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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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Category — NW Winter Nights

March is for Clams, Charlie Brown and Sasquatch

This is the month when we yearn for dry, sunny weather. Whether it’s still raining (it will be) or shining (it might be), abandon your recliner and get out there!

There is plenty to do in Southwest Washington in March. Here are a few options:

March 1Damn Yankees – Columbia Theatre brings the Broadway hit musical to Longview for one night. Tickets available through the theatre box office.

Oleg Ulitskiy's exhibit of boat paintings will continue at Art on the Boulevard in March

March 2First Friday Events – Vancouver, Camas and Ridgefield always offer convivial evenings on the first Friday of the month. Downtown Vancouver will hold its First Friday Art Walk from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Downtown Camas will hold a Lucky Leprechaun Scavenger Hunt and restaurants, shops and galleries will be open in downtown Ridgefield.

March 3 Arts and Culture Summit – Join colleagues and friends to build a vision for the future of the arts in Clark County. The day will include a host of speakers and panelists.

March 4Ft. Vancouver Run – Rain or shine, registration for the Fred Meyer Ft. Vancouver Run starts at 7 a.m. Details here.

March 9-31You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown – Who can resist the characters from Peanuts? Presented by Love Street Playhouse in Woodland.

March 10Still Walking: Bigfoot in the Dark Divide and Beyond. Author and lepidopterist Dr. Robert Michael Pyle talks about his book on the search for Sasquatch in Washington State and exciting new developments at the Willapa Hills Audubon meeting in Longview. Meeting details here.

March 10-11 Razor Clam Dig (tentative) – Dates are always tentative but the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced morning digs at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks. Licenses are required. No clamming is allowed after noon. Go here to read a past ZEST blog post on clamming. For details read the official WDFW announcement. Here are the rules and regulations.

Maryhill Museum, photo by Nayland Wilkins

March 15Opening Day – Maryhill Museum – Although not all parts of the museum will be open (watch for a May opening of the Mary and Bruce Stevenson wing) the museum will open the 2012 season with Beside the Big River: Images and Art of the Mid-Columbia Indians. with 40 photographs by Lee Moorhouse, Thomas Rutter and J.W. Thompson. View the exhibit catalog here.

March 16-17 17th Annual Peninsula Quilt Guild Exhibition – Head to the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco to see the quilts by talented fiber artists of the Long Beach Peninsula.

March 17 St. Patrick’s Day TeasPomeroy Living History Farm will offer formal teas to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Reservations are required.

Get your surfboards out. Beaches at Washington State Parks will be FREE on March 18-19!

March 18-19Washington State Park Free Day – In honor of Washington State Parks’ 99th birthday on March 19th, Washington State Parks will be free on March 18-19. Find Southwest Washington parks here. Parks along the Pacific Coast are here.

March 19
Women’s History Month Tea and Luncheon – March is a month for drinking tea! The Clark County Historical Museum in Vancouver offers this event.

March 24-25Spring Release Weekend – Maryhill Winery – Stop by the gorgeous tasting room of Maryhill Winery with its spectacular view of the Gorge. Details here.

March 24-25Razor Clam Dig (tentative) – Second announced dig for March! Dates are always tentative but the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced digs at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks. Licenses are required. Digs are timed with morning tides. No digging after noon. Go here to read a past ZEST blog post on clamming. For details read the official WDFW announcement. Here are the rules and regulations.

Spring is coming! Enjoy your March!

February 29, 2012   No Comments

February is For Hearts and Horses, Art and Wine, Cinderella…and Chocolate!

February is a short month that offers a long list of activities. From quilts to chocolate, kites to Chalacha – no need to stay home.

February 1-29Castle Rock Quilt Show – Castle Rock Exhibit Hall, 147 Front Ave NW, More than 80 quilts All those tiny stitches! Don’t miss them at the quilt show.

Friday, February 3 – First Fridays in Multiple Cities!

February 3 First Friday – Ridgefield, 5 to 8 p.m.- Alcove Art Gallery will feature nine artists for the month of February. The theme will be entitled “Passion for Art.” Shops and restaurants will be open, too.

