Autumn is here and usually means cool mornings that lead to bright and sunny afternoons. This makes for the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the brisk air and falling leaves. Here are some of my top recommendations for best parks and walking trails in the Vancouver area!
This 19-acre park has everything you need! Big open green spaces, a huge playground, a ball field, covered picnic tables, restrooms, horseshoes, a community garden, walking paths, and more! Conveniently located off of Mill Plain near downtown Vancouver, this spot is also right next door to Marshall Community Center which is home to senior activities, swim lessons, dance class, summer camps, and much more. The covered picnic shelters can be reserved for events, weddings, parties, and small concerts for a reservation fee.
Esther Short Park:
This is one of the oldest and most well-known areas in Vancouver. Located in the heart of downtown, this space is home to the wonderful Farmer’s Market that happens during the spring and fall. Established in 1853, Esther Short Park was renovated and revitalized in the 1990s. There is a great playground area, unique bronze statues throughout, as well as a beautiful salmon bell tower. There is a water fountain area that is popular during the summer for kids to play in. The space also has a big outdoor amphitheater area that is popular for movie nights, outdoor concerts, and much more.
Lacamas Lake Regional Park:
This park is 312 acres and is perfect for any outdoor enthusiast. It has a variety of recreational opportunities including fishing and hiking and has some much beautiful scenery it is a great place for photographers! There are over 9 miles of trails, including the Heritage Trail and the Park Trail.
Discovery Historic Loop:
History lovers, this is a great trail for you! This is a two to three mile loop that winds through East Evergreen through Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Officer’s Row and downtown Vancouver. Walk or bike the trail – it can usually be covered in about an hour or so, or just take little sections at a time by stopping and enjoying some of this historic spots.
This flagship park encompasses forested areas, meadows, and stunning access to the Lewis River. Park goers can fish, bring a picnic, or rent one of the many shelters available for the whole day. There is a boat launch and swimming is allowed in the river. However, the river current can be very strong, water depths vary, and there are no lifeguards on duty. There are also horseshoe pits and charcoal barbecues available for extra fun!
These are just some of the MANY beautiful parks and trail areas in Clark County. For a full list of natural areas, parks, and sports field, visit the Clark County Parks & Rec website here. Get out before our winter weather sets in and has us all staying indoors a bit more.
Clark County is home to a variety of great local businesses that are owned and staffed by delightful people that are both passionate about and invested in Clark as a whole. The “shop local” focus is alive and well in Vancouver and the surrounding cities in Clark County and because many residents in the area recognize the importance of supporting small businesses in the area, retail shop owners are able to grow, expand, and continue offering unique destinations for residents and tourists alike. Here are three featured businesses in the area that are unique
Nestled in the corner of the Mill Plain Safeway shopping complex off of Andresen Road, Vintage Books has been a local, independent bookstore that has served book lovers throughout Clark County since 1975. If you’re a reading enthusiast, you could easily spend a couple of hours in this store browsing the extensive collection of used paperbacks for hours on end. The atmosphere inside of the store is relaxed and laid back. There are old chairs for settling into read for a bit and because the inventory changes daily, you’ll always find something new when you come and visit. The staff is knowledgeable and the combined experienced and diversity in reading tastes is reflected in the assortment of books for sale. This store is a Vancouver-area gem!
If you head into Kazoodles, chances are you will run into Bob or Mary Sisson, owners of the shop. This couple has been a part of the Clark County community for decades and they are some of the best people you can find. And not only are they friendly and love serving families in the community, they are passionate about providing high quality toys, games, and books for kids of all ages in their unique toy shop. Kazoodles has been in Cascade Park since 2010 and has been voted the “Best Toy Store” for 5 years in a row by readers of Vancouver Family Magazine. It has also been named “Best Toy and Craft Store” for three years in a row by The