Katie and I recently reminisced on my adult birthdays and decided that they have been mostly bad or sort of non-existent with exception of 2013 (dancing) and 2015 (champagne bar + karaoke). Outside of these, my birthday has been meh and my 30th was horrible. Have we mentioned recently all my life changes...?? Well, my birthday was collateral damage.
2013: Pre-dancing / Post-drinking
2015: Champagne Bar
2015: Taken at Voicebox by an Australian Couple
So this year for my 31st, I needed to do something different and I needed my best friends there. Luckily they felt guilty for missing last year or they were just available this year, one of the two. Either way, my people (Katie, Doug, Jen, Michael, Alex, Mary, and me!) were together and it was so so so fun.
We decided on a weekend in Hood River, one night in, some kind of physical activity, one night out, and the ability to follow our hearts' desires. My favorite.
We arrived at the condo we rented through Vacasa
, which was situated on the edge of downtown. While we waited for Jen and Michael to arrive, and since we were planning on dinner in, we ventured for a beer at the Big Horse Brew Pub
. We posted up on the patio with the awkward guidance of the host and the waitress who accidentally spilled a few glasses of water on me. No worries, we relocated to another table, ordered beers (no pitchers because what we wanted was "too high of an alcohol percentage" - classic), and took in the sunshine.
Back at the condo, Jen and Katie set up cheese, more cheese, and treats (including the best cookies and macarons from Whole Foods and rosé jello squares
) and Doug got to work on his pizzas (made with a homemade sourdough starter) while Mary and I took in the view. We really kicked things off by pouring some Aperol spritz's (our summer fav) and promptly started taking photo shoots.
After a delicious dinner and a walk around the neighborhood with drinks in hand - gotta love Hood River's open container law - we played Piccolo (previously mentioned in our Budapest podcast and visual guide
). It is really a fun game and made even better with funny people. Mary was laughing so hard, at everything, which basically meant Katie and I were too. A personal favorite was when Michael had to sing everything he said...
|Doug's Pizza Spread|
A lazy morning was just was the doctor - or my body - ordered. Jen and Michael made quiche and mimosas. YES. And we ventured to Ground
just a couple blocks away for coffee.
Our breakfast was enjoyed with the backdrop of soccer followed by Jersey Shore
and we gave each other pep talks about getting our swimsuits on. Because it's the Gorge, I had put in our very loose itinerary that we would go on a hike, but Katie and Doug reminded me that I like to be on the water more than I like to hike, so we rented paddle boards instead.
With our large to-go mimosa we walked to the Gorge Paddling Center
where we all rented SUP's, except Doug who opted for a kayak. Our only mistake was not entrusting the mimosas to Doug. After fighting the wind, paddling out of the rocks, and my attempt and fail at taking my SUP out on the waves with the kite boarders (please note, no one was concerned enough for my safety to follow me), we had the best moment of our paddle boarding adventure. Laying down, we grabbed the straps at the end of our boards to create a trail of paddle boarders being led/dragged by our very own kayak leader, Doug. This is what he gets for being in the faster, more powerful mode of water transportation.
After another photo shoot, we wandered to a couple food carts on a dock overlooking the water. Over beers from Sandbar Cafe
and Hawaiian food from The Local Grind
, we listened to the best playlist and watched teens jump off the dock. A great find as a result of not over-planning our weekend. See the benefit of a "suggested itinerary"!
Our initial idea after lunch was naps and showers, but we wanted to watch the kite boarders and wind surfers and Michael wanted to start a trend of resting in the grass. Again, following our whims and having the best, most relaxing day. Oh, and another photo shoot.
Eventually we rotated through showers and were walking to pFriem Family Brewers
before 7pm. I would say that's pretty solid for this crew. Anticipating an hour wait, Doug carried bocce ball and we got pFriem beers to-go to enjoy on the lawn. Mary made me a flower crown and Katie continued to try to capture photos for my someday inevitable dating profile. I'm still resisting.
After a delicious dinner, we were on our way to the bar that advertised "nightlife" but weren't quite at our best yet. Katie encouraged an impromptu stop at Camp 1805
and it was 100% the right choice. Shots all around (except Jen, she's pregnant...) followed by a round of cocktails, a sampler of booze for the boys, and more shots for me and Katie. It was here that Mary taught us about "soaking" which has proceeded to be my favorite new conversation starter with strangers. Just google "Mormon soaking" and you'll get the details. Or text me or Katie because that's our new favorite option we make available to our readers.
I basically had to force Katie out of her new favorite bar to go to Whiskey Tango, the aforementioned nightlife of Hood River. Jen and Michael took this opportunity to sneak to bed, and I give Jen incredible props for making it that long into the night six months pregnant. More shots, more drinks... now dancing! The assistant DJ, Israel, quickly became familiar with us and as most DJ bouncers do, promptly ignored our requests. No bother, we danced with cowboys and unexpected Jersey Shore types. Katie had the occasional dance off, Mary hooted and hollered at a cowboy, I danced with a man who's butt was at my knees (maybe he wasn't that short but it felt like it), and Doug and Alex were also there keeping drinks full and eyeing questionable folk.
At home we ate birthday cake, sat in the hot tub, laughed more. I'm guessing, it's all a blur.
Time for the best weekend to come to an end. We ate more quiche, didn't drink any mimosas, and packed up the decorations. Resigned to the reality of nursing our hangovers on my couch, Mary and I took naps and partially watched Queer Eye.
We may have then gone on a walk, drank a bottle of rose at Enso
, had dinner and a bottle of pinot gris at Bamboo Sushi
, and had more wine and watched Ocean's 8 at Laurelhurst Theater
, but Sunday's are scary and you have to make the most of birthday weekends.