The 4th of July at the Columbia River Gorge

Vista House Columbia River

Columbia River and Vista House (right) from Chanticleer Point

The problem it seems with smaller towns and tony bed-and-breakfast resorts is guests are not made a priority at holidays, and it’s not much different along the Columbia River Gorge in Washington over the 4th of July. There is little benefit to publicly badmouth the owners where we are staying so I won’t say where we are because I think it is terrible that some idiots today feel the need to jump online to target small business owners who are just doing the best that they can. The crooks and major corporations are exempt from this policy, and I will blast them all day long. But not the little guys.

bridge of the gods

Bridge of the Gods links Oregon with Washington across the Columbia River

When we checked into our resort, the owner asked if we would like her to arrange an activity. I mentioned her guestbook said it was never too late to schedule a fishing adventure, and I would like to fish the Columbia River. Not a long trip, maybe just four hours. She would make a couple of calls and get back to us.

windsurgfing on Columbia River Stevenson

Windsurfers on Columbia River in Stevenson, Washington

On our way out to tour the Columbia River Gorge, we stopped by her office. She was in the back on the phone and did not hear us come in. She was talking loudly. “Oh, yes, I agree, all of the information is on our website and our guests had access. Yes, they should have booked with you before arriving, and I don’t blame you for wanting to spend time with your family.” In other words, it was our fault that we could not go fishing. The resort did not send us an email about needing to book activities in advance.

I am so freakin’ busy selling real estate in Sacramento that I had zero time to even peruse the website to confirm our reservation before we departed on our vacation. We made those reservations for the 4th of July in March, for crying out loud.

wind tunnel stevenson washington

Kiteboarders leap into the air at the Columbia River wind tunnel in Stevenson, Washington.

Instead, she offered the opportunity to board a large sternwheeler in town, filled with college-age revelers and families with screaming toddlers, to sit body-to-sticky-body in the 90+ heat and bang around on the water for two hours. Which is not at all like fishing.

Stevenson Waterfront Dock

Stevenson Waterfront dock on the Columbia River features Adam and Elizabeth Weintraub.

Then, all of the restaurants in the area closed at 8 PM. So, we could not make a dinner reservation at 7:30 and ended up ordering take-out from a Mexican joint. Thank god for the in-room wine bottles on the wall, is all I have to say. Now, I realize there are more problems in the world that my complaints might seem small and insignificant in comparison to but it doesn’t matter.

columbia river highway

Latourell Falls Bridge built in 1915 along the Historic Columbia River Highway

I really dislike having to make reservations for anything. Preplanning, bleh. But you either adapt or you starve to death. It’s not like the old days when you could go on vacation and do whatever you wanted at the spur of the moment, just go with the flow, because there are too many people in the world. It’s hard to predict exactly how I might feel at a certain hour of the day. In my real world of selling Sacramento real estate, I am organized to the 10th degree and all of my activities are generally scheduled. I prefer more leeway when I’m on vacation.

dog at waterfront in stevenson washington

Happy dog at Clark and Lewie’s Restaurant along the waterfront in Stevenson, Washington

Like, when I’m in Hawaii, most of the resorts require dinner reservations, and it doesn’t matter where you stay. Although, I will say at least the Four Seasons staff will come to your room and serve dinner. You can’t come up off the water for dinner whenever you feel like it; although, you can in Vanuatu. In fact, you can go to dinner in your swimsuit and barefoot if you want at The Eratap, and enjoy a 5-star meal.

The thing is when you visit other places, you might find your expectations are dashed when it comes to service, and if you want to be in that place, that’s what you get. It comes with the territory. I don’t regret coming to visit the Columbia River Gorge just because we could not go fishing or get dinner at a preferred time.

columbia river gorge highway

Train tracks, highway and river along the Historic Columbia River Highway at Bridal Falls Wayside

We enjoyed a lovely lunch on the Columbia River at Clark and Lewie’s, a beet salad with greens, candied pecans, cranberries and grilled salmon on top. Plus, we enjoyed watching people kiteboarding and windsurfing on the river and met a beautiful dog who was initially tied up outside the restaurant but cried so much they let him inside. Afterwards, we hiked a little and toured the Historic Columbia River Highway, stopping along the way. I hope you enjoyed the photos of the Columbia River Gorge.

Photos by Elizabeth Weintraub, Sacramento

Subscribe to Elizabeth Weintraub\'s Blog via email

Sorry we are experiencing system issues. Please try again.