Tundra Swans Return to Mirror Lake in the Columbia River Gorge

Author: , November 5th, 2015
For me the return of the Tundra Swans to Mirror Lake in the Columbia River Gorge, marks the beginning of Winter.

Mirror Lake is at the foot of Crown Point, visible from Interstate 84 just west of the Rooster Rock exit. The Lake can host upwards of 100 Tundra Swans, although as of yesterday only a few had arrived from their Arctic tundra nesting grounds.  The Scenic Colombia River Gorge is just one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders near the Old Parkdale Inn.  The other being majestic Mt Hood.

Tundra Swans dine on plant material, slugs, snails, insects and crayfish, and typically weigh from 10 to 18 pounds, averaging about 53 inches in length.  They mate for life and travel in family groups in roundtrip migrations of up to 3,725 miles.

Tundra Swans winter here and share space with Hooded Merganser, Mallards, Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Bufflehead, Song Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Steller’s Jay, Black-capped Chickadee.

Purple Roofs Guest Blogger:  Mary Pellegrini, owner/innkeeper at the Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast in the Upper Hood River Valley, Oregon.  We are about an hour and a half east of Portland, Oregon, a scenic drive through the Columbia River Gorge and the Hood River Valley to our B&B at the base of Oregon’s tallest mountain, majestic Mt Hood.

Red Chair Travels Arrives in Oregon

Author: , February 9th, 2015
RedChairWildSpring

How sweet! The staff chair is in holding the umbrella for it.

The Red Chair’s story started on Cape Cod in the spring of 2012. This lucky chair has surfed the waves off Nantucket, explored the cranberry bogs of Chatham, enjoyed the view from Nobska Light in Falmouth, watched the grist mill turn at Stony Brook in Brewster and the sun set over Menemsha.  The chair has traveled all over New England, from Maine to Rhode Island all on the kindness of America’s friendly B&B’s. At each stop, the Red Chair is introduced to all that is memorable and beautiful about the local area, with a B&B owner as the chair’s concierge. Traveling is about getting outside of the everyday and seeing the world with fresh eyes. Through the journey of the Red Chair, we are all travelers off the beaten track where true relaxation awaits. The Red Chair has traveled to over 20 states with nearly 500 innkeepers acting as concierges.  BedandBreakast.com has partnered with the Red Chair Travels to keep the journey alive!  And now the Red Chair has started its journey through Oregon and will visit more than 20 inns of the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild.  Follow Red as it visits The Seven Wonders of Oregon, the Bed and Breakfasts in Oregon’s Wine Country, Mt Hood, Crater Lake and all points in between.  We know you’ll enjoy the ride and hope you are inspired to travel to the places, and inns, that Red visits.
Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild Blog

Blossoms in the Hood River Valley, Oregon

Author: , April 6th, 2014

09may23-2-300x225We get this question a lot in the spring.  Because who wouldn’t want to celebrate spring in one of the largest fruit growing regions in our Nation?  Over 15,000 acres of fruit trees, that’s over 2 million trees, putting on a show over a three or four week span with Mt Hood dressed in its spring best as a backdrop.

You see, the Hood River Valley is about 20 miles long, spanning from majestic Mt Hood and the Upper Hood River Valley where Parkdale and the Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast is located, north to the town of Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge. The three tiered Hood River Valley rises from 90 feet above sea level in Hood River to over 2500′ in the Upper Hood River valley, so we can have upwards of a three, sometimes 4 week span of bloom, Hood River Blooming first and those in the Upper Valley later.

So to answer your question:  When planning your spring visit to the Old Parkdale Inn I advise our guests to visit around the first of May when the Inn, which sits at an elevation of 1750′, is surrounded by acres and acres of awesomeness.   You’ll find answers to your questions on our AskOPI FAQ page on Facebook.

