Welcome to July! Could there be a busier month? Here are more than 30 events (plus a 4th of July celebration in nearly every community) to keep you active this month.
July 3 – Full-Moon Hike – Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge – Carty Unit – Trail guides will lead you on an adventure in which owls hooting, coyotes howling, bats flying, and rustling in the brush are all possibilities. 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The hike is free but space is limited. RSVP with Sarah Hill at 360-887-4106 or email Sarah_Hill@fws.
July 4 – 4th of July Celebrations – “Staggering” describes the number of 4th of July picnics, concerts, parades, a rodeo or two and fireworks displays happening in Southwest Washington. The largest is no doubt the Independence Day at Fort Vancouver. But every community celebrates in its own, fun way. Please check your local events calendar for your closest celebration and have a fun, safe 4th!
July 4 – Patrick Lamb
July 27 – Michael Allen Harrison and Julianne Johnson
July 5-August 9 – Riverview Six to Sunset Concerts – Esther Short Park – Vancouver – Set up your lawn chair in the park and enjoy a great series of evening concerts. Purchase dinner from the food vendors or take a picnic. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free.
July 5 – Abbey Road Live (Beatles Tribute)
July 12 – Hit Machine
July 19 – Patrick Lamb
July 26 – Stone in Love
July 6 – Art Walks and Special First Friday Events – Vancouver, Camas and Ridgefield continue their monthly First Friday events. Camas First Friday will present the “Camas Car Show and Rock and Roll Night.” Ridgefield’s event will be in Davis Park from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
July 7 – LaCamas Lake Loop Bike Ride – This 32-mile bike ride starts at Clark College and travels east through Vancouver out to LaCamas Lake and back. Bakery stop included! Sponsored by Portland Wheelmen and Vancouver Bike Club but open to non-members. For more information, call the ride leader listed here.
July 8 – Music in the Vines with Cloverdayle – Bethany Vineyards – The beautiful grounds of Bethany Vineyards make a great venue for summer concerts. Bring your own seating. No outside beverages. Check out concert details and restrictions here. Admission.
July 11-August 15 – Terry Lee Noon Concerts – Esther Short Park – Vancouver – Noontime concerts draw large crowds. Don’t forget your lawn chair. Take your lunch or support the food vendors. Noon to 1 p.m. Free.
July 11 – The Shwing Daddies
July 18 – Justin Klump
July 25 – Key of Dreams
July 12 – August 23 – Concerts at the Lake – Longview – Enjoy this Thursday night summer concert series in Lake Sacajawea Park. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free.
July 12 – British Export (Beatles Tribute)
July 19 – Monroe Crossing
July 26 – Gimme Some Lovin’
July 14 – Tastes &Tunes – Gardner Center in Battle Ground. Live music, food, beer and wine tasting. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Battle Ground. 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission.
July 14 – 4th Plain International Festival – 4th Plain and Norris Road in Vancouver – Celebrate the diversity of the 4th Plain area. International food vendors. Entertainment. Check the Web site for details. Includes the first ever Vancouver International Dodgeball Tournament! Register your team here!
July 14-15 – Trout Lake Festival of the Arts – Trout Lake – Enjoy music, arts and food at The Farm, 22 miles north of the Hood River Bridge. Schedule and location here. Check out the live music listings. Free.
July 14-15 – Art and Wine Fair – English Estate Winery – 17806 SE 1st Street, Vancouver. Enjoy the 109-year-old estate, live music and dozens of artists not to mention English Estate’s wines, which will be available for tasting.
July 14-15 – Clamshell Railroad Days – Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco – Celebrate trains with lectures, bus tours of the old rail lines, an expanded Lego Train and The Kids Craft Caboose, and model trains. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission. Kids free.
July 21 – Cruisin the Gut – Vancouver – This car event just keeps getting larger and larger! Lovers of vintage autos line Main Street with lawn chairs to watch collectible cars from the past cruise Main Street from Dairy Queen down to lower downtown Vancouver and back. The route is here. Evening event but get there early! Free.
July 20-21 – NW Outrigger Races – Stevenson – Watch these mighty paddlers as they compete on the Columbia surrounded by the gorgeous Gorge and Bridge of the Gods as a backdrop. Stevenson will have lots of food and drink to offer, too, in the charming downtown area.
July 22 – Summer Concert Series – Three Brothers Vineyards and Winery – The music continues in Clark County’s wine country with award-winning blues and R&B artist Lloyd Jones. Don’t forget your own lawn chairs or blankets. Take your own food (but NO liquids or beverages) or purchase catered food. Wine, sodas and water available for purchase. Admission.
July 25-20 – Sandsations and City Sandsations – Long Beach – On Wednesday, July 25, four master artists will start building in downtown Long Beach, culminating on Friday with a rodeo-themed sculpture. Construction for the sandcastle competition on the beach starts on Saturday at 10 a.m. There will also be a Sand Flea Pet Parade. Check the Sandsations Web site for details.
July 26-29 – Three Days of Aloha – Day one of this festival starts in Portland with a two-day Hula and Craft Workshop. Esther Short Park in Vancouver will be the site on Friday night for the Hapa Haole Hula Competition. The always popular Ho’ike and Hawaiian Festival will be held on Saturday at the park. Lots of food, music, dance, crafts! Check the festival Web site for details. Benefit for Ke Kukui Foundation.
July 26-29 – Finnish-American Folk Festival – Naselle High School on SR4. This festival is packed with authentic food and entertainment. The celebration of all things Finnish kicks off on July 26 with a golf tournament. Check out the event-packed schedule here.
July 27-28 – Camas Days – Downtown Camas – “Three Ring Circus” is the theme of this year’s Camas Days. Two parades, bathtub races, wine and microbrew street each evening, plus arts and crafts vendors. Lots of details here.
