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Posts from — May 2012

Burnt Bridge Cellars Opens in Downtown Vancouver, Joins Local Wine and Brew Scene

Clark County has yet another new and welcome winery. Downtown Vancouver is the location for Burnt Bridge Cellars, which opened the weekend of May 18-20. The former location of Sigma Design at 1500 Broadway has been transformed into a tasting room, cellar and bottling area.

The tasting room at 15th and Broadway in downtown Vancouver

David Smith and Mark Mahan have made wine together for several years, winning multiple awards in the 2010 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition for their Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlot, Syrah and blends under the David Mark Wines label.

Proof is in the tasting. Burnt Bridge Cellar’s current wines merit their new professional status. Just after opening, in fact, they won a gold medal at the 2012 Seattle Wine Awards for their 2010 Les Collines Viognier.

Mark Mahan and David Smith

Opening weekend we tasted their Semillon, Pont Brule, Syrah and Mourvedre. We enjoyed them all. A lovely bottle of Pont Brule joined our wine cellar. It won’t last long.

Burnt Bridge Cellars has joined another downtown winery and tasting room, Gouger Cellars at 1812 Washington. Look out, Walla Walla!

The Burnt Bridge Cellars tasting room will be open on Saturdays and Sundays f rom 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on every First Friday night. Beyond downtown Vancouver, Clark County wineries will also be open Memorial Day Weekend as well as other dates. Details and a map are here.

You haven’t been left out, beer aficionados!
Beer lovers have not been neglected.  Mt. Tabor Brewing, which is open on Friday nights, at 113 W. 9th, the Beer by the Bottle store and taproom at 104 W. Evergreen (and their recent acquisition of the Salmon Creek Brew Pub) and the future opening of Loowit Brewing Company, which is being constructed across from the Hilton on Columbia, feature quality brews.

Beer connoisseurs have, in fact, two upcoming events of their own – the Who’s Your Daddy? Beer Festival on June 15 at Turtle Park at 9th and Main in downtown Vancouver. And the first Vancouver Brewfest USA will be held on August 10-11 at Esther Short Park.

Winemakers, brewers…welcome, all!

 

 

 

 

 

May 24, 2012   2 Comments

Designed for Neighboring: White Salmon’s Wyers End Pocket Neighborhood

One weekend in the 1990s, while wandering around scenic island community Langley, Washington, we stumbled upon an interesting little housing development.  Eight charming bungalows with picket fences were clustered around a common courtyard. As we toured one home, we marveled at the creative use of space and light as well as the high quality construction. With front porches facing the courtyard and no street traffic, this was a little oasis designed for social interaction and neighborliness. We were impressed!

What we didn’t know was that this development, the Third Street Cottages, was a prototype project for contemporary “pocket neighborhoods” designed by Ross Chapin Architects. Whidbey Island’s Langley (population slightly more than 1,000) became the first community in the country to pass a new ordinance allowing the development of neighborhoods with smaller homes and yards that are more densely sited with a common central landscaped area. Bravo, Langley!

Designing a Pocket Neighborhood in Southwest Washington
Ross Chapin has since designed 40 pocket neighborhoods and published an excellent book, Pocket Neighborhoods – Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World. His designs are in use in Southwest Washington in White Salmon.  The Wyers End neighborhood  is an example of these well-designed, smallish homes that are designed for neighboring and sustainability.

Street scene at Wyers End in White Salmon, WA

In 2008, Smart Development Corporation of Hood River worked with Ross Chapin to create the 18-home neighborhood with 12 different designs. The Energy Star homes range from 1700 sq foot, 3 bedroom bungalows to 500 sq foot, one bedroom cottages. Construction was by Skyward Construction of Ridgefield, WA.

Like the Langley development, Smart Development, which specializes “in the development of real estate projects in established neighborhoods where residents can enjoy the benefits of existing services while adding to the vitality of the community,”  had to work through city code issues. “We had to hire a code consultant and have the zoning ordinance changed to allow for this development,” says Randy Orzeck of Smart Development.  “Many aspects of the project did not meet current codes including road width, setbacks, storm water handling, parking, sidewalks, etc.”  Creating a new code took more than one year.

