. We provide custom concrete solutions, tailored to your style. Visit our online gallery for inspiration. CCB: 197746 WA: STAMPEC88JCS (541)716-1094 •

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VISITOR INFORMATION CENTER: 1 Heritage Plaza, White Salmon, WA 98672 • (509) 493-3630 •

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Michael Peterson


Courtesy of Melissa Elliott

outside 66

GO EAST IN SPRING Step (or pedal) back in time in the Deschutes River Canyon BY ADAM LAPIERRE

arts + culture



BEETHOVEN IN THE GORGE The Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association thrives with music director Mark Steighner at the helm BY JANET COOK

wellness 72

MEET YOU AT THE BARRE Hood River studio brings barre fitness trend to the Gorge BY CATE HOTCHKISS


Adam Lapierre



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SINCE 1994




305 OAK STREET • HOOD RIVER (541) 386-6188

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Presented by Griffith Motors



hen I first saw The Thinker in the gardens of the Musée Rodin in Paris years ago, I didn’t know it was one of more than 25 Thinkers that exist in various locations around the world—some made by Auguste Rodin himself, the renowned French sculptor, and others created after his death. Still, this was the original bronze casting and, as one of Rodin’s signature pieces, it was impressive to stand near. And that’s what I did: stood there for a time, being with it, perceiving its import, experiencing all the feelings it invoked in me. I love art for its ability to do all that—to make you stand (or sit) there and experience it. That’s one reason I love springtime in the Gorge, too, because there’s a whole lot of art to take in. This year is the 10th anniversary of the Gorge Artists Open Studio Tour, which has become a springtime rite of passage in the Gorge. In April, 44 artists from around the Gorge open their studios for three days and invite visitors into their creative spaces. The caliber of this free event has steadily grown, and it attracts art lovers from the Gorge and beyond. We profile the tour and some of its artists beginning on page 38. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River. To celebrate, a special program series beginning in April brings featured artists to the center each month to discuss and perform in their genre—including award-winning author Brian Doyle, National Geographic photographer Randy Olson, and the Portland dance company BodyVox, among others.

Sat & Sun 10am-5pm

April 16-17 Over 100 vendors from all over the Northwest

Maryhill Museum opens for the season in March with a line-up of exhibits that makes the drive to the eastern Gorge well worth it. And by the way, the museum has its own Rodin Gallery, which houses 87 works by the French sculptor—including a plaster cast of The Thinker. And by all means check out the Hood River BIG ART Walking Tour. This impressive collection of public art—23 pieces and counting—was launched just two years ago, and it has become a beloved part of the landscape in Hood River. We highlight the tour and its beautiful, thought-provoking, sometimes whimsical art beginning on page 60. Along with all the arts-related stories in this issue, you’ll find a profile on Melissa Elliott, a White Salmon landscape designer on a mission to save the bees (page 20); a story about Analemma Wines in Mosier (page 32); and a piece on hiking and biking the Deschutes River Trail (page 66). We hope you enjoy our Arts Issue, and all the art on display this spring in the Gorge.


Janet Cook, Editor

AN INSIDE LOOK The Open Studio Tour

GO EAST IN SPRING PLANTING FOR BEES The Deschutes River Trail Landscaper with a Buzz

ABOUT THE COVER Hood River artist Mark Nilsson created the painting on our cover using acrylics. “The image is a bit of an artistic interpretation,” says Nilsson, noting that it’s a view from a field above Mosier looking west down the Gorge toward the Hood River bridge. Nilsson, who is celebrating 20 years of creating art in the Gorge this year, is one of 44 artists participating in the Gorge Artists Open Studio Tour in April. Photo by Michael Peterson

The Gorge Magazine is being produced by an environmentally conscientious group. Our publication is printed with text paper that is produced by a local mill located in West Linn, Oregon. West Linn paper mill and Journal Graphics, our publication printer, both follow FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) practices in the manufacturing and the printing of our product. This publication is also produced with soy based inks. When you have read this issue please pass it on to a friend or recycle it. Together we can make a difference in preserving and conserving our resources.



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Creative Director/Graphic Designer

MICKI CHAPMAN Advertising Director

JENNA HALLETT Account Executive


Davies Dunn, LLP is a full service law firm with the talent, resources and know-how needed to handle even the most complex legal issues. Ms. Davies is one of the Columbia Gorge’s most respected commercial and real estate attorneys. Her work for both private and public sector clients combines local expertise with a sensible, results-driven approach. She represents individuals and businesses in both Oregon and Washington.

Account Executive

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ruth Berkowitz, Don Campbell, Viki Eierdam, Cate Hotchkiss, Peggy Dills Kelter, Adam Lapierre, Kacie McMackin

430 Industrial Way, Hood River, OR 97031 541-386-2221 •



CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Paloma Ayala, Mariva England, Adam Lapierre, Kacie McMackin, Ben Mitchell, Michael Peterson



SOCIAL MEDIA instagram/thegorgemagazine pinterest/thegorgemagazine


TO ADVERTISE CONTACT Micki Chapman: (541) 380-0971 or RESERVE AD SPACE BY APRIL 15TH AD MATERIALS DUE APRIL 29TH PO Box 390 • 419 State Street Hood River, Oregon 97031

We appreciate your feedback. Please email comments to:

The Gorge Magazine is published by Eagle Magazines, Inc., an affiliate of Eagle Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronically or mechanically, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without the express written permission of Eagle Magazines, Inc. Articles and photographs appearing in The Gorge Magazine may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the publisher. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of The Gorge Magazine, Eagle Magazines, Inc., Eagle Newspapers, Inc., or its employees, staff or management. All RIGHTS RESERVED. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.


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OUR GORGE person of interest p. 12 business highlight p. 14 best of the gorge p. 16 home + garden p. 20 locavore p. 24 Steven Thompson and Kris Fade of Analemma Wines stroll through their vineyard near Mosier. p. 32

style + design p. 26 roadtrip p. 30 wine spotlight p. 32

Photo by Michael Peterson THE GORGE MAGAZINE : SPRING 2016

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Ben Bonham

Carving a life from his passions, this Gorge musician is much more than an entertainer STORY BY DON CAMPBELL • PHOTOS COURTESY OF BEN BONHAM


arly in a career that’s taken Ben Bonham around the world as a windsurfer, craftsman, builder, management consultant and instructor, and musician, he learned an invaluable lesson: The more we see and participate in the world like children, the better people we are likely to become. The lucky, it seems, live lives blessed by good fortune and happenstance. The determined help steer the course with mindfulness and a sense of purpose. Bonham lives somewhere between the two. It would be too easy to slap a label like Renaissance man on him. But the truth is he’s carved a fulfilling Gorge life out of a culmination of his passions, and is hell-bent on doing exactly what he wants, on learning at every age, and ardently pursuing the things he loves to do. Many in these parts know Bonham as a mohawked musician who plays lap steel, ukulele, resonator and electric guitars in all manner of musical configurations and venues around the Gorge. The punkinfused Bonneville Power Trio, the Hawaiian Islands-informed Hapa Hillbillies, the Bohemian Social Club, and Stillway & Bonham are but a few of his bands. Fewer may know him as a deft and master furniture and fixture designer, along with his wife Heather Staten, with Bonham Design; as a sign maker; and as a graphic artist involved with poster and CD-cover design, wine labels, and book illustration. He lends his skills as an artisan builder to Mya Moe Ukuleles, dabbles in cider making and charcuterie, and is currently learning to play boogie-woogie piano. He and


Heather designed and built their sustainable house on idyllic Hood River acreage. When asked if he’s ever held a regular job, his quick retort is, “Depends on what you mean by regular.” Bonham grew up outside London, in a little burg called Marlow on the Thames River, where he fished to his heart’s content and found himself increasingly less “academically interested” in education. He did, however, have a proclivity for art, and later music and woodworking, though his school grades didn’t reflect such. Locating with his family to Bristol in his teen years, he discovered the guitar. “Bristol was a cool place to be a teenager,” he says. It was a bustling, vibrant city in England’s southwest, and was a hotbed for a burgeoning punk music scene—which stirred in him a not-uncommon juvenile anti-establishment anger. He built a crude guitar out of cardboard and rubber bands before his dad brought home a Fender Strat-style guitar neck, which he soon fashioned into a workable electric guitar to express that hormonefueled rage (and would later in life fuel the establishment of his popular Hood River punk band, the Bonneville Power Trio). At a crossroads with his education—he was basically failing high school—he managed to stumble into art school. “It was blind dumb luck,” he says. He found his way to industrial and furniture design and began absorbing all he could, variously through studies at Bristol Polytechnic and earning a BA Honors degree in three dimensional design with a focus on furniture from Leeds Metropolitan University. For many, that would have meant settling into a comfortable lifestyle and building a career in that direction. Not so with Bonham. In the late ‘70s, at age 14, he’d taken a fancy to a burgeoning watersport called windsurfing, perilously navigating the docks of Bristol. At art school he saw an ad for a windsurf school and essentially learned to teach the sport. He spent the next couple of summers thus employed. Post-school, Bonham spent a decade involved with teaching windsurfing and running windsurfing programs teaching instructors around the planet— a job as cool as it sounds. While doing significant high-level surf instructor training in the UK, he began to develop a philosophy that he lives by even today. He did a short stint for the UK National Coaching Foundation (NCF) where he mentored and helped sports coaches with their work, and found himself deep into the psychology of learning. During a summer running the Vassiliki high-wind surf center in Greece, he experimented liberally on his clients, setting his instructors up with similar


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Ben Bonham, at left, is widely known for his musical talents. He plays the ukele, lap steel, resonator and electric guitars in several bands. Bonham also is a talented furniture and fixture designer, a graphic artist and a sign maker, among other things.

ability groups and having them try out different coaching methods. “It was very revealing and good to test all the stuff I had learned from the books and the NCF,” he says. “I think the biggest thing I learned was that if you can get adults to ‘play’ the way children do while learning, they learn very quickly—and that the hardest thing of all is to change a behavior or way of performing that has been ingrained for years. This is now what I end up doing mostly when I give guitar lessons—try to get people to shed old bad habits!” It was during his peripatetic period that he met Heather, an American with heavy art and culinary chops, and the pair headed to the Bay Area in 1996. Bonham pursued music, putting together a one-man band that included him playing a kick drum, guitar, harmonica and kazoo, among other instruments. He performed regularly, even earning spots at famed venues like the Fillmore and the Sweetwater Music Hall. Friends of Heather’s steered them north to Portland in 2002, where they fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. Windsurfing led them to Hood River, and they began to build a life that would include all of their passions.

custom jewelry designs, made in our state-of-theart studio using responsibly sourced gems and reclaimed gold and platinum

“I always knew what I wanted to do,” Bonham, who recently turned 50, says. In the grand scheme of things, they were never driven by money or the blinding need for material things. He didn’t own a car until he was 30. But by the sheer force of their collective will to create, to make things, he and Heather are part of a creative force that is integral to the Gorge community. “People are very supportive and interested in the things Heather and I have to offer,” he says. “It’s a conscious decision to do what we do.” So there will be more furniture to build, fixtures to design, book covers and posters and CD jackets to dream into existence. They will spend time on their 18 riverfront acres, raising their two kids, fishing for steelhead, working in the keen fort that is Bonham’s well-appointed workshop. No time to fret or worry or dread about a spent past or a not-yet-existent future. Only time to create. “There are,” Bonham says with a grin, “always more things to do.” For more information, go to and

Don Campbell is a writer and musician. He lives in Mosier and Portland, and is a frequent contributor to The Gorge Magazine.

Contact us at (541) 386-3977 3rd & Oak Street • Hood River, OR


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The Private Eye Project

From their headquarters near Lyle, Wash., a couple aims to change the way the world sees STORY BY PEGGY DILLS KELTER • PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE PRIVATE EYE PROJECT


ust a couple of miles east of the popular Catherine Creek trail near Lyle, Wash., are the headquarters of

the Private Eye Project. No, you won’t find any gumshoe private investigators here, but you will find Kerry Ruef and David Melody, two artists/educators who want to transform education and enlighten the world, one magnifying jeweler’s loupe at a time.

The Private Eye Project’s roots go back to 1988. One day Ruef, a working poet and writing specialist in the schools, picked up a jeweler’s loupe that had been sitting on a dusty shelf in her studio for some time. For the uninitiated, these loupes look like a little top hat. When placed up against the eye, the loupe shuts out peripheral distractions in the larger world and magnifies, by 5x, new worlds, from fingerprints to dragonflies’ wings. That afternoon, Ruef put the tool up to her eye and began looking closely at her hand. As she writes in her book, The Private Eye: Looking/Thinking by Analogy, “I peered down through the loupe at my skin for the first time. It was like another planet…dry as the desert, folded and rumpled like the land itself seen from an airplane. It was like a quilt and reminded me of chicken tracks in the mud and of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes and the lines made me think of expansion joints in the facades of buildings. I had really never seen my hand before!” Next, she turned her attention to a flower outside her door. Observing her hand and then the flower with the help of the loupe was a transformative experience for Ruef, one that changed her life. Ruef and Melody travel the country training teachers in the tenets of The Private Eye Project: look closely; think by analogy; change scale; and theorize. They ask participants to choose a specimen—anything, including a fingerprint, a leaf, an ant, a light bulb, whatever. Using the loupe to explore the item, Ruef asks the participants, “What does it remind you of? What else does it look like? What else? What else?” Thinking by analogy generates a creative list that Ruef calls “bones for poems, essays, stories.” With no


wrong answers, confidence blooms. But an eclectic list is just the beginning; from the initial observations, participants are asked to think about the relationship between the object and what else it might be. For instance, if the lines on my palm look like a dry riverbed, how are these two things connected? What can one teach me about the other? Following the Private Eye Project’s method prevents a person from thinking in stereotypes. Close observations trump clichés. As Ruef says, “The loupe lets you see into an unexpected world. It helps you see the everyday world with fresh eyes.” The Private Eye is used in all subject areas, from writing to science. It’s used across age groups in traditional schools, home schools, informal education and businesses—all in a quest to magnify the mind. Educators around the globe, from Haiti to Stanford, have touted it. Former U.S. poet laureate Robert Hass, physicist Fritjof Capra, and Joseph Renzulli, director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, have all sung its praises. Ruef hails from California where, as a teenager, she was involved with “Project Brotherhood,” working with elementary school students alongside Cesar Chavez and others involved with social justice. In Seattle, she was a successful poet and


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Hood River Team

The Dalles Team

Two Locations One Great Team Hood River • The Dalles

David Melody (above left), associate director of The Private Eye, reviews a product order for shipping. Kerry Ruef, founder and director, teaches a Private Eye STEM course at Portland State University (above). Two loupes nested give a 10x view (top).