Our Sensual Spring Mid Week Special runs through May and we still have rooms available for Blossom Fest, a three week celebration in the Hood River Valley.  Family fruit stands reopen.  Wineries feature new wines.  First annual Hard Pressed Cider Fest and of course the main event: Blossoms

Purple Roofs Guest Blogger:  Mary Pellegrini, owner/innkeeper at the Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast in the Upper Hood River Valley, Oregon.  We are about an hour and a half east of Portland, Oregon, a scenic drive through the Columbia River Gorge and the Hood River Valley to our B&B at the base of Oregon’s tallest mountain, majestic Mt Hood.

A BFB, that’s what we are! That’s Bike Friendly Business

Author: , March 15th, 2014

Oregon is becoming a top destination for cyclists, both off road and road biking, touring or simply day trippers.

Travel Oregon, the states leader in tourism, had created a program, Bike Friendly Business, to go along with the State’s Ride Oregon campaign.  When cycling through and around Oregon Bike Friendly Businesses are committed to welcoming cyclists, offer amenities riders may need and have officially been recognized by the state.

Travel-Oregon-Bike-Friendly-graphic-no-iconsBike the Columbia River Gorge, the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway, the Willamette Valley and have a comfy bed and and hearty breakfast at an bed and breakfast along the way.  A Bed and Breakfast offers so much more than a hotel.  Oregon innkeepers know the best back roads, the best places to eat, the scenic attractions you won’t want to miss.  You determine how far you want to go in one day.  The whole adventure is about 200 miles and you’ll discover why those arriving in Oregon on the Oregon Trail called this place “paradise” and our inn the Old Parkdale Inn would be the halfway point for this tour.  Don’t necessarily want to tour?  No problem.  We invite you to explore the many backroads of the Hood River Valley.

As a participating business we need to adhere to program requirements and recommendations.
~ as a lodging partner we must provide a secure area to store bikes
~ serve up a hearty hi-carb breakfast with larger than life servings of fruits and vegetables
~ be able to share local knowledge about where visitors can find bike shops, bike maps, good places to ride, and where to pick up a bike rental
~ our guest rooms have oulets and power strips to plug in and re-charge phone and laptops safely and we have free WiFi connection in the house and out in the garden ~ provide laundry service ~ assist in shipping home any treasures you might find while touring the Hood River Valley on the Fruit Loop

Purple Roofs Guest Blogger:  Mary Pellegrini, owner/innkeeper at the Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast in the Upper Hood River Valley, Oregon.  We are about an hour and a half east of Portland, Oregon, a scenic drive through the Columbia River Gorge and the Hood River Valley to our B&B at the base of Oregon’s tallest mountain, majestic Mt Hood.

Oregon Grown Wool Center Stage at Olympics

Author: , February 8th, 2014

Did you watch the Opening Ceremony last night for the Olympics?  Did you see the sweaters being worn by Team USA!!  American made from start to finish but I will focus on where it all started.

The Imperial Stock Ranch in Central Oregon is a family owned and operated ranch located on more than 30,000 acres of Oregon’s beautiful high desert.  The only privately held ranch in Oregon recognized as a National Historic District, the Hinton/Ward family has been working the ranch since 1871.

Team USA in American Made Sweaters with wool from OregonOnce a year the Ranch harvests the soft, versatile wool from their flock of Columbia sheep and transform this renewable resource into fiber and yarn.  About 15 months ago the ranch was contacted by Ralph Lauren and the production of the sweaters began.

A diverse state with diverse growing regions, Oregon farmers and ranchers also produce award winning wines, berries, nuts, and fruit.  The dairy farms produce high quality milk for delectable dairy products.  These products are supplied to the restaurants, wineries and artisan food markets around the state so for a Northwest Culinary Adventure plan your trip through Oregon and experience the sights, sounds, and tastes it has to offer.

Purple Roofs Guest Blogger:  Mary Pellegrini, owner/innkeeper at the Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast in the Upper Hood River Valley, Oregon.  We are about an hour and a half east of Portland, Oregon, a scenic drive through the Columbia River Gorge and the Hood River Valley to our B&B at the base of Oregon’s tallest mountain, majestic Mt Hood.

