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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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30 April Events in SW Washington to Get You Out of the House!

It’s time to ignore the never-ending rain and get out of the house. From film to flowers, hiking to kayaking, contra to Indian dances, there are no excuses. See you out there!

WSU-V Native American Film Festival

April 4-6Native American Film Festival– Washington State University Vancouver is offering a Native American Film Series at 5:30 p.m. in the Dengerink Administration building, room 110. The series is free and open to the public. Each evening opens with a 30-minute guest lecture at 5:30 p.m. followed by the film screening at 6 p.m. Each film in the series addresses Native -American experiences with boarding schools. The speakers and films are:

April 4, “Older Than America” – Georgina Lightning, the film’s director and actress, will speak before the screening. In this contemporary drama of suspense, a woman’s haunting visions reveal a Catholic priest’s sinister plot to silence her mother from speaking the truth about the atrocities that took place at her Native American boarding school.

April 5, “Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding School” – Jacqueline Peterson, WSU Vancouver professor emerita of history, will speak before the screening. This documentary uncovers the dark history of U.S. Government policy which took Indian children from their homes, forced them into boarding schools and enacted a policy of educating them in the ways of western society.

April 6, “The Only Good Indian” – Grace L. Dillon associate professor, indigenous nations studies at Portland State University will speak before the screening. In this film, set in Kansas during the early 1900s, a teen-aged Native American boy is taken from his family and forced to attend a distant Indian “training” school to assimilate into white society.

April 5First Thursday – Downtown Longview and Kelso  – Galleries and the Cowlitz County Historical Museum  are open in the evening with receptions at various galleries.

 April 6Full Moon Hikes at Ridgefield  National Wildlife Refuge . Evening hike, starting at 7:30 p.m. on the Oaks to Wetlands trail at the Refuge. Space is limited and reservations are required. Call 360-887-3883 for reservations and details.

 April 6 – As always, there are multiple First Fridays around Clark County including Vancouver, Ridgefield and Camas. For details check out the Arts of Clark County calendar.

In Downtown Vancouver – At 7 p.m., don’t miss the unveiling of the latest addition of public art to downtown Vancouver – a sculpture by Dave and Jennifer at Cobalt Designworks installed at Evergreen and Main. No excuses for staying in on the first Friday of the month!

In Downtown Camas – Visit each participating merchant, pick an egg out of the basket and see if you can select the Golden Egg!  Special deals are inside each golden egg at each of the participating merchants!

First Iron Man Strong Ale Festival

April 7First Iron Man Strong Ale Festival -  Noon – 8 p.m. The inaugural event features this year’s release of Walking Man Brewing’s Iron Man Imperial IPA, live music, hot food and a chance to sample a variety of Strong Ales from various breweries. Held in honor of “Iron Man Jim Caldwell.” Skamania County Fairgrounds. Admission.

April 7Vintage Fishing Gear Show – Display and show at 9 a.m. at the spring meeting of the NW regional of the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club. Red Lion Hotel in Kelso. Details at 360-274-8045. Admission.

April 7Klickitat Trail Conservancy Birding walk – 7 a.m. Lyle trailhead  – 3-4 miles. This is a special area. From the Conservancy: “The Klickitat Trail follows the first 31 miles of an old railroad corridor linking the towns of Lyle and Goldendale.  It is unique among rail trails. Nowhere else is there a rail trail that starts in a remote, beautiful tributary canyon, winds along a nationally designated Wild & Scenic River, and finishes in one of the nation’s only National Scenic Areas.”

 April 7-9Razor Clam Dig! – Three beaches – Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Kalaloch – will be open for morning razor clam digging all three days. Mocrocks will be open for two days, April 7-8, and Copalis will be open April 7 for one day only. Get the details here. Here is a ZEST post about our first excursion digging those delicious bivalves.

April 7-29Columbia River Kayaking has  a plethora of kayaking trips for beginners and experienced kayakers. Check out their calendar of trips here.  The river is really high right now. Be dry, safe and plan accordingly! Trips begin at their Paddle Center in Skamokawa unless otherwise listed.

April Contra in the Couve Caller Mary Devlin

April 13Contra in the Couve – Vancouver has a contra dance on the second Friday of every month at 7:30 p.m. the Hazel Dell Grange, 7509 NE Hazel Dell Ave. New and experience dancers welcome! Popular Portland caller Mary Devlin will be calling the dance. 