“mover and shaker” in the art world of that city. Melody’s roots are on the East Coast, where he graduated from Harvard and then went on to a career as a photographer. So how did Ruef, Melody and the internationally known Private Eye Project settle just outside the small town of Lyle? In 2000, tired of the city life, the couple realized they could grow their business from anywhere—all they needed was UPS, an Internet connection, and a few reliable employees. “I really wanted to live in nature,” Ruef says. “We chose the Gorge because it’s spectacularly beautiful. I can literally walk out the door and be in it. I need that.” Melody adds, “Our offices have a lot of windows. When we’re inside working we still feel like we’re in nature. It’s an incredible nutritional intake.” The sales of their products—Private Eye jeweler’s loupes, kits, books and activity sheets—make up about 70 percent of their business. The rest of their income comes from workshops and trainings they lead—everywhere from the largest school districts in the country to small schools on the Navajo reservation. Teachers share with colleagues, parents with friends. In the Gorge, many educators use The Private Eye project materials and methods. Teaching artist Shelley Toon Lindberg and students from Westside

Elementary School in Hood River created a colorful mural at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital made entirely of glass panels depicting students’ eyes, up close and very personal. In the past, most of the funding for their trainings and special events has come from grants. Recently, the couple has consulted about their business with their son and his wife, both of whom have highly successful careers in technology. Plans are in process to enlarge their online presence. Getting rich, though, is not what motivates Ruef and Melody. They are passionate about what they do. “Everything we make we put back in the business,” Ruef says. “It’s not about profits, it’s about changing the world.” If that sounds more like evangelists at a revival meeting, it’s not surprising. During their workshops, participants’ faces light up with wonder. Teachers return to their classrooms energized. Their students are wowed. Ruef and Melody believe in the power of their project to transform lives. “Whether in a local classroom or on the world stage,” Ruef says, “learning and discovery begin in breaking stereotypes, in fresh imaginings— in magnifying minds.”

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For more information, go to

Peggy Dills Kelter is a retired elementary school teacher, and an artist and writer. She lives in Hood River.


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Maryhill Museum


The eastern Gorge’s iconic Maryhill Museum of Art opens for the season March 15 with a worthy line-up of special exhibitions. One of them is The Big Painting Show, featuring two dozen works from the museum’s permanent collection that are seldom shown because of their unusual size. Another exhibit is American Art Pottery from the Fred L. Mitchell Collection, a noteworthy selection from the movement’s heyday in the late 19th century. In celebration of the centennial of the Columbia River Highway this year, a temporary exhibit of black and white photos from the construction and early days of the highway is on display—most of them from Sam Hill’s personal collection housed at the museum.

Gorge Wine


Springtime brings a variety of not-to-miss events to Gorge wine country. Hit the big city for the annual Portland Grand Tasting on April 1 at Castaway Portland, where more than two-dozen wineries from the Gorge offer tastings and previews of their wine. The Gorge Wine Experience happens April 29 through May 1, with Gorge wineries offering a variety of special events, tastings and more throughout the long weekend. Then, to help kick off summer, Grape to Table Weekend is May 28-30, where Gorge wineries will offer local, farm fresh food to pair with wine.



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Northwest Cherry Festival


This year marks the 37th annual Cherry Festival in The Dalles, an event that showcases the city’s deep agricultural heritage and Western roots. Taking place April 22-24, the family-friendly festival features a dance party, parade, classic car and tractor shows, a race (3K, 5K and 10K) and live music. There’s also cherry sampling, pony rides and a kids’ carnival. Don’t miss the crowning of Festival King Bing and Queen Anne.

Michael Peterson

Hard-Pressed Cider Fest


Celebrate the Northwest’s growing hard cider scene at the third annual Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest on April 16. The Hood River Valley boasts 11 cideries and counting—not surprising given the wealth of local fruit available for making craft ciders—placing it at the forefront of this nation-wide sipping trend. The Cider Fest features more than 20 cideries, pouring over 30 craft ciders. The day-long event includes local food carts, a kids’ play area and live music.

Hood 2 River Relay


Gather your closest friends (or at least the most athletic ones) and sign up for the 3rd Annual Hood 2 River Relay on June 4. The race starts at Mt. Hood Meadows and ends on the banks of the Columbia River—descending 6,000 feet down the Hood River Valley over nearly 50 miles. The race consists of six legs: alpine and Nordic skiing, mountain and road biking, running and paddling. Replenish afterwards at the Full Sail Brewing post-race party.

Adam Lapierre


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Mt. Hood Meadows


With the blessedly deep snowpack this winter, spring skiing at Mt. Hood should be fun and lengthy. The ski resort has plenty of events throughout the spring to keep things interesting. Highlights include the two-day Oregon Cancer Ski Out fundraiser March 13-14; Spring Demo Day on March 20; Mazot Fest on April 9, a benefit for the Avalanche Rescue Program; and the 9th Annual Pond Skim on April 30. The season wraps up on May 14 with the Double Mountain Season’s End Festival.

Blossom Craft Show


Don’t miss this annual art and craft show at the Hood River Fairgrounds April 16-17. More than 125 vendors from the Gorge and beyond sell jewelry, clothing, baked goods, artwork and more. The accompanying plant sale has become a popular draw over the years. The two-day event also features a quilt show, wine tastings, food and music. Adam Lapierre

Columbia Center for the Arts


This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River. A months-long series of events to celebrate starts March 5 with a Ten Year Anniversary Kick-Off Party. This free day at the center includes a community jam session in the theater (bring your instrument) as well as a line-up of performers including Bob Dill, Gordon and Char Mayer, Ben Bonham and Mary Flower. The March exhibit in the gallery, Instrumental: Handcrafted Instruments & Inspired Art, features hand-made pieces created by eight Gorge luthiers and instrument makers, alongside the works of eight artists who were paired up to create “visual responses” to the instruments.



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For the Love of Bees A landscape designer works to save the bees, one garden at a time STORY BY JANET COOK • PHOTOS COURTESY OF MELISSA ELLIOTT


elissa Elliott sees her work as a landscape designer and contractor as more than just creating pretty places around her clients’ homes. “A big part of my work is connecting people back to natural systems,” she says. “We’re much more connected to the earth than we realize.” In her nearly 25-year career, Elliott has seen the connection many times over, and working to strengthen that bond is as intrinsic to her work as digging in the earth. Elliott has been building things since she was a kid, following in the footsteps of her dad, a designer and building contractor. She went to the University of Oregon to study landscape architecture, and while pursuing her degree, worked for a local garden designer/contractor. “I got a lot of hands-on practice,” she says. “I was working making landscapes, moving through the land and then going back to the studio.” By the time she graduated, she had a lot of real-world experience under her belt and decided to hang her own shingle. “It was the early ‘90s, and there were really no design/build businesses,”


she says. She was one of only a handful of female licensed landscape contractors in the state. Elliott worked for a few years in Eugene, then moved her business to Portland where she remained for 12 years. In 2009, after coming to the Gorge for years to windsurf, she finally decided to move here, settling in White Salmon. Given Elliott’s connection to nature, it’s no surprise that her landscape work took a turn a decade ago. In the spring of 2005, Elliott noticed something in the gardens she was working in. The Ceanothus—a plant she favors for its bee-attracting flowers—bloomed as usual, but a strange silence surrounded them. “Normally, they’re covered,” Elliott says. “But that year, there were no bees.” At the time, there was little known about what would come to be called colony collapse disorder, but Elliott knew something was wrong. There was so little information, Elliott initially had to go to Chemeketa Community College in Salem to find a class on bees. She eventually found more


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Melissa Elliott (above) has established more than 130 acres of organic landscapes in her 25 years as a landscape designer and contractor. She works to create residential and commercial landscapes in the Gorge and the Portland metro area that support bees and other pollinators.

courses and began attending conferences on colony collapse. She traveled to England and France to work with people who were studying the problem of the disappearing bees. “They were working on bee loss way before we were,” Elliott says. She even became a beekeeper herself. “It reinvigorated and reinforced my work,” says Elliott, who began calling her company Melissa Bees. Even more so than before, she recognized the need for organic, flowering oases to support bees. “For years I had gardened organically on both residential and commercial properties, ripping out lawns and parking strips and replacing them with a profusion of flowering plants, supplanting privacy fences with hedgerows and inter-planting vegetables,” she says. With the widespread loss of bees, Elliott knew her landscaping methods were important beyond simply their aesthetics. “In my experience, life has a way of showing

up when we create a more interesting place for it,” Elliott says. “Layers, color, texture, tangle, scent, berries and seeds are more provocative to living things than a flat, boring and often poisonous lawn or monoculture plantings.” Along with attracting birds, frogs and butterflies, she knew these landscapes also bring honeybees. When the documentary film Vanishing of the Bees came out in 2009, detailing the struggle of commercial beekeepers to keep their colonies alive, Elliott knew she was in a unique position to advocate for it. The film “galvanized” people, according to Elliott, bringing the plight of the honeybee to the attention of Americans. “It was a catalyst for me to share my boots-on-theground knowledge of how to care for residential and commercial landscapes in such a way to help both honeybees and native bees,” she says. Along with creating bee-friendly landscapes, she began


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giving talks and workshops about landscaping for pollinators to school, community and corporate groups. Over the past few years, Elliott has shared her knowledge and expertise on bees and pollinator landscapes through television, radio and magazine interviews—including on HGTV. She’s also created the “Melissa Bee Good Award,” which she bestows on people and organizations that “make life sweeter” for bees. Elliott continues to keep bees in her own backyard, which serves as a sort of living laboratory for her work. She has several hives, including a Japanese style hive and a log hive that she and her father carved. “Each is set like a gem inside its own vignette of plantings, inspired by the colors and styles of the hives and informed in some way, I like to think, by the tastes of their inhabitants,” Elliott says. She calls her garden a “green labyrinth,” with its mix of vegetables and herbs, native shrubs and perennial flowers. “Since we don’t have a ton of space or time, I like to let some things self-seed, like collards, kale, mache, spinach, lettuce and radishes, so there is a self-replenishing carpet of greens most of the year,” she says. “There’s always something for the pollinators to eat, and in return we get big yields—last year our harvest was 1,200-

Elliott keeps bees in her own backyard in several styles of hives, including the teardrop hive above. Her garden serves as a living laboratory for her work, where there is always something for the pollinators to eat.

plus pounds of vegetables.” Beyond her garden, Elliott feels like the “landscape” of awareness of the importance of bees has grown up around her. “One out of every three bites of food is pollinated by bees,” she points out. “People call me and say ‘I want a pollinator garden.’ That never happened before.” Elliott learned early on as a beekeeper that the colony serves as a communication hub with the land—a call-and-response system with the soil, water, plants and flowers within about a two-mile radius of the hive. “This hymenopteran system has created a paradise garden of fruits, vegetables and nuts for millennia and it’s important to take care of it,” she says. “That’s what I’m doing.” For more information, go to


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Cooking Fresh & Local Celilo’s Ben Stenn shares his culinary skills in a hands-on class STORY BY RUTH BERKOWITZ • PHOTOS BY BEN MITCHELL


hef Ben Stenn greets me in the back corner of Celilo Restaurant, where I’ve come for a cooking class. The restaurant is closed on this night, allowing 14 of us to congregate in the Celilo kitchen and learn from the master chef. As co-owner of Celilo, Stenn is known for using fresh, local and regional ingredients on his ever-changing menu at the upscale Hood River eatery. Tonight, we’ll be emulating what he does every day at the restaurant. “It’s a lean time of year, so we have to embrace what we have,” Stenn says, adding that even in winter, it’s still possible to gather fresh ingredients. Tonight we will create four dishes: Mediterranean mussels, braised short ribs, massaged winter salad and milk-poached parsnips and cauliflower. “Tonight’s cooking is about smelling your food and tasting things over and over,” Stenn says. “I want to introduce you to ideas so you can cook this at home.” We look over the pages he has given us, which are not recipes with specific measurements but rather guidelines for the dishes. “Because my menu is ingredientdriven, I have to work in the opposite direction (of a recipe),” says Stenn. Our first task is to truss the ribs. (Some of the food was prepared in advance for tonight’s class—including the ribs, which were cooked at 300 degrees for six hours.) Stenn demonstrates looping the cooking twine around the meat to give its shape conformity and allow the heat to penetrate evenly. Next we prepare mirepoix, a combination of chopped onions, carrots and celery that forms the base for a variety of sauces and stocks. Stenn integrates many of the techniques he learned at the Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in France, where he studied and worked for two years. That experience, combined with working at the famous Bouley Restaurant in New York and a decade at Hood River’s 6th Street Bistro, gave Stenn the skills to open his own restaurant. We move on to the mussels and prepare them two ways so we can compare flavors. “Mussels come from the sea and the challenge is to keep them cold,” Stenn says. These mussels are from the Washington


coast and were cleaned ahead of time. A few of the students try the mandolin slicer to finely shave the fennel, shallots, onions and garlic. The first method for preparing the mussels is steaming them in a pot with wine, fennel, onions, garlic, shallots, sun-dried tomatoes and olives. We sample the shellfish and most of us find that they taste good, but are not dazzling. The second technique, which comes from Celilo’s menu, is a homerun. The mussels are cooked in the oven in small cast iron skillets coated with olive oil and topped with fennel pollen, garlic and chili flakes. The high heat combined with the licorice taste of the fennel pollen brings the mussels’ flavor to the forefront. I love how the crispiness of the fennel and onions contrasts with the slippery texture of the mussels. “Less is more,” Stenn says to describe the plate. “It’s all about the mussels, with a little fennel, red chili and garlic backing it up.”

Stenn views his cooking as an art form, and his food a vehicle to invoke memories. He enjoys watching the wait staff take a hot bubbly skillet of


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Celilo Restaurant and Bar Pacific Northwest cuisine with an emphasis on locally grown products, extensive wine list, and full bar.

