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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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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

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
.

June 19, 2011   3 Comments

“O! how Horriable is the day!”

“O! how Horriable is the day!” Captain William Clark entered those words in his journal on November 22, 1805 after experiencing a nasty day on the Columbia River. “Before day the wind increased to a storm…and blew with violence throwing the water of the river with emence waves out of its banks almost over whelming us I water, O! how Horriable is the day,” he wrote.

Those last six words are now the name of the annual celebration at the Knappton Cove Heritage Center. This year, the event will be held on Saturday, November 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in conjunction with the “Ocian in View” Cultural Weekend at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco.

The hospital building at the Knappton Cove Heritage Center

Knappton Cove is “Columbia River’s Ellis Island.” While the East coast immigration center is well known, our own Ellis Island is a quiet, fascinating gem located at 521 Washington SR 401 just three miles east of the Astoria/Megler Bridge bridge.

The property has been a camping and fishing site for Chinook Indians. Early explorers included Captain Robert Gray, who sailed into the Columbia River in 1792 and Lt. William Broughton, who, as part of Captain George Vancouver fleet, moored the HMS Chatham at Knappton Cove later that year. For years, a fish cannery straddled the river with a long wharf and cannery buildings.

As the US Public Health Service Quarantine Station (1899-1938), Knappton Cove played a significant role in the history of US immigration. An estimated 100,000 individuals passed through the Quarantine Station from 1899 to 1938.

During that time, cargo and immigrant ships entered the Columbia River at Astoria. Upon inspection, if it was determined that disease or vermin was on board the ship, it was sent to across the river to Knappton Cove, with its deep channel and distance from the good folk of Astoria who didn’t want the facility, on the Washington side of the Columbia.

Imagine you have traveled for weeks by ship from your native country in Europe or Asia. You have survived the crossing and finally reached the shores of America. Now you need to pass health inspection and have your possessions “deloused” in large retorts. Smallpox, cholera, bubonic plague and typhoid were among the communicable concerns. If you didn’t pass the inspection, you were isolated and detained before you could travel on to the Portland naturalization office.

Ships went through a 48 hour fumigation process, which included filling the ships with fumes sulfur pots to kill rats. (Later cyanide gas was used to fumigate the ships.) In her book, The Columbia River’s Ellis Island, The Story of Knappton Cove, Nancy Bell Anderson reported that 97 sailing vessels and 35 steamships were inspected during the first year of operation including ships from such disparate locations as Russia, Peru and Japan.

Nancy Bell Anderson discusses the historic site with visitors

The Knappton Cove Heritage Center documents not only the quarantine station with its hospital (also known as lazaretto or pesthouse) but also the other uses of the property over the years including the sports fishing camp established by Nancy’s parents, who bought the property in 1950. Sans SR 401, their front yard stretched down to the river. Nancy has been involved with the site, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, since she was 12 years old. She is currently President of the Center’s Board of Directors,

The Center is the only place in the world where you will find the 100,000 Clothespin People Project and the “It’s A Small World Clothespin Museum.” Kits are available for making clothespin dolls dressed in native clothing from immigrant homelands.

Each room of the former hospital documents the history of the site and the people who passed through its wards. A small shop has books and other items available for purchase.

One of the hospital room displays

The Knappton Cove Heritage Museum is only open Saturday weekends in summer (or by appointment). So November 13 is a great day to visit no matter how “horriable” the weather.

November 9, 2010   1 Comment

I’m Voting in Honor of Emma and May, Frances and Nena

This November, I’m voting in honor of Emma and May, Frances and Nena, and all the other women who fought for women’s suffrage in Washington State. Emma Smith DeVoe and May Arkwright Hutton were leaders of the state suffrage movement. Frances Axtell and Nena Croake were Washington State’s first women legislators. One hundred years ago, Washington State male voters ratified the vote for women. Washington was the fifth state to do so, after Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Idaho. The Western U.S. definitely led the way!

Emma and May, Frances and Nena would be proud of the current Clark County Historical Museum exhibit – Road to Equality, the Struggle for Women’s Rights in the Northwest.

Starting with pioneer women and Southwest Washington leaders like Mother Joseph and Dr. Ella Whipple, the exhibit follows the decades of struggle by women to gain the vote and equal rights. From 1854, when women’s right to vote was proposed in the First Washington Territorial Legislature (and lost by one vote) until the successful ratification of the vote in 1910, what we take for granted every election, was hard fought. Washington women actually had the vote from 1883-1887 until the Washington Territorial Supreme Court ruled against it. It’s hard to imagine the anger and frustration caused by that action.

Ultimately, Washington State women permanently re-gained the vote in 1910 (followed by California in 1911 and Oregon in 1912). Following years of organizing, protesting and arrests of suffrage advocates, the federal 19th Amendment became effective in August 1920.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 32.7 per cent of Washington State legislative seats are held by women. (The national average is 24.5 per cent.) In a state with women in the two U.S. Senate seats and the Governor’s office, it’s easy to forget that for decades women had no voting rights.

The Road to Equality exhibit continues through the decades of struggle for women’s rights including the role of women in World War II and the fight for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. It also celebrates Clark County trailblazers like Val Ogden, Val Joshua and my “fellow” Rotarians Bev Fogle and Betty Sue Morris.