February 3A Chocolate Affair to Remember – 5 to 8 p.m. in downtown Camas. Sample locally made chocolates, specialty chocolate drinks and more! Plus local quilters kick off 2012 with a show of their original work at Second Story Gallery in Camas. The annual open exhibit in February will begin with a reception on First Friday and remain on view inside the Camas Public Library through the end of the month.

February 3 First Friday Artwalk – Downtown Vancouver, 5 to 9 p.m. Always a great celebration of community and fine art and a way to stroll with neighbors and friends. Downtown shops, restaurants and lounges welcome you as well. Art is leading the way for changes in downtown Vancouver!

February 3Wintertide – VSO Chamber Music Group – 7 p.m. Trinity Lutheran Church 309 W. 39th Street in Vancouver. The Columbia River Brass present various styles from composers including Wilke Renwick, Samuel Scheidt, Eric Ewazen, Dave Robertson and J.S. Bach. Concert is repeated on February 5 at 3 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Camas.

February 3-4Indoor Market – Long Beach Grange, 5715 Sandridge Rd., 10am to 4pm. A variety of vendors will be selling farm fresh eggs, home-baked goods, handcrafted items, goat cheese and goat milk soaps, gift items, art, jewelry and more. Lunch will be served from the Grange kitchen.

February 4Stand up Comedy at the Old Liberty Theater – Downtown Ridgefield. 7:30 p.m. An evening of “honest comedy” featuring: Ian Karmel- From IFC’s “Portlandia” plus other comics. 21 and older. Tickets by phone: Don Griswold,, booking phone (360) 601-7549.

February 4-5Asian New Year at the World Kite Museum – Long Beach. This opening has special events to introduce the Bali Kite Exhibit. The exhibit lasts until March 25.

February 7Chocolate Confession by Joan FreedKiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver. This hilarious one-woman show is a fundraiser for the Pink Lemonade Project. This is a perfect warm up for Valentine’s Day!

February 10-25Sense and Sensibility Magenta Theater – downtown Vancouver’s theater troupe presents an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel in their intimate theater.

February 11Valentine’s TeaPomeroy Living History Farm, 20902 NE Lucia Falls Rd., Yacolt. Noon. Reservations required (360.686.3537). Seasonal menu will include assorted tea sandwiches, scones, desserts and two kinds of tea. A tour of the historic log house can be added for a small, extra charge.

February 11-12Columbia Gorge Wineries Valentine’s Day Open House Weekend – Columbia Gorge Wineries in Washington and Oregon. Winery Open House Hours are 11am – 6pm. What a great opportunity to taste and purchase wine for Valentine’s Day.

February 12Bravo! Concert Series – Leonard Bernstein Mass – St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 400 S. Andresen Road, Vancouver. 2 p.m. Leonard Bernstein’s Mass blends sacred text, human emotions and musical styles – from classical to sacred, rock, blues and jazz. The Bravo! Chorale, guest soloists, and Chamber Orchestra will perform.

February 14 Musical Dinner Theater Historic Trout Lake Country Inn. Go up and play in the snow on Mt. Adams and then enjoy a dinner show.

February 16-19CinderellaThe Columbia Theatre presents Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. February 16th at 7pm, February 17th at 7pm, February 18th at 2pm & 7pm, and February 19th at 2pm.

February 17-19Washington State Horse Expo – Horses and equestrians come together en masse at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. Check out the full program schedule.

February 18-20 Columbia Gorge Wineries President’s Day Open Houses – Yet another wine weekend as the Gorge wineries open up again to celebrate President’s Day. More than 30 wineries will be open with special releases and discounts. Live music at Maryhill Winery.

February 21 Volcano Views & Brews – Tommy O’s Pacific Rim Bistro in downtown Vancouver at 801 Washington Street. Doors open at 5 pm. Speaker presents from 6:30 – 8 pm. Rick McClure, the Forest Archaeologist and Heritage Program Manager for Gifford Pinchot National Forest presents “The Place Called Chalacha – History Beneath the MSH Monument Headquarters and Chelatchie Prairie.”

What a great month! See you out there!

February 2, 2012   No Comments

Happy New Year! January 2012 Calendar

The days are short and wet but there is plenty happening in Southwest Washington during January. No need to hunker down. Get out there and get involved!

January 2012 – It’s ALL happening at the 13 Fort Vancouver Regional Library District branches. Here is the FVRL January Schedule of Events.

