Friday, May 2, 2014

Beacon Rock and Vista House

Hello my fine friends!  Would you like to join me on a bus tour of the Columbia River Gorge along with 28 members of the Portland Women's Forum and a few guests?  OK, climb aboard and let's get going!  We're heading East on Interstate 84 and exit at Cascade Locks, Oregon and then cross over the Bridge of the Gods to Washington State - we turn left and head to Beacon Rock State Park.  Which is below, which I *LOVE*!

Our first stop, though, was at this cute little stone building which was built by the CCC - the Civilian Conservation Corps under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Find out more about the CCC HERE.  It has been the Parks Headquarters for 6 years now.

Several of our group visited the inside of the building.

Then we headed on a to Beacon Rock State Park - it's just beautiful there, so green and a pretty creek gurgles through to the river.  Here is the group on the ramp down to the boat docks with the huge rock monolith behind us.  A side note - the first time I was here we came by boat - on our sailboat, Stargazer - a cruise put together by the Columbia Gorge Yacht Club of which we were members.

Dayle took this photo for me.. isn't he sweet?  He also helped all the ladies on and off the bus.  A real gentleman I married.  Can you find me in the photo?  :-)

It was a beautiful warm and breezy day, perfect for visiting the gorge.  The island off the docks there is called Pierce Island.  The Oregon side is behind it.  The docks are a popular place for boaters as can you imagine relaxing on your boat and having Beacon Rock as your backdrop?  When we got off the bus there were FOUR Osprey aka Sea Eagles flying above us calling out peeeeep peeep!!

There is a lot of beautiful meadows and tall trees in the park.

We then headed on to the Bonneville Hot Springs Spa and Resort for lunch.  We don't pass up a good opportunity for a group photo, especially with a backdrop such as this massive, rock fireplace.

The atrium dining area is awesome, with a view of their beautifully planted courtyard with hot spring mineral pool.  

We were served a mixed green salad, warm sourdough baguette and a chicken fettuccine Alfredo.  Everyone was happy with the meal and got to look around the resort facilities - then it was time to head off to the next stop.

I was able to snap this image of Beacon Rock from the bus as we drove by it on the Oregon side headed West.

We exited the freeway at the Ainsworth Park and Dodson Exit 35 - and passed by Horsetail Falls and I loved all the bright neon green of the sun shining through the newly opened Maple leaves.

We passed by Multnomah Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Latourell and Bridal Veil Falls and then wound our way on curving and climbing Historic Columbia River Highway to finally arrive at the magnificent Vista House at Crown Point.  Several docents were awaiting us to tell us about the history of the building.

Looking East through the recently restored windows.  The original windows were removed and plain clear glass filled these windows, isn't it wonderful to have the old look brought back?  The new stained glass was custom made to match fragments of the old windows that were removed so long ago.

I just love the interior of this grand old octagonal building.  I was one of the founders of the Friends of Vista House and then was hired as the Executive Director and served in the position from 1982 until 1997 (15 years).  I then decided to leave that position and work for Talk City - an internet company.  But I still have a deep and abiding connection to this wonderful building and place.  I go there as often as possible - it's just 6-7 minutes from our house!

Do you see the carved panels above?  Each of the eight panels represents an important Oregon pioneer family.  I took a photo of one of the panels, Applegate.  One of our members of PWF is Dorothy Madden, a direct descendent of the Applegate family!!  She was with us on the tour.

Richard Cassidy was in period costume as a visitor in the days when VH opened.  To his right is Sally King, who is the Volunteer Coordinator for the FOVH and a very good friend of mine.  I hired her as Assistant Manager of the gift shop 30 years ago!

My sister Roberta asked if I wanted a photo with Richard, so this is the result.  :-) 

And I'm still awed by the architecture, this is the ceiling of the dome.

The floor is Alaskan Tokeen marble.. isn't it beautiful?

The light shining through the windows in front of the stairs up to the upper observation area, then down to the lower level where the gift shop and espresso cafe is located.  The cafe is located in the room which was my office for 15 years.

Looking East up the gorge.. do you see Beacon Rock?  This will give you perspective of what it's relationship is to Vista House.

Next stop.. Portland Women's Forum -- Dayle hopped off the bus to help the drive get turned around, and he snapped this shot for me.  The stonework you see is the viewing plaza where there is a huge monument with arrows pointing to different attractions.  

OK, back on the bus to head home.  What a fun day we had!  I hope you enjoyed going along.

Today we're resting up as tomorrow we're doing another bus tour for the Friends of Multnomah Falls - we're going up to Timberline Lodge for a tour and lunch in a private banquet hall.  I can't WAIT to share that with you in a few days!  I hope you don't tire of my travel posts.  ((hugs)), Teresa :-) 


  1. I love the picture of you all on the bridge. It took me a while but I found you eventually.
    What a great group of people you all look like you had a wonderful time. And the scenery is fantastic.

  2. GORGEous pictures! (I'm sure you've never heard that one before.) Fun stuff and beautiful country. Those stained glass windows were so pretty and that view can't be beat. I did find you in that first group picture...5th from the end! :)

  3. Is a beautiful Place! thanks by shared!

  4. do keep busy my much FUN you have! I was going to ask you how you are doing but looks like amazingly well from you photos. xoxox

  5. It looks like a great time to me. A day spent with friends enjoying new places....what more could you ask for?! Looking forward to your next trip :)

  6. I always look forward to your travel posts. This is the only way (unless I win a lottery) that I will ever get to see these beautiful places. Thanks for showing me another part of our beautiful country.

  7. What a great tour. Something I would definitely enjoy doing in person. :) Everything is so beautiful. So much to see and do. You have quite a history in the area yourself. Best wishes, Tammy

  8. You have the BEST times Teresa! I love the vista House too. We've stopped several times but the gift shop has never been open when we were there. You poctures are beautiful and you had the perfect day for your trip. And another tomorrow? How fun!

  9. Wow what an amazing day out - looked like you all had the most wonderful time! Cant wait for the pictures of your next trip!


  10. I think you have the very best of fun don't you Teresa? And even though the views were gorgeous I especially loved spotting you with your shawl on, very nice.

  11. I never get tired of your travel posts, Teresa. They're wonderful. Thank you! :)

  12. You're always having a good time, it's one of my favorite things about you. This is a beautiful place, you're lucky to have so many amazing things nearby to see. I love the photo of you with the costumed Richard, very cute. I'm glad you had a good time, thanks for taking us along. :)

  13. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome photos with us and taking us along on your fun trip. I never tire of seeing your always take the best shots and I love seeing your beautiful world. I just love your area. You are so very blessed to live in such a beautiful place.

    I love how the stained glass windows were made to look like curtains on the very top of the elegant and lovely.

    Wishing you happy travels sweet friend. :)

  14. I dont tire of them at all! what a wonderful window to your world. You look darling in that photo. I married a gentleman too, we are the lucky ones

  15. Awesome photos Teresa! Nope, would never tire of your travel photos and posts! I am so far behind in blogging that I feel like I will never catch up! I sit down at night to read a bit, and am so tired, that I just can't keep my eyes open. Hope you are well.
    xo Kris

  16. Sigh, you know what I'm going to say about visiting one day right? That and turquoise really suits you.

  17. Beautiful photos of VIsta House -- love the new 'old' stained glass windows! Loved the photo of you with Richard (loved his period costume too)! What amazing historical resources we have here in Oregon:)
    Blessings, Aimee

  18. I learned more on your wonderful tour than mine this week, Teresa, but my guests and I still enjoyed our adventures :) Thanks so much for sharing your views! xx


I absolutely love comments and thank you so much for taking time to leave me a note. :-)