IF YOU GO
The Dalles is at the eastern entrance to the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon side of the river, 75 miles east of Portland and about 250 miles from Seattle. Get there via Interstate 5 South and Interstate 84 East in Oregon or take Interstate 90 East to US-97 South.
-The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center: Wasco County's historical museum dedicated to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and the explorations of Lewis & Clark. See http://www.gorgediscovery.org, or call 541-296-8600. Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
-The Dalles Riverfront Trail: Completed so far: 8.5 miles of a 10-mile paved trail following the south bank of the Columbia River. Interesting stops include a children's' "Imagination Garden" and explorers' Lewis & Clark's Rock Fort campsite. See http://www.nwprd.org.
Tours of The Dalles Lock and Dam. Visit The Dalles Dam Visitor Center, 3545 Bret Clodfelter Way, open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. during the summer. Call 541-296-9778 for updated information on tours of the dam powerhouse scheduled to begin in mid-July.
-The Dalles Commercial Historic District: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. See http://www.historicthedalles.org for a walking tour map and explanations of historical murals on downtown buildings. Worth a stop are Klindt's bookstore, the oldest in Oregon; the Fort Dalles Museum; and the 1910 Carnegie Library, now The Dalles Art Center.
Contact The Dalles Chamber of Commerce at 800- 255-3385, or see http://www.thedalleschamber.com and http://www.historicthedalles.org. Also, the Columbia River Gorge Visitors Association at http://www.crgva.org.
Where we stayed
The Celilo Inn, on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River Gorge and The Dalles Dam, 3550 East Second St.; http://www.celiloinn.com or 541-769-0001.
Rates: Weekend rates for double rooms start at $129 per night.
Pros: Tasteful transformation of a 1950s motel into a boutique inn, with a pool and roomy units equipped with free Wi-Fi and cable flat-screen TVs. Guests gather in the evenings around the patio firepit for complimentary wine.
Cons: Breakfast was meager-granola, apples, oranges and dried-out pastries. Some noise from the dam, highway and railroad tracks below, but not as much as I expected.
Would we stay again? Absolutely. Rooms have all the mod-cons, and the view is the best in town.
Where do you stay? Do you have favorite place to stay in the Columbia River Gorge area? Comment on this story at seattletimes.com/travel.