Wyers End Homes

Downsizing and Moving In
Foundation work had just started when Karen and Ulrich Goebel saw the neighborhood and decided to sell their home and move to Wyers End. They loved their 2700-2800 sq ft home, designed by their daughter architect Heidi Goebel of Austin, Texas, with high ceilings, expansive views of the Gorge and Mt. Hood and a ¾ acre lot. Heidi designed “ a beautiful, beautiful house, the most beautiful house in White Salmon!” proud father Ulrich extols. But the question arose, “Could one of us take care of what we have?” They were the first buyers.

Paul Pennington, a retired physician, and his wife, Sue, were the last buyers at Wyers End. “Sue fell in love with the house so that is part of it. And we liked the idea of a neighborhood that wasn’t gated and also wasn’t restricted by age. We are early in our retirement and we didn’t want to be in a place where everyone else was retired,” Paul remembers. “We thought that the gardening in the common areas was delightful and we appreciate that you have your own garden but you also steal views of really nice gardening all around.”

Both families had to face downsizing. Karen Goebel’s idea was “Anything that has a memory, we can’t get rid of it.” Then they realized that everything had a memory attached to it. “Every book is a friend of mine,” says Ulrich, who is a German medieval lexicography scholar. “I had lots of books.” They divested themselves of possessions with many books from Ulrich’s collection going to the University of Oregon.

Paul found that task equally challenging “but we really think that we are at the point in our lives that we have to do it.”  His previous two homes were 3,000-3,200 sq ft with garages, sheds and, in one case, a barn. “It’s a big change but the effort is worth it.”

Interior features, photos courtesy of Skyward Construction

Designed for Neighboring
Karen liked the idea of the front porches facing one another. With meals served there six months of the year, their front porch “is like an extra room,” she says. Because porches are off-center without a path cutting through the middle to the front door, they provide a more  livable space. Use of porches, in turn, provides more eyes on the street with safety and sociability the result.

"Layers" extending from the street to the porch and front door

Flowering pots on this cottage porch rail add color and privacy

Karen and Ulrich on their porch

Porches are just part of the public design. Chapin generally creates “layers” from public to private spaces including transitions created by “a border of perennial plantings, a low split-cedar fence with a swinging gate, the front yard, the frame of the porch with a porch railing and flower boxes, and the porch itself,” he reports in his Pocket Neighborhoods book. Although the homes are in close proximity, he creates privacy by creating open and closed sides of the house so that large windows do not face each other in adjacent houses.

Single garages and sheds are behind the homes

The neighborhood is refreshingly NOT car-centric. Streets are narrower than typical city codes. Every home has a garage or a storage shed, most located away from the house. Neighbor interaction is encouraged because residents cannot duck straight into their homes from their cars and garages. In the cottages, storage is clustered in one building. A common building, a large garden structure with covered terrace overlooking the cottages, has been the site of annual community gatherings.

Neighboring is natural in Wyers End and other pocket neighborhoods with similar designs. “At our house where we lived we were on ¾ acre and another house (next door) on ¾ acre and if we ever even waved to our neighbors, that was a unique situation,” Ulrich remembers. “Here, the way they are facing one another and interacting the housing with the people, we know our neighbors.” He also knows his neighbors well as the current President of the Wyers End Homeowners Association.

“I think he (Ross Chapin) makes a real effort to encourage neighborliness so it’s really easy to walk over here (to the Goebels) and get coffee if we are out,” laughs Paul. “It makes a lot of sense to share.”

Smaller cottages with common walkway

Walkability
“We live next to banks, grocery stores, hardware stores – everything is within about three blocks,” says Ulrich. This helps families live with one car.  “The walkability is a huge thing for us,” says Paul. “Everything is so close. It keeps you active and you meet people. There isn’t mail delivery in town so everyone goes to the post office sooner or later.”

