Love at First Sight in Hood River, Oregon


By Sam Beebe (Hood River, Oregon) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsThe closest I’ve come to love at first sight was when I first laid eyes on Hood River, Oregon. My fiancé and I were visiting her family in Washington State for the first time. It’s the proper thing to do before getting married, I suppose, to meet one’s extended family. And, since we were living in Montana at the time, we were a good 2,000 miles closer than we had previously been while living in Georgia.

Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives [Attribution], via Wikimedia CommonsThe drive from Montana to Washington is breathtaking, as most drives through Montana are, but my jaw truly dropped when we decided to head south from Goldendale and visit Portland. We hadn’t had the pleasure of stepping foot inside a decent mall for months, as silly as that sounds, and thought we might as well since we were so close. The meaning you apply to the word “close” changes when you move from Atlanta to Helena.

Plus, I had never visited Washington or Oregon, and at that point had only spent a few hours in the Pacific Time Zone at the airport in San Francisco. As long as we were so “close,” it made perfect sense to drive the two hours each way. Quickly, I felt very much at home in the Pacific Northwest and when we turned to cross the Columbia River, I felt as if I’d arrived at the most beautiful place on Earth.

The weather was, as I prefer it, cool and with a light rain, and it put Oregon in the perfect light. The evergreens were brighter than any I’d seen before, and the blue water of the Columbia sparkled despite the gray clouds above. There were houses dotting the hillside, boats in the marina, a collection of red brick and brownstone downtown buildings, as well as the magnificent snowcap of Mt. Adams in the distance. The town was gone in an instant as we continued our journey to the big city, but I knew we’d be back.

Our return came quicker than I had imagined. After some shopping in Portland, and with the rain picking up, Hood River seemed like the perfect place to stop in and grab a bite to eat. We didn’t consult our phones for suggestions, and instead dipped into Celio, located on Oak St., simply because we liked to look of it.

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We chatted with our server who, as it happens, had moved from Atlanta like us in search of adventure. She said we had stumbled into town at the right time, fall, because things were a little touristy in the summer because of all the wind sailing.

It would be two more years before I could again lay my eyes on Hood River, and then only for an afternoon. Still, I think of her often and I believe we could be very happy together one day.

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