The Waterfront in Hood River

Hood River Waterfront Paddleboarding Hood River has always been considered a gateway to the mountains, to the river, and to the beer. But with the recent development of the Hood River waterfront, Oregon’s quaint city has compressed its best offerings to a half-mile strip of premiere restaurants, breweries, cafes, stores, and recreation. And unlike the town proper, it’s actually on the river.


At the very end of the waterfront is Pfriem Family Brewers, which had moved to the waterfront in 2011, leading the charge that would help to transform the area into what it is today. Specializing in Belgian-inspired beers, their six year-round offerings span the usual–IPAs, lagers, and such–but Pfriem’s limited editions are uniquely phenomenal, like Pruim, their lambic enhanced with plums and lavender, or their Kumquat Farmhouse Ale. But don’t seek out these varieties specifically, as the brewery rotates through nearly one hundred beers yearly, serving up their limited releases until the kegs are tapped. On cold nights, patrons of Pfriem gather around the outdoor fire pit, while inside imbibers drink among the tanks, beneath the barrel-ring chandeliers, and near to the kids’ play area. Their food is top-notch, too, offering up bar fare, but with that Oregonian, elegant twist.


Hood River Waterfront Pfriem


Restaurants offering entertainment for tots is not uncommon in the Northwest, and down the block from the brewery, Solstice, the tasty wood-fired pizza joint, allows kids to choose from a menagerie of toys or construct rail lines so that wooden model trains can run. Adults are also considered when Solstice originally mapped out their plan for fun. Those waiting for a table can play corn hole–the beanbag tossing game–which is set up on the sidewalk, just beside the restaurant’s patio.


Those seeking lighter fare or a caffeine rush can find both at Stoked Roasters and Coffeehouse. For a greater buzz, visitors to the area can duck into Camp 1805 Distillery. In the summer, there’s even a the food cart serving up gelatos.


The possibilities for food and beverage options abound on the eastern end of the Hood River Waterfront, as modern, factory-sized spaces are now being developed for new tenants.


The waterfront area is also home to Turtle Island, makers of Tofurkey, and the surf and skate lifestyle company, Dakine, (which also has a retail storefront next to Stoked).


Hood River Waterfront Playground


However, the main appeal of the Hood River Waterfront is, most obviously, the waterfront itself. On the stretch of land that sits between the eateries and river, playgrounds equipped with climbing walls rise up like the sculptures scattered along the walking paths. Quaint beaches are popular with families. The beaches nearest to the Event Site serve as a place for paddleboarders to launch. On quiet days, the more daring can even embark on a fifteen-minute paddle across the river to touch the shoreline of Washington. But most days are too windy, and the little white caps on the river are preferable to the armada of kites and sails that are ubiquitous there.


Whether packing in one’s own or renting from Cascade Kiteboarding or Big Winds SUP Center, watermen can wrangle with the winds and then retire to a splintery dock for beers and cider, Hawaiian barbecue and shaved ice. The little retreat looks out over the long sandbar extending out into the river, where kiteboarders fly, and hangs above the estuary, where novice paddleboarders practice sheltered from the wind.



Posted on by Noah Lederman in Somewhere, United States

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