The Dalles, Ore.: Gorge Weekender

Mammoth fun awaits in this quaint Oregon town on the Columbia River Gorge.

spring wildflowers at Tom McCall Preserve, image

Stroll through fields of colorful spring wildflowers at Tom McCall Preserve.

a petroglyph at Columbia Hills State Park, image

Ancient petroglyphs abound at Columbia Hills State Park.

pork tenderloin at Baldwin Saloon, image

Pork tenderloin with cumin barbecue sauce—a Baldwin Saloon specialty.

Columbian mammoth model at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, image

Ice Age exhibits charm kids at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center.

woman drinks tea at Anzac Tea Parlour, image

Anzac Tea Parlour serves dainty refreshments.

Klindt’s, Oregon’s oldest bookstore, image

Browse at Klindt’s, Oregon’s oldest bookstore.

To Do and See
Columbia Gorge Discovery Center–Wasco County Historical Museum Highlights at this interactive museum include a 13-foot Columbian mammoth model, a walk-through pioneer town with saloon and mercantile store, and a twice-daily raptor show featuring hawks, owls, and eagles. $1 AAA discount. 5000 Discovery Dr., 296-8600, gorgediscovery.org. The Dalles Lock and Dam Watch a live video feed of the fish ladders that let salmon and steelhead trout bypass this 1.5-mile-long dam. The visitor center—which opens May 1— also offers exhibits, movies, and hands-on activities; call ahead for behind-the-scenes tours. Seufert Park, exit 87 off I-84, 296-9778. Gorge Artists Open Studios Tour From Apr. 11 to 13, peek inside the workspaces of more than 40 potters, weavers, and painters. Maps available at The Dalles Art Center, 220 E. Fourth St., 296-4759, gorgeartists.org. Maryhill Museum of Art American Indian baskets, international chess sets, and one of the country’s largest collections of Rodin sculptures are among the eclectic offerings at this hilltop mansion. A full-size replica of Stonehenge sits four miles away. 35 Maryhill Museum Dr., Goldendale, Wash., (509) 773-3733, maryhillmuseum.org. Northwest Cherry Festival Apr. 24–26. Celebrating its 35th year, this event boasts a classic car show and an old-fashioned parade with floats and rodeo queens. 296-2231, thedalleschamber.com.

Eats
Anzac Tea Parlour Freshly baked scones are served with more than 60 kinds of tea, including lavender Earl Grey and vanilla lemon, in a charming Gothic revival cottage. 218 W. Fourth St., 296-5877, anzactea.com. Baldwin Saloon This 1876 railroad saloon offers classic fare in an elegant setting. Try a Dungeness crab melt or barbecue pork tenderloin. Weekends feature music played on the century-old piano. 205 Court St., 296-5666, baldwinsaloon.com. Cousins Restaurant Chicken-fried steak and country-style biscuits smothered in gravy are highlights at this roadside spot where everything is made from scratch. Save room for the enormous cinnamon rolls. 2114 W. Sixth St., 298-2771, cousinsrestaurant.com. Sunshine Mill Enjoy warm Brie topped with cranberry-apple compote or play bocce overlooking grassy outdoor terraces while sipping wines from Copa di Vino and Quenett at this winery in a former flour mill. 901 E. Second St., 298-8900, sunshinemill.com.

Shopping
Breezeway Antiques and Gifts Vintage 1940s kitchen tools, fruit-crate labels, and an antique candy case mingle with repurposed goods such as a pink velvet armchair and upcycled glass lamps in this century-old pharmacy building. 313 E. Second St., 296-5079. Cannon Packer Pick up herb scissors, some Oregon pepper jelly, or colorful salad bowls at this bright shop housed in a historic train station. 1006 E. Second St., 296-3038, cannonpackergiftshop.com. Klindt’s Booksellers Explore an extensive collection of Pacific Northwest titles, including travel guides, western novels, and biographies at the state’s oldest bookstore. Edna is the resident ghost. 315 E. Second St., 296-3355, www.klindtsbooks.com.

Outdoors
Columbia Hills State Park Stroll miles of trails meandering through wildflower meadows with views of Mount Hood, swim in Horsethief Lake, or take a free tour (reservations required) of 7,000-year-old petroglyphs carved into basalt cliffs. Milepost 85, Route 14, Dallesport, Wash., (509) 767- 1159, parks.wa.gov. Riverfront Trail Spot beavers, coyotes, and herons from this 10-mile trail. Walk or bike along the river past grassy hills, wetlands, and American Indian fishing platforms. Trailhead at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, 296-9533, nwprd.org/rivertrail. Tom McCall Preserve Take an easy hike through grasslands and past ponds to see an explosion of spring wildflowers—blue lupine, red paintbrush, and yellow balsamroot—ending with a cliffside view of the Columbia Gorge. Rowena Crest Viewpoint off Highway 30.

Request the Oregon TourBook and a map of The Dalles and Hood River at AAA.com or any AAA branch. Find a place to stay at AAA.com/hotels. For more information, contact The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce: 404 W. Second St., 296-2231, thedalleschamber.com.

Photography by Age Fotostock/Alamy (Tom McCall Preserve); Bill Gozansky/Alamy (petroglyph); Robbie McClaran (Anzac, Klindt’s, Baldwin, Discovery Center)

This article was first published in March 2014. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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