5 things to do in… Mt. Hood, Oregon

Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, OR

What do you look for when you want to get away? A quick dive into what factors are considered when selecting a vacation destination include 1) lodging preference; 2) travel purpose; 3) crowds or solitude; 4) the weather; and 5) the side trips. If we apply these to our destination of choice this month – Oregon’s Mt. Hood Area, here’s what shakes out:

  1. Lodging Preference: This is an easy one. What could be more enjoyable than a stay in a tiny home? The Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, Oregon, has seven tiny homes to choose from for your stay and each offers a little something different. Did you know tiny homes have personalities? That’s right, Anderson has a modern flair, enjoys a most-excellent cup of brewed coffee, and finds biking to be his raison d’etre. Savannah thinks being called “girly” is the ultimate compliment and her bright yellow exterior is an extension of her sunny personality. The tiny house gang at Mt. Hood has five more friends with five equally different personalities but one thing they have in common is that they are the right answer to “lodging preference.” Visit MtHoodTinyHouse.com to check them out and see which one suits your preference!
  1. Travel Purpose: Well, how can there be a right answer here unless you’re traveling alone? Someone likes to hike, someone likes to do nothing, someone likes to shop and someone likes to learn something new on vacation. Don’t worry, with a trip to the Mt. Hood Area, this box is checked for all involved. Hikers will be happy to know the area has more than 150 hiking trails. From local artisan crafts to antiques and boutiques to the very unique chain saw carvings, the area is a shopper’s delight with variety being the spice of Oregon life here. If you’re looking to learn something, the educational opportunities abound. Learn a new sport – attend a snowboard camp or learn to fly fish. Learn about the history of the area – visit the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum. As for the vacationer who wants to do nothing – that’s OK, too. Just sitting and soaking up the scenery here is a pretty cool thing to do, too!  
View of Mt Hood from downtown Portland, Oregon.
  1. Crowds vs. Solitude: Now more than ever this is a top of the list item with social-distancing being all the rage. Actually, pre-COVID-19, this meant do you like crowds or prefer to spend time alone with your thoughts. Do you want to be “scene,” or do you want to left alone to enjoy more solitary pursuits? So think about it – “no people” activities can include hiking, fly fishing, or skiing while the more social traveler will enjoy the many craft breweries, the annual festivals like the Salmon, Mushroom, and Bigfoot Festival (held in October but sadly cancelled this year) or the Timberline Mountain Music Festival held in late summer annually.
Fall hikes in Mt. Hood National Forest, OR
  1. The Weather: Being a four-season vacation destination, weather conditions factor into a trip to Mt. Hood, well…never really. There is always something to do here. The area has one of the longest ski seasons around. The winter ski season at historic Timberline Lodge begins in early November and runs through Memorial Day. Springtime is great for waterfall hikes and salmon fishing season begins in May. Summer brings amazing wildflowers, festivals, and mountain biking opportunities and the tail end of salmon fishing season (it typically winds down in September). Plus, there’s huckleberry season which straddles late summer and early fall and brings with it the annual Huckleberry Festival (late August). Fall hikes and drives are the best among the changing colors – drive the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway or tackle the Mirror Lake Trail on a day hike.
The vineyards of Willamette Valley, about 90 minutes from Mt Hood, OR.
  1. Side Trips: This is important because it allows travelers to feel like they are getting more bang for their travel dollars! Consider that the Mt. Hood Area is just an hour from Portland. This means you can have all the pleasure of the fantastic outdoors that the Mt. Hood Area affords you, but also have the opportunity to be a city tourist in no time at all. If you’ve always wanted a wine country vacation, you can do that, too. The nearby Willamette Valley is considered Oregon’s Wine Country and there are options for both guided and self-guided tours of the wineries.

Book Tour

Exeter, New Hampshire, birthplace of John Irving, the novelist.

National Read A Book Day is observed annually on September 6. We’re feeling a little bookish this month and are ready for an adventure that’s one for the books!

Take a page from our Book Tour travel guide, and head to these cities that were either the setting for a famous book or the hometown and/or inspiration for some of the most famous authors in the US.

Cozy cabins at Narrows Too in Bar Harbor, Maine.

One of the most prolific writers of horror and supernatural fiction, Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine. Plan a trip to Maine and stay with us in a cozy cabin at our Bar Harbor resorts, Mt. Desert Narrows and Narrows Too, and then head about an hour northwest and explore the town of Bangor. In addition to seeing King’s current residence, you can check out some sites related to King’s novels in Bangor that include the Paul Bunyan Statue located in Bass Park that was featured in It, and Mount Hope Cemetery which was featured in Pet Sematary.