April 13-28Magenta Theater – Downtown Vancouver’s always entertaining theater company presents Hitchcock’s 39 Steps. Tickets are available here.

April 14Battle Ground Wine Loop – You can take the Battle Ground Wine Loop Tour bus around the loop for just $5 per person. It will make the loop all day long. Just hop on and off at each of the three participating wineries – Rusty Grape Vineyards, Heisen House Vineyards  and Olequa Cellars. Or take a designated chauffeur and drive the scenic 7-mile loop if you prefer.  Small tasting fees may apply at each location. Battle Ground Wine Loop from noon – 6, followed by live music after at Rusty Grape starting at 7 p.m.

April 14Klickitat Trail Conservancy Wildflower Walk – 10 a.m. 4 miles – Starting at the Lyle trailhead. Easy to moderate.

April 14-15Vancouver Symphony Orchestra – 3 p.m. on Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday. Winners of the Young Artist Competition will perform  the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. Also All Classical’s Edmund Stone will narrate A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mendelssohn with a performance by the Willamette University Chamber Choir. Buy Vancouver Symphony tickets here.

April 14-21Second Annual Cultural Immersion Week -   Immerse yourself in India! Columbia Theatre offers a wonderful schedule of events, culminating with a April 21 performance of Ragamala Dance (see below). Lots of events happening on Saturday, April 14 including Indian food, music, yoga, henna, fighting kites and “Bollywood Movez” dance lessons.

Holland American Bulb Farm Show Field

 

April 14-15 Woodland Tulip Festival –  The 10th Annual Woodland Tulip Festival will include annual blooming tulip fields, display garden and gift shop and much more. Check out the Holland America Bulb Farms Web site  for all of the events.

Cathlapotle Plankhouse

April 15Cathlapotle Plankhouse, Carty Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, 28908 NW Main Ave., Ridgefield, WA –   The Plankhouse opens the season with a special presentation at 2 p.m. by Dr. Robert Carriker who will present “A Student in the Pacific Northwest: Sacagawea Travels the Columbia River.” Guided tours of the Plankhouse and children’s activities will be available from noon – 4 p.m.

April 19Sakura Festival – 1-4 p.m. To celebrate the breathtaking cherry blossoms that bloom in the spring, Clark College hosts an annual festival for the college and the region. The festival also honors Vancouver’s sister-city relationship with Joyo, Japan, which was established in 1995. This year, the Festival will also dedicate the new Royce Pollard Japanese Friendship Garden.

April 21Hometown Tourism Day – Many Long Beach Peninsula and Pacific County sites and museums are working together to promote Hometown Tourism Day. Check out the list of locations.

April 21Klickitat Trail Conservancy hike through Swale Canyon – 9 a.m. Lyle trailhead – 13 miles – strenuous. Early flowers should be at peak. The Trail is railroad gravel in places, so sturdy boots are needed.

April 21Kalama Word Catcher -  Writers take note – You can spend the entire day exploring your craft with an excellent roster of instructors including Larry Colton and Carolyn J. Rose. This is a benefit for the Kalama Public Library. Pre-register here.

April 21Columbia Theatre presents Ragamala Dance – 7:30 p.m. The classical dance troupe will perform “Sacred Earth” as part of the Second Annual Cultural Immersion Week sponsored by Columbia Theatre. Tickets available here.

April 21Trout Lake Run - The Half-Marathon, 10K & 5K running/walking events start and finish at Trout Lake School, which is the beneficiary of the event.

April 21Earth Day Celebrations – Lots happening around SW Washington. Check your local papers and Web sites!

April 21-22 Woodland Tulip Festival –  The 10th Annual Woodland Tulip Festival will include annual blooming tulip fields, display garden and gift shop and much more. Check out the Holland America Bulb Farms Web site  for all of the events.

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. Admission.  This is easily combined with a visit to the tulip festival! Here is a past  ZEST post on the Hulda Klager Lilac Days.

April 27-29Home and Garden Idea Fair -  The fair features hundreds of ideas on how to make your home, yard and garden a more beautiful, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly place. Sponsored by Clark Public Utilities.

