Basking in Bingen, Washington

Find fresh food, parks, and quiet near the Columbia River Gorge

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  • Dishes like Imperial Stock Ranch lamb shank in coconut curry with pineapple chutney may be sophisticated but Viento is refreshingly laid-back.

    A dish at Bingen Washington's Viento

    John Clark

    Click to Enlarge

EAT

Solstice Wood Fire Café In a building shared with Red Fish Gallery, pair a microbrew with an organic grilled portabella mushroom sandwich, while the kids scribble on the wall-size chalkboard. INFO: $; 415 W. Steuben St.; 509/493-4006.

Viento Roll in ― in hiking boots if you like ― for goat cheese-stuffed fried squash blossoms or an Imperial Stock Ranch burger with twice-cooked fries. It's a down-home bistro with sophisticated local and organic fare. INFO: $$; dinner only; 216 W. Steuben St.; 509/493-0049.

NEARBY

Stroll the flat, 0.5-mile St. Cloud Trail loop, which winds through an orchard of 50-year-old apple trees. The trailhead is off State 14 (near milepost 30) in Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (541/308-1700). A Northwest Forest Day Pass is required, available online ($5).

Stray farther from town to climb Beacon Rock, an ancient volcanic plug named by Lewis and Clark. It's 27 miles west of Bingen off State 14 (near milepost 35) in Beacon State Park (509/427-8265); no permit required. Little wonder the trail (about an hour round-trip) is popular despite its steep switchbacks: The views of Columbia River and Table Mountain are breathtaking.

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