Woods, Wine & Tail Wags

Located just 45 minutes from Portland, and situated on the Columbia River Gorge, Skamania Lodge is an ideal destination for dog lovers. The 175-acre wooded estate offers guests, two- and four-legged alike, a glimpse into one of the nation’s most beautiful natural wonders, with all of the creature comforts a human and canine could want.
Written by Brandie Ahlgren | Photos by Emily Rieman
Upon arrival at Skamania Lodge, the Columbia Gorge can be seen in all its glory from the warm and inviting lobby area, where a huge fireplace, comfy leather chairs and a delicious glass of wine are calling our name. As we unwind from the day, we take in the gorgeous view and plan our next adventure, of which there is no shortage of at Skamania Lodge. Biking, golfing, whitewater rafting and fishing are just a few of the more than 45 different recreational choices, and the property’s trail system offers over four miles of hiking paths, with magnificent views of the Columbia River Gorge and Cascade Mountains.

We set out on the 1.7-mile Lake Loop Trail, which winds through the woods past Wy’East Lake and Lilly Pad Lake, where we are told to keep an eye out for wildlife including birds, frogs, turtles and deer. From here, we join the 1.5-mile Creek Loop Trail, which leads to a spectacular viewpoint overlooking the Columbia River and Benson Plateau. For a more challenging hike, the Gorge Loop Trail leads into a canyon, with switchbacks on the way back up, and features views of the Columbia River and Bridge of the Gods.

Hiking has worked up our appetites, so back at the lodge we opt for dinner in the River Rock Lounge. The atmosphere is casual, with a menu that focuses on small plates with a local twist such as Salmon “Seacuterie,” Dungeness Mac ‘n’ Cheese, and Northwest Mussels with Walking Man IPA.

Other dining options include the Cascade Dining Room, where chef Matt Hale sources nearly all of his epicurean offerings within 50 miles of the lodge including seared salmon with roasted asparagus and cranberry apricot compote, smoked duck breast with braised red cabbage and huckleberry sauce, and bone-in ribeye with house made Yukon Gold fries and demi-herb butter. From April through September, the outdoor Greenside Grille offers golfers, and those exploring the nature trails, casual fare including hamburgers and hotdogs.
After dinner, we retire to our pet-friendly room, where Thya finds a welcome packet loaded with goodies including a treat, toy and leash. There is also an extra sheet for the bed and towel for wiping muddy paws. The room also features a king sized bed, cozy gas fireplace, terrycloth robes, coffee maker and access to a back patio and wooded area, where Thya can easily take a potty break when needed.

The next day, we hit the road and head for
Maryhill Winery (pictured above). Located on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River, with spectacular views of Mt. Hood, this destination winery is definitely one of the more breathtaking wineries we’ve ever seen—and best of all, it’s dog friendly.

Upon arrival, tasting director Laurie O’Leary takes all of us (Thya included) on a behind-the-scenes tour of the winery. We get to see where the award-winning wines are made—over 50 in all, from Cabernet to Chardonnay, Merlot to Malbec. Maryhill is also home to a 4,000 seat amphitheater featuring a spectacular summer concert series, as well as a 3,000 square-foot tasting room, a 1,200 square-foot reserve room with private courtyard, four bocce ball courts, and a vine-covered, Tuscan-style outdoor terrace—all of which are family and dog friendly.

Alas, we end our tour on the terrace, where Laurie treats us to a tasting flight of delicious reds and whites including a Zinfandel to die for—it’s no surprise Maryhill has been recognized as 2014 Winery of the Year by San Francisco International Wine Competition, 2013 Winemaker of the Year by Indy International Wine Competition, 2009 Washington Winery of the Year by Wine Press Northwest and Best Destination Winery by Seattle Magazine.

And, after today’s tasting, it’s now recognized as Best Dog-Friendly Winery on the Columbia River by yours truly, CityDog! With exceptional wines, spectacular views, live music, and dog friendliness—Maryhill Winery certainly lives up to this most recent recognition.  

More Information
Skamania Lodge
1131 SW Skamania Lodge Way
Stevenson, Wash.
Phone: 509.427.7700; skamania.com
Rates start at $149 plus $75 per stay pet fee.

Maryhill Winery
9774 Hwy 14, Goldendale, Wash.
877.MARYHILL; maryhillwinery.com
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