Photo by Julie Raefield-Gobbo
A new set of Kennedy's are about to take over the White House - Hood River style. From left to right, Andy, Jack, Pat and Barry Kennedy of Odell are taking the reins of the Gorge White House beginning Nov. 1. Seen here on a recent visit and tour of Steve and Don Bickford's Mt. Hood Winery operations, the family is stepping in as Camille Hukari and Jerry Tausend look forward to retirement.
Hood River Press release from The Gorge White House:
Changes are coming to the Gorge White House, ahistorical icon along Highway 35 in the Pine Grove area of the Hood River Valley.
The Gorge White House has a third family as its owner since 1901. Camille Hukari and Jerry Tausend have announced that they will turn over the keys to another long time Hood River orchard family, Pat, Beth, Barry and Carrie Kennedy on the first of November.
The 31-acre property has been in the Hukari family since 1947, when Camille’s grandfather, Don O. Nunamaker purchased it from Ruth Hill Beacon, the daughter of MM and Carrie Hill who built the historical home. Camille grew up in the home and in 2006 began a restoration and transformation of the family home into what is now known as “The Gorge White House”. Camille and Jerry officially opened the doors of the new business on blossom weekend in 2007. The Gorge White House showcases local products including wine and micro-brews from the Columbia Gorge, local seasonal fruit, honeys, u-pick fields of flowers, strawberries, blueberries and table grapes, a variety of pear based products and hosts a variety of events including weddings and anniversaries.
On November 1st, the keys will be turned over to the Kennedy family of Odell. “I can’t think of a better family to continue the legacy here,” said Camille. “I have known the Kennedys a very long time, my folks knew them and I don’t think there could be a more direct connection to the orchards and heritage of this area. The Kennedy family is related to the Fletchers, Gehrigs and Parks families of Odell and Pine Grove. What is most amazing about this transition is that there is a direct link back to the original MM Hill family who built this spectacular property. Pat and Barry’s grandmother was a sister to Ruth Parks, who married Bob Hill of Willow Flat. Bob was a first cousin of MM and Carrie Hill. I called Priscilla Carrasco on Tuesday to tell her about the sale of the property. Priscilla lives in Salem and is the granddaughter of MM and Carrie Hill. She has been an immense help in documenting stories about her grandparents and the home and visits several times a year. She was delighted that the property will be staying with a local family who will continue to preserve it for generations to come. In some ways, the ownership has come full circle back to the original Hill family. There could not be a better transition.”
“One of our neighbors had a very humorous quote, especially since this is an election year” said Jerry. “They said, Our property values will go up since the Kennedys are moving back into The White House!”
There will be an open house for the public to meet the Kennedy family and say goodbye to Camille and Jerry as they move into retirement. The open house is scheduled for Sunday, October 21st from 2-5 in the afternoon.
Staff at The Gorge White House will be offering complimentary tastes of their signature Heritage Bosc Pear wine as well as introducing their brand new Blueberry wine made from crops grown on the farm.