Despite Central Oregon's topsy-turvy weather, spring is in the air.
The spring equinox has come and passed, and the days are getting longer as we speak. Flowers are starting to pop out of the ground and we can, hopefully, pack up our winter scarves and gloves for the season.
In celebration of everything spring, Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge area have lined up several events in April. With wine tastings, the Gorge Artist Open House Weekend and the three-week Blossom Time, there is something for everyone.
Here's a roundup:
• Columbia Gorge Winegrowers present their Passport Weekend, April 12-14, at more than 27 wineries in Oregon and Washington. The event features “free tastings, hors d'oeuvres, exclusive barrel sampling, vineyard tours, advance sampling of new releases and reserve wines and live music,” according to the group's website. Using a passport (a small booklet that resembles a U.S. passport), participants can collect stamps from each winery. Passports are $15 and include special offers and discounts for the weekend. For more information, visit www.gorgewine.com or contact 866-413-9463.
• Coinciding with Passport Weekend, the Friends of the Gorge are offering a guided “wiking” trip — a growing Oregon trend that combines hiking and wine tasting. Exploring the area's wildflowers and geology, the approximately 3.5-mile hike runs April 14 at the Catherine Creek Arch Loop in Lyle, Wash. For more details, visit www.gorgefriends.org.
• The Gorge Artist Open House Weekend features 29 glass artists, potters, photographers, weavers, painters, sculptors, jewelers, digital artists and furniture makers in their homes and studios. Self-guided tour maps are available at several locations in the Columbia River Gorge area. For more information, visit www.gorgeartistsopenstudios.blogspot.com.
• Presented by the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce, Blossom Time (April 12-28) celebrates the return of the pink and white blossoms on the area's fruit trees. Events include an Abstract Fiber Art Trunk Show, the Blossom Fest and Craft Show and more wine and beer tastings. For a full schedule, visit www.hoodriver.org or contact 800-366-3530.