Oregon Birdwatching in the Mt Hood Region of Oregon

Author: , February 1st, 2014

This Oregon Innkeeper is in New Mexico visiting our daughter.   We are enjoying the many birds visiting her bird feeders and thinking about the birds back home.  March brings the southward movement of many migratory land birds and as an avid birder I wanted to share the many birding opportunities that can be found in Oregon.  The Oregon Cascade Birding Trail (OCBT) is a self-guided tour highlighting nearly 200 prime birding destinations designed to showcase the region’s birds and spectacular scenery.  This blog will focus on the Mt Hood Loop of the Oregon Cascade Birding Trail.  Let’s get settled first before we begin our birding adventure.

Lewis’ Woodpecker in New MexicoThe Mt. Hood Loop of the OCBT rises from the Columbia River to Mt. Hood, the highest point in Oregon, and combines some of the best of the region’s birding with legendary Oregon scenery.  This loop traverses the Columbia River National Scenic Area and the Mt. Hood National Forest and visits 19 birding sites.

Lewis and Clark traveled the Columbia Gorge corridor.  The Lewis’ Woodpecker, Clark’s Nutcracker and Clark’s Grebe were named in their honor.  I shot this photo of the Lewis’ at my daughters feeder.  First time I had seen this beautiful bird.  Many species of waterfowl and raptors including the Bald Eagle inhabit the river and Tamanawas Fallsfurther up the mountain you’ll observe woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches and so many more.

One of my favorite hikes, and I have many, is the Tamanawas Falls trail.  The falls are amazing at 100 feet high and 40 feet wide.  The trailhead footbridge is the midpoint of a 8-mile stretch of the East Fork of the Hood Riverhosting nesting Harlequin Ducks.  A riparian habitat and mature mixed-conifer forest surrounds the trail to the falls.

Bring out the hiking boots and binoculars, pack your bags and begin your Oregon Birdwatching adventure.

Purple Roofs Guest Blogger:  Mary Pellegrini, owner/innkeeper at the Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast in the Upper Hood River Valley, Oregon.  We are about an hour and a half east of Portland, Oregon, a scenic drive through the Columbia River Gorge and the Hood River Valley to our B&B at the base of Oregon’s tallest mountain, majestic Mt Hood.

One Step ~ 4 Counties in Oregon

Author: , January 29th, 2014

It may look like a grave marker of a long lost surveyor.  But it’s not.

Four Counties Marker in the Tillamook State ForestEveryone has heard about America’s Four Corners.  That would be the only place where four state boundaries meet: Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

In Oregon our Four County Point in the Tillamook State Forest notes the meeting of Clatsop, Columbia, Washington and Tillamook counties.

The trailhead has a brown four counties sign on the north side of U.S. 26, at milepost 34.8 (this is 2.9 miles west of the Timber-Vernonia junction, or about 39 miles west of Portland).

It takes about an 45 minutes to make the one mile hike out and back to see the marker and stand on all four counties at once. That makes Four County Point a quick leg-stretching hike when you’re driving between Portland and the northern Oregon coast.”

And then there is the drive down the Oregon Coast.  Talk about an Oregon Geotourism Experience?  But that’s another blog.

Purple Roofs Guest Blogger:  Mary Pellegrini, owner/innkeeper at the Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast in the Upper Hood River Valley, Oregon.  We are about an hour and a half east of Portland, Oregon, a scenic drive through the Columbia River Gorge and the Hood River Valley to our B&B at the base of Oregon’s tallest mountain, majestic Mt Hood.

Cozy Winter Nights at the Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast

Author: , December 6th, 2013

It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve written a blog post, for myself or for Purple Roofs.  But now that winter has set in seems like I have more time to reflect and share with you the Hood River Valley, Oregon, and the Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast.  Just in time for our Cozy Winter Nights Special

We invite you to experience the quiet Winter Months in the Hood River Valley and surrounding forest.  A spectacular B&B experience at the Old Parkdale Inn situated in the abundant beauty of the Hood River Valley with majestic views of Mt Hood.