2015 Award of Excellence from

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mussels from the kitchen and place it on a table, with the boiling liquid giving a whiff of the salty sea. As I taste the mussels, I’m reminded of the time I sailed with my family in the Bay Islands in New Zealand, an area abundant with green mussels. We jumped in the water and gathered the mussels ourselves. If only I had known about fennel pollen. To make the winter salad, we chop the earthy fresh chard and grate the fennel and Brussels sprouts. Massaging the chard with dressing—three parts oil to one part vinegar—transforms it from a tough and almost inedible leaf into a tasty, nutritious salad. The last dish is easy to make. We chop the cauliflower and parsnips and place each in separate pots where they are seasoned with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg, then bathed in whole milk. Stenn recommends using whole seeds and fresh spices whenever possible to enhance the food’s flavor. The pots cook uncovered at low heat for about twenty minutes until the milk is foamy and the vegetables soft. “This is playful food,” Stenn says as he blends each one in a food processor. They each have the texture and color of mashed potatoes, but taste more complex. The parsnip puree has a more velvety and sweet flavor. The nutmeg elevates the dish to gourmet. Plating the meal, Stenn shares his philosophy of including empty space on the plate. This, com-

Chef Ben Stenn of Celilo Restaurant and Bar teaches one of his periodic cooking classes at the restaurant, where he imparts his philosophy of creating a menu with fresh, local ingredients.

bined with the Japanese concept of wabi sabi—the beauty of imperfection—sets the stage to experience the meal. We put heaping spoonfuls of the parsnip blend next to the cauliflower and create a bed with two shades of white. On top go the braised ribs decorated with the dark yellow sauce. The massaged winter salad served on a separate plate gets a drizzle of one of Stenn’s favorite vinegars, Minus IP8 Beer Vinegar. It comes from frozen grapes harvested in Canada. At a table in the restaurant, we sip the Dundee Hills Pinot Noir and savor our meal. It’s the local ingredients combined with the gems, like the fennel pollen and the specialty vinegar, which makes this shared meal so sublime and delicious. Ben Stenn hosts a vegetarian cooking class April 19 at Celilo. He also offers cooking classes in your own home (

Ruth Berkowitz is a lawyer, mediator and writer. She is a frequent contributor to The Gorge Magazine.


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Telling the Story

Illustrator Joanna Kaufman pursues her love for words and images



or as long as she can remember, Joanna Kaufman has had two passions in her life: books and art. As a kid she loved to paint and draw. She was also an avid reader, and grew to love books both for their aesthetic form and for the stories inside that could be beautiful and powerful and transforming. As a college student at Northern Arizona University, she was drawn to linguistics and eventually earned her degree in Spanish education. Kaufman spent the next decade teaching Spanish in diverse locations, including Montana, Arizona and Japan. In 2008, she and her husband, Michael, moved to the Gorge and she landed work teaching Spanish, first at Cascade Locks School and then, when they bought a house to fix up in Trout Lake, Wash., at the Trout Lake School. Throughout those years, Kaufman continued to pursue art in her spare time. “All the time I was teaching, I always took art classes on my own,” she says. She worked on painting and drawing during the evenings and on weekends. “In my life there have always been books, words, stories, language, music and paint,” she says. “I guess for a time these things traveled along two paths with my teaching by day and making art by night.” Then, two years ago, Kaufman came to a point when she knew she couldn’t do it that way anymore. “I knew the time was right to put both feet on one horse, so to speak.” She left teaching to pursue art full time. Even though Kaufman is not teaching language anymore, words are very much a part of her creative work as an illustrator. She’s currently collaborating with a children’s author to create a series of 12



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books, due to be published next year. Kaufman is doing all the artwork as well as the layout and design for the books. “It’s kind of unconventional,” Kaufman says of the project. The author, who has 12 grandchildren, is writing a story for each one. “She’ll send me ideas for what she has in mind, and then we’ll go back and forth. It’s totally collaborative. We’re making decisions together.” Kaufman also is working on a “personal project,” writing and illustrating a story about a mule, which came to her in a dream. “I have a lot of really powerful dreams,” she says, adding that they often become inspiration for her art. Kaufman’s illustrations begin with a pencil drawing on paper. After refining it, she puts the drawing on a homemade light table so it shows through and begins painting the images onto new paper with watercolors. A flat file in her studio contains drawer upon drawer of her illustrations— some finished, others works-in-progress.

Animals are a common theme in Kaufman’s illustrations. “There’s something about an anthropomorphized animal that can tell us a lot about ourselves,” she says. Kaufman has always felt connected to animals, and perhaps even more so after moving to Trout Lake, where her home and adjacent studio are located on several acres just

Joanna Kaufman, at left outside her studio in Trout Lake, likes to use animals in her illustrations. Examples from her portfolio include Green Hairy Monster (above), Mrs. Lemur (below)—both created for a series of children’s books—and Pouring (far left).

steps from the White Salmon River; nature literally surrounds her and she spends a lot of time in it and observing it. “Animals are very sacred and bring a lot of joy,” she says. “There’s something about the way they live in earth and in nature that gives us a window. They can shed light on what it is to be close to the Earth.” Some of her illustrations come from a place of ambivalence—a sad or frightening dream, for instance, that ended with deep, uplifting meaning. “I want to be able to express joy and sorrow at the same time,” Kaufman says. Lately, she adds, “Joy and a sense of humor have been coming out a lot.” Kaufman is working on other projects besides her book illustrations. She’s one of several artists who have teamed with musicians and instrument-makers to create art for the March exhibit at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River entitled “Instrumental.” Four of Kaufman’s paintings are on exhibit alongside instruments crafted by Gordon and Char Mayer of White Salmon’s MyaMoe Ukeleles. Kaufman has also been working on some pieces to display in a new retail space at the Columbia Center for the Arts. In addition, she’s gearing up for the Gorge Artists Open Studio Tour in April. Along with being one of 44 artists who will open their studios to the public for the 3-day tour, Kaufman is on the board of the non-profit Gorge Artists Inc., which spearheads the tour. But when all is said and done, her illustrations and book projects will pull her back in. “I love the book as an art form,” Kaufman says. The bookshelves


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Kaufman created Stoats in Raincoats (above) and Rain in the City (left) for an exhibit entitled Rain at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River last year.

in her studio are filled with illustrated children’s books that she’s collected over the years—many of which provide inspiration for her work. “This is the crux for me,” Kaufman says, “being able to marry different forms of communication and expression—art and language—so that I can write a painting with pen and ink and color on paper and paint a story with words while giving each form its own unique identity and space on a page that exists within a greater contextual relationship of pages.” The words and the images—those two quests that once traveled separate paths in her life—have finally merged for Kaufman. “I feel like what I’m doing now is exactly what I want to be doing,” she says. “I feel very fortunate,” Kaufman adds, “to have found a form in storybooks that feels like home and a place where all the pieces can come together under one roof.” For more information, go to

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Kitty Bluhm


La Conner, Wash.


Suzanne Rothmeyer

From tulip fields to a thriving arts scene, this Northwest gem is worth a visit


a Conner, Wash., may be best known for its annual spring Tulip Festival, but this city, which has been awarded Best Tiny Town in Washington and Best Romantic Getaway, has something to tempt travelers year-round. Situated in the scenic Skagit Valley, La Conner offers a range of activities, and even more options are available in the neighboring towns of Bow-Edison, Conway, Anacortes and Mount Vernon. All of these places can be reached within a 20-minute drive. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival draws crowds each year to experience the vibrant colors of this stunning display from April 1-30, but a lesser-known celebration—the La Conner Daffodil Festival—is held throughout the month of March. The Chamber of Commerce hands out a bloom map for both events. Agriculture has long been a staple of this area and visitors will find roadside stands boasting fresh produce well into the fall. Skagit Valley farmers are so excited to share what’s being grown and harvested on their fertile land that they’ve developed “InFARMation” radio. Tune to 1630 AM while driving the backroads to hear about local farming facts and tidbits as well as what crops are currently available. Bordered by the Skagit River, Padilla Bay and Swinomish Channel, La Conner is a bird-watcher’s paradise. In fact, from November to April, a spectacular scene can be viewed—more than 50,000 snow geese and approximately 10,000 trumpeter and tundra swans call adjacent Fir Island home during their annual migration from Siberia and Alaska. Lest you think the water has gone to the birds, La Conner celebrates opening day of boating season with a boat parade in May, and many vessels return for the Christmas boat parade in December. A waterfront fireworks display draws a patriotic crowd to the Swinomish Channel for Independence Day. Don’t have a watercraft large enough to participate? Kayaking along the channel leads to calm bay waters in either direction. For a town boasting fewer than 1,000 residents, La Conner has a thriving arts scene. The La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum—the only one in Washington State—is housed in the historic 1891 Gaches Mansion, which has undergone nearly $450,000 in renovations over the past decade. Aside from gallery walks scheduled


throughout the year, Art’s Alive! has happened every November since 1984 and does a stellar job incorporating the entire town, from the local schools to the museums, galleries, eateries, unique shops and even the La Conner Retirement Center. Specialty stores cater to a variety of interests. Pet lovers will enjoy picking up a fetch toy for Fido at Wags & Rags. Gourmet chefs—and those who aspire to be—can be found perusing Olive Shoppe/ Ginger Grater. Home décor and furnishings are on display at Go Outside, La Maison de Kristine and the Wood Merchant. La Conner mainstays like Nasty Jack’s Antiques and Mary Davis Vintage Lighting have folks window-shopping for hours. All this exploring is bound to lead to parched lips and grumbling stomachs. Fortunately, the culinary possibilities in La Conner are ample. Eateries and coffee shops are found along Morris and First streets. The Calico Cupboard serves up generous breakfasts in the airy café with a couple of outdoor tables in warmer weather. A homemade cinnamon roll will send you over the edge. La Conner Brewing Company focuses on Northwest-inspired pub food alongside an array of


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Pam Headridge

Fields of tulips and daffodils greet visitors to La Conner and the Skagit Valley every spring. La Conner’s setting along the Swinomish Channel, which leads in each direction to quiet bay waters and the Salish Sea, makes for great strolling and bird watching.

craft beers. In the summertime, the patio is delightful long into the evening. For an afternoon pick-me-up, there’s nothing quite like Bamboo Coffee—a whimsical cottage with inviting outdoor garden seating and a few inside tables. Both La Conner Sips and Hellams Vineyard, Wine Shop & Wine Bar are perfect stops for waterside views with a selection of fine wines. Afternoon tastings, as well as vino by the glass or bottle, are available. Places like Marion’s Bistro, Nell Thorn Water-

front Bistro & Pub and Seeds - A Bistro and Bar aim to showcase local farmers and the bounty that surrounds them. From farmstead cheeses to freerange eggs, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, heirloom vegetables and in-season fruit, you’ll find that fresh and local dominate their menus. Add in walking trails and meandering country roads that beckon lazy bike rides and La Conner wraps up shopping, dining and a lively arts scene with one lush and verdant bow. With both seasonal festivals and day-to-day discoveries, the Skagit Valley delivers enough for a long weekend and many more reasons to return. Viki Eierdam is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to The Gorge Magazine.

RESOURCE GUIDE La Conner Chamber of Commerce, Visit Skagit Valley,


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• La Conner Sips 608 S. 1st St., La Conner • Heron Inn & Day Spa – A Bed & Breakfast, • La Conner Waterfront Café • Hotel Planter, 128 S. 1st St., La Conner • Katy’s Inn Bed and Breakfast, • La Conner Channel Lodge & Country Inn, • Marion’s Bistro 505 S. 1st St., La Conner • La Conner RV Resort & Campground, • Nell Thorn Waterfront Bistro & Pub 116 S. 1st St., La Conner Dining and Drinking • Bamboo Coffee • Seeds – A Bistro and Bar 602 Morris St., La Conner 623 Morris St., La Conner • Calico Cupboard Café & Bakery Sites to See 720 S. 1st St., La Conner Berry Barn, Christianson’s Nursery & Greenhouse, La Conner Quilt & Textile • Hellams Vineyard, Museum, Museum of Northwest Art, Wine Shop & Wine Bar Tim Dauber Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, 109 N 1st St., La Conner Pioneer Park (located at south end of town with walking trails) Rainbow Bridge, Roozengaarde • La Conner Brewing Company Store & Display Garden, Skagit County Historical 110 N. 1st St., La Conner Museum, Skagit Valley Tulip Festival • La Conner Channel Grill Getting There 110 N 1st St., La Conner Distance: 306 miles. Driving Time: 5 hours and 15 minutes • La Conner Seafood & Prime Rib From Hood River, take I-84 to Portland, then I-5 614 S 1st St., La Conner north to La Conner, Wash. (exit 221).

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Analemma Wines Diversity and innovation are at the heart of one of the Gorge’s newest wineries STORY BY VIKI EIERDAM • PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PETERSON


en minutes east of Hood River in the picturesque Mosier Valley, husband-and-wife team Steven Thompson and Kris Fade are pouring their hearts and souls into something special: a locally-owned, grower-producer sparkling wine house. After years in the winemaking business crafting vintages for wineries in Italy, New Zealand and Walla Walla, Wash., Thompson began dreaming of a venture with his wife that would take them in another direction. “We both enjoyed the Pacific Northwest but we were looking for something new from Walla Walla,” Fade said. “It’s a strong industry but fairly focused on a few styles, so we were thinking about Oregon and the Columbia Gorge.” As fate would have it, the Columbia Gorge was thinking of them in its own way. While in New Zealand gleaning inspiration for their next move and working harvests at separate wineries in Hawkes Bay, a friend of Thompson’s contacted him with news that the historic Atavus Vineyard (formerly known as Dragonfly Vineyard), located on a sloping hillside above White Salmon, was available for lease. “I was actually taking an organic and biodynamic wine course and writing up a management plan and here came this opportunity to lease some relatively small acreage—not having to own the vineyard but starting to farm fruit,” Fade said. Analemma Wines was established in 2010 and the next thing to happen proved that success in the wine industry is based in part on resilience. While harvesting at the 1,700-foot elevation of their newly-



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C ATHEDRAL R IDGE W INERY Steven Thompson and Kris Fade (at left) pictured in one of their vineyards near Mosier and in their barrel room. Fade (above left), pours wine for guests at the winery’s rustic luxe tasting room near Mosier.

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leased Washington vineyard, an area winemaker suggested that the Swissorigin Mariafeld clone of Pinot Noir they’d been caring for might be better suited for white wine—specifically sparkling. The couple completely revamped their original business plan, investing in equipment better suited for Champagne-style wines and poring over méthode champenoise, the traditional sparkling wine-making method. It was daunting and costly, but Thompson and Fade soldiered on with a commitment to remain historically accurate to the vineyard site now entrusted to their care. Since then the couple has taken over the lease of Oak Ridge Vineyard as well, located above Husum, Wash., which they help farm with owners Thomas and Marlene Woodward. “That site is 30 or 31 years old—one of the first planted here in the Columbia Gorge,” Thompson said. “It’s also alpine style—high elevation, cool climate.” Both sites are farmed organically. The planting of the couple’s Mosier Vineyard in 2012 rounds out the Gorge diversity that Analemma hopes to showcase as the vines continue to mature. At the warmer vineyard site in Mosier, Thompson and Fade are testing out growing Spanish varieties. Thompson explained that the impetus for this came from realizing similarities between the region of Galicia in Spain and the Mosier Valley—including proximity to the ocean, location between a hot desert setting to the east and a cool weather maritime region to the west, and very similar heat units for fruit ripening. Analemma’s entire concept was built upon the vision of a hospitalityoriented and experience-driven winery. The rustic luxe tasting room welcomes guests with a series of tubes that serve as a visual descriptor for the different soils found from vineyard to vineyard. Maps also clarify the location of each site. Tastings are done seated with tableside service, where the owners share a bit about each wine and the production process, and guests can compare


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Analemma Wines’ Mosier Vineyard was planted in 2012. The winemakers are testing out growing several Spanish grape varieties here, given the similarities between the Mosier Valley and the region of Galicia in Spain.