Rusty Grape Vineyards

January 14 Battle Ground Wine Loop – Noon to 5 p.m. This wine tour includes Heisen House Vineyards, Olequa Cellars and Rusty Grape Vineyards, where live music will start at 7 p.m. This will be a regular event on the second Saturdays of the month.

SOLD OUT! January 14The 2nd Annual Martin Luther King Breakfast will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Red Lion at the Quay, 100 Columbia Street, in Vancouver. the event theme is The Collaborative Society. Featured speakers are Jaymes Winters, CEO Blue Leopard Capital; Sarah Mensah, SVP, Portland Trailblazers; and Dr. James Mason, Exec Director, Cultural Caregiving, Providence. There will also be musical performances by Deborah Kimbrough, Gail Thomas and Violinist Shania Watts. This year’s event promises to be as inspirational as the 2011 breakfast. The event is hosted by Mosaic Blueprint. To purchase a ticket, click here.

January 14-15 – Windless Kite Festival, Long Beach School Gymnasium, Washington and 4th St South. It doesn’t take a windy day to fly a kite. Demonstrations and competitions last two days.

Saturday January 14th
10 – 11:30 am Demonstration Show
2 – 3:30 pm Indoor Ballet Competition
3:30 – 5 pm Free Flying & Lessons for all ages

Sunday January 15th
11 – 12 am Indoor Hot Tricks
12 – 1:30 pm Demonstration Show
1:30 – 2:30 pm Grand Finale

The gym is open for participant practice, demonstrations, and indoor flying lessons Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 5pm except during Performance Times. Admission: Donation

The Blacksmith Shop at Fort Vancouver

January 21Fort Vancouver Lantern Tour – A lantern tour of the Fort gives you a true sense of what the long winter nights were like for John McLoughlin and his crew. Costumed interpreters are on site for this popular event. The cost is $10 for adults and $7 for children under 15 years of age. Reservations are required. To make a reservation, call the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center at 360-816-6230.

January 21-22
First Long Beach Peninsula Razor Clam Dig of the Year! – Dates are always tentative but the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced digs on evening tides at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks. Licenses are required. No clamming is allowed before noon. Go here to read a past ZEST blog post on clamming. For details read the official WDFW announcement. Here are the rules and regulations.

January 21-22 Antique and Collectible Show, Clark County Events Center. Saturday 9-6, Sunday 10-5 Admission is $6 – Good for both days. More than 400 booths of collectibles!

January 22Legends of Mexico-Leyendas de Mexico at 2 p.m. Columbia Theatre in Longview offers a delightful Rainy Day Series, which is family-friendly entertainment in the beautifully restored theatre. Nuestro Canto shares legends from all over Mexico and has composed music especially for the legends narrated during their performances. Tickets are only $5 and available here.

January 26-28Clark College Jazz Festival – This is the 50th year of the Clark College Jazz Festival! The Festival hosts more than 60 middle school and high school vocal and instrumental jazz ensembles in a three-day celebration of jazz. Gaiser Hall will be THE most musical site in Clark County during this renowned festival!

January 29 2nd Annual National Unpublished Writers’ Day Workshop at the Clark County Historical Museum. noon – 5 pm.

National Unpublished Writers’ Day is an annual event held in partnership between the Clark County Historical Museum, the Writing Center at Washington State University Vancouver, the Creative Media & Digital Culture Program at Washington State University Vancouver. The event highlights The Brautigan Library Collection at the Museum, Washington-born writer Richard Brautigan who conceived the idea for a library where anyone could contribute unpublished books, regardless of content or quality of writing, and all those folks who wish to create or communicate through writing.

The free event will feature a series of “creative stations” and workshops around the Museum, each offering different opportunities to learn or experience something associated with different aspects or kinds of writing.

Lion Dance from the FVRL 2010 Chinese New Year Celebration

January 29Chinese New Year Celebration – 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Vancouver Community Library – Gung Hay Fat Choy! The new downtown library will be the site of this year’s lively Chinese New Year celebration in Vancouver. This is a wonderfully colorful, all-ages festival that will include Chinese New Year customs and history. Performances include singing, dancing, martial arts demonstration, Gu Zheng (Chinese musical instrument) and lion dance, which will be performed by the Portland Lee’s Association Lion Dance Team. Craft activities are available on Level 3 after the program. ZEST visited the 2010 Chinese New Year Celebration and had a great time! For more information, call 699-8831.