The neighborhood scores a Walk Score® of 65 out of 100 which means, according to the Web site, it is “somewhat walkable” – some amenities within walking distance. Considering the close proximity of groceries, library, pharmacy and other shops and restaurants in downtown White Salmon, the neighborhood is much more walkable than the score suggests.

Coming Up
The next phase, which has an undetermined starting date, is located adjacent to the current neighborhood. Smart Development reports that it will include 10 live/work lofts as well as a commercial development along Jewett Blvd (Hwy. 141). Market demand will determine the construction date.

Like similar developments, this little neighborhood has been very stable with few homes going back on the market. One two-bedroom home at the end of SE Wyers is now on the market as of May 2012. Information is available at Copper West Properties.

Home for sale (on right) at Wyers End

For more information on this type of community design, visit this Web site on pocket neighborhoods.

 

 

May 10, 2012   No Comments

20+ Not-To-Be-Missed Southwest Washington Events in May

From the Long Beach Peninsula through the Gorge, there is plenty happening in May. No excuses for staying home. Go enjoy Southwest Washington!

"Alice Christiansen" from the Hulda Klager lilac collection

April 21 – May 13Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens Lilac Days –  10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Hulda Klager’s farm home and beautiful gardens will be open and lilac plants and gifts will be offered for sale in a lovely gift shop. During Lilac Days, the farmhouse will feature a display of vintage hats and accessories. For background – Author Jane Kirkpatrick has just released a novel about the life of Hulda Klager, Where Lilacs Still Bloom.  Here is a past  ZEST post on the Hulda Klager Lilac Days. Admission.

Lots happening in downtown Longview

May 3First Thursday in Longview - Many shops and galleries stay open until 7 p.m. and lots will be happening on the First Thursday of the month in downtown Longview. The Cowlitz County Historical Museum will be open until 9 p.m.

Unveiling of New Sculpture at the April Art Work in Downtown Vancouver

May 4First Fridays – If it’s the first Friday of the month,  you know what is happening in Clark County. Vancouver, Camas and Ridgefield continue their First Friday events. Camas has a First Friday Poker Tour happening. The Art Walk will be busy in downtown Vancouver with a special opening reception scheduled at the beautiful Kiggins Theater from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. (21 and older only during the reception). Ridgefield will hold its First Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

May 4, 6, 11-13Touch of Class Chorale – Vancouver’s choral group will present five concerts with half of the proceeds going to various charities, depending on the concert. Check out the schedule here. Admission.

May 5Magenta Improv Theater – Vancouver’s own version of “Whose Line is it Anyway…?” –  takes the stage again at Magenta Theater. The show is family friendly. Players take audience suggestions and improvise. Admission.

May 5Carson-to-Stevenson Ridge Run- Skamania County Facilities & Recreation and the Columbia Gorge Running Club invite runners and walkers of all ages and abilities to embark on the annual Carson to Stevenson Ridge Trail 16k Run. The event starts in Carson and continues  to the Skamania County Fairgrounds with the finish line at the Columbia Gorge Fitness Fair. Admission.

May 5-6Loyalty Days – Not only does Long Beach have the World’s Longest Garage Sale (see May 25-26 below), it has the “longest consecutively running Loyalty Day celebration in the nation.” The two-day event includes a children’s parade, blessing of the fleet, oyster feed (yum!), grand parade and cowboy breakfast. This event is always the first weekend in May.  Saturday schedule here. For Sunday’s schedule, go here.

May 11Contra in the Couve – Put on your dancing shoes. Vancouver has a contra dance, held on the second Friday of every month at the Hazel Dell Grange, 7509 NE Hazel Dell Ave. Seattle band, KGB, and nationally-known caller Woody Lane, from Roseburg, OR will share the stage. 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission.

May 11-12Ridgefield Art Association Show and Sale – Don’t miss this annual show and sale. Reception on Friday night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Ridgefield Community Center.

