Day Trippin' – Hood River, Maryhill and Stonehenge

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Today we decided to go to Maryhill Museum in Goldendale, Washington, about 1 1/2hrs from Portland. The drive took us through the magnificent Columbia River Gorge, past incredible waterfalls (like the famous Multnomah, the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States), two huge dams (the Bonneville and the Dalles, where Google’s new 30 acre campus is located), and mountainous rock walls and sparkling river views.

Columbia River Gorge Farm Breakfast

We’ve explored the Gorge on many previous trips, so today we drove straight through, except for one important detour to the Historic Columbia Gorge Hotel, located in Hood River. I had heard about their “World Famous Farm Breakfast” and thought it would be a perfect way to start the morning, especially since we would have already been on the road for about an hour.

The 5-course breakfast is a fun treat for $30/person. Seating is in a “morning room” to the left of the main dining area with beautiful views of the river and the hotel’s well-maintainged landscape. When you arrive the table is preset with a pedestal fruit tray, then comes a whole baked apple and delicious crispy apple fritter, oatmeal with brown sugar, a choice of entree – I chose the rainbow trout with 3 farm eggs and hashbrowns and David chose the croissant with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, and to finish a country biscuit with butter and local wildflower honey. A lot of food, but all so scrumptous! Afterwards, we spent a little time exploring the gardens and grounds, including the view of the 207-ft Wah-Gwin-Gwin Falls. I can see why this hotel is so popular for weddings and other special occasions.

Maryhill Museum of Art was maybe another half hour east of Hood River. The museum collection was nice, but not one I would likely visit again, although they did have a nice collection of Faberge, Rodin sculptures, and memorable international chess sets among the other fine art. I preferred the view and the outdoors, especially the current Outdoor Sculpture Invitational. And curiously, there were quite a few wild peacocks randomly roaming around. Their call is something awful and I was startled more than once by an eruption of loud barking screams. They seem to wander freely and we were able to get surprisingly close.

Maryhill, Peacock, Scenic View

Another unique part of Maryhill is its full-scale replica of England’s Stonehenge. Apparently Sam Hill, the wealthy entrepreneur who bought the 6,000 acres of land overlooking the Columbia River, erected the structure as a world war 1 memorial as a reminder that ‘humanity is still being sacrificed to the god of war.” I wonder how he’d feel knowing that almost 100 years later, that remains to be true.

Maryhill, Stonehenge, Scenic View

The winds at Stonehenge were so fierce while we were there that we stayed only long enough to snap a few photos and take in the blustery view. We could barely stand in one place, so we decided to head back to Hood River for dinner and a little shopping in their charming historic district. Being Sunday, many shops were closed by the time we arrived, so I definitely plan to come back and look around more another time. David chose the Full Sail Brewery for dinner and were we lucked out with the best two person table in the house – right next to the large back windows with a perfect view of windsurfers and kite boarders in the distance. We even talked about looking into a lesson one day soon.

Columbia River Gorge Scenic Views

After living here for 7 years it is hard to believe there are so many trips like this still out there waiting for us, a mere couple hours away. And the variety of it all, beaches, mountains, canyons, waterfalls, forests, rivers, lakes… there is just so much to see and and experience. Its too easy to think ‘someday I’ll do that…’ instead of making time to do it. So right now I’m really proud of us, and satisfied that our day was so well spent and rewarded.

 All these photos and more can be seen here through my flickr account.

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