January 28-29Vancouver Symphony Orchestra – Vancouver’s excellent symphony features offers acclaimed violinist Francisco Garcia-Fullana playing he Sibelius Violin Concerto. The symphony will also perform Eugen Onegin: Polonaise by Tchaikovsky and Symphony No. 3 by Tchaikovsky with the passionate Salvador Brotons conducting. The Saturday performance is at 2 p.m. and Sunday evening’s concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Skyview Concert Hall. Individual tickets are available here. Better yet, buy the new three concert package!

January 6, 2012   No Comments

Oh, Christmas Tree…A Photo Album of Ideas from Festival of Trees

Each year, the Vancouver Rotary Foundation Festival of Trees offers up beautiful ideas for holiday tree decorating. I’m always amazed at the ingenuity, color and humor created by the designers. This year is no exception.

The tree viewing starts at Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. Fifth, Vancouver, Thanksgiving weekend – Friday, noon to 9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p .m and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All of the details are available at

Enjoy these beautiful designs from the 2011 Festival of Trees:

Winter's Glory is a stunning, flocked tree with red magnolias and snow birds, by Donna Rodewald and Kris Hostetter.

Details from Winter's Glory

An Autumn Christmas features amber-colored beads. By Lorraine Carson.

The WSU Tree is filled with ornaments for Cougar fans. By Teddy Jo Mires and Pam Farwell.

Merry Fairy Christmas is filled with fairies. By Kathy Hammer.

Elegant Santa in Tall Dark and Handsome is pure elegance. By Robin Anderson.

Santa is wearing corduroy in Santa's in the Woods. By Jan Hampton.

Tree topper for Santa's in the Woods.

Santa's on Safari in this wildlife covered tree. By Jan Hampton.

Ornaments waiting to be hung on Save Some for Santa.

Lots of whimsy on Save Some for Santa. By Darcy and Meagan Neu.

Men and women in the Armed Services are honored with the Proud to be an American tree. By Debbie Mohagen and Barbara Kindvall

Christmas Memories will be the scene for this year's Talking Tree. By Teddy Jo Mires and Pam Farwell.

Santa is a snowboarder in Santa's Other 364 Days tree. By Karey Dillingham.

There is much more to Santa than a sleigh and reindeer in Santa's Other 364 Days

Pooh is ready for Christmas on the Pooh Bear and His Honey Pot Tree. By Jan Hampton.

Grapes and hydrangea blossoms pair to make lovely decorations in French Country Elegance tree. By Teddy Jo Mires and Pam Farwell.

Pretty as a Peacock creates a stunning color combination. By Karen Stanley.

Peace on Earth features globes and the hope for world peace. By Karen Stanley.

Shoe La La is covered with, of course, charming shoe ornaments. By Darcy and Meagan Neu.

It only takes two colors to make a beautiful tree in Red, White and Retro. By Ines Mahoney.

Self portrait at Festival of Trees. Happy Holidays!

November 25, 2011   No Comments

8 Tips for a Memorable Wine and Cheese Tasting Party

Wine and cheese are ageless companions, like aspirin and aches, or June and moon, or good people and noble ventures.
M. F. K. Fisher

Looking for a reason to gather your friends for a unique evening? What about an evening of wine and cheese tasting?

Our co-host, Jim

Friends Jim and Joyce recently hosted an educational, tasty and increasingly jovial evening that featured nine wines paired with matching cheeses. Thank you to Jim, Joyce and all the other participants! Here are some tips gleaned from the party:

1. Start with a wine steward. Jim and Joyce worked with Ernie, the sommelier at their neighborhood Fred Meyer, to choose the four whites and five red wines featured for the evening.

2. Coordinate with a cheese specialist. After choosing the wines, our hosts worked with Berry of Trader Joe’s in Vancouver to pick the cheeses that best matched the wines.

3. Create a fact sheet about each wine. Jim shared information about each wine including the winery location, vintage and a description of the wine. Fact sheets were on the table and available for guests to take home.

Fact sheet for the Argentinian red

4. Label the cheeses. Each cheese was tagged by type with its matching wine.

Asiago with rosemary - paired with the Chardonnays

5. Provide wine glass labels. I, for one, always lose my wine glass. No one could do that with Joyce’s special paper wine glass labels, which are available online at Wine Compliments No more misplaced wine glasses!