Gewürztraminer from both the Atavus and Oak Ridge vineyards. In-depth vineyard tours walk guests through the adjacent Mosier Vineyard where the organic practices used at Analemma are explained—including the planting of lavender to encourage beneficial insects. Fade notes that flavors and aromas of inter-plantings are showing up in wine from other parts of the world employing this practice, such as eucalyptus planted on the edges of Australian vineyards. Tours culminate with a private tasting held in the production room where Pendleton blankets are handed out to ward off the chill of the space. During warmer months guests are encouraged to take a prepared picnic basket to one of several large sun umbrellas set up above the Mosier Vineyard. Baskets are filled with a charcuterie plate, still wine of their choice (which can be upgraded to a sparkling wine) and sparkling water. A blanket, bird identification card, binoculars and an apothecary bottle filled with lavender essential oil spray are also provided to complete the experience. It makes for a great date or ladies get-together, Fade says, where people can enjoy the entire Mosier Valley spread out before them. For the ultimate Analemma Wines fan, there’s The Coterie—a non-traditional wine club with an emphasis on education and building relationships. Introduced in the fall of 2015, 50 members signed up straight away and enjoyed Analemma’s First Annual Sparkling Soirée where Thompson skillfully sabered a bottle of 2011 Atavus Blanc de Noir Sparkling, and inspired appetizers were served alongside several other wines.




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Award winning wines, friendly staff, bocce courts and a beautiful deck. Come see us!

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This year The Coterie opened up its second wave of enrollment in February and there are plans to have a spring study hall in the cellar, a late June barbeque and a Sunday brunch in August. A handful of special perks include access to “inspiration wines”—a rotating selection of wines that impress the owners. “There’s a world of wine that’s out there, and it goes well beyond Chardonnay and Cab and Merlot,”

Thompson said. “We’re excited to broaden the minds of our guests and Coterie members.” Analemma Wines opens for the season April 1. The winery’s selections can be purchased online or enjoyed at Portland’s only Champagne bar—Ambonnay. For more information, go to

Viki Eierdam is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to The Gorge Magazine.

Specializing in in Estate estate Grown grown Pinot Specializing Pinot Noir, Noir, PinotGris, Pinot Gris,Riesling Rieslingand andChardonnay Chardonnay

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Mt. Hood Winery


541.386.8333 2882 Van Horn Drive, Hood River //


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GENERAL TIPS FOR VISITING GORGE WINE COUNTRY Courtesy of the Columbia Gorge Winegrowers Association

• ​Consider hiring a designated driver. • Refrain from wearing heavily scented items, such as perfumes and lotions. Even lipstick can affect your wine tasting experience. Allow the day to be filled with the aromas of wine! • ​Explore varietals unfamiliar to you. Often these can be a delightful surprise. • Ask tasting room staff questions. Gorge residents are proud to live here and serve local wines, and love to share wine knowledge with others. Ask staff where to have dinner, or where to stay, hike and play. • Don’t be afraid to use the dump buckets. It is not a sign that you don’t care for a wine, and no one will be offended if you spit out a wine or dump what is left in your glass. On the contrary, most wine staff appreciate that it may be necessary to not swallow every wine in order to maintain your wine tasting pleasure and maintain your palate. • Try a mid-week excursion. Often tasters who visit on a weekday find the tasting rooms more intimate and the experience more one-on-one. • Have fun. Don’t take it too seriously. After all, wine is about enjoyment on your personal level. Drink what you like and enjoy with others.

Spring... crisp, fresh





1867 12th Street, Hood River //


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Story by Janet Cook Photos by Michael Peterson


LOOK LOO GORGE ARTISTS WELCOME VISITORS FOR THE ANNUAL OPEN STUDIO TOUR This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Gorge Artists Open Studio Tour, one of the hallmarks of springtime in the Gorge. This year’s 3-day tour takes place April 24-26, when 44 artists from around the Gorge—from Cascade Locks to The Dalles and Parkdale to Trout Lake—welcome visitors into their studios to share their art and what goes into creating it. (In the following pages, we’ve profiled a few of the artists on the tour.) The Open Studio Tour has grown in a decade from a fledgling event featuring a handful of artists to one of the premier studio tours in the region. Artists on the tour are creating in a wide range of mediums—including pottery, jewelry, photography, painting, drawing, pastels, glass, bronze, sculpture, illustration, printmaking, textiles, fiber and furniture. “I am thrilled about the number and variety of artists in and around the Gorge,” said Karen Watson, a pastel artist who has participated in the tour every year since its inception and also serves on the board of Gorge Artists Inc., the nonprofit organization that oversees the tour. The Open Studio Tour increases exposure for Gorge artists and also helps connect the artists to one another and to the community. Artists who have been involved in studio tours elsewhere consistently commend the Gorge tour for its organization, attendance and quality. “I have been part of many studio tours, and the Gorge Artist Open Studio Tour is by far the most cohesive one,” said Heather Soderberg-Greene, a renowned sculptor whose studio is in Cascade Locks. “I spend all day alone in my studio, so focused on my work, and to have the opportunity to share it in such a special way makes it all worthwhile.” The Gorge Artists Open Studio Tour is free and self-guided. For more information about the tour, including a map, go to



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Heather Soderberg-Greene Heather Soderberg-Greene began sculpting as a young child in Sedona, Ariz. Her father, an artist who worked in a bronze foundry, brought home some wax for her to play with when she was 2 years old. Within a few years she was exhibiting work at galleries around the Southwest and doing commission work. She gained widespread attention as a child prodigy when she was featured on Paul Harvey’s radio show, in People magazine and elsewhere. “I was—and still am—extremely shy and have a hard time speaking,” Soderberg-Greene says. “I can force myself to now out of necessity, but it is very hard and stressful. When I was young, it was impossible. So I found creating art of all kinds, sculpture in particular, to be my form of communication. It was also a deep stress relief and how I dealt with my anxiety.” She worked as a sculptor throughout her teenage years and beyond before taking a break and living in Hawaii. Then, in about 2000, she decided to recommit herself to art and moved to Portland, opening a foundry in Troutdale. Eight years ago, she moved her foundry to Cascade Locks, where she’s been ever since. Soderberg-Greene’s sculptures start with large blocks of foam sheets, glued together.

“I just start whittling away with my special handmade carving knife and a Sawzall,” she says. Once the form is accurate, she paints on layers of molten clay, then sculpts detail and texture using her fingers and special tools. A silicone mold is made over it, and removed when cured. Next, molten wax is poured into the mold. “We attach wax bars called gates to it, creating what we call a ‘wax tree,’” Soderberg-Greene says. The wax tree is dipped into binders and fine silica sand over and over. When it’s dry, it’s put into a kiln at 1,800 degrees. “The wax melts out, leaving a hollow space where the wax copy and bars were,” she says. Molten bronze is poured into the remaining shell, and as it cools, it shrinks slightly, cracking off the shell. Soderberg-Greene works to perfect the sculpture using pneumatic air tools, and pieces are welded back together if needed, then sanded and tooled to match. Metal oxides are applied to create colors. Soderberg-Greene loves being an artist in the Gorge, “Especially for my love of nature and wildlife, my favorite subjects,” she says. This is her second year participating in the Open Studio Tour. “I have been part of many studio tours and shows all over the country,” she says. Last year’s tour, she adds, “was by far the most attended, most amazing art experience I have ever had.”


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Inset photos courtesy of Melanie Thompson 40


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Melanie Thompson Ceramic artist Melanie Thompson installed the first kiln in her Hood River studio 20 years ago. “It took a summer at Saturday Market exploring different ideas and about two years of R&D to find my niche,” she says. But find it she did, and her distinctive work has been steadily emerging into the Gorge and beyond ever since. Thompson collects rocks and other found objects and uses them as forms for her “vessels.” Her husband shapes large slabs of clay that she then drapes over a chosen rock. “The challenge of this process is to maintain as much of the ‘undercut’ as possible,” she explains, adding that the undercut is where the belly of the rock—its widest point—begins to come back in, following the contour of the rock. “If taken off too soon, the vessel can’t support its own weight. Wait too long, it’s impossible to keep it intact. The right time, the right touch delivers a unique vessel now ready for artwork, glaze and firing.” Thompson uses multiple layers of hand-applied pigments and stains to build rich texture. Her clean lines and simple graphics combine with unique color palettes in her signature work, which ranges from plates, bowls and platters to teapots and vases. As an artist, Thompson appreciates living in the Gorge. “There are a lot of creatives and artists here,” she says—not surprising, given the natural beauty all around for inspiration, she adds. Also, she feels that “artists are appreciated here.” “There are many outlets for artists to exhibit and sell their work,” Thompson says. “Our town is art-friendly. You don’t have to be a professional to participate.” She has been a part of the Gorge Artists Open Studio Tour for 8 of its 10 years, and served on its board for a few years. “The tour has refined a little more each year,” she says. Along with serving as a “show” that she and other artists don’t have to pack up and travel to, the tour is a good way for people to see and be inspired by working artists. “As I visit with folks at my studio, nearly everyone mentions something they’re passionate about or dream about doing, someday,” Thompson says. “When they look around my studio they see traces of life, less than perfect—the walls splashed with glaze, empty candy wrappers on my table and dust bunnies on the floor help them see that an ideal environment is not necessary to pursue what they’d like to do. Just get going on it.”


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Kathryn Watne

Kathy Watne was a jewelry/metal design major at the University of Washington in the 1980s. She knew, after graduating, that she didn’t want to be a starving artist, so she went to work as a bike messenger in Seattle. But a chance encounter with one of her professors at a coffee shop sent her back on the path to becoming a jewelry artist. “He had noticed my enthusiasm for the medium,” Watne says, and he encouraged her to pursue jewelry-making—specifically enameling. “So I started investing in a kiln, copper and enamels, and dabbled at home making gifts for friends, which led to a couple of stores and some art fairs.”

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In the meantime, she’d started coming to the Gorge on weekends with friends to windsurf. She eventually found herself taking longer vacations here, and finally moved to Hood River in 1991. “I was still a ‘weekend artist’ when I moved here,” she says. She participated in local art shows and markets, including Hood River Saturday Market, the Trout Lake Arts Festival and Portland Saturday Market. She’s been a full-time jewelry artist for four years. “I find it extremely rewarding,” she says. “The continuity of being in the studio every day is important.” Watne begins making her jewelry by cutting out shapes from sheet copper—mostly for earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Then she creates the enamel coating. “Enamel is mainly silica— glass—with oxides for color,” she says. The pieces are fired in a kiln at 1,450 degrees for 3 to 4 minutes. “Each piece has several firings, so when I fire the individual pieces, I can rotate several in one sitting,” she says. Recently, she’s been “re-teaching” herself soldering with silver, and has some “really fun work on the tour this year.”

Hood River $450,000 Charming 1900 Craftsman close to downtown Hood River on a popular street. Beautiful crown molding, original pocket doors, maple wood floors, classic front porch and fenced yard. Peek at river and Mt. Adams. Unfinished basement & attic for extra living space. 3BR, 1.5BA, 1608 sqft, .11 acre.

Watne is involved with several local art venues, showing her work at Hood River’s Columbia Center for the Arts and The Dalles Art Center, and is a member of Art on Oak, a new artist’s co-op located in downtown Hood River. She’s also on the board of Gorge Artists Inc., the nonprofit organization that spearheads the Open Studios Tour. This is her fifth year participating in the tour. “I have found the artist community in the Gorge to be a very vibrant and supportive group,” she says. “We all came here for different reasons but the beauty of the area inspires us all.”

Odell $499,000 Large daylight ranch style home with a Mt. Adams & valley view. Easy drive to Hood River. Updated kitchen, sunken living room w/ view windows, full front deck with protected hottub w/access from master BR. 3BR, 2BA on main & 1BR, 1BA guest suite in lower level. 2708 sqft on 4.45 acres.

(541) 490-5099 • (800) 544-1930 Oregon & Washington Broker



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Inset photos courtesy of Kathryn Watne THE GORGE MAGAZINE : SPRING 2016

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Inset photos courtesy of Mark Nilsson 44


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Mark Nilsson When he was growing up, Mark Nilsson moved a lot with his family. He was born in Baker City, in eastern Oregon, but lived in several places in California as well as in Sweden, where his mother was from. By high school, he was back in Oregon, graduating from Sherman High School in Moro. One thing that was always present in Nilsson’s life was his art. “I’ve been creating art for as long as I can remember, always drawing or coloring—sometimes on my dad’s important papers—and continued doing all sorts of art through school,” he says. He had his first art show in The Dalles at age 16. “After that, I didn’t seek any formal training, but continued doing art as more of a hobby.”

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After high school, he moved to Tehran, Iran, where his father had gotten a job teaching English. His family was forced to flee when the revolution began, and Nilsson landed in California again, dabbling in college and doing art on the side. He worked a few different jobs over several years, but art continued to be a constant. “I got back into it more seriously around 1990, at age 30,” he says. “Four years later I was able to ‘quit the day job’ and make art full time.” Nilsson came to the Gorge 20 years ago to visit family in the area. He had been planning to move to Portland, but after staying in Hood River for a bit, decided he’d found home. “It was the best move I’ve ever made,” he says. Nilsson’s inspiration often comes from the scenery all around him in the Gorge— “the rivers, mountains and incredible light,” as he puts it. “I see the world as a painting and I often look at something with the intention of capturing it in paint.” He also loves to travel, and finds inspiration in seeing new and different places. “Being an artist in the Gorge has been life-changing for me,” Nilsson says. “I have tremendous and continuous support from clients here. In my gratitude, I’ve also been able to give back to the community by often donating artwork for charity fundraisers.” Nilsson has enjoyed seeing the art scene in the Gorge grow over the past two decades. “I think we’re all fans of each other’s work and support each other,” he says. The Open Studios Tour is a part of that. “I love meeting and chatting with the people,” he says, “and also perhaps being a bit of an inspiration to another up-and-coming artist.”



Office: 541-387-6700 Denise McCravey Broker/Owner OR & WA

Lodging, Rentals and Real Estate in the Oak Street Hotel building

610 Oak Street Hood River, OR 97031


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Inset photos courtesy of Robin Panzer 46


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Robin Panzer

Panzer begins a piece with a simplistic drawing made from a photo, which becomes her form. “I choose my paper palette and begin tearing and layering small pieces of paper onto my template, blocking in my darks and lights, much like you would in the early stages of a painting,” she says. After each layer dries, she begins another, adding more fine details and definition with each one.

