The Howells Group Blog

Setting Intentions and Singing Dogs


Saturday during the Memorial Weekend we finally made good on a Christmas present for a very special family member. My husband, his sister Laura and I headed to Hood River for an adventure in wine country. All week I kept thinking “I need to plan this outing so we know what we’re doing” – but alas, Saturday quickly arrived and all we had was a map and some positive anticipation for our “plan”. So – we decided to pray for a day of adventure, unexpected fun and set our intentions as we drove up the gorge. What a day it was! First stop was a charming breakfast/espresso gift store in old Troutdale – just a delight. We enjoyed a light breakfast, latte and bought a few small gifts from their tremendous and unique inventory.

Onward we headed through the stunning gorge scenery on a sunny day with just the right breeze to our first vineyard. Cathedral Ridge Winery creates wonderful wines, offers a lovely view and the perfect place for a picnic with the wine you’ll undoubtedly want to purchase. Next, we stumbled on to a newer winery that was a total delight. Marchesi Vineyards is a must stop and we made amazing connections with the owners wife, Sandy, chatted with the winemaker, Franco and enjoyed some beautiful and affordable wines on the patio with a meat and cheese platter while opera serenaded us. Then it was time to eat and Rob, my husband remembered a perfect place for a healthy lunch set in a nursery. With no address or directions, and over a year since we’d been there, he drove directly to it! We found a great table outside with the perfect light lunch and then a meander through their organized and colorful nursery. (Am I sounding like a travel writer yet?!)

But the true delight of our adventure was Sophie, the singing dog who rules with charm at The Enchanted Alpaca. The goods were gorgeous and I had trouble saying no to a luscious red Alpaca winter coat on sale – but while chatting with the owner she assured us that her little 3-year-old Shitzu, Sophie was quite the singer. Carol stepped into a back room, grabbed her guitar and started belting out the standard “Cry Me River”. Sophie knew it was her cue… and she moved from my husband’s lap to “her stool” and at the appropriate time.
Sure enough, she lifted her little head and howled with gusto in a rhythm with her owner that was hysterical. (the picture shows Rob laughing almost till he cried!) Now that’s entertainment, right?! You must visit and see the merchandise, meet Carol and hear Sophie the dog. So – it was the perfect day with absolutely NO planning. What did I learn? That praying and setting our intentions can have amazing results. And not planning can be the best plan of all!

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