Driving across the Glenn Jackson bridge, I am filled with anticipation about the day. The sun hitting my windshield helps me pretend it’s July even as the snow-capped backdrop of Mt Hood to the east, as stunning as it is, reminds me that it‘s not. With time on my side, I take the Airport Way exit so I can meander the seven miles along Marine Drive on my way to Troutdale. I’ve never gone this way; always opting for the ‘faster’ route of I-84 which, it turns out, isn’t any faster. With nothing between me and the Gorge, however, I can really feel the wind gusts. I can also enjoy the scenery of the Columbia River, whitecaps brushing against float homes, the crispness of a dry, sunny day in the Northwest.
Pulling into the Columbia Gorge Outlet Stores, I am rewarded with a relatively empty parking lot and enjoy browsing familiar haunts at several stores for the next couple hours.
A left out of the Outlet Stores puts me minutes away from Historic Oldtown Troutdale. Turning onto the shop-lined Columbia River Hwy, I’m already anticipating a perfect cup of coffee and pastry at the Troutdale General Store. Seated at the nostalgic lunch counter, I savor my Americano and pastry with unhurried bliss. I’m surrounded by 7,000 square feet of fantastic buys from home décor to candies to toys to candles. Troutdale General Store is always a plethora of ideas. Poking along the street, I wander into antique stores, art galleries, specialty shops. It’s one of my favorite Portland area streets to lose myself on.
“It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” and I’m ready so I head to McMenamin’s Edgefield Tasting Room.
One could easily spend a day just at Edgefield comprised of 74 acres filled with whimsical décor, a brewery, winery, restaurants, movie theatre, live entertainment, glass blowing, a spa, gift shop and so much more. In the Tasting Room, my job is to decide which of the 20+ current releases I’d like to try or what the repercussions would be if I taste them all! In the midst of this votive-lit cellar, sipping a fine 2010 Primitivo, I feel spoiled and decadent. With three of their restaurants open today, I decide to have dinner at the more casual Power Station Pub though the Chili-Spiced Ruby Trout being served at the Black Rabbit Restaurant is tempting.
Due to its proximity to Portland proper (less than 20 miles), Troutdale makes a wonderful day trip for out-of-towners and locals alike.