Literary Arts:


OR Author Brian Doyle



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JUNE 17—

Portland Poetry Slam

COLUMBIA CENTER FOR THE ARTS 215 Cascade Avenue Hood River, Oregon 97031 (541) 387-8877 |


She pulled the papers out of the box and began feeling their many textures. “I began to tear the paper and noticed the lovely fibrous edges that told me a story from each angle,” she says. She used the paper to create a portrait of one of the shelter dogs. “When I was finished, I knew paper would be my medium from that point on.” And animals have remained her primary subject.

Music to Our Ears: 10 Year Anniversary FREE Kick-off Party

10 Years of Bringing Art to Life

Five years ago, she was asked to contribute art to benefit an animal shelter. As an advocate for animal rescue, Panzer gladly agreed. At the time, she was painting in acrylics. “I realized with so many artists donating, there would be an abundance of paintings,” she says. Wanting to offer something unique, she perused her art supplies and came across a box of beautiful papers that someone had given her.

Celebration: MARCH 5—


Robin Panzer has had an innate need to create for as long as she can remember. As a kid, she frequently made things—ashtrays from mud, dog toys from socks—and offered them to neighbors. “I didn’t grow up with the idea that I could be an artist for a living, though,” she says. “It was just something that I did for the love of creating.” She went on to a career as president of a private technical college, but continued to do art as a hobby.


Tickets available online, at Waucoma Bookstore, & in the Gallery.

She’s had to invent her own tools for adding bits of paper that are sometimes so tiny her fingers are too big. Likewise, she loves the challenge of figuring out how to create each detail from paper, no matter how small or intricate. Panzer calls the Gorge, which has been her home for more than a decade, “an incredible place to be an artist.” The Open Studio Tour is her favorite event of the year. “My studio is filled with creative energy and light and each person that walks in the door just adds to that,” she says. “There is something about sharing my process and my art with people from far and wide that is so very special.”


Gorgeous Jewelry, Creative Custom Design and Local Handmade Fun

(541) 387-4367 • 409 Oak Street • Downtown Hood River, Oregon


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Sally Gilchrist Art, for Sally Gilchrist, is in her blood. Her mother was an illustrator and painter. Her sister is Barbara Barry, the renowned Los Angeles-based interior and furniture designer. She began taking life drawing classes at a very young age, and later studied art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Glassell School of Art. “I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing, painting or illustrating,” she says. In 2010, she spent a year living in Perth, Western Australia. While attending an art exhibition in Melbourne, she was introduced to the linocuts of acclaimed Australian artist Marion Manifold. “I knew immediately that I wanted to do that,” Gilchrist says. When she returned to Perth, she enrolled in a printmaking class in nearby Fremantle. Each week, she rode her bike 30 kilometers down the Swan River to the class. “It was fertile ground for developing a new medium,” she says. “It took a couple of years to get going on my own but I was totally set up by 2012.” She and her husband have been visiting their grown children in the Gorge for more than 10 years. Finally, two years ago, they moved permanently to White Salmon from Colorado, and Gilchrist now has studio space there that she shares with jewelry artist Sarah Morton Erasmus.







Her prints begin with a drawing, which she traces and flips, then transfers onto linoleum to carve and print. She uses a 24 x 48 Takach Press. Lately, she’s been printing on large sections of watercolor paper torn from a roll, making scrolls that hang with wood accents on the top and bottom. “I am inspired by the merging of environment and literature,” Gilchrist says. A recent project combined her passion for birding (“I am always outside with binoculars,” she says) with the journals of Captain James Cook. The result was a series of prints that included binoculars, magnifying glasses and a sextant. Much of her work features flowers, fruit, leaves and animals. She also does landscapes.

A r t i s t L a u r e l M a r i e H a g n e r S c u l p t u r e S t u d i o & F i n e A r t G a l l e r y

Gilchrist says moving to the Gorge was the best thing she ever did. “I find the area exceptionally inspiring in every way,” she says. “The art community is wonderfully full, ripe and friendly.” The Open Studio Tour has proved to be a vibrant part of the arts scene. “I have been surprised by the varied and numerous people who come out locally and travel to see art,” she says. “It is a privilege to have the space to share with such vibrant, close-knit communities.”

T h e S a c r e d F e m i n i n e

T h i s s p r i n g c a t c h t h e r e l e a s e o f L a u r e l ’ s n e w a r t w o r k s i n g l a s s , c e r a m i c , a n d o n p a p e r a t

G l a s s o m e t r y S t u d i o s a n d o n l i n e .

O p e n F r i - S u n 1 1 - 5 p m i n h i g h s e a s o n & b y a p p t

3 0 1 5 L o w e r m i l l d r . H o o d R i v e r , O R 5 4 1 - 3 5 4 - 3 0 1 5


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Enjoy visiting the studios of 44 local artists: April 22, 23, 24 2016 10am-6pm

Karen Watson/pastel paintings 1012 5th St • Hood River

Kathryn Watne/enamel jewelry 1220 18th St Hood River

Ann Fleming/sculpture (503) 577-2730

Sarah Morton-Erasmus/metalsmith 216 E. Jewett Blvd • White Salmon

Sally Gilchrist/printmaker 216 E. Jewett Blvd • White Salmon

JoDean Sarins/jewelry Ascendente Winery, 85 NE Estes Ave White Salmon •

Cindy Riddle Blachly Pastel, Watercolor, Oil (541) 386-0917

Jan Byrkit/clothing (541) 490-1306

Robin Panzer/chigirie torn paper (541) 645-0832 • Hood River

Mary Rollins/watercolor (541) 993-2745

Bill Sturman/watercolor (541) 352-0926 8495 Hwy 35 Mt Hood

James Diem/pottery (541) 354-9966

Visit or Find tour books for this free event online and at area Chambers of Commerce, Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River, The Dalles Art Center, and Big River Art and Crafts in Goldendale.

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Visit Artists in the scenic Columbia River Gorge

Year-round GUIDE to ART in the GORGE

Cascade Locks / Hood River / Mt Hood / Mosier / The Dalles / White Salmon / Trout Lake

Christine Knowles/painting (541) 490-4896

Charlene Rivers/painting 8161 Jordan Rd • Parkdale

Heather Soderberg-Greene/sculpture 505 Wanapa St • Cascade Locks

Pamela Larsen/Chinese paintings dragonflies, flowers, mountains 921 Pear Blossom • Hood River

Cathy Stever/fused glass (541) 806-1066

Yvonne Pepin-Wakefield painting/ceramics

Carl Annala/painting (503) 810-7387

Leila Prestia/glass, jewelry (509) 493-4900 721 Lambert Ln • White Salmon Charlene Fort/glass 1228 Tucker Rd • Hood River

Heather Marlow/pastels, jewelry 111NW Cherry St • White Salmon

Abigail Merickel/printmaking (541) 280-5275 www.abigailmerickel,com

The Mission of Gorge Artists (GA) is to advance art and encourage artists in the Columbia River Gorge by building community among artists and the public, promoting art and business education, and providing opportunities for the public to experience and enjoy art.

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PURSUING CREATIVE OUTLETS WHEN THE DAY JOB IS DONE Winston Churchill was a painter. As prime minister of Great Britain, he inspired the British resistance and helped defeat Nazi Germany in World War II. But he was also a serious painter for 47 years, producing more than 500 paintings in that time. Painting helped him relax after toiling at his vocation; it exercised different parts of his brain. He wrote, “To restore psychic equilibrium we should call into use those parts of the mind which direct both eye and hand.” Most of us are known for our professions. When people ask “What do you do?” they generally want to know what you do for a job. But for many, avocations are at least as important as vocations. The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word “avocation” as “an activity engaged in, usually for enjoyment, in addition to one’s regular work or profession; hobby.” The four Gorge artists profiled here all work in the care-giving professions. They would likely concur that, while they love their jobs, their avocations are not merely hobbies—they are truly their passions. In the meantime, if you’re seeking an avocation outside of your regular workday, here’s some advice from Churchill. “Try it while there is still time to overcome the preliminary difficulties…Plant a garden you can sit in when digging days are done. It may only be a small garden, but you will see it grow. Year by year it will bloom and ripen. Year by year it will be better cultivated.” Peggy Dills Kelter is a retired elementary school teacher, and an artist and writer. She lives in Hood River.



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Jim MacMillan

VOCATION: Medical Director and Clinical Psychiatrist, Mid Columbia Center for Living AVOCATION: Musician and Song Writer


t a recent gallery opening in Hood River, a small band consisting of three musicians—on tuba, guitar and cajon (a percussion instrument)— entertains the crowd. The tall guitarist, wearing a pork pie hat, is also the band’s songwriter. The gallery is a noisy venue on this night. The singing guitarist prefers gigs where patrons listen quietly. Listening is a skill for which he’s highly trained; in his day job, he’s a practicing psychiatrist. Jim MacMillan got his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his MD from Ohio State. After finishing his residency at OHSU, he moved to the Gorge. More than 30 years later he’s still here, treating patients with mental health issues, administering at the Mid Columbia Center for Living, and whenever possible, strumming a guitar. MacMillan has played guitar since he was a kid, even though his parents refused to get him lessons. “My sister took guitar lessons,” he says. “I told my parents I wanted to, too. They said I just

wanted them because my sister got them. Every week when she got home, I made her sit down and teach me what she had learned.” From there, he learned from others by watching carefully, and subscribed to Guitar Player magazine. He taught himself to thumb pick, a style he uses almost exclusively today. MacMillan has been writing songs for almost 40 years, but didn’t perform his own songs publicly until a few years ago. He estimates he’s written over 50 songs, many of them at songwriting workshops throughout the West. He gets his inspiration from a variety of sources, including local historical events, daily journaling he does with his wife, and his patients’ stories. “The trick is to write songs that don’t threaten patient confidentiality,” he says. While his patients have inspired him, MacMillan’s sessions with them can also be draining. His guitar brings him relief. “When I had my office in The Dalles I kept a guitar there,” he says. “If I’d had a psychotherapy session that was really tough, I’d pull the guitar out and play for five minutes between patients. It was like pushing the reset button.” MacMillan currently plays with Randy Bell on percussion and Jerry Keith on bass and tuba. Evenings and weekends you can often find the trio playing at local venues. MacMillan is not about to quit his day job though. He loves writing and playing, but loathes booking the band. And the pay is meager. Frequently, an evening’s wages are doled out in the form of pizza and beer. When MacMillan is not playing at clubs and bars, you’re likely to see him performing with the Voci Choir or volunteering at Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association events, where he is a board member. At home, he sometimes jams with son Luke. The youngest of three, Luke likes to play rock-and-roll but has a dream of becoming an opera singer. It’s likely Luke never had to ask his big sister to teach him music; MacMillan and his wife Debbie Dobbs recognize the importance of art and creativity in everyone’s life.


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Nancy Harbert

VOCATION: Dental Hygienist, Hood River Dental AVOCATION: Photographer


et’s face it, a trip to the dentist can be stressful. Dental offices attempt to make the experience as pleasant as possible with things like soothing music, light-hearted chatter, and mediocre art hanging on the walls. If you’re lucky enough to have Nancy Harbert for your hygienist, though, the art is anything but mediocre. Harbert is a photographer, and a good one. Her office walls are adorned with beautiful Gorge landscapes and breathtaking photographs of flowers and birds. For her professional career, Harbert credits an amazing professor that mentored her through dental hygiene school at Mt. Hood Community College. She graduated from the program in 1978, and was soon working for Dr. Stephen Snyder at what is now Hood River Dental. Thirty-seven years later, she’s still there, and legions of her patients queue up to get a coveted appointment with her. In addition to her professor, Harbert had another mentor—her mother, who encouraged Harbert’s fascination with photography at a young age. “She was an amateur photographer but she was amazing,” Harbert says. “She was a perfectionist, and she was good.” Harbert’s first camera was a little Brownie, though she didn’t take many pictures because developing the film was so expensive. As she grew up, so did her tastes in equipment. During college her mother encouraged her to buy a used Minolta. Her husband bought her an SLR camera when their son was born. “I took tons of pictures of my kids,” she says. “I used that camera until my favorite lens literally fell apart because I used it so much.” Harbert’s first experience with digital photography wasn’t great. “My camera had floppies that went into it, not memory cards,” she says. “It was horrible.” Now she owns the digital camera she always dreamed of, and with the costs of developing no longer an issue, she can shoot as many images as she’s able. She’s also gotten serious about taking classes, and belongs to the Gorge Photography Club. Harbert, a self-proclaimed shy person, has found that becoming acquainted with people through the lens


of a camera has really helped her bashfulness. It was at a Gorge Photography Club event that she got to know Linda Steider, an artist and photographer from White Salmon. Together, they have become enthusiastic birders and wildlife photographers. She’s gotten to know members of her church, Covenant Christian, as a result of shooting photos to chronicle the volunteer labor force that has worked on the church’s three-year remodeling project. Cleaning people’s teeth is an intimate experience, and taking photos feels the same to Harbert. Her attention to detail and artistry are evident in both. Asked to compare the two, she says, “My job is stressful, but very rewarding. My photography, though, is a lot more fun!”


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ric Voigt is a careful observer, whether he’s studying a patient’s posture or painting the Columbia River from his home studio. He learned the skill early in life; his father taught anatomy at Tulane University. Anatomical specimens lay around the house. At nine years of age, Voigt was already learning to look closely at the world. By high school, Voigt’s focus had changed. He became obsessed with surfing, and almost flunked out of school. By his twenties, and in order to avoid the draft, he enrolled at Santa Barbara City College, and found his favorite subjects were anatomy and physiology. When he wasn’t cracking open the books, he was surfing the California waves. He discovered he had a talent making custom surfboards. “I put myself through school making boards,” he says. By then, Voigt had also begun dabbling in another creative pursuit—painting. A surfing buddy of his from high school, Hank Pitcher, was teaching painting at UC Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies. Voigt audited Pitcher’s classes. “I got the best of it,” he says. “Here you are, the college is right on the beach, you paint beautiful naked women, go out and paint beautiful scenery, and surf.” Voigt was not only in love with surfing and painting, but also with a beautiful young woman named Raquel. A family soon followed, and Eric found himself looking for a profession. He found it attending Palmer West Chiropractic College. Meanwhile, his skills making surfboards morphed into work designing custom windsurfing boards. In 1985 he came to the Gorge for the Pro Am race series. Hood River in July, he says, “was like an epiphany.”