Parkdale, Oregon, is the halfway spot along the Mt Hood Scenic Byway, and the Old Parkdale Inn B&B is in the heart of this quiet hamlet.  You’ll get a two-night stay for two, Sundays through Thursday through January 30, 2014, for $189.00.  Your deal, valued at $290, includes a hearty breakfast to start your day and the serenity that comes with spending an evening at the Old Parkdale Inn.

Choose any one of our three guest rooms, each with amenities including a private bath, flat-screen satellite TV and DVD player, microwave, coffee maker, refrigerator, and Free wireless Internet.  You may want to relax in your room or in our tranquil gardens.

The Old Parkdale Inn, only 85 miles from Portland on the north slopes of Mt Hood

The Old Parkdale Inn, only 85 miles from Portland on the north slopes of Mt Hood

The Old Parkdale Inn is located on the famous Hood River County Fruit Loop,  perfectly situated to tour the area’s gorgeous farms, wineries and orchards.  Most of the businesses stay open through Christmas but then it gets pretty sleepy up here in the Hood River Valley.  But that’s one of the bonuses of a winter stay.  Should you choose to head outdoors and have a go at an awesome winter sport you’ll enjoy the quiet serenity at the Old Parkdale Inn when you return.

Come mealtime, head for craft beer and a wild rice burger at Solera Brewery, just a few blocks from the inn.  Sorry Folks, they’re closed on Wednesday. Also walking distance from the Inn, Apple Valley BBQ, closed Monday and Tuesday, serves up top-quality meats, amazing side dishes and a hefty dose of small-town hospitality.  Only minutes from the Mt Hood National Forest you can enjoy, depending on your arrival date, to ski Mount Hood Meadows, XC ski or take a hike to Bald Butte or Tamanawas Falls.  Cycling is quite popular and miles and miles of mountain biking trails and scenic forest roads challenge our cycling guests.  Again this year we will have discount lift tickets to both Mt Hood Meadows Ski Resort and Timberline Ski Area.  These ski areas typically open around Thanksgiving.  Pray for snow!

The two-night midweek stay must be booked Sunday through Thursday now and January 30, 2014, for $189.00 and cannot include a Saturday or Friday night.   Stay must be two consecutive nights.

Share this special with your family and friends.  Maybe they’d like to join you for a memorable getaway to the Old Parkdale Inn.

Purple Roofs Guest Blogger:  Mary Pellegrini, owner/innkeeper at the Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast in the Upper Hood River Valley, Oregon.  We are about an hour and a half east of Portland, Oregon, a scenic drive through the Columbia River Gorge and the Hood River Valley to our B&B at the base of Oregon’s tallest mountain, majestic Mt Hood.

Geocaching the Hood River Valley and the Columbia River Gorge

Author: , May 10th, 2012

‘Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people, from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.  Geocaching.com is the headquarters for the activity”

Did you know that Geocaching started in Oregon?  A little history lesson, the full version can be read on the Geocaching.com history page from where I’ve gotten this information.

“Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.  Geocaching.com is the headquarters for the activity”  On this site you can read the history of Geocaching.

* On May 2, 2000, at approximately midnight, eastern savings time, the great blue switch* controlling selective availability was pressed. Twenty-four satellites around the globe processed their new orders, and instantly the accuracy of GPS technology improved tenfold. Tens of thousands of GPS receivers around the world had an instant upgrade. Now, anyone could “precisely pinpoint their location or the location of items (such as game) left behind for later recovery.” How right they were.

* On May 3 a GPS enthusiast, Dave Ulmer, computer consultant, wanted to test the accuracy by hiding a navigational target in the woods. He called the idea the “Great American GPS Stash Hunt” and posted it in an internet GPS users’ group. The idea was simple: Hide a container out in the woods and note the coordinates with a GPS unit.  On May 3rd he placed his own container, a black bucket, in the woods near Beavercreek, Oregon, near Portland.