Where is MY glass? No more lost glasses with these paper labels

6. Start with the whites. (Our hosts had a light white wine, Oisly-Thésée Les Gourmets 2009 Sauvignon, available to all upon arrival. This gave us something to drink while waiting for all the participants to arrive.) You want to go from dry to sweet whites, and light to full-bodied reds. Provide new glasses when switching from whites to reds.

Serving the cheese

7. Provide a pitcher of water and a dump bucket. The water will allow tasters to rinse glasses between tastes. The dump bucket? It speaks for itself but, frankly, I couldn’t bring myself to toss out good wine and it was ALL good wine!

8. Serve more food after the tasting. To avoid sending guests who have been consuming fabulous wines out into the driving public, serve food, coffee and conversation AFTER the tasting. Our hosts served us wonderful quiches, salads and coffee.

Salad and quiche

Perfect post-tasting dinner

What wines did we taste? Here is the delectable list in serving order:

Mezzacorona (Italy) 2009 Pinot Grigio

Vino Noceto (California) 2010 Pinot Grigio (award-winning, fruity, sweet, my favorite white)

Peachy Canyon Winery (California) 2008 Zinfandel

Blackstone Winery (California) 2008 Zinfandel

Davis Bynum Winery (California) 2006 Chardonnay

Gordon Brothers 2006 (Washington State) Chardonnay

Don Tiburcio Bodega Benegas Winery (Argentina) 2007 Red Wine

Estancia Winery (California) 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

Jones of Washington Estate Vineyard (Washington State) 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

The final, nearly empty line up

The best wine? Personally, I would move to Argentina for Malbecs so I loved the red wine of Don Tiburcio Bodega Benegas Winery. All the wines were excellent. This is the one of the group that I would take to my final picnic.

I confess. After about the fifth wine, I lost track of the cheeses. Best idea: pick your wines and then talk to your local cheese buyer for pairing suggestions. Joyce and Jim wisely used their consultant at Trader Joe’s.

Want to do this party on a budget? To preserve your checking account, create the wine list and then assign a bottle to each guest to bring. Ask each person to put together the fact sheet and give a brief lecture on the wine. This WILL generate a FUN evening!

A votre sante!

April 10, 2011   1 Comment

Perfect Antidote for a Rainy Night

“As far as I am concerned, a painting speaks for itself. What is the use of giving explanations, when all is said and done? A painter has only one language.” ~Pablo Picasso

Picasso may have it right, but meeting the artist AND seeing the art makes for a rich evening. Vancouver’s First Friday Art Walk always proves that point.

The evening was definitely worth enduring the Niagara-like rain storm. A sampling of the art and artists:

Gallery 360, in its spacious new location at 111 W. Ninth Street, featured a “Cut and Paste” exhibit of mixed media as well as oils and other art from members.

DaBat at Gallery 360

Connie Cleaton at Gallery 360

Dorene Steggell at Gallery 360

Skip Enge’s bright-hued floral portraits gave energy and a longing for spring to the wet March evening at Aurora Gallery at 1004 Main Street.

Skip Enge at Aurora Gallery

North Bank Artists Gallery at 1005 Main Street showcased The Seven Deadly Sins Exhibition. Kaori Freda illustrated “Gluttony” with her Cupcake Diet drawing.

Kaori Freda at North Bank Artists Gallery

Up the street, Angst Gallery at 1015 Main Street celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Inner Light Photographic Society with a group exhibit.

Photographers Chris Eagon, Al Flory and Linda Freeland in front of photos by Chris at Angst Gallery

Last stop was Art on the Boulevard, 210 W. Evergreen Blvd. for the rich oils by Ridgefield artist Oleg Ulitskiy. The exhibit included work produced during a recent trip to his hometown of Odessa, Ukraine and from Northwest locations.

Oleg Ulitskiy with his favorite painting at Art on the Boulevard

As always, the First Friday crowd was patronizing downtown restaurants and bars. We chose Woody’s for margaritas and excellent seasonal quesadillas just steps away from Art on the Boulevard.

The exhibits will be up through March 26. Plan a personal Art Walk to see the creative work of our local artists!

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March 5, 2011   No Comments