Eric Voigt VOCATION: Chiropractor AVOCATION: Painter

Voigt has been practicing chiropractic for more than 30 years. His office hours are set up so that he has plenty of time each week to paint, an avocation he had to give up for 20 years while he and Raquel raised their three sons. Today, his paintings fill a downstairs studio, and his easel is often set up in the family’s living room, with its fabulous view of the Gorge. He’s happy to call himself an amateur, pointing out that the root of the word is “amo,” Latin for “love.” “Amateurs are purely doing it for love,” he says. Voigt credits his painter friend and mentor Hank Pitcher, and his functional neurology mentor Frederick Carrick, with honing his skills as a keen observer. “My ability to see is completely connected to my understanding of neurology,” he says. “Hank taught me ‘you can only paint what you can see.’ It’s the same with chiropractic. In practice—that’s why they call it that—you are always developing your eye, your touch, your sensibilities, and your observational skills.”

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Making History Come Alive…

VISIT OUR HISTORIC Hood River Photo Blog: DISCOVER culture and history through fresh, engaging exhibits, and exciting programs EXPLORE hands-on activities and educational displays for families and children of all ages

300 East Port Marina Drive • Hood River • (541) 386-6772 OPEN: Monday-Saturday, 11am-4pm

Keri Bradberry

VOCATION: Reading Specialist, Mid Valley Elementary School AVOCATIONS: Jeweler and Marimba Player


s a teenager, Keri Bradberry got her first job working at a swap meet in San Diego. Her boss, who sold jewelry, hired Bradberry because she was the only one of her girlfriends who didn’t try to flirt with him. At the age of 15, Bradberry impressed on the man that she was serious about marketing. She loved the job, even though she earned only $20 per weekend. Fast-forward a few years. Bradberry earned a business and marketing degree by working days and taking classes at night and on weekends. It was a grueling schedule for a single mom with a toddler at home. Her dream was to own her own business someday, but the reality of needing a secure job to support her daughter pointed her toward a degree in education. After earning a master’s from Eastern Oregon University, she found a job in Sweet


Home, Ore., where she met Jane Osborne, a fellow teacher born and raised in the Hood River Valley. Osborne’s regular gift of apples from her family’s orchard helped Bradberry decide to move to Odell, where she got a job teaching second grade at Mid Valley Elementary. After nine years teaching in a traditional classroom, she was asked to be part of the dual language team at Mid Valley. She would still teach second grade, but instruction would have to be delivered in Spanish part of each day. The task was daunting for Bradberry; she felt her language skills were lacking. She went home every night to study Spanish and try to put together lessons “en Español” while taking care of her child. “I spent so much time studying, trying to produce language that I wasn’t ready to produce,” Bradberry says. “My life felt really out of balance.” That’s when making jewelry, which had been a


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hobby, saved her. “You get in that creative zone and it’s peaceful and relaxing. You don’t think about anything else. You don’t need words.” Soon, she had enough inventory to take her hobby to a new level, one that would marry her experience in marketing with her creative side. She sold her designs at Hood River’s Saturday Market for five years before establishing her online business on Etsy ( Her business exploded, with orders coming in from all over the world. She worked seven days a week—four as a teacher, and three as an artist. Today, her daughter is grown, and by choice, her online business is getting smaller. She’s back to full time at school. Still, she has the creative energy to pursue her new passion, marimba, where she performs with the Jamba Marimba band. Bradberry’s creative pursuits “help me feel balanced as a person,” she says. “It makes me sad how education is going. Everyone needs the arts in their lives. Otherwise, it denies one the opportunity to be a full person.”

SPRING ART EVENTS MUSICAL PERFORMANCES The Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association’s spring performance schedule includes a variety of genres. For tickets, go to • The Romantic Century. The Voci Choir presents a program of memorable music from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The choir will be joined by the Hood River String Quartet. (March 11 at 7 p.m. and March 13 at 2 p.m., at the Wy’east Middle School Performing Arts Center.) • Storm Large, superstar vocalist, and her band join the Sinfonietta for one amazing show in May. (May 7 at 7 p.m. at the Hood River Middle School Auditorium.) • Voci Does Broadway. The Voci Choir and soloists perform musical gems from the Broadway Stage, joined by The Gorge Jazz Collective. (May 13 at 7 p.m. and May 15 at 2 p.m., at the Wy’east Middle School Performing Arts Center.) ARTS SERIES The Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with a special year-long offering, poTENtial Program Series: 10 Years of Bringing Art to Life. Each of the 10 events (running monthly from April through November) features one art form, including literary arts, photography, culture, performance, visual arts, dance, theatre, film, music and comedy. Featured artists include award-winning author Brian Doyle, National Geographic photographer Randy Olson, the Portland Poetry Slam, and more. Each event begins with a brief interview with the featured artist(s), followed by a performance or presentation. “When we started planning for these events, we decided to think big,” said Kristyn Fix, events manager for the Arts Center. “These events bring a higher caliber of art expression and artists to the Gorge.” For a detailed schedule of events and featured artists, go to

Follow your feet to for Dansko shoes &clogs

413 Oak St • Hood River • 541.308.0770 • Open Mon-Fri 10-6, Sun 11-5 THE GORGE MAGAZINE : SPRING 2016

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8th Street

0.25 mile from State St. to May St.


Introduction by Janet Cook




2nd Street


3rd Street


4th Street


1$ 1&

OAK STREET 6th Street


7th Street

13th Street

9th Street



Photography by Michael Peterson


Map courtesy of Jan Meyer/Art of Community


Front St


1st Street

This is



ou can get some exercise and take in great art with the Hood River BIG ART Walking Tour. The project was launched two years ago when Hood River artist CJ Rench rounded up some fellow Gorge artists and arts advocates and set out to change the face of the city by installing permanent public art. The tour now boasts 23 installations in locations along the waterfront, downtown and in the Heights.

“The BIG ART Walking Tour inspires public engagement through art and creates a sense of place, optimism and discussion throughout the Gorge,” says Kristen Godkin, development director for Art of Community, the organization formed to oversee the project. “Most importantly, it is accessible to everyone.” Some of the art on the tour has been donated permanently, and Art of Community is creating a fund to purchase more installations. Art pieces are currently on a twoyear rotation; they’re available to purchase and will be replaced with new installations at the end of their run. Art of Community has added spaces for installations over the past year—including in the Heights—and hopes to continue adding more. “We are finding it helps connect the Heights, downtown and the waterfront, reflects our community of talented artists and supports our local economy,” Godkin says. “It is even inspiring people to get out and walk and run!”






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Map courtesy of Jan Meyer/Art of Community


permanent collection of art of community





Sound of Water on Rocks... post 1957







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pizzeria • drafthouse theater arcade • frozen yogurt It’s the pizza...25 years of authentic east coast thin crust pizza

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Andrew Mcelderry and his family have been making pizza since 1991. To survive and grow, you must have a great product, everything they do is fresh and from scratch. This pizzeria loves pizza and, therefore, their pizza has to be and is the best. Bring some friends, have a slice of real east coast thin crust pizza, combine with a fresh salad, wings or a calzone. 14 inch pies • 18 inch pies

107 Oak Street, Hood River | AndrewsPizza.Com | 541-386-1448 ON-LINE ORDERING | EAT IN | TAKE OUT | DELIVERY



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BIG ART Walking Tour maps are available

at the Hood River Chamber of Commerce, the Hood River Inn, the Yasui Building, Big Winds, Doppio, Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom, Springhouse Cellar, Full Sail Brewing, Hood River County Library, Ovino Market, Pine Street Bakery and online at

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A Guide to


The Gorge is many things to many people. Outdoor recreation nirvana. Sophisticated wine region. Craft beer paradise. Artists’ haven. Family-friendly place to live and visit. Stunningly beautiful. All of these things also make it a great place to get married— both for local brides and grooms and those from afar as well. Nearly one in four couples now opt for a destination wedding, according to a recent study by, choosing to say “I do” someplace other than where they live. And more and more couples are choosing to exchange their vows here in the Gorge. According to The Wedding Report, a national wedding market research firm, the number of weddings in Hood River, Wasco, Klickitat and Skamania counties combined totaled nearly 750 in 2014. Hood River County alone accounted for 279 of




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Weddingsin the Gorge S P E C I A L



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those. The average cost of a Hood River County wedding was $31,063. Annual wedding-related sales in the county totaled over $8.6 million. Skamania County was second, with 185 weddings, generating total sales of $4.8 million. All these numbers point to the fact that the Gorge is a popular place to get hitched, and that weddings bring a lot of business to the area. Wedding vendors proliferate—including event planners, florists, caterers, mobile food carts, photographers, jewelers, salons and spas, rental companies and more—making it easy to plan your wedding from start to finish. One of the best things about getting married in the Gorge? Not only is it a great place to spend your special day, but your guests can make a vacation for themselves out of attending your wedding. With everything it has to offer, it’s no wonder the Gorge is one of the most popular places in the region to tie the knot.

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s p e c i a l

a d v e r t i s i n g

s e c t i o n

Choosing a Wedding Venue

One thing that makes the Gorge such a unique place to get married is the huge variety of venues available, making it possible to create any kind of wedding imaginable. From a plethora of stunning outdoor options to dozens of unique indoor venues, you can find anything you’re looking for—and maybe even something you weren’t, but fall in love with anyway. Choosing your venue is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in planning your wedding. Here are some questions to consider as you look for the perfect place for your special day.

’ Do you want to have your ceremony and reception in the same place? ’ What is the décor like? Does it fit your style? ’ Does the venue have an in-house caterer? If so, do you like the food options? Are there restrictions on which outside caterer you can use?

’ Is the venue wheelchair accessible? Keep in mind your wedding guests who might have trouble climbing a lot of stairs, or getting around a challenging venue.

’ Is there a payment schedule? What kind of deposits are required? Are there any hidden costs? (Be sure to read the contract carefully.)

’ Does the venue have a liquor license? Can you bring your own liquor? ’ Is there room for parking? Is there valet parking? ’ Is there adequate room for a band and/or dancing? ’ Does the venue come with its own adequate sound system, including speakers? ’ Is there a space onsite for the bride and groom to change and/or relax? ’ Where will you take the photographs? ’ If the venue is outside, is there a backup plan for inclement weather?




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welcome spring KlicKitat county washington

Say “hello” to Spring with a refreshing stroll through the vineyards, rafting on a scenic river, bicycling through lush forests or windsurfing in the bright sunshine…Klickitat County has it all! Finish a wonderful scenic driving loop tour with a visit to our premium wineries, museums, colorful shops and festive restaurants. Oh, and meet some of the friendliest folks around. Life is just Better on the northside… join us this spring Mountain Biking

Fine Dining


Goldendale Observatory

Maps and Activity Brochures available at: • (509) 493-3630 • Highway 14 at the Hood River Bridge • (509) 773-3400 • 903 Broadway, Goldendale

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Go East in Spring Step (or pedal) back in time in the Deschutes River Canyon STORY AND PHOTOS BY ADAM LAPIERRE


ative Americans inhabited the Deschutes River Canyon for at least 10,000 years. It was an important route to and from the Columbia River, and as you follow the same path through the winding and rugged canyon walls—


surrounded by the desolate and unchanged landscape, the smell of fresh sage and juniper drifting in the air, the river echoing a peaceful symphony below—it’s not hard to imagine what life might have been like along this federally-designated Wild and Scenic River. Lewis and Clark were the first men of European descent to record their visit to the Deschutes. They stopped at the mouth of the river in 1805 as they followed the Columbia on their westward trek to the Pacific Ocean. The Oregon Trail and its flow of emigrants followed not long after, crossing the Deschutes just upstream from the mouth. For the hearty that made it this far, the Deschutes was a symbol that their difficult journey was nearly at an end. It’s fitting, then, that on the lower Deschutes River Canyon trailhead sits the fading remains of an old covered wagon. Signs of early settlers linger farther up the trail as well—an old wooden railroad car, remnants of a long-gone bridge and what’s left of the historic Harris Homestead at the far end of the 11.3-mile trail. Located about 40 minutes east of Hood River, the trail begins at Deschutes River State Park, which is a well-established campground, day-use area, fishing site, boat launch and takeout for the rafters who frequent the river in the hot summer months. From the park, there are actually three separate trails that parallel one another and eventually join farther up the river. The uppermost trail is an old railroad bed that stretches 11.3 miles up the canyon, while the middle and lower trails are footpaths that follow the river for a few miles.


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The remains of an old covered wagon sit near the lower Deschutes River Canyon trailhead (left). Spring is a prime time to bike or hike on the trails that follow the river for more than 11 miles from its mouth.


Hikers have several options starting at the state park. From the campground, a well-established path follows the river for a couple miles and provides easy access for fishing, swimming, foot-dipping, picnicking and blissful dog bathing. Lower and middle trails parallel the river and eventually join together with one another and with the main upper trail, which is a wide and well-established old railroad bed that winds for a little more than 11 miles up the river.


An insider’s tip for hiking in the Gorge: head east in the spring. You’ll find better weather and fewer people. The farther east you go the drier it gets. In the Gorge, a little extra drive time in the spring can mean the difference between getting soaked and getting a suntan. (The opposite can be said for later in the year, in the heat of summer, when rattlesnakes and scorpions have free rein and buzzards circle overhead, waiting for their next meal to drop dead from dehydration.) Also, as crowds defrost from winter, they tend to populate central-Gorge destinations first. Waterfalls and wildflowers are a must-see, but popular trailheads are best avoided the first few sunny weekends of spring if you’re looking for any kind of solitude.


For a scenic and user-friendly ride, the upper trail is about as good as it gets (bikes are not allowed on the lower trails). The Deschutes only drops about a quarter of a mile in its final 100 miles to the Columbia, so elevation changes along the trail are only the gentle rise and fall as it

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The upper trail through the Deschutes River Canyon, built on an old railroad bed, is wide and well established—but be aware of sharp rocks and thorns. Bikers and hikers are rewarded with high desert views and a chance for solitary reflection.

follows the topography of the canyon. The trail is wide, packed gravel, making the 22-mile out and back perfectly doable, even for novice bikers. This is also an ideal trail for entry-level “bikepacking,” with a variety of camping possibilities along the river, many of them frequented by rafting parties in the summer and some equipped with pit toilets. PRECAUTIONS:

It’s darn near impossible to get lost along the trail, so you don’t have to worry about that, but you’ll definitely want to be prepared for whatever

length of hike you’re attempting. Temperatures can drop quickly after the sun goes down. Also, pay close attention to ticks and rattlesnakes as temperatures warm up for the season. If you’re biking the trail, it’s a good idea to carry an extra tube or patch kit. There are some sharp thorns and rocks along the trail and it’s easy to get a far enough from your car that it would be a very long walk back if you get a flat. GETTING THERE:

Deschutes River State Park is 37 miles east of Hood River. Take Interstate 84 to Biggs, grab any last minute provisions you might need, then backtrack west a few miles on Biggs-Rufus Highway. You can’t miss the entrance to the state park just before the bridge crosses over the Deschutes River. The trailhead for the upper trail is to the left just after the entrance (look for the sign), and the starting point for both of the lower trails is at the far end of the campground. Parking fees apply.