July 28 – Sip and Stroll – This benefit for the Hough Foundation is a great way to sample dozens of wines and beers while strolling through Uptown Village and downtown Vancouver. Check out wineries and microbreweries in downtown Vancouver and experience local shops where many of the tastings will be held. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. 21 and up. Admission.
July 29 – Music in the Vines with Patrick Lamb – Bethany Vineyards – The beautiful grounds of Bethany Vineyards make a great venue for summer concerts. Bring your own seating. No outside beverages. Check out concert details and restrictions here. Admission.
Whew! What a month! And this is only a smattering of available events. See you out there.
July 1, 2012 No Comments
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!
April 4-6 – Native 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 6 – Full 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!
April 7 – First 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 7 – Vintage 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 7 – Klickitat 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 7-9 – Razor 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 7-29 – Columbia 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 13 – Contra 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 14 – Battle 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 14 – Klickitat Trail Conservancy Wildflower Walk – 10 a.m. 4 miles – Starting at the Lyle trailhead. Easy to moderate.
April 14-15 – Vancouver 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 14-21 – Second 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.
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.
April 15 – Cathlapotle 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 19 – Sakura 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 21 – Hometown 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 21 – Klickitat 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 21 – Kalama 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 21 – Columbia 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 21 – Trout 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 21 – Earth 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 13 – Hulda 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 27-29 – Home 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 28 – Klickitat 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 a short month that offers a long list of activities. From quilts to chocolate, kites to Chalacha – no need to stay home.
February 1-29 – Castle 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 3 – A 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 3 – Wintertide – 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 3-4 – Indoor 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 4 – Stand 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, booking phone (360) 601-7549.
February 4-5 – Asian 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 7 – Chocolate Confession by Joan Freed – Kiggins 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 11 – Valentine’s Tea – Pomeroy 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 11-12 – Columbia 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 12 – Bravo! 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 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
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.
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 14 – The 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
January 21 – Fort 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 22 – Legends 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 26-28 – Clark 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.
January 29 – Chinese 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 28-29 – Vancouver 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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June 19, 2011 3 Comments
Spring events are in full force now in Southwest Washington. Here are a few ideas to get you out the door:
May 3 – The 39 Steps – Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in Longview. This 2008 Tony award-winning play “The 39 Steps” is a madcap romp through one of Alfred Hitchcock’s finest films. Adapted for the stage, it became one of Broadway’s longest-running comedy thrillers. With a cast of 4, this show has more than 150 characters to keep you on the edge of your seat.
May 7 – The 28th Annual Ride Across Clark County (RACC) sponsored by the Vancouver Bicycle Club WARNING! This event may be sold out. Check the Web site for availability of this scenic and popular day-long ride. Four loops to choose from – 18, 34, 65 and 100 miles
May 7 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. National Train Day, Historic Train Depot, 210 Railroad Ave, Centralia, WA National Train Day commemorates the anniversary of the transcontinental railroad’s inception. Special displays and events will be in the Historic Railroad Depot in downtown Centralia.
May 14 – 8 p.m. Al Stewart Concert at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center in Stevenson. Remember the Scottish singer-songwriter’s 1976 hit Year of the Cat? Skamania Performing Arts Foundation, 541-400-9792
May 14 and 15 – Vancouver Symphony Orchestra conducted by Salvador Brotons. Concert times are 3 pm on Saturday and 7 pm on Sunday. Last regular concert of the season. The program will feature Concerto for Horn by Brotons. Roman Festivals by Respighi and Audience Choice (voting now closed).
May 14, 12-4 pm – Cathlapotle Plankhouse, Carty Unit of the Ridgefield NWR, 28908 NW Main Ave., Ridgefield. Artist Judy Bridges, Cowlitz basket weaver, will demonstrate basket weaving techniques. Visitors will have the opportunity to view examples of her basketry and ask her questions about her craft.
May 15, 12-4 pm – Cathlapotle Plankhouse Carty Unit of the Ridgefield NWR, 28908 NW Main Ave, Ridgefield. Artists Greg Robinson, member of the Chinook Indian Nation, and Greg Archuleta, member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, will be in the Plankhouse doing carving and Chinookan lifeways demonstrations. Visitors will be able to see some of their beautiful artwork as well as talk to them about Chinookan art and culture.
May 18-19 – Nautical Renaissance The Port of Ilwaco welcomes back Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Tall Ships, The Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain. Self-guided tours are hosted by the crew wearing period costumes. ($3 requested donation). Adventure and Battle Sails are also available. Visit the Web site for prices and other details. From Ilwaco on May 19th guests can book passage to Astoria where the ships will offer tours until May 22, coinciding with Astoria’s opening celebration of its 200th birthday. Contact the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority in Aberdeen (360) 532-8611 or (800) 200-5239 for details and schedules. Go to www.ladywashington.org to track the ships’ locations and purchase discounted price tickets. (Note: There will also be a sail in Ilwaco on May 3rd.)
May 21-22 – 31st Annual Herb and Garden Festival at Pomeroy Living History Farm Thousands of fresh herb and garden plants, many organic selections plus entertainment, farm café, vendors and the herb garden. Admission is free.
May 28-30 – Memorial Day Weekend Clark County Spring Wine Release Visit 11 Clark County wineries in one weekend! See the Web site for details and maps.
May 28-30 – Memorial Day Open House Weekend at Columbia Gorge Wineries Visit more than 30 wineries and tasting rooms on both sides of the river. Details on the event Web site.
Wow, what a May! This is just a small fraction of what is scheduled. See you out there in Southwest Washington!
April 27, 2011 No Comments