April 2014: New York Times, 36 Hours in Hood River, Ore.
Eat lunch on the drive back down and head to Big Winds on Front Street, or the Big Winds Event Site Beach Center on the Columbia River, open mid-May to late September. Stand-up paddleboard rentals ($35 for two hours) and lessons with gear included ($49) are available daily, so hop on and paddle along the waterfront, or across the river on low-wind days. Up the ante with windsurf rentals ($25 for two hours for beginners; $55 for advanced) and lessons ($79) and head to the 20-plus launch locations up and down the river, including the famed Hatchery, where the pros catch big air. Afterward, stop in at Solstice Wood Fire Cafe & Bar to replenish with a Country Girl Cherry Pizza with chorizo and goat cheese ($13) and local wine.