Start Your Adventure Here 9am-6pm Daily (541) 386-5787

101 Oak St. Downtown Hood River




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Experience Skamania County, Washington! CARSON RIDGE LUXURY CABINS


Rejuvenate at our romantic getaway cabins. Soak in a spa tub with lavender bath salts. Enjoy a relaxing in-cabin massage. Dream it and we’ll work to deliver it.

An economic development partner in Cascade Locks, Oregon. The Port offers property for sale or lease, manages the Marine Park for your special events, and supports outdoor recreation development in the Gorge.

(509)427-7777 • 1261 Wind River Rd • Carson

For more information: (541) 374-8619



Guided tours for individuals, groups, families, or couples. Including waterfalls, wildflowers, wineries, breweries, trail hikes, scenic drives and more. Sit back and relax as we explore the hidden treasures of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Established in 1932

(503)349-1323 •


Judith Lanz Insurance Agency, Inc.

Insurance and financial services agency specializing in all lines of property, home, and auto insurance. Also offering commercial and health insurance for small and medium size businesses. For more information: (509) 427-5517 25 SW Russell Avenue • Stevenson

DAN & KATHY HUNTINGTON, REALTORS Rural property and view homes on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. Expertise, integrity, passion for the beauty of the Gorge. (360) 253-1120 • Dan and Kathy Huntington Windermere/Crest Realty

We have Prime Rib Friday, Broasted Chicken, Bungalow Burger and so much more. 2 pool tables, dart board and friendly atmosphere. Come by and see us. (509) 427-4523 812 Wind River Hwy • Carson

NORTH BONNEVILLE ROCK QUARRY Your crushed and natural aggregate supplier in the Gorge, We opened the quarry in 2013 and look forward to servicing the communities rock needs. We are open for business Monday thru Friday. Schedule your delivery today. (509)427-4402

WATERFALL LOVERS Water is abundant in the Columbia River Gorge and especially in the form of waterfalls. Enjoy the many waterfall hikes in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, just north of Carson, Washington. To access all of them, travel north of Highway 14 on Highway 30 through Carson.

SKAMANIA COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: 167 NW Second Avenue, Stevenson, WA 98648 • 800-989-9178 •

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Beethoven in the Gorge

The Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association thrives with music director Mark Steighner at the helm STORY BY JANET COOK • PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PETERSON


idway through an ambitious performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony by the Columbia Gorge Sinfonietta and Voci Choir last fall, the lights in the Wy’east Performing Arts Center suddenly went out. Startled audience members at the sold-out performance peered around in the dim gray light seeping through a few high windows in the arts center, unsure of what would happen. But despite being unable to see their music for several minutes, the more than 100 orchestra members and singers on stage didn’t miss a beat. When the lights came back on (someone had inadvertently leaned against a light switch), it was as if nothing had happened. The professionalism of the Sinfonietta Orchestra and the Voci Choir comes from a combination of the dedicated musicians who make up the ensembles and Mark Steigher, their conductor and music director. Steighner has been at the helm of


the Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association for the past 10 years, during which he has transformed the organization from a fledgling group consisting solely of a small orchestra into a musical arts force that includes the expanded Sinfonietta Orchestra, the Voci Choir, the Gorge Jazz Collective and the Hood River String Quartet. A fifth ensemble, the Gorge Youth Chorus, is in the works. “It’s evolving in a really positive way,” said Steighner, who retired last year from a career at Hood River Valley High School, where he was a beloved and accomplished music and choir teacher for 36 years, in part so he could devote his time to the CGOA. The roots of the CGOA go back nearly 40 years, to when a handful of local musicians organized themselves as the Mid-Columbia Sinfonietta. Under the direction of Dorothy McCormick, the orchestra performed a couple of concerts a year,


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The roots of the Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association go back nearly 40 years. beginning in 1977. The group became affiliated with the Portland-based Chamber Music Society of Oregon, where it remained until McCormick’s death in 2004. That’s when Steighner took the helm. With the support of orchestra members, Steighner severed ties with the Chamber Music Society and formed the nonprofit CGOA. The change meant that donors would be making contributions directly to the local organization, and Steighner would have greater freedom with concert dates, soloists and repertoire. Steighner soon brought on new board members, infusing the organization with fresh energy and ideas. The Sinfonietta itself has grown to about 45 musicians; of that, about 5 to 9 of them at any given time are paid, professional musicians—mostly from the Portland/Vancouver area. The Voci Choir, which “has been around for a while in a number of forms,” according to Steighner, has coalesced into a group of 45-70 singers that has tackled some ambitious works over the past couple of years—performing both alone and with the Sinfonietta. The Gorge Jazz Collective launched last year and counts several music educators among its members. The 18 or so musicians of the collective were joined by marimba and mariachi musicians for two lively concerts in February. “This group has a lot of experience,” Steighner said. The Hood River String Quartet, formed last year, is led by Chari Bickford, a professional violinist who moved to the Gorge from Spokane a couple of years ago. “When I moved here, I was surprised to find an orchestra in Hood River at all,” said Bickford, who has played in professional orchestras in four major cities in her career. She joined the Sinfonietta and was quickly impressed by both the “sincerity and diligence” of its members and the “superior musicianship” of Steighner. “(He) lives and breathes the music that he conducts and composes,” she said. Bickford’s first performance with the Sinfonietta was in the fall of 2014, when the orchestra and the Voci Choir performed Mozart’s Requiem. “I was hesitant, because the technical level of playing

Mark Steighner, at left, directs the Gorge Jazz Collective, one of several ensembles that are part of the Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association.

wasn’t what I was used to,” Bickford said. She remembers Steighner telling the orchestra members that, though the work had been performed hundreds of times around the globe, the unique quality they could bring to the performance was simply each one of them giving it their all. “That performance attracted a standing room-only crowd, and the orchestra played from its heart,” she said. “It was one of the most special musical experiences of my life.” Last fall’s performance of Beethoven’s 9th brought a similar experience, according to Bickford, who called it “a work that I previously wouldn’t have imagined we could pull off.” Bickford also leads two educational string ensembles under the auspices of the CGOA, with the hope of fostering string players who will eventually play with the Sinfonietta. Each of the CGOA ensembles rehearses once a week—more often when a performance is coming up. The goal, according to Steighner, is to have at least one performance each month by one of the ensembles. Along with juggling rehearsal and performance schedules, Steighner is a prolific composer and writes musicals. Another project also occupies Steighner’s time these days: the goal of building a performing arts center. The CGOA ensembles currently

perform at the Wy’east Middle School Performing Arts Center in Odell, which has a capacity of about 250. The CGOA performances generally sell out, with many turned away. Steighner’s dream is to build a concert hall with seating for 600, along with classrooms that could be used for music education and other related purposes. In the meantime, Steighner has plenty to do with CGOA’s busy spring schedule. In March, a performance by the Voci Choir and the Hood River String Quartet entitled “The Romantic Century” celebrates music from the 19th and early 20th centuries. On May 7, superstar vocalist Storm Large and her band join the Sinfonietta for a show at the Hood River Middle School auditorium. And later in May, the Voci Choir performs musical gems from Broadway with its performance, “Voci Does Broadway,” in collaboration with the Gorge Jazz Collective. And then, there’s next season to plan for. Steighner seems to relish it all. “I’m such a project-oriented person,” he said. “I really like the fact that we can bring forth a vision for this and where we want to go.” For more information, go to

For upcoming arts and culture events in the Gorge, please visit our calendar on page 57


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Barre is a f let, Pilates


Meet You at the Barre Hood River studio brings fitness trend to the Gorge

People are lining up at a popular new bar in Hood River—but you won’t find craft beer, hard cider or wine here. What you will find on the menu are barre classes designed to help people of all ages “lean it out,” says Christa Scheer, who opened Hood River Barre in July 2015. It’s been growing ever since. Scheer, a Hood River native, says the time was right to bring the barre fitness trend to the Gorge. “Barre is a full-body workout inspired by ballet, Pilates and yoga,” Scheer explains. “Our goal is to create long and lean muscles without the effect of bulkiness.” She thinks one of the reasons why women in the Gorge are drawn to barre is that it complements the hard-core sports they’re doing such as mountain biking, skiing and windsurfing—which Scheer, 35, enjoys as well. “They get to come to a fun, dance-inspired studio, get an intense workout in just an hour and leave standing a little bit more upright,” she says. That was certainly the appeal for Tracy Bech, a 39-year-old Hood River mother of two and director of e-commerce at Dakine, who attends barre classes two or three times a week. Barre, Bech says, has helped her get stronger and leaner. She pedals her bikes with more power. She lifts her 1-year-old with ease. And she’s lost a lot of baby weight. “Barre is exactly the kind of workout that’s good for my body,” says Bech, who danced in high school and college. “It’s essentially a dance class for adults. It focuses on balance, coordination and grace, but really incorporates the workout element as well.”



She also appreciates the social aspect. Before the studio opened, Bech was doing barre in her living room by following a video and using a chair as a prop. When Scheer, a good friend of hers, said she was thinking about teaching barre in Hood River, Bech was thrilled. “I was one of Christa’s test


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arre is a full-body workout inspired by balet, Pilates and yoga,

Barre is a full-body workout inspired by ballet, Pilates and yoga Christa Scheer, owner of Hood River Barre, leads fellow instructors and students in a class at the studio in the Hood River Heights. Scheer opened the studio last summer and has been steadily increasing the class offerings due to popularity.

students,” says Bech, who started practicing with her in February 2015. At that time, Scheer began offering free classes at the Columbia Gorge Dance Academy three times a week to figure out what style of barre would fit best in the Gorge. She had completed both a franchised and an independent barre training program and had practiced a variety of barre methods for six years in Santa Cruz, Calif., where she lived

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before moving back to her hometown. She also took barre classes while traveling around the world with her husband, Morgan Larson, a professional sailor. Her goal was to keep the classes fresh, hip and on trend. Scheer’s free classes filled quickly and consistently. After two months, she began charging for the classes, and they remained packed. When the ideal space on 12th Street in the Hood River

Heights became available, she was ready to launch her well-tested product. Scheer thoughtfully selected the design elements for the new studio, including a warm cork dance floor, soft diffused lighting, a mirrored wall and two long ballet barres accommodating up to 30 students at once. An area near the entry displays barre-style clothing and accessories for sale such as tights, tank tops, cropped t-shirts, soft

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Instructors at Hood River Barre—which also offers jazz and hip-hop classes—include (bottom, from left) Rose Appel, Giselle Lord, Katie Abercrombie and Christa Scheer.

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hoodies and grippy socks to prevent sliding if your feet get sweaty. A big Marshall speaker fills the space with lush sound. Bech loves the new studio. Others do, too, judging by the often-full classes. “We’re all glad it’s here,” Bech says. “It’s peaceful, modern and clean. The energy is a mixture between fun and omigod, this is really hard! Everyone is really positive and supportive of one another.” Getting started Whether you’re a beginner with no dance or barre experience, or you just haven’t worked out in a while, you can start barre, says Scheer. All levels of fitness are welcome. And while the majority of clients are women, Scheer says a few men have shown up, too. She’s thinking about creating a “guy-friendly” class. If you’re pregnant or injured, you may find that barre is an effective way to stay fit, as all the exercises can be modified to suit your needs, Scheer explains. In fact, it was a stubborn shoulder injury that led her to barre years ago. She was sidelined from other sports, but discovered she could safely take barre classes as her shoulder healed. Results came fast and she got hooked. She also practiced while pregnant. “There’s a graceful element of being at the barre,” Scheer says. “You’re not jumping and

bouncing around—you’re just doing very small, minute movements. We do flowier stuff and some cardio too, but because you’re only, for the most part, moving one inch, you can still be graceful at any size or age.” Scheer’s mantra: Lean it out. Let it shake. “You’re still going to get shaky legs and sweat,” Scheer says. “People want to walk out feeling like they got a great workout.” Now with four instructors, Hood River Barre also offers yoga, jazz dance and hip hop. For more information, go to

Cate Hotchkiss is a freelance writer, runner, mom and newly addicted barre student who lives in Hood River with her husband and two children. She blogs at gorgegirlruns.


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get your spring on

Come see our new location at: 810 13th Street Hood River



SUPPORTING HEALTHY, ACTIVE KIDS: Pre-Birth through 21 years

541.386.2300 • URGENT CARE ON CALL 7 DAYS A WEEK UNTIL 10PM Dr. Hankins • Dr. Beaman • Dr. Martin

810 13th St (across from the hospital) • Hood River

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find us on 5 41 - 3 8 6 - 17 0 0 Facebook 1700 12th St., Suite A, Hood River


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This fried rice is flavor-packed, vibrant and totally satisfying. The Good Food Award-winning kraut-chi from Blue Bus Cultured Foods, based in Bingen, Wash., adds the perfect balance of salt, tang, ginger, garlic and heat to the dish while the fennel, kale and mushrooms add earthiness and texture. This recipe makes enough to serve six, but four of us polished it off as a late lunch! Consider topping the lot with an olive oil fried egg—you won’t be disappointed.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

4 cups day-old cooked Calrose rice
 5 strips bacon, sliced into 1/4” thick pieces
 1 bulb fennel, trimmed, cored and roughly sliced
 6 cups roughly chopped kale
 12 crimini mushrooms, stems discarded, thinly sliced
 1 16 oz jar Blue Bus Kraut-Chi
 2 tbsp fish sauce
 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar soy sauce toasted sesame oil cilantro, trimmed
 green onions, thinly sliced on the bias lemon
 peanut or canola oil

Directions: Place the bacon in a cold large wok or large skillet, turn the heat to medium-high and cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel. Add the mushrooms to the bacon oil in the wok, sauté until brown. Transfer the mushrooms to a large bowl. Heat a little oil in the wok over medium-high heat. Add the kale, in batches if necessary, and cook until it’s wilted and some of the edges are browning and crisp. Add to the mushrooms. Squeeze about 1 tbsp of lemon juice and 1 tsp soy sauce over the kale and toss it together with the mushrooms. Set aside. Reduce heat to medium-low, add a bit more oil to the wok, and sauté the fennel until just beginning to brown around the edges but still crisp. Transfer to the bowl with the vegetables. Add 2 tbsp oil to the wok and crank the heat up to high. Once the oil is shimmering, carefully add half of the rice, stir to coat it in oil, then spread it out in the pan. Allow it to cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the bottom of the rice is slightly browned. Stir and repeat until the rice is browned to your liking. Transfer the rice to the bowl with the vegetables. Repeat this step with the second half of the rice. When the second batch is done, add all of the rice, vegetables and bacon to the wok along with the Kraut-Chi, rice wine vinegar and fish sauce. Toss together, sautéing until evenly heated. Transfer to bowls, garnish with green onions, cilantro and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. Top with a fried egg if desired. Serve immediately. Serves 6.