Fisherman’s wharf in Monterey, California.

John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, and the area became the inspiration for so many of his classic novels. Book a stay in a cabin, cottage, or ultra-unique safari tent at Morgan Hill RV Resort and you’re less than 50 miles from Steinbeck’s California. Visit Monterey, the setting for his acclaimed Depression-era novel Cannery Row, which depicted life in the town known as the Sardine Capital of the World. Don’t miss the Cannery Row tour. The town was also the setting for Tortilla Flat, the novel that earned both commercial and critical success for the author. Steinbeck’s home and the National Steinbeck Center can be found in Salinas.

The town of Exeter, New Hampshire.

John Irving, author of many novels including The World According to Garp and Hotel New Hampshire, is a native of New Hampshire and attended the University of New Hampshire. If you’re considering a stay with us at the Tuxbury Tiny House Village in South Hampton, you’ll be less than 10 miles from Exeter, which is not only Irving’s birthplace, but also the model for the town of Gravesend, featured in the bestseller, A Prayer for Owen Meany. Fans of the movie Cider House Rules, which was based on Irving’s novel of the same name, will be interested to know that three scenes from the movie were filmed at the Northfield Drive-In in Hinsdale, which is still in operation and is about 100 miles from the Tuxbury Tiny House Village.

Tiny house Lucy at Sunshine Key Tiny House Village in Big Pine Key, Florida.

Ernest Hemingway and Key West, Florida, pretty much go hand in hand. Not only did he write about Key West in his novel To Have and Have Not, but he also spent many years living on the island. Undoubtably one of Key West’s most famous residents, the town honors Hemingway every July during Hemingway Days. Book a stay with us at the Sunshine Key Tiny House Village (where we have a tiny house named after him!) and head down to explore Hemingway’s Key West. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, which is located in the house in which Hemingway lived for over 10 years, offers tours of the home and garden. The Blue Heaven saloon was a favorite of the authors and visitors today can enjoy breakfast or lunch here. Another favorite Hemingway haunt was Sloppy Joe’s. Famous for its sandwich of the same name, the bar pays tribute to Papa with an annual look-alike contest.

Respect the Vinyl: National Record Store Day

National Record Store Day is June 20, 2020, celebrate by paying homage to the vinyl that brings music to your ears.

When it first hit the airwaves, the idea of National Record Store Day was to spend a specifically designated date visiting your local record store to support the business. The first National Record Store Day was held on April 19, 2008. Skip forward to present day, and Record Store Day is celebrated on every continent. The concept was definitely “number one with a bullet.”

And, little known fact, Record Store Day should be called Record Store Days, because typically there are two designated days to celebrate, one in April and the other being Black Friday, which falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year National Record Store Day will be recognized on June 20. We’ve done the tour and rounded up a few stores near your favorite locations to visit, whether on National Record Store Day, or any other day you want to pay homage to the vinyl that brings music to your ears!

Seattle, Washington: Neptune Music Company, 4344 Brooklyn Avenue NE

Visitors say that although a small space, Neptune Music has everything you could imagine from a music standpoint which includes a knowledgeable owner, tons of records, and a unique selection. Another plus, it’s located in the basement of the Neptune Theater, a still-functioning music venue opened in 1921 in the hip and historic University District of Seattle.

Portland, Oregon: Mississippi Records, 5202 N. Albina

Complete with listening stations, this record store also features a large supply of the good old 45 in its vast collection that includes everything from rock and blues to international music. They also have a selection of vintage electronics. Please note the store’s policy is CASH ONLY.

St. Petersburg, Florida: Bananas Vinyl Warehouse, 2222 16th Avenue N.

This is one big record collection! Bananas two-story warehouse holds more than three million LPs and records and receives more than 1000 new additions to the collection weekly. Plus, there is the nearby retail store (2887 22nd Avenue N). One visitor remarked “if Bananas doesn’t have it, it doesn’t exist.” Note to visitors, the warehouse is vinyl only while the retail store has CDS, DVDs, and more.

Boston, Massachusetts: Cheapo Records, 538 Mass Avenue, Cambridge

Cheapo Records has been around since 1954, so they must be doing something right. Located in the Central Square area of Cambridge (just a quick T-ride from Boston), the shop is said to have more than 100,000 vinyl albums as well as 100,000 45s. Consistently rated five stars by visitors, you can most likely find just what you’ve been searching for at Cheapo.

