Located on the shores of the Columbia River near the Deschutes River, Hood River and The Dalles are the eastern gateway to the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, with plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing and paddling to your heart’s content. Explore the towns’ rich history at one of their impressive museums, or get a taste of the region at a fruit farm or winery. The Gorge is full of flavor!

We recently visited Dufur and The Dalles (only a 90 minute drive or so east of Portland!) for the first time and had an incredible weekend exploring the two towns! Keep reading for the seven places you should visit  as you plan your next Oregon getaway!

(Photo Credit: Google Maps)

Two Places to Stay

The Balch Hotel

The Balch Hotel in Dufur, Oregon, was built in 1907 and has been a charming stop for weary travelers over the decades. Located in the rolling hills of Dufur Valley, it’s just one hour and forty minutes east of Portland, OR. The three-story brick hotel has 20 bedrooms and a suite on the third floor boasting a magnificent view of Mt. Hood and a private bath with a whirlpool tub. All of the rooms are furnished with period antiques and there are no televisions or phones in the rooms so guests can unplug and revisit a simpler time. Come for the peace and quiet, the hospitality and those views!!


Morning breakfast on the patio!
Mt. Hood views!
The outdoor landscaping is gorgeous!
Each room is uniquely decorated! (Photo Credit: Balch Hotel)
Cousins Country Inn

A favorite and top choice for travelers visiting The Dalles, Cousin’s Country Inn offers a family-friendly environment alongside many helpful amenities designed to enhance your stay. Enjoy relaxing rooms that offer a flat screen TV, air conditioning, and a refrigerator, and you can stay connected during your stay as Country Inn The Dalles offers guests free Wi-Fi. Plus, Cousin’s Country Inn offers an on-site restaurant, providing a pleasant respite from your busy day. While visiting The Dalles, you may want to try some fish and chips at one of the nearby restaurants, such as Cousins Restaurant & Lounge, Rivertap Pub, or Baldwin Saloon.


(Photo Credit: Cousins Country Inn)
(Photo Credit: Cousins Country Inn)

Two Places to Eat

The Riv Café

Start your morning off with coffee and breakfast at The Riv Cafe. Everyone in town knows “the old stone church.” Riv Café is known for its outstanding espresso, house made pastries, farm to table style food and are Blue Zone Approved. We highly recommend ordering Healthful Porridge and eggs benedict (I always order mine with crispy bacon instead on ham).


Best porridge ever!
Eggs benedict with bacon!
The Baldwin Saloon

A popular and historic gathering spot, The Baldwin Saloon has been serving patrons since 1876. Making everything from scratch, the restaurant offers a diverse menu that includes hand-cut choice steaks, fresh seafood, 13 different salads, fresh chicken dishes, homemade soups, fresh ground hamburgers, unique sandwiches and daily specials. They serve only Northwest wines with house pours using local wineries. Choose from the great wine selection or order something from the turn-of-the-century bar. Everything on the menu is to die for, I can’t even recommend one item – everything was so delicious!


The drinks at the Baldwin Saloon are over the top decadent.
Pepper Crusted Scallops
Stuffed Dates with Chevre cheese and bacon (and we all thought this was AMAZING and you must order it)
Fried Oysters (even oyster haters will love these)
Vermouth Mussels – I could have eaten these all day!
The Baldwin Saloon (Executive Chef Joe Kosarek, bartender Griffin Martin, Molly Martin) and What’s Up NW, Michaela, Lesley and Mishana

Three Places to Drink

Sunshine Mill Winery

Sunshine Mill Winery and Artisan Plaza, originally a wheat mill producing everything from biscuits to Cheez-its, was purchased by the James Martin family in 2010, a seventh generation The Dalles pioneer family. Being the first designated “skyscraper” in the Columbia River Gorge and the first building in The Dalles to have electricity, the Martin family understood the historical significance of the building and restored the wheat mill into a beautiful tasting room, paying homage to its history by proudly displaying the original motor designed by Thomas Edison in the lobby. The mill is now equipped with a boiler house bar, an outdoor amphitheater, a grand tasting hall and 80-foot grain silo near the wine cellar. Today, Sunshine Mill is home to the Martin’s three wine labels Quenette, Oregon Mountain Estate and Copa Di Vino.


The interior decorations will make you feel right at home!

This charcuterie plate was delicious!
Sunshine Mill’s Molly Martin is one of the nicest and most gracious hosts you will ever meet!
Say hello to my new bag!
Rooftop views (but lots of stairs to climb to get here!).
Sunshine Mill (Spencer, Molly, Bella and Vicky) and What’s Up NW (Michaela, Lesley and Mishana) after interviews for our show!
Gorge Wine Library

The Gorge Wine Library is an intimate wine bar highlighting expertly crafted wines from The Columbia River Gorge. Owned and operated by Lorraine and Bill Kupchin (and their adult children each have a hand in business operations as well – a total family affair), the wine library is a tasting room and shop that offers the best of the gorge. The tasting room is very unique and has an inviting setting, and you might stay for hours like we did. Their goal is to give guests a taste of what the gorge wine area has to offer and encourage them to visit other tasting rooms and vineyards in the area – almost like a visitor’s center for wine!


A library of wines from the Gorge!
Perfect pour measurements!
We probably could have hung out with the Kupchin’s the entire day! You will love them!
Sedition Brewing Company

Sedition Brewing Company is a craft brewery located in a historic ice house. Owner Aaron Lee opened up not knowing anything about the beer industry, but had big aspirations. What him and his team have created are some delicious brews for all to enjoy. Along with the beer, the venue is going to be the place to be for all things music and beer in the very near future (my two favorite things, sipping on a beer and watching bands play).  The Sedition Copper Head is an easy drinking ale showcasing choice malts without being overly sweet. And if you can order the Wasco Wheat IPA – you’ll be very happy you did!


Aaron and his son Colton let me go behind the bar. 🙂
It’s awesome to see how much this community supports it’s small businesses!

There were so many other businesses to visit, but we ran out of time in our short few days in town. I guess that means we need to plan another fun weekend in the area!

If you are planning a trip to the Columbia Gorge area, don’t forget to add Dufur and The Dalles to your itinerary! You can see all of our travel shenanigans on the Lesley & Mishana Show!

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