Each Presidents Day* weekend, we enjoy a quick getaway to recharge our batteries. This year we headed just about an hour west of Portland, crossed the Columbia River via the Bridge of the Gods, and visited the small town of Stevenson, Washington.
Stevenson, a town of about 1200 people, is located on the north side of the river and has a walkable downtown with several restaurants, a brewpub, coffee shops, and boutiques. Nearby Skamania Lodge also offers upscale dining, lodging, a zip line tour, and golf.
Perched on the banks of the Columbia River in downtown Stevenson sits a cluster of log cabin style buildings that make up the Columbia Gorge Riverside Lodge, where we stayed for two nights (read more about it in next week’s blog post!).
We enjoyed dinner at El Rio Texicantina on the main drag in Stevenson. They offered a variety of tasty drinks (don’t miss the cactus margarita), draft beers, and tasty Tex-Mex entrées. Owners Steve and Carly and bartender Natalie worked hard to make sure we had a great experience.
For breakfast, we visited the beautiful Skamania Lodge. The lobby, restaurants, and grounds are open to visitors as well as hotel guests. The lodge sits high up on the hill above Stevenson and offers a magnificent view of the Gorge. On Sundays, they have an expansive brunch buffet. Other days of the week they offer a continental style buffet and a traditional breakfast menu. We enjoyed the view along with our Bloody Marys and breakfast, but skipped the zip line tour afterwards!
The grocery store in town, A & J’s, was a pleasant surprise. Along with traditional small town grocery fare, it has an organic produce section as well as other organic offerings sprinkled throughout the store. A small liquor department also offers an alternative to the beer and wine we are limited to in Oregon grocery stores.
We capped off our sunny winter weekend with an easy hike on the Strawberry Island trail just west of the Bridge of the Gods in North Bonneville. The level trail wanders through grassland along Hamilton Creek until it meets the Columbia River. From there it loops back along the Columbia, offering several return routes via a grassy slope that offers spectacular 360° views of the Gorge.
Our February visit was highlighted with some fantastic weather. We had great views up and down the Gorge and sunshine pouring into our cabin all weekend. It must be even more spectacular in the summer, considering that the surrounding area offers waterfalls, hiking, camping, fishing, backpacking, and more. So while we can’t promise beautiful weather for your trip, you’re sure to have a relaxing getaway in Stevenson.
Have a favorite getaway in the Gorge? Leave us a note in the comments. And enjoy your week or your weekend!
*While contemplating the use of an apostrophe while writing about Presidents Day, we learned from the New York Times that the US officially observes Washington’s Birthday, not Presidents Day, but Oregon observes Presidents Day (without an apostrophe). We enjoy the long weekend either way!