Modern trailblazers for women's rights. Photo courtesy of the Clark County Historical Museum.

November 8, 2010 will mark the 100th Anniversary of Washington Women’s Suffrage. A Day of Jubilation will be held in Olympia with a parade and events at the Capitol and Legislative Building.

Regardless of the results of the November 2010 election, it’s time to honor those suffragists who fought so hard for the right to vote and celebrate our 100th anniversary of Washington State women’s suffrage.

October 30, 2010   1 Comment

Pacific County: An Abundance of Museums and Historical Sites

With no fewer than 10 museums and interpretive centers, the rich history of Pacific County is on display. Three museums of the Raymond-South Bend area are detailed in ZEST in Cranberry Coast Part I. On the other side of Willapa Bay, even more sites deserve more than just a casual visit.

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in downtown Ilwaco is a true community effort. What do you do with a massive telephone utility building? After the Ilwaco utility gave the building to the City, the Ilwaco Heritage Museum was created. The space was renovated in 1991 and renamed the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum three years ago.

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum

In 2008, Betsy Dillard, who had moved to the area from Missouri, came out of a five-year retirement to become Executive Director. Previously, director of the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, she brought years of experience to her job. “Museums are my kind of touchstone,” she says.

Big institutions ask, what makes a museum relevant? she says. “It didn’t have to be done here,” she says. “It is relevant because it started from a community base.” The building is used constantly by community groups including “the hookers” (rug makers), quilters, an art group, the American Legion and a bridge club which has been playing at the museum for 25 years. An exhibit of vintage bridge tablecloths chosen from a local private collection of 169 cloths will by on display until mid-July. The 20,000 square foot museum includes special space for rotating exhibits. Upcoming exhibits will include World War I posters and quilts.

The permanent collection, which numbers 15,000+ objects, includes a village by the sea, the 1880s Nahcotta train Pullman Palace car from the Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company (“The Railroad that Ran by the Tide”), a 26-foot lifesaving surfboat and an Exploration Gallery focusing on the 18 days spent by the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery in present-day Pacific County. The mezzanine houses a research library and model Shumway Railway. Admission fee. Free on Thursdays. There are lots of details at the museum Web site.

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is located high above the mouth of the Columbia and Cape Disappointment State Park. William Clark’s journal sums it up: “Ocian in View.”

Looking Out to Sea from the Interpretive Center

The views from the center are spectacular. Friendly interpretive staff like Aaron Webster are well-versed in the history of the area and the exhibits. A few items were part of the actual expedition including a whiskey flask, hatchet head and wooden box carved by Sacajawea.

Interpreting the Corps of Discovery

The award-winning film “Of Dreams and Discovery” is on view along with permanent and rotating exhibits. Two historic lighthouses—Cape Disappointment and North Head— can be explored. An added feature – the Discovery Trail, 15 miles of biking and walking paths from Ilwaco to Long Beach. Below the Interpretive Center, the waves crash at Waikiki Beach and the Confluence Project site at Cape Disappointment features Maya Lin’s basalt fish cleaning station. The Center is open daily. Admission fee. Details here.

Below the Interpretive Center and Lighthouse

More museums coming up including Fort Columbia State Park, World Kite Museum, the Cranberry Museum, Knappton Cove Heritage Center and Appelo Archives Center.

June 8, 2010   1 Comment

Adventures on Washington State’s Cranberry Coast, Part II

Isn’t it always the case that when you travel someplace new, you wish you had more time to spend there? We just discovered that in Glasgow (and Edinburgh and Inverness and…) but that’s another blog for another day. This is about Washington State’s scenic Cranberry Coast.

We spent four days there in mid-summer and pined for more. So we returned a month later for a camping trip with long-time friends, Mary and John Tyburski. Again, we were enchanted by the area. Cranberry Coast, Part I is here.

Westport Marina

Friday afternoon. Taking I-5 north, we make our ritual stop for milkshakes at the Dairy Barn in Chehalis (Exit 77). Cookie Dough and Hazelnut shakes in hands, we head west on SR6 through PeEll, which has what must be the world’s largest stop signs, and through Frances and Lebam—a town with a name to love. It’s backwards for Mabel.

We pass the Pacific County Fair in Menlo, hurrying on to Raymond, where we pick up SR105. We’re eager to get to our campsite before sundown at Twin Harbors Beach State Park.  Setting up a campsite in the dark is not my idea of fun and it’s raining so we are grateful for our snug tent camper. Our days of sleeping on the ground are over. Guess we are getting older…

Home Away From Home

What a multi-generational community we find! Park demographics include all ages, from infants to grandparents and a diverse, well-behaved canine population. We must have missed the memo that said “bring your dog.” Two doors down, so to speak, at least 30 high school girls (also well-behaved) are on a field trip and eating dinner under the world’s largest tarp.

Much later, two cars of very polite surfers from Port Orchard set up their tents next to ours in the dark. We save them from an imminent medical emergency by lending them our hatchet. Watching a barefoot surfer try to chop wood with machete is not a pretty picture.

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November 1, 2009   No Comments