* Within three days, two different readers read about his stash on the Internet, used their own GPS receivers to find the container, and shared their experiences online.  Like many new and innovative ideas on the Internet, the concept spread quickly – but this one required leaving your computer to participate.

* Within the first month, Mike Teague, the first person to find Ulmer’s stash, began gathering the online posts of coordinates around the world and documenting them on his personal home page. The “GPS Stash Hunt” mailing list was created to discuss the emerging activity.

* Geocaching.com was released to the stash-hunting community on September 2, 2000. At the time the site was launched there were 75 known caches in the world.  There are now over 1.5 million caches around the world, in only 12 years.’

This is certainly the condensed version.  Visit Geocaching.com history for the full story.  I checked to see if the Original Cache was still available, but alas, it has been archived and the Un-Original Stash placed in it’s honor.  The links will take you to their listing on Geocaching.com but if you are not logged in I’m not sure if you will be able to view.

When I first moved to Parkdale in ’03 there were only about 20 in the Hood River Valley.  Now there are well over 200, taking you up into the Mt Hood National Forest and the Columbia River Gorge.  Last Sunday we went into the Gorge and found 7 in only about 2 hours all the while visiting sites we had yet to explore.

We’ve hosted geocachers and it is always fun when, at breakfast the next morning, they share their adventures with us.  We have three rooms at the Old Parkdale Inn.  Bring another couple or two and set out on your own geocaching adventure.  Geocaching is Eco Friendly Travel at it’s best.
Purple Roofs Guest Blogger:  Mary Pellegrini, owner/innkeeper at the Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast in the Upper Hood River Valley, Oregon.  We are about an hour and a half east of Portland, Oregon, a scenic drive through the Columbia River Gorge and the Hood River Valley to our B&B at the base of Oregon’s tallest and majestic Mt Hood.

Making Butter with Hood River Valley Pears in the Crockpot

Author: , April 20th, 2012

The beginnings of Old Parkdale Inn Pear Butter

Slow cooking pears in the crockpot sure makes the inn smell wonderful. I start with about 5-7 pounds of pears from the Hood River Valley.   With so many growers we have the pick of the crop for the very best Pears in the World!  The Hood River Valley is the largest pear growing region with over 2.4 million fruit trees, not all pears, apples, peaches, cherries, too.  As I type the blossoms are popping giving hope to a plentiful harvest.

For my last batch of Pear Butter I used about half Bosc and half Anjou, two of my favorites.  I diced them into half inch cubes, filling my 6 quart crock pot to the top.  Then I added about a quart of Ryan’s Apple Cider, half cup of brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.  Sorry I never measure, just add a little at a time until I get the flavor I’m looking for.  The cider gives the pears something to cook down in, but don’t worry, most of the liquid will cook out, leaving the sweet taste of fruit.

I cooked this down, on high, for about 4 hours.  Depending on what type of pears you use will determine if your sauce will have the ability to stay chunky.  At this point you can choose to put all in the blender to puree, creating the butter, or leave it as is. After you’ve pureed, return it to the crock pot, turn it down on low, leave the lid off and let it cook on down.  Same process, minus the puree, to create more of a pear compote.   I usually start the process after serving breakfast to our guests and let it cook all night. I present it on the table to be used on fresh fruit scones or apple/pear pancakes and waffles.

Plan your fall vacation now to the Hood River Valley and the Old Parkdale Inn, to pick up your pears and apples.  The Hood River County Fruit Loop is a 35-mile, scenic drive through the valley’s orchards, forests, farmlands, and friendly communities.

Purple Roofs Guest Blogger:  Mary Pellegrini, owner/innkeeper at the Old Parkdale Inn Bed and Breakfast in the Upper Hood River Valley, Oregon.  We are about an hour and a half east of Portland, Oregon, a scenic drive through the Columbia River Gorge and the Hood River Valley to our B&B at the base of Oregon’s tallest and majestic Mt Hood.