When the Historic Columbia River Highway was completed in 1915, generous landowners and civic groups donated property to create scenic retreats along the route. Among the most spectacular spots are Chanticleer Point, Crown Point, Latourell Falls, Shepperd’s Dell and Multnomah Falls.
I recently made the short trip to what is known as The Gorge. From Highway 84 East we took Highway 30, the Historic Columbia River Highway, making a few stops along the way to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. The first stop was at Chanticleer Point, today known as Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint. When the world-famous Chanticleer Inn burned down in 1930 the property was purchased by the Portland Women’s Forum and donated to the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department. That’s the Columbia River with Washington to the left of the river and the Vista House at Crown Point on the right. Click on the image for a larger view.
Next stop was Vista House at Crown Point.
The original idea for Vista House was conceived by a consulting engineer for the Columbia River Highway, Samuel Lancaster. He saw the opportunity to establish a rest stop, a memorial to Oregon pioneers and “an observatory from which the view both up and down the Columbia could be viewed in silent communion with the infinite.” The building is a domed rotunda featuring Art Nouveau elements, marble interiors with brass fittings, gray sandstone exterior and clerestory windows with opalescent glass in a simple tracery pattern. The building was completed in 1918 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. And the view:
Just 2.5 miles from the Vista House is Latourell Falls.
From the parking lot it was a short walk to the falls. In fact, the falls along the historic highway are 1 mile or less from their respective parking lots. I’ll be wearing my hiking shoes next time I go and we’ll stop at several of them.
On the way home we passed a field of lavender. I can still smell that delicious aroma!
And around the next bend was a fruit stand where I bought cherries and blackberries.
The blackberries were enjoyed for breakfast; the cherries made some fabulous jam.
That’s a strainer filled with chopped cherry bits (the center of the pits) to deepen the flavor.
There are many reasons to return to The Gorge and I’ll be doing that soon.