Cheapo Records in Boston, Massachusetts

Cincinnati, Ohio: Shake It Records, 4156 Hamilton Avenue

Located in Cincinnati’s eclectic Northside neighborhood, the Shake It Records experience begins with the store’s colorful façade and continues inside the 1,000 square foot store that is chock full of music from the 25,000-piece vinyl collection to the 15,000+ CDs available. Independent labels are the main act here, but mainstream selections can be found as well from rock and roll to country classics. 

Chicago, Illinois: Dave’s Records, 2604 N. Clark Street

Dave’s is a true record store – meaning it sells records only. You won’t find CDs or vintage 8-tracks, just vinyl, vinyl, and more vinyl in the store’s 40,000-plus collection. A small space but the perfect spot to find the rarest gems to the newest releases from the world of vinyl. Head to Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood and look for the sign in the window that reads “No CDS. Never had ‘em!! Never Will!!” and you’ll find the treasure trove known as Dave’s Records.

Visit www.recordstore.com for a listing of record stores near you across the US

That’s just a quick list of the hits – but if you find yourself looking for a record store, visit www.recordstore.com for a listing of record stores across the US. And, if you’re spending time at home like so many of us are, don’t forget to check out if your favorite record store has an online store, as well.

Cider Sippin’ Spots

Cider Sippin’ Spots

When they say everything old is new again, they may very well be talking about cider. Did you know cider was America’s beverage of choice during Colonial times? In fact, the Mayflower possibly carried the first cider press to be used in America aboard the ship that also brought the Pilgrims to our shores. Of course, they couldn’t do anything with it until the apples were harvested from the first apple trees planted here after they first landed. Fast forward some 500 years, and cider is again very popular. To clarify, that’s hard cider versus soft cider. The difference here being that hard cider has an alcohol content while soft cider can be enjoyed by all ages! And, while Americans may not be drinking the 35 gallons of hard cider they apparently averaged annually during Colonial days, they are certainly taking it up once again, as evidenced by the popularity of cideries sprouting up across the country. To produce cider, according to ciderscene.com, there are four steps. Pick, press, punish, and produce. Again, a differentiation is required. The apples used for cider are typically not the same apples that you would eat or cook with. Cider apples tend to be dryer and less sweet. The four-step result is a crisp, refreshing alternative to other spirits, including beer and wine. Here are some cideries to check out this fall season:

Bishop Cider (Dallas, Texas):  Gluten-free and vegan friendly, the people behind Bishop Cider began making their own cider at home because they felt the commercially available cider in Texas was “trash” because it was too sweet. Started in 2014, Bishop Cider Co. now offers a variety of ciders and has a tasting room that typically offers six different ciders on tap. For more information, and to check out the unique Cidercade, visit www.bishopcider.com.

Bay Landing • Bridgeport, TX
Bay Landing • Bridgeport, TX

(Nearest Petite Retreat option is Bay Landing in Bridgeport, about 80 miles away)

Cider Bite (Portland, Oregon): Another cidery that grew from the idea that there was just no place to get good cider, the Cider Bite bills itself as a Cider House and focuses not only on making exceptional cider, but also on the history and production of cider. In fact, founder Jeff Hanneson’s great-grandfather was a cider-maker. Offering 32 ciders on tap, cider flights, and nibbles, the Cider Bite is the place to get your cider cravings satisfied. Visit www.ciderbite.com for more information.

Mt Hood • Welches, OR
Mt Hood • Welches, OR

 (Nearest Petite Retreat option is Mt. Hood in Welches, about 36 miles away)

Santa Barbara Cider Company (Santa Barbara, California): Come visit and see what’s on tap for the day as they offer 12 rotating taps of their delicious cider varieties which may include a coffee-based cider, a tea-infused cider, or one of several fruit ciders. All ciders are gluten-free and the cider makers say the majority of the ingredients they use can be found in your own kitchen cabinets, like cinnamon and brown sugar. They do have a tasting room and food trucks and other food providers are on hand during the weekends for nourishment while enjoying the cider offerings. For more information, visit www.sbcider.com.

Rancho Oso • Santa Barbara, CA
Rancho Oso • Santa Barbara, CA

 (Nearest Petite Retreat option is Rancho Oso, about 30 miles away)

Island Orchard Cider (Ellison Bay, Wisconsin): Visit the Tasting Room and Cider Pub in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin, where you can see the cider making process as well as enjoy the flavors of Island Orchard. Visit www.islandorchardcider.com for more information.

(Nearest Petite Retreat option is Tranquil Timbers in Sturgeon Bay, about 36 miles away)