April 28Klickitat Trail Conservancy hike from the town of Klickitat to Pitt – 9:30 a.m. Lyle trailhead – easy walk.

If these aren’t enough events to get you out of the house, check your local newspapers for more ideas!

April 1, 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, don@oldlibertytheater.com, 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

November: Turkeys, Trees and Low Tides Bearing Treats

You would think with the cold rain arriving, there would be fewer opportunities to explore Southwest Washington in November. Not so. All kinds of events are available, both indoors and outside. Remember, as someone said, there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. Get out there!

November 4 – Educating for the Seventh Generation – Clark College will host a celebration of indigenous cultures. The event will begin at 5 p.m. with a welcome address and a performance by Native American flutist and flute maker Isaac Trimble. Indian tacos will be served during the performance. Opening ceremonies for a powwow will begin at 6 p.m. Closing ceremonies will take place at 10 p.m. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Gaiser Student Center on Clark College’s main campus. Check here for information about Native American Heritage Month.

November 4 – Art, Women & Wine: Camas First Friday will feature the work of local women artists throughout Downtown Camas businesses 5pm-8pm. More than 20 artists will participate and some will donate art as prizes. Wine tastings will also be available.

November 4 – Vancouver’s First Friday Artwalk – Downtown Vancouver’s First Friday continues with galleries offering openings 5-9 p.m. and downtown’s many restaurants ready to welcome you. Don’t miss the Jacobsen Family Show at Art of the Boulevard in Vancouver Marketplace. The work of painter Eric Jacobsen will share gallery space with paintings by three of his children, Max (age 9), Olivia (age 7) and Owen (age 5).

November 5 – Veterans Parade at Fort Vancouver
Parade Grounds at the Fort Vancouver National Site, 612 E Reserve St, Vancouver at 11 a.m.. Veterans will be honored at the annual parade, which start with an Air Force fly-over and 21-gun salute fired by Howitzer cannons from the Parade Grounds. More than 100 military, veteran and civic organizations and 2,500 individuals participate in the parade from Officers Row to Fort Vancouver Way through the Vancouver Barracks and past the reconstructed Fort Vancouver to Pearson Air Museum, where it will end. This is one of the largest veterans parades on the West coast.

November 11-12 – Clam Digs! Get digging! Early in November, clam digs will happen at the coast IF tests are favorable at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks. Tentative opening dates and evening low tides are:

  • Nov. 11, Fri. – 6:48 p.m., (-0.4 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 12, Sat. – 7:23 p.m. (-0.4 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Later in the month, razor clammers will have another opportunity. Tentative opening dates and evening low tides for that dig are:

  • Nov. 25, Fri. – 6:27 p.m. (-1.9 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 26, Sat. – 7:14 p.m. (-1.8 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

From the WDFW: Clam diggers should plan to take lights or lanterns for the nighttime digs and to check weather and surf forecasts before heading out. No digging will be allowed before noon on any of the razor-clam beaches. Harvesters are allowed to take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 they dig, regardless of size or condition. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website and from license vendors around the state. More razor clam digs are tentatively scheduled Dec. 10 and Dec. 22-23.

See this ZEST post about a 2010 clam dig at Ocean Park.

November 11-12 – Ocian in View - If digging clams wasn’t enough to attract you to the Long Beach Peninsula this weekend, there are plenty of other events happening in the area. The “Ocian in View” cultural event starts Friday evening at 6 p.m. with a presentation by researcher and author Dr. Douglas Deur of the PSU Department of Anthropology on Friday night at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum

The event continues on Saturday with an “O, How Horriable is the Day Event” at the U. S. Quarantine Station Museum at Knappton Cove, WA. from  10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on November 12 with Lewis and Clark NW Living Historians.

Knappton Cove Heritage Center

On Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, the Columbia Confluences Bus Tour will visit historic sites, including the Knappton museum.  Call the Museum at 360-642-3446 for reservations for the $20 tour. On Saturday from 4  to 7 p.m.

The Chinook Tribe will host its Annual Salmon Dinner at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.  The dinner will include regional seafood, salad, Indian fry bread, dessert and beverages.  Cost is $15 per person, seniors (55 and over) $13, children under 12 $5.  No reservations are required.

