“Adventure is out there!”
That’s what Charles Muntz declares in the 2009 animated movie “Up” — though sometimes adventure isn’t awaiting in far away South America, but in your own backyard.
The Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area is an awe-inspiring region that covers over 80 miles of ever-changing geological scenery. Lush forested landscape surrounding Multnomah Falls gives way to dramatic layers of volcanic rock and one inch of annual rainfall is lost for every mile traversed along the route.
Now imagine taking in this scenery aboard a luxurious replica-style steamboat that accommodates a maximum of 88 passengers. To make it even better, UnCruise Adventures offers a Rivers of Wine itinerary seven times a year, visiting five different AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in seven days.
For those who have not had a small-ship experience, the river cruise offers personalized service and an unhurried atmosphere not found on 3,000-passenger megaships. I sampled the cruise at a discounted media rate from June 24 to July 1.
I boarded the S.S. Legacy with 50 other passengers near the Glass House of the World Trade Center in downtown Portland. We were met by the on-board heritage guides dressed in period costume. This enthusiastic team accompanied us throughout the week peppering world-class wine tastings with anecdotes about Lewis and Clark, the role the Columbia River played in World War II and how the Ice Age Missoula floods are largely responsible for the beautiful aromas and flavors of the local wines.