As we mentioned last week, we love to recharge our batteries with a quick getaway over Presidents Day weekend. This year, we headed just about an hour west of Portland to the small town of Stevenson, Washington. It’s easily accessible from Oregon’s I-84: at Cascade Locks, cross to the north side the Columbia River via the Bridge of the Gods. Stevenson, a town of about 1200 people, is just east of the bridge. It 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. Each building houses two or three units, and each unit has its own kitchenette and private bathroom. Shared soaking tubs sit on decks overlooking the river.
Our unit was well-equipped: it had a single futon wide enough for snuggling up in, a double bed, a kitchen table and chairs, a bathroom with shower, a gas woodstove-style fireplace which heated the unit, a rocker, and a kitchenette complete with two burner stove, microwave, fridge, and plenty of kitchenware. Wi-Fi is included, but the units are without TVs or telephones.
The unit was cozy but had plenty of space for us to play cards with two friends, snuggle up and watch a movie on our own, and eat our meals without feeling crowded. The back door — made of glass — opens onto a deck which overlooks the river and provides a great view of the water, even in the worst of weather. It makes the cabin feel more spacious, too!
The property sits just below the railroad tracks. The Gorge is a busy corridor for freight trains, and they do blow their whistles as they head through town. The cabin muffled the sound quite a bit, but free ear plugs are provided for light sleepers. While the whistles didn’t bother us, and the peacefulness of the Gorge prevailed, we did joke about Jake and Elwood’s exchange in The Blues Brothers: “How often does the train go by?” “So often you won’t even notice.”
A walking path wanders upriver from the lodge along the waterfront, past a city dock and to a small city park. That park and another just west of the lodge are popular starting points for windsurfers. There were no wind surfers on the river during our February visit, but in summer it must be a great place to watch them.
Stevenson itself was a great find. We love finding a quiet spot to relax in, but with so many other sights and towns nearby, there’s plenty to do if you’re feeling more adventurous!
What’s your go-to relaxation spot? Let us know in the comments, and enjoy a relaxing week or a weekend wherever it is!