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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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Where is the Happiest Place in Southwest Washington? And ZEST’s Winner is…

In February, we announced ZEST’s first contest. We were seeking the happiest place in Southwest Washington. It has been great fun reading the entries. Five judges scored each entry and ultimately chose one winner and 10 honorable mentions.

In the words of one judge: “I want to visit all of the places.” So does ZEST. We will be featuring many of the ideas in future posts. Thank you entrants for such fun suggestions!

So, drum rolllllll, here is our winner! Shelley Burch is the winner of a $50 gift certificate to the Southwest Washington restaurant of her choice. And the Happiest Place is:

Kites and Happiness on the Long Beach Peninsula (photo by Spence Photo Design)

Pacific county it’s for me. Can run whee along the beach. While the wind blows free. The ocean rolls in and out. The gulls fly without a doubt. Kite’s fly without hitting a wire. Flying low or even higher. Sand castles are made to show your creative side. Downtown Long Beach bumper cars give a great ride. And Marshes Museum is a great place to see. Give me the ocean it’s Happy for me.

Congrats, Shelley!

And now for our 10 Honorable Mentions, all of which are Happy Places, too.

Beacon Rock is the happiest place in Southwest Washington. It is a beautiful hike that our whole family loves to take many times a year. Every time we climb Beacon Rock it brings us closer together as a family. We love having our out of town friends join us on the hike to see some of the beauties the northwest has to offer. We love Beacon Rock!

Riverside Park in Lexington, for 33 years has been a very happy place for me and my family. Living so close to this wonderful park is enchantment packed into a small space. Spring and summer the big maples provided shade to sit down and enjoy your surroundings. In the fall, great piles of leaves to kick around, watching the antics of the squirrels. In winter with snow, a wonderland of peace and quiet to explore.

Along the shores of Silver Lake lies a tranquil, happy place, where for a flat mile, one can walk away any worries. Bird watching is abounding, the frogs sing, and fish jump. Around Milepost 5 up the Spirit Lake Highway, the path around the lake at the Mt. St. Helen’s information center is a happy retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Come here to enjoy the silence of nature.

Downtown Camas, WA is my choice for happiest place because it’s a throwback to simpler times with charming stores, great coffee & restaurants and even the Camas Paper Mill. I’ve gotten over the fact that the mill isn’t real pretty and love it because it’s the reason the town was born. My work dream has come true as a store owner in this lovely downtown.

The happiest place around is the Discovery Trail. Beautiful native plants, wildlife, Burnt Bridge Creek and the riparian environment make for a pleasurable walk or bike ride. The path is smooth enough for strollers and wheelchairs. Plus the friendly people and cheerful dogs can brighten a gray day!

If happiness equals sublime contentment, then Lacamas Park at Round Lake near Camas is the happiest place in southwest Washington. The pristine, glassy calm of the lake ringed with towering evergreens will do your soul a world of good. Watch baby ducks or a distant kayaker create ripples in the reflection of trees and sky. Playground and picnic tables provide the perfect family picnic spot with well-groomed trails for walking off the calories after lunch.

Stevenson is the happiest place. I drove there on my birthday to visit the quaint, but active town. Antique stores and small streets compliment the luxurious Bonneville Spa. Stevenson is the gateway to the Bridge of the Gods where you can watch colorful windsurfers. The best salmon dinner is at the Crab Shack where you can sip wine and overlook the river and native trees. The view from the patio of Mt. Hood is exquisite!

East Fork Cellars (aka E.F.C.) IS THE HAPPIEST place! You will never experience wine and fun like this! East Fork Cellars is a local wine tasting room with a Blue Grass/ Rock n’ Roll/ Celtic feel. Where else can you go on a Tuesday night, tasting a “Rat Cellar Red” wine while jamming to a Blue Grass session or toast with a Granny Smith apple Riesling while rocking to the “Cellar Rats” on Friday night?

My happiest place is on the lake at Speilyai Bay at Merwin Lake on the border of Clark and Cowlitz Counties. It’s pure joy spending a warm summer day boating in this most beautiful place where there are waterfalls, beautiful water so clear that you can see the fishes swimming, bald eagles flying overhead, an occasional deer drinking alongside the water and butterflies on the beach. These are my happiest times on the boat with family and friends.

Canoes frame the park and the big river beyond. Happy sounds of squeals and laughter fill the air as I meander through the
Cottonwood Beach trail on the Columbia River in Washougal, Washington. The place has a pulse and moves. Children scurry with little pails and shovels, bare chested drummers nod and beat out powerful sounds. Kayakers in yellow and blue canoes pick up the rhythm as they paddle past. A couple frolics and water sprays.

Thank you, all who entered the contest. We look forward to writing about these happy places in ZEST in the future!

And if your happiest place in Southwest Washington is on the list, feel free to comment on it. If it isn’t there, add a comment, too!

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1 Keith Schwartz { 04.15.10 at 6:34 pm }

As much as I am THRILLED that you chose the truly HAPPIEST PLACE in Southwest Washington, and flattered to receive byline for the photo, it isn’t mine. That delightful shot is the work of Spence Photo Design .

2 Pacific County Museums Deserve More Than Just A Casual Visit | { 06.18.10 at 4:19 pm }

[…] the Good Life in SW Washington State”, which recently announced Pacific County as the “Happiest Place in SW Washington” added a nice overview of our Pacific County Museums.  Aptly noted, these wonders […]

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