Hood River is all about adventure. First, skiing. Then, windsurfing. Then, mountain biking. And now?
The escape room.
The what? In short, a room in which you and friends agree to be locked for an hour with a mystery story and a batch of clues and only your problem-solving skills to get you out.
That’s the basics behind Escape the Hood, the first escape room in Hood River. It’s now a new concept. Business owners Dave Keleher and his son, Dana, say the concept has been around for maybe 20 years. Portland has more than 30 similar venues.
“It’s really popular in Europe, Asia and Japan,” Dave says.
Some venues pull stock stories for their customers. Dave says he and Dana have developed their own. Since opening on Nov. 1, they’ve been booking detectives into one finished room. It’s got a fruit-growing theme, with artifacts that reflect that slice of the local economy. Fruit bins full of burlap bags. An old jack. A desk and a … well, you could find out.
“We tell you the story, set the stage, pose the challenge and lock you in,” Dave says. “Then you try to solve the puzzle so you can escape.”
Closed-circuit cameras ensure safety and security. Either Dave or Dana monitors the room so they can offer three verbal clues in case the customers get stumped.
“It’s a great team-building activity,” Dave says. “With one business, the boss didn’t play, but just watched on video. He said it was great to watch how people interacted, the interpersonal relationship skills.”
The Kelehers plan to build another escape room shortly. In the meantime, use is by reservation only. The room can hold two to eight people at a time, so a small group may find themselves sharing the mystery with another group.
Escape the Hood is at 1406 12th St. #101. Appointments are available Monday through Friday at 6 and 8 p.m. On weekends, sleuths can engage at noon, 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m.
Learn more at their website, or by calling Keleher at 541-399-4445.