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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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Happy New Year! January 2012 Calendar

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

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

Rusty Grape Vineyards

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Blacksmith Shop at Fort Vancouver

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lion Dance from the FVRL 2010 Chinese New Year Celebration

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

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

January 6, 2012   No Comments

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

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

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

Enjoy these beautiful designs from the 2011 Festival of Trees:

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

Details from Winter's Glory

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

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

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

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

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

Tree topper for Santa's in the Woods.

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

Ornaments waiting to be hung on Save Some for Santa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Self portrait at Festival of Trees. Happy Holidays!

November 25, 2011   No Comments

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

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
.

June 19, 2011   3 Comments

April Outings: Tulips to Tea, Wine to Walking…and More!

Spring is kicking in with LOTS of activities and events in Southwest Washington. Here are a few ideas to get you moving:

March 18-April 24 Spring break is FIVE weeks long at the World Kite Museum in Long Beach. Make a kite, get coupons for local businesses at a museum treasure hunt, participate in themed weekends at the Spring Fling.

April 1-3 – Passport Weekend to a World of Wines in 40 Miles -Start the month with a trip to Columbia Gorge wineries with this special event, which takes place on both sides of the river. Details here on where to purchase your $15 passport, which will give you special offers including lodging deals.

April 1 – First Fridays. Both Vancouver and Camas have first Friday events. Enjoy art, meet the artists, have dinner and celebrate with friends. Camas even has “Will you pick the golden egg?” contest happening at various shops. Details are at Vancouver Art Walk and Camas First Friday.

April 2 – 30 – Woodland Tulip Festival No need to travel to The Netherlands to touch tulips. Tour the bulb fields and display gardens of Holland America Bulb Farms. This annual event includes crafts, music, children’s activities and more. Check here for details.

April 4 – Guitarist Greta Pedersen performs a matinee concert at the Columbia Theatre in Longview as part of the Rainy Months Series. Information and tickets are available here.

April 9 – International Discovery Walk Festival This beloved event attracts walkers from all over the world to Vancouver. It is such a delight to see the flags of the countries represented. Biking and swim events are offered, too. Admission charge. Go to the Festival Web site for more information.

April 16-May 8 – Lilac Days Festival We have plant hybridizer Hulda Klager (plus MANY volunteers) to thank for this fragrant festival, which is held on the Klager homestead in Woodland each year. All things lilac are offered at a special store (including lilac starts) and Hulda’s home is open for tours. The Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens are located at 115 S. Pekin Road, near the Holland America bulb fields. Admission. Click here for more details.

April 23 – Easter Tea Tour the historic house at the Pomeroy Living History Farm and enjoy tea with scones, sandwiches and desserts. Admission. Visit the Pomeroy Web site for more information.

April 27 – What do I do now? A financial summit for women will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Red Cross Building at the Fort Vancouver National Site. Financial writer (www.sixtyandsingle.com) Julia Anderson will moderate a panel of experts. Admission. Details and tickets are available here.

There is so much to do this month. See you out there in Southwest Washington!

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March 30, 2011   No Comments