Wine Pairings

From left to right:

• Moth Love (2013) from AniChe Cellars • Gewürztraminer (2014) from Idiot’s Grace • Edelzwicker (2014) from Domaine Pouillon


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Kacie McMackin is a food blogger, writer and photographer at She lives in Hood River and is a frequent contributor to The Gorge Magazine.


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THE ANDREW’S EXPERIENCE (541) 386-1448 • 107 Oak Street • Hood River Pizzeria • drafthouse theater • arcade • frozen yogurt It’s the pizza -25 years of authentic east coast thin crust pizza On-line ordering • Eat in • Take out • Delivery



• Our meats are smoked using local cherry wood • Dry rub and BBQ sauces are all made in-house • Pulled pork, chicken, ribs, burgers, salads, vegetarian items • Nightly dinner specials • Local draft beer, wine, hard cider • All desserts fresh-made by Apple Valley Country Store • Outdoor seating available • Ask about catering Open: Wed-Sun at 11am to 8pm. Closed: Mon & Tues.

We, the Waters family, decided to open a new brewery in Carson, Washington. Our brewery is inspired by the finest craft breweries of the Columbia River Gorge and all around the Pacific Northwest. We are locally owned and our beer is locally brewed in the “Backwoods”. Enjoy delicious pizza, fresh salads and tasty appetizers in our family-friendly pub. Open: Sun 11:30-9pm • Mon-Fri 3-9pm • Sat 11:30-9pm

brian’s pourhouse

(509) 493-2177 • Find us on Facebook 201 West Steuben Street • Downtown Bingen

(541) 387-4344 • 606 Oak Street • Downtown Hood River

We are a family owned and operated business Serving one of the best pizzas in the entire Gorge! Hand-Tossed Pizza • Lunch Buffet • Pasta Dishes 40 Item Salad Bar • Oven Toasted Grinders • Daily Soups Hot Wings • Homemade Sausage • Beer and Wine Kids Play Area • Video Arcade Special Event Catering Dine in or take out, local and Hood River delivery

We are located in a charming historic house in the heart of downtown Hood River. Our guest dining experience is optimized by tastefully and passionately blending nature’s finest ingredients with impeccably friendly service, our mission since 1998. Outdoor patio for private parties, groups, and rehearsal dinners. Dinner served daily, 5pm to 10pm.

casa el mirador

celilo restaurant & bar

Quality Mexican food prepared with the freshest and finest ingredients. Warm, friendly service and a lively atmosphere. Indulge in generous portions of flavorful sizzling fajitas,fish tacos, savory enchilada dishes and daily specials. Happy Hour margaritas, drink specials and 1/2 off appetizers from 4-7pm, Mon-Fri. Full service bar, take-out menu, gift certificates and catering services. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week.

Celilo began with a desire to honor the bounty of this region and a commitment to a healthy and sustainable future. Our ever-changing menu reflects the seasonal highlights of the region’s growers and foragers. We offer the most innovative in fresh, local cuisine as well as an award-winning wine list, full bar, small plate menu, and happy hour daily from 5-6pm. experience the freshest foods here, today!

(541) 298-7388 • 1424 West 2nd Street • The Dalles



(541) 352-3554 • 4956 Baseline Drive • Downtown Parkdale

(509) 427-3412 • 1162B Wind River Road • Carson


(541) 374-8477 • Exit 44 off I-84, Cascade Locks Stunning views next to the Bridge of the Gods – Bridgeside (formerly Charburger) still serves tasty char-broiled burgers plus an extensive menu of breakfast items, chowders, fish & chips, fresh salad bar, sandwiches, and desserts. New name, new management, but historic charm and western artifacts remain. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Gift shop • Special event room & terrace

(541) 386-5710 • 16 Oak Street • Downtown Hood River


(541) 705-3590 • 311 Union Street • Downtown The Dalles Located in historic downtown The Dalles. Clock Tower Ales is the family friendly place to be! Extensive outdoor seating on our deck, live music on the weekends, upscale pub style lunches, chef inspired dinners, handcrafted cocktails, local wines, and over 30 craft beers on tap! Enjoy a bit of history, sit back and relax, it’s always a good time at the tower! Open Daily: 11am-close


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(541) 352-6692 • 10755 Cooper Spur Road • Mt Hood/Parkdale Home cooking takes on a broader significance at the Crooked Tree Tavern & Grill. Draw a 30-mile circle around our cozy community bar and restaurant, and chances are your meal is sourced from a combination of the outstanding local farms, ranches, wineries and breweries that are part of the Hood River Valley’s culinary renaissance.



Hood River’s 1st Cider Bar with 20 taps of local and regional ciders. Experience the incredible diversity of ciders from the Pacific NW. Fill up your growler or take home a bottle from a selection of over 40 regional ciders. Light menu served. Kids welcome. Please call or check Facebook for hours.

A scenic choice with excellent food and personal service located in the heart of the Hood River Valley just minutes from downtown. Unwind with breathtaking views of Mt Hood and Mt Adams from our covered, wind protected patio. Relax with a beverage from our full service bar or enjoy some fabulous northwest cuisine at a reasonable price. Open Daily for lunch & Dinner. happy hour 3-6pm.

(800) 447-1539 • Facebook: Crush Cider Café 1020 D Wasco Street • Hood River

(541) 308-0304 • 3605 Brookside Drive • Hood River White Salmon, WA

dog river coffee



(541) 386-4502 • 411 Oak Street • Downtown Hood River

(541) 386-3000 • 310 Oak Street • Downtown Hood River

(509) 637-2774 • 151 Jewett Boulevard • Downtown White Salmon

Named one of 'America's top 10 coffeehouses' by USA Today

Relax on our patio, right in the heart of downtown…enjoy a hand-crafted espresso drink made with locally roasted, fair trade and organic coffee. Serving breakfast and lunch all day: panini, salads, smoothies, and fresh baked goods (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free options). Local beers on tap, and local wines by the glass or bottle. Free Wi-fi and our patio is dogfriendly. Open daily at 7 a.m.

See for yourself why Everybody’s Brewing is a local favorite! We brew 12 different styles of beer plus seasonal selections onsite. The menu is filled with affordable food choices made with high-quality local ingredients. The atmosphere is warm and family-friendly. Enjoy the stunning Mt. Hood view from the outdoor deck, listen to free live music on Friday nights. Open Tues-Sun: 11:30am to closing

Full service espresso bar featuring Stumptown coffee Breakfast burritos, pastries and more caffeinating your adventures since 2004 open: Mon-fri, 6am-6pm & Sat-Sun, 7am-6pm

Photos by Michael Peterson


(541) 386-2247 • 506 Columbia Street • Downtown Hood River If there is one thing a brewer loves more than great beer– it’s great food and great beer! Our northwest-inspired menu complements our award-winning brews and features seasonal, local ingredients. Swing by for a pint, grab a bite, tour the brewery or just soak up the view. Open daily at 11am serving lunch and dinner. Guided brewery tours are offered daily at 1, 2, 3 and 4pm and are free of charge.



While visiting the Gorge…take a trip to China. Great Szechuan-Hunan taste. No airfare. Free Parking. Very happy family.

New in town!!!! Taproom with exquisite Belgian -style beers, brewed on the Logsdon Farm in the valley. Certified organic beers, brewed with local ingredients. Get the Belgian vibe and enjoy. We have a Belgian style menu available as well. Cheers, op Uw gezondheid

(541) 386-5331 • 2680 Old Columbia River Drive • Hood River (Located off I-84 and the base of Hwy 35)

Great plates for more than 30 years.

(541) 436-0040 101 4th Street • Hood River

Tue - Thu 11am-8pm. Fri, Sat 11am-9pm. Sun 11am-6pm. Closed Mon. THE GORGE MAGAZINE : SPRING 2016

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OVINO MARKET & DELICATESSEN (541) 436-0505 • 1209 13th Street • Hood River Heights

(541) 321-0490 • 707 Portway Avenue, Suite 101 • Hood River Waterfront

Our seasonal hard ciders offer a new twist on the hard cider we have been brewing since 1992. With its crisp, clean flavors, hard cider is a great pairing to the menu options found at the Black Rabbit Restaurant and Power Station Pub.

We offer house-made sandwiches, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cheeses, charcuterie and other gourmet items. We also have craft beers on tap, wine & hard cider made in our shop. In the summer we fire up our BBQ to serve classic bratwurst & homemade sauerkraut and other menu items at our Beer Garden, which is catered by our rustic outdoor trailer bar.

pFriem artisanal beers are symphonies of flavor and balance, influenced by the great brewers of Belgium, but unmistakably true to our homegrown roots in the Pacific Northwest. Although they are served humbly, each glass is overflowing with pride and a relentless aspiration to brew the best beer in the world. We’ll let you decide. Open Daily: 11:30am-9pm



(503) 669-8610 • 2126 SW Halsey Street • Troutdale (off Exit 16)

Ales, wines, ciders and spirits are crafted onsite.

riverside & cebu lounge (541) 386-4410 • Exit 64 off I-84 • Waterfront Hood River

(541) 296-7870 • 701 East 2nd Street • Downtown The Dalles (I-84, Exit 85)

Diners seek out Riverside for some of the best food in the Gorge—and Cebu for great bar food, drinks and live entertainment. With amazing panoramic river views, Riverside offers fresh menu choices that change seasonally for breakfast, lunch & dinner—plus an award-winning wine list. Check our website for current menus. cebu lounge: happiest hours in town, Mon-Fri 4-6 pm

Showcasing delicious local foods, hand crafted beers, wines and spirits of the Columbia River Basin in a relaxed atmosphere. Friendly staff, family dining, and a warm, inviting indoor fireplace. Come experience the best in The Dalles. Enjoy Happy Hour daily, 3pm-6pm!


(541) 436-0800 • 501 Portway Avenue • Hood River Waterfront Views Inventive pizzas with perfectly blistered crusts, seasonal veggies, fresh pasta and amazing s’mores. Creative cocktails, craft beers, wine & ciders on tap. Family dining section and kids play area. Vegan and gluten-free options. Catering for weddings & events with our mobile woodfire kitchen!

A local resource guide for the discerning foodie. Reviews, recipes & more: 80


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(541) 386-7423 • 109 First Street • Downtown Hood River

(503) 666-5337 • 1325 East Historic Columbia River Hwy • Troutdale

Come find us in the basement of the Yasui Building, the local’s favorite spot for fresh fish, Pan-Asian Cuisine, and a rockin’ atmosphere! Lots of rotating specials, creative rolls, and a large sake selection means you’re always trying something new! Private rooms are available for groups up to 20 people. Take-out menu available online. Open for dinner nightly at 5:00, closing hours change seasonally.

We are nestled on the banks of the Sandy River in Troutdale, OR–the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge. We are located halfway between Portland and Multnomah Falls. Serving exquisite American cuisine since the 1930s. The menu includes: Seafood specialties as well as traditional steak, chicken, and pasta dishes; a full bar, and our famous home-style chicken ‘n dumplins. Open every night for dinner.



(509) 281-3075 130 E Jewett Blvd White Salmon This town hasn’t seen a bar like this! Tarwater Tavern is a intimate cocktail bar in the heart of White Salmon. We serve local and regional beer, wine, cider and SPIRITS. Our cocktails and small bits are hand crafted with fresh quality ingredients. Check our online calendar for live performances and events. See ya there!


(971) 231-4599 • 515 NW Portage Road • Cascade Locks

(509) 427-5520 • 240 SW 1st Street • Stevenson

An adventure-based brewery that is handcrafting creative and innovative beers in the Pacific Northwest. Thunder Island Brewing makes original beers inspired by a love for outdoor adventures, with a nod to local history and with a respect for all that the scenic Columbia River Gorge has to offer. Bring the family in for a meal, well behaved dogs onleash are welcome on our patio. CALL FOR HOURS

Walking Man Brewing began impacting the Northwest craft beer scene in late 2000. Garnering medals in some of the top beer competitions in the world, it has long since become a destination for beer enthusiasts and gorge travelers. Enjoy our dog-friendly beer garden or cozy up with a pint and a bite in the brewpub. Please visit our website for seasonal hours and happenings.

Your partake listing here

Contact Micki Chapman for more information: (541) 380-0971 • (541) 399-6333 • The Gorge is a mecca for great food and drink: restaurants, cafés, wineries, breweries, food carts, and more. Help visitors and locals decide where to dine and drink. They’ll see your ad in print and in the online digital edition of the magazine…for one affordable price! reserVe a partake listing spaCe toDaY


Look for our next issue, June 2016. Towns to Trails

Linking Gorge Communities

Brewery Scene

A Comprehensive Guide

Cascadia Creamery

Trout Lake’s Cheesemakers

An effective marketing tool for your business. { Print & On-line }

View the eMagazine on your iPad, iPhone, Mac or PC. To advertise your business contact Micki Chapman (541) 380-0971

An effective marketing tool for your business. Distributed throughout Oregon, Washington and parts of Idaho. OG_Partake_Back_SP16.indd 81



A publication by the Hood River News highlighting the growing array of producers and the flourishing “LOCAL FOOD FIRST” movement in the Gorge. Available at select businesses and these newspapers: Hood River News, 419 State St., Hood River The Dalles Chronicle, 315 Federal St., The Dalles



2/25/16 1:42 PM


Blossom time in the Hood River Valley, circa 1910. (Photo courtesy of the History Museum of Hood River County.)



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We’ve got Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner covered!

Egg River Cafe


“BREAKFAST of CHAMPIONS” New York Times, 2014

Mesquitery Steakhouse

The only steakhouse in the Gorge... a locals favorite since 1988

{ Open Daily 6am-2pm } Breakfast & Lunch

{ Open 4:30pm-9pm } RESTAURANT { Open 4:30pm-11pm } THE SHED BAR

Extensive Breakfast

We grill everything over

& Lunch Menus

100% Mesquite Wood

Organic Eggs • Omelets

Steaks, Ribeyes, Prime Rib

Pancakes • Waffles

Ribs, Poultry

Crepes • Skillets

Seafood, Pastas

Organic Coffee

Great Side Dishes

Espressos & Lattes

Homemade Desserts

Soups • Salads

Beer & Wine Selection

Sandwiches • Hamburgers


Family Friendly

Summer Patio Adjoining The Shed Bar

Easy Parking

(541) 386-1127 1313 Oak Street, Hood River

10% OFF

YOUR TOTAL BILL with this coupon

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(541) 386-2002 • (541) 387-4002 1219 12th St., Hood River

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Not valid Fridays, holidays or with any other offer. Expires 5/31/16


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