About an hour outside of Portland, up the Colombia River Gorge, lies the town of Hood River. The drive from Portland is a beautiful one, full of waterfalls, hiking trails and mossy forests. The most popular stop is at the stately Multnomah Falls.

If you can drag yourself away, Hood River awaits. Not only home to world-famous windsurfing and kiteboarding (it’s fun to sit and watch), but it also one of those perfect small-town main streets with shopping, lots of cafes and restaurants, and great views.

When we go, we’ll often jump on a free tour of Full Sail Brewery, or take a pizza break for lunch at Double Mountain Brewery (both have delicious brews!). But we mainly go to Hood River for what lies just beyond it’s streets, in the fertile fields. {These pictures got a little blown-out, exposure-wise, sorry.}

The call it the “Fruit Loop,” and it’s a 35-mile circle of farms and orchards that teem with deliciousness. One of our favorite things to do in late summer is to drive the Loop, armed with a map, stopping at every possible farm and road-stand to enjoy all the bounty. Lavender, honey, flowers, apples, pears, peaches, pies, ice cream, wine, and even some friendly alpacas await! We’ll often load up on fruit to take home and preserve for later.

Even if you don’t have a home of canning supplies, the Fruit Loop is a wonderful way to spend a day. You can pick-your-own fruit, or just buy a made on the spot pie or milkshake. You can wander through lavender fields or buy a jar of precious oil. And you can visit furry alpacas and get some yarn for your next knitting project!

There’s nothing better than a late summer day full of waterfalls, beer, freshly-picked fruit, flowers, and friends, then topping it off with a nuzzle from that furry sweetie!