May 12It’s a Blast! Volcano Science in Your Backyard - 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Join the Mount St. Helens Institute for a fun event at the Johnston Ridge Observatory. Kids activities, food, guided hikes, ranger talks, and more. The road will be open! Celebrate the first public event of the season. Admission.

May 12-13Maryhill Museum - The museum will dedicate the new Mary and Bruce Stevenson Wing this weekend. The new 25,500 wing will include galleries, an education center and cafe. The event schedule includes an antique car show on Saturday.

Pat Courtney Gold

May 13Cathlapotle Plankhouse 2nd Sunday Series – Fiber artist Pat Courtney Gold will present “Native American Women of the Columbia River Area” at 2 p.m at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Guided tours of the Plankhouse and children’s activities will be available from noon to 4 p.m. Pat Courtney Gold, and her extraordinary work, is profiled here. A great way to spend Mother’s Day!

May 16-20Society of Washington Artists 50th Anniversary Show - This open entry art exhibit will include an art sale. Exhibit will be in Vancouver at the HH Hall Building, 10000 NE 7th Avenue.

Ed Asner as FDR

May 18Ed Asner as FDR – FDR is based on the Broadway hit “Sunrise at Campobello. ” Emmy-award winning Ed Asner performs the one-man play at the beautiful, historic Columbia Theatre in downtown Longview. Should be a great show! Tickets here.

May 19Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum Anniversary Celebration -  Music, activities, hands-on demonstrations and refreshments from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission to the museum will be free to the public for this special occasion.  For more information, visit www.columbiagorge.org.

May 1948th Annual Hazel Dell Parade of Bands – If it’s the third Saturday in May, you can count on a whole lot of music happening in Hazel Dell. The theme this year is “Remember When” and will feature two dozen bands and more than 100 entries.  Dust off the lawn chairs. View the route map here. The parade starts at 10:30 a.m.

May 19-20Herb and Garden Festival – It’s the perfect time for a country drive out to the Pomeroy Living History Farm, which is north of Battle Ground. Thousands of plants will be for sale. There will be a farm cafe, vendors and entertainment. This is a lovely destination. Directions here.

May 19-20Geology Weekend at Bonneville Dam – Explore the forces that created the Gorge through special presentations, guest speakers and hands-on activities. Rangers will offer programs about local geology at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Bradford Island Visitor Center. Power house tours will be offered at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. at the Washington Shore Visitor Center. For more information, contact the Bonneville Dam Visitor Center at 541. 374.8820. This event is free.

May 25-26World’s Longest Garage Sale – For more than 20 years on Memorial Weekend, the garages, yards, patios and other flat surfaces of the Long Beach Peninsula have been filled with treasures for, count ‘em, 28 miles! Get out your most comfortable shoes and lots of dollar bills. And don’t forget to take a break to enjoy the ocean and the bookstores mentioned in this 2010 ZEST blog post about the booksellers of  Long Beach Peninsula.

 

Las Colibri - The Hummingbirds

May 26Las Colibri - Enjoy this very talented, all-female mariachi ensemble. Audiences will recognize sounds of  jazz, rock, oldies, and R&B through this unique mariachi ensemble. They will perform at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center in Stevenson at 8 p.m. Admission. Tickets available here.

May 26-27Vancouver Symphony Orchestra – The wonderful VSO adds a new twist for this performance. An interactive, 3-D showing of The Planets will be shown. The concert will also include pianist Linda Lorati Barker and a 2011-12 audience choice piece, which will be announced immediately before the concert. Tickets available here.

Winetasting at East Fork Cellars

May 26-28Clark County Wineries – Memorial Weekend – Visit the wineries of Clark County on Memorial Weekend.  Click on the Web site for a map to 11 wineries in Clark County. And check out this Columbian article on the 2nd largest wine producer in the U.S. — Washington State!

What a great month!

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May 1, 2012   2 Comments