November 18, 2011 to November 20, 2011 – Clark County Holiday Gift Fair – Get a jump on your holiday shopping at this gift fair, which will include daily appearances from Santa and a special holiday themed kid’s activity area. Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds, 17402 NE Delfel Road, Ridgefield. 10am-5pm Admission fee.

November 19 – Thanksgiving Market Esther Street in downtown Vancouver where the Vancouver Farmers Market is normally located.  Pick up local produce and other foodstuffs for your Thanksgiving dinner. Gift items and live music included. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

November 24 – 6th Annual Turkey Trot 5K Run Run/Walk through Stevenson – Columbia Gorge Running Club Get exercising BEFORE the turkey and pumpkin pie in Stevenson starting at the Skamania Country Fairgrounds. Lots of random prize drawings!Bring a donation for the Food Bank. 8 a.m.

Spectacular trees and vintage planes at Festival of Trees

November 25-27 Vancouver Rotary Foundation Festival of Trees Kick off your  holidays at the multi-event Rotary Foundation Festival of Trees in Vancouver. Festival of Trees viewing plus Santa, entertainment and a scavenger hunt at Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. 5th Street in Vancouver. Gorgeous trees will be on display along with Pearson Air Museum’s vintage planes throughout the weekend. Holiday entertainment will be provided by local entertainers and youth groups. Don’t miss the scavenger hunt. (Pick up a scorecard, find the special holiday word on each tree and turn in your results. You could win a beautiful holiday wreath!) As always, the Talking Tree will be chatting away with Festival goers and Santa or Mrs. Claus will be available for photos. Bring your camera! The viewing schedule is:

Friday, November 25 – Noon to 9 p.m.
Saturday, November 26 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, November 27 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event is FREE but non-perishable food donations for Share House and financial donations to support Festival of Trees are requested.

Friday, November 25th – Community Tree Lighting at Esther Short Park, Music at 5:30 p.m., Tree lighting at 6 p.m. Come early for the music and hot drinks. Santa will arrive at 6 p.m. Join the thousands who enjoy this event each year. You will want to be there when the lights first illuminate our beautiful community tree!

Friday, November 25th – Vancouver Pops Holiday Concert at the Hilton Hotel, 6:30 p.m. Director Bert Coffman will lead the Pops through rousing holiday songs. Concert is free but non-perishable food donations for Share House and financial donations to support Festival of Trees are requested.

Sunday, November 27th – Hot Buttered Run and Kids Kandy Kane Race at Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. 5th Street, 10 a.m. – See the details below.

A Tasting at East Fork Cellars

November 25-27 – Clark County Thanksgiving Weekend Wine Tour Celebrate the fall harvest and local wine! Open all three days from Noon to 6pm.

November 25-27 Holiday Weekend in Long Beach

All ages are welcome Friday afternoon at the Neptune Theater for a complimentary showing of “The Polar Express,” hosted by Mrs. Claus and a few special guests! Saturday brings magic and Santa Claus to town including a magical show with Mrs. Claus, a craft activity, and  free pictures with Santa! Later, enjoy caroling and the City of Long Beach’s tree lighting ceremony. Sunday morning  celebrate Frosty the Snowman’s Birthday! Bring a donation of hat, scarves, mittens or other winter clothing for the needy. Enjoy more time with Mrs. Claus and Frosty as well as more craft stations and birthday cake.

November 25-27 Thanksgiving Open House Weekend at Columbia Gorge Wineries More than 30 wineries and tasting rooms will be open Memorial Day weekend with open houses featuring special releases, barrel tastings, events, live music, artisan treats and other surprises. The wineries span 40 miles of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic. On the Washington side of the Gorge, wineries span from Underwood to Goldendale.

November 26 – Wahkiakum Festival of Lights Celebration Starting at 3 pm enjoy Christmas caroling, hot cider, and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus at about 4:30pm in downtown Cathlamet, WA

November 27 – Hot Buttered Run and Kids Kandy Kane Race at Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. 5th Street, 10 a.m. – Last year, more than 1,000 started a new holiday tradition by exercising off Thanksgiving calories at this outdoor celebration which winds through the Fort Vancouver Historic Site, along the Columbia River, through downtown Vancouver and past scenic Officers Row! Participate in Energy Event’s 12K Run, a 5KWalk.Run and Kids Kandy Kane Race. Start and Finish at Pearson Air Museum. Registration includes long sleeve t-shirt, food music and hot buttered rums (for adults) and hot chocolate. For more information and registration, visit www.energyevents.com. The Festival trees will be on view. Stop by after your run!

November 2, 2011   No Comments

September: Anime, Alpacas and Art plus Roller Dolls and a Rod Run

With summer winding down, there aren’t as many events happening around the region. But if quality trumps quantity, it will be a great month to tour the area.

September 3-5Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Trip – The Chelatchie Prairie Railroad will be taking 10 mile trips out of Yacolt on Labor Day Weekend. Check the Web site for reservations.

September 3-5Kumoricon – Anyone who is interested in Japanese anime should head to the Kumoricon 2011 convention in downtown Vancouver. Events will be at the Hilton Hotel and the Red Lion at the Quay. Anime lovers in costume will be wandering the streets. Should be very interesting!

Kayaks along the Columbia

September 9-18 - Lower Columbia River Kayak Roundup – These folks are into serious kayaking! It’s a great way to explore the Puget Island area. is an instructional retreat for kayakers of all levels. 2011 will be the 5th and final event. Full-day and half-day classes are offered on the weekend, and intensive multi-day programs are offered during the week.

The Rainy City Roller Dolls

September 10Roller Derby! - Centralia’s Rainy City Roller Dolls take on Salem Oregon’s Cherry City Derby Girls at the Back to School Beat Down.

Cars in a Past Rod Run

September-10-1128th Annual Rod Run to the End of the World – A mass of vintage cars are expected for this annual auto gathering in Ocean Park. But it’s not just about the cars. Jamie’s Rock & Roll Legends with Elvis, Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline & Connie Francis will perform live on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The beach will be rocking this weekend!

Seattle's jazzy Groove for Thought

September 11Groove for Thought – They were fabulous on The Sing-Off (watch their performance here) and now the Seattle a cappella singing group performs a fundraising matinee concert for Pearson Air Museum. Get your tickets here.

Alpaca from the 2009 Tour

September 1713th Annual Clark County Harvest Celebration Day – Nine farms will be open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is a great way to see rural Clark County and it’s free!

September 17 and 18ARTrails – Check out the 9th Annual ARTrails Open Studio Tour. This self-guided, free event takes you though the towns and backroads of Lewis County to visit the artists and studios of Lewis County.

September 30 & October 1 - Columbia River Country Days and Grays River Covered Bridge Dinner – There will be a Farmer’s Market, Pumpkin Patch, Farm Tours,
Old Time Auction, and an October 1st dinner at Grays River Covered Bridge. For more information, call 360-795-3278

September 2, 2011   No Comments

July: Hot Rods, Hens and Hula

Can it really be the second half of the year? Where did the first half go? Now that the weather is drier and warmer (we hope), there are LOTS of opportunities to celebrate the summer. Here are a few to consider for the FIVE weekends in July:

July 4 - There are WAY too many events happening to cover the 4th of July celebrations. Vancouver is famous for its massive 4th at the Fort. Just about every Southwest Washington community has an event. Pick one!

Johnny Limbo and the Lugnuts

July 8-9 – North Bonneville Gorge Days Head out SR14 to North Bonneville for a Friday Night Sock Hop, Hot Rod Cruise and BBQ. Saturday features a Pancake Breakfast and is followed by a full day of food, arts & crafts and a free concert in the park featuring Johnny Limbo & The Lugnuts.

July 8-10 – Amboy Territorial Days Celebration – Three days of everything from pancake breakfasts to lawn mower races to a community parade to a logging show and more. Visit the Web site for a complete schedule.

July 9th – Magenta Improv Theater (MIT) presents its own version of “Whose Line is it Anyway…” This downtown Vancouver theater group really knows how to have fun with family-friendly events.

July 15-17 – Battle Ground Harvest Days - The event features a parade, lawnmower races, carnival rides, a beer garden, a root beer garden, musical entertainment, dances, bingo, talent show, chili cooking contest, ballroom fest, food. What more could you want?

Hot rods and classic cars line Main Street

July 16 – Cruisin’ the Gut – Classic cars and their passionate drivers cruise from the Dairy Queen in Uptown Village to 6th and Main in Downtown. Take a lawn chair and stake out a viewing point along the route.

July 16 – “Nights in White Salmon” Art and Wine Fusion – Downtown White Salmon will be transformed into a car-free, lively Street Fair with artists, local wines and beers, kid friendship activities, a salmon cook-off, five regional bands and lots of shops and galleries.

Trout Lake Festival of the Arts - Photo by Kira Fogerty

July 16 – 17 – Trout Lake Festival of the Arts - Fifty-five artists are jury selected to display fine art in the rustic barn, outdoors, or garden setting. In addition to the art, visitors enjoy continuous live music, an outstanding variety of foods, local brews and wine. There is no admission fee and plenty of free parking. And Mt. Adams will provide a stunning back drop!

The new Vancouver Community Library photo © 2011 Benjamin Benschneider All rights Reserved.

July 17 – Grand Opening of the Vancouver Community Library - Be still, my heart, our new Vancouver Community Library is opening! The event starts with speeches at 1 p.m., following by the ribbon cutting at about 1:40 p.m. and a fabulous library to explore, including an amazing 4,000 sf Early Learning Center, until 6 p.m. This is a WONDERFUL addition to downtown Vancouver and will be open seven days a week!

July 20-24 - SandSations Sand Sculpture Contest - Long Beach. Free lessons on Friday followed by a beach bonfire. Four hours of sculpting on Saturday.

July 22-23 – Camas Days – Games for kids, arts and crafts booths, and the famous Wine & Microbrew Street with live, musical entertainment.

July 23 – Sip and Stroll – This great walking wine tour will feature local wineries and microbrews, served in the shops of Uptown Village. Hough Foundation is the beneficiary. Fun event!

July 28-30 – Ho`ike and Hawaiian Festival - “Three days of aloha,” sponsored by Ke Kukui Foundation. A special performance of the historical drama”Ka Lei Maile Ali`i: The Queen’s Women” will be offered at 10am. Thousands attend this colorful festival for the Hapa Haole music, competitions, dancing, food and more.

Girls rule the roost on the Coop du Jour Tour


July 30 – Coop du Jour – This self-guided chicken coop tour in downtown Vancouver will give you hen envy. Chicken coops are much more creative than they used to be! This is a benefit for the Hough Foundation.

July 1, 2011   No Comments

Road Trip! A Loop Through Southwest Washington

Ready to hit the road? Thanks to guest blogger, Joe Laing of El Monte RV Rentals for providing this post:

Southwest Washington is made for touring. You’ll want to begin your tour with Vancouver – just as if you were an early American pioneer exiting the Oregon Trail. In Vancouver, you can begin your journey with a dose of history at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

Baking hardtack at Fort Vancouver

To get here (from the south), take I-5, exit 1-C (Mill Plain Boulevard), drive east, and follow the signs. Fort Vancouver was once the center of the British Hudson Bay Company’s network of fur trading posts. But it also became the site of the region’s first hospital, school, mill, and shipbuilding. Today, the site encompasses the Fort Vancouver National Historic Reserve, where you can go on guided tours. Next to the Fort, Pearson Air Museum is also well-worth a visit.

Once you’re in Vancouver, you really can’t leave until you’ve taken the time to drive east along the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Byway, from Washougal (just east of Vancouver) to Maryhill, unless you really did just come from Oregon and spent time there along Oregon’s Historic Columbia River Highway, which runs parallel to it on the other side of the river. You’ll need to budget at least a day for this trip, however, as it will take you more than two hours of driving time to reach Maryhill, and another two hours to return to the Vancouver area. But what a beautiful and relaxing drive! Once you reach Maryhill, you can visit the Maryhill Museum of Art, or, if you are a wine connosieur, the famous Maryhill Winery.

The stunning terrace at Maryhill Winery

If you arrive in a summer month, you may manage to make it to one of Maryhill Winery’s summer concerts. (The 2011 season will feature Yes & Styx, Gipsy Kings, and Michael McDonald & Boz Scaggs.) Maryhill is also the site of a World War I memorial which was built as an exact replica of Stonehenge.

You may want to plan on camping in Maryhill, at Columbia Hills State Park, which is RV-friendly, so that you can take your time and explore the area, perhaps making short trips across the river, as well. Columbia Hills is well worth your time – you’ll be able to see ancient Native American petroglyphs and walk the Tamani Pesh-wa Trail. There are more than 12 miles of hiking trails here, and you can also go boating, sailboarding, rock climbing, swimming, or even play horseshoes. At night, take some time to observe the night sky – this is a beautiful area in which to see the stars.

Sailboarding on the Columbia River

On the way to or from Maryhill, depending on your schedule, stop in Stevenson at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum. This is the place to go if you have an RV full of fidgety kids. In addition to the museum’s extensive indoor historical exhibits, kids can climb into a historic diesel locomotive outside. In addition, you may want to take time to see the Bridge of the Gods, the third oldest bridge on the Columbia River.

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center

Leaving Vancouver again (or leaving the first time, if you choose to skip the trip to Maryhill), drive north on I-5 and take exit 14 (Pioneer St./Washington 501 W) for Ridgefield, where you can visit the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Here you will find not only a beautiful flood plain habitat (watch for sandhill cranes!), but also the townsite of Cathlapotle, which was visited by Lewis and Clark in 1806.

Cathlapotle Plankhouse

You can hike through the refuge or take the four-mile car tour. [Don't miss this ZEST post by Sarah Coomber on hiking with children in the refuge.]

Getting back on I-5, head for Silver Lake (get off at exit 49, Castle Rock). If you enjoy fishing or hiking, you may want to spend some time here, and camp at Seaquest State Park. To reach the visitor center, head east on 504, but don’t limit yourself to Sequest’s own visitor center – if you continue east, you’ll reach the Mount St. Helens Forest Learning Center. If you’d like an alternate route to Mount St. Helens, you can exit I-5 at exit 21 near Woodland, but that route won’t take you to the visitor’s center. The center is inside the blast zone from the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption, and includes an outdoor volcano playground and indoor virtual helicopter tour.

After May 15, when the road opens, you can proceed to the Johnston Ridge Visitor Center and Johnston Ridge Observatory.

The Road to Mount St. Helens

You can hike and climb in the Mount St. Helens area, but you will need to reserve a pass in advance, and you are required to stick to the trail. If you are old enough to remember the eruption, the trail will be amazing enough! If you aren’t old enough to remember the eruption, or would like a refresher, watch some archival footage before you get there. For a map of trails in the area, click here. If you are lucky enough to climb to the top of the crater, bring a dust mask – there is still occasional ashfall, and it isn’t good for your lungs.

From the Mount St. Helens area, you’ll want to head for the coast so you can see the sights that Lewis and Clark saw when they reached the Pacific. Head south again on I-5, but this time take highway 30 west toward the ocean. It will take you an hour or two to reach the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, near Chinook. Continuing along the coast to Long Beach, Washington, about 200 feet above the surf itself, at Cape Disappointment State Park, you can visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

View from the Interpretive Center

Take as much time as you can to enjoy this beautiful area, where you can beachcomb, hike, and relax. You can camp at Cape Disappointment overnight.

Continuing north to Ilwaco, you can visit the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, where you can see fresh and saltwater marshes and tidal estuaries. This is the place to go if you enjoy birdwatching – you can see pelicans, murrelets, bald eagles, great blue herons, and many other waterfowl and marsh birds.

Maybe you will have had enough driving by this point in your trip, but if you feel you just can’t leave Washington State without a trip to Mount Rainier, Washington’s highest peak, you can certainly make it – and it’s a glorious way to end your trip. Leaving the coast, get back onto I-5, exit at 68 (Morton/Yakima), and take US-12 E to WA-123 N. From here on east to Mount Rainier, the roads are closed seasonally, so check the dates when you plan your trip. Check the road status here. If you are taking the time to make the trip to Mount Rainier, plan on camping in the park and give yourself plenty of time to enjoy all that it has to offer.

You won’t want to leave Southwest Washington, so make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to poke around along the way-you’ll discover your own favorite locations and meet some of the friendliest people in the Pacific Northwest!

About the Author

Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals. For other great RV camping vacation ideas see the Monty’s Musings RV Camping Blog or the new
Monty’s RV Vacation Photo / Picture Gallery
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June 19, 2011   3 Comments