Life imitates art—or is it the other way around? In Hood River, it’s both.
Ted Olson is a founding member of the 301 Gallery, his work showcased in the ‘Best of the Gorge’ exhibition. Drawn to the evolving art scene sweeping the community, Ted’s Play List illuminates the creative spirit of the valley. “The art community is really welcoming,” Ted shares. “As I transitioned into making paintings, the community was open arms. There’s a lot of talented people here, and everyone’s in it for everybody.” Ted emphasizes just how much Hood River has become an inspirational setting—how even a quick drive to the supermarket can spark inspiration and wonderment.
Coined as “the friendliest restaurant in town,” Bette’s Place is famous for their gigantic, homemade cinnamon rolls. If you’re set on grabbing and going, you can even pre-order your pastries online!
Art of Community’s BIG ART Outdoor Gallery
Take in the local art by embarking on a self-guided tour of BIG ART. Begin at 301 Gallery and then explore 29 public art locations downtown, near the waterfront, and on the Heights. Be sure to swing by Art on Oak for even more diverse art made here in the Gorge.
An Artist About Town
After lunch or brunch, head over to Frame Gallery for even more local art displays. Continuing your self-guided art tour, head down the road until you reach Columbia Center for the Arts. A hub for local talent, the center curates an impressive collection of new, as well as seasoned artwork.
Dinnertime at Celilo
Now that you’ve appeased your cultural appetite, it’s time to delight in culinary creations. Head to Celilo for farm-to-table cuisine and a huge selection of local brews and wine. Plus, you’ll be continuing on your art tour as this special eatery showcases murals by the late Gorge painter, Ellen Dittebrandt.
“Being here taught me that I’m a pretty different painter than everybody else here. There’s not a single sighting of Mt. Hood in my work. But even abstract landscapes come from somewhere. Even as an abstract painter, I’ve found my place here in the community, there’s still a strong shared experience with painters who are more literal. It’s a special collaboration I’ve really enjoyed.”
Hood River Hotel
Cap the night off by seeking paranormal inspiration at the Hood River Hotel. Known as the town’s oldest and most beloved hotel, you can admire the building’s history and thoughtfully renovated charm. Oh yeah, and it’s haunted—but in a good way.
Wrap up your weekend getaway by getting a dose of nature. Before you leave the Gorge, swing over the Hood River Bridge and head out to Schreiner Farms to see my favorite animal, the giraffes. Absolutely free—just remember to stay in your car!