Kelley and I just got back from a trip to the Columbia Gorge. We’ve lived in Seattle for sixteen years and had never got down there. We saw that there was a patch of good weather heading our way so it seemed like a good time to give it a go. We found a deal at some nifty cabins, rented a car, and off we went.

Here’s the view of the Gorge from the deck of our cabin. Yes, that’s ice glinting from the tops.

Here’s a closer view:

And right on the shoreline:

On the river the sun was shining but the wind was blowing: straight off those still-icy hilltops. It was bitterly cold. In July, with the ice gone, I imagine it’s stunning.

The cabins were in a small town called Carson, set back a bit and sheltered from the wind, facing the Gorge on one side and a little meadow (with a zillion birds, and one cat) on the other. We visited a couple of restaurants and cafes in nearby towns and found that the wine was incredibly cheap. Pinot noirs that would have been $50 in Seattle were less than $30. One of the benefits of drinking locally. So we had long, lazy meals with fine conversation, interspersed with fabulous scenery, reading Modesty Blaise in the sheltered sunshine, and wondering what wonders our innkeepers would produce for breakfast. My favourite: a sausage and sweet pepper and hash-browns baked thing, with an peach-and-oatmeal cobbler. With choice of banana or satsuma for later. (As usual I ate several thousand calories a day more than was strictly necessary.)

The real bliss, of course, was being off the grid: no phone signal in the cabin, no WiFi, just sun, books, wine, each other. I can recommend it. Go spend some time with the people you love.