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New shops offer alternatives in Government Camp

Visitors can enjoy activities and more at Ratskeller
by: contributed photo, Get out of the snow for a minute and into the warm Bakerei, where there's plenty of goodies that counter the chilly temperatures.

Skiing and snowboarding long have been popular attractions for Government Camp, but there was little else for visitors to do if they didn't want to hit the slopes, or if they were looking for a change of pace after the last run of the day.

Now there is. The Shops at the Ratskeller, 88335 E. Government Camp Loop, opened Saturday, Dec. 8, with four tempting shops that provide some alternative entertainment, shopping and relaxation.

'The main reason we developed it is we have all this new housing,' said Robb Hutson, general manager for Mt. Hood Adventure, one of the stores. 'We're trying to get people to spend multiple days, make it a destination.'

Mt. Hood Adventure, which was previously based at the Collins Lake Resort, offers snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobile tours and a retail shop for winter recreation, and hiking tours, mountain bike rentals and tours and canoe, kayak and whitewater options for the summer. Hutson notes that nobody else in the Mt. Hood National Forest can offer a similar number of options for visitors.

'I think we have the widest ranging Forest Service permit,' he said. 'We have a permit to do more activities that anybody else.'

For those who aren't quite as adventurous, the new shops also feature Cheetalolita's, which offers unique gifts and home décor, and Handwerker Arts, an art gallery that features a variety of art from regional artists.

'With all my friends who come to visit, there's no place to shop,' said Cheetalolita's owner Angie Dragoo. 'Everybody says it's finally nice to have a place to come in out of the snow.'

The unique name stems from a nickname Dragoo was given by her friends during a ski trip, and she carries that uniqueness into what she sells. The store offers items such as organic corn bowls made from water buffaloes from India that are designed for salad serving, hand-painted martini glasses with recipes on the bottom and 'Poo-Pourri,' a patent-pending air freshener for the bathroom (which unfortunately has sold out at the moment).

Visitors can also peruse or purchase art at Handwerker Arts, including metal work, ceramic, glass, fiber, wood, photography, oil paintings, watercolors and jewelry. The gallery adds another space to the local art scene, which already includes exhibits at the Mt. Hood Museum and Cultural Center and the center's Arts Cabins Project.

'It was really exciting for me to be part of a growing arts community in Government Camp,' said gallery manager Corinna Horsell, who hopes to have artist talks and demonstrations in the future. 'I just hope to have more and more local people with art work in here.'

If all the activity or art makes you hungry, there is also the Ratskeller Bakerei, which offers sandwiches, coffee drinks, fresh pastries and other baked goods. Or visitors can sample four of the bakery's red or white wines paired with international cheeses and relax by the fireplace.

'Doing wine and cheese on weekends has been nice,' said bakery manager Jill Inman, who noted they also make custom cakes for special events. 'People are looking for something different.

Mt. Hood Adventure is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 888-422-4776 or visit www.mthoodadventure.com.

Cheetalolita's is open Friday from 1 to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with extended hours for holidays and in the summer. For more information, call 503-272-0254.

Handwerker Arts is open Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., but visitors can drop in at other times by asking at Mt. Hood Adventure. For more information, call 503-267-0879.

The Ratskeller Bakerei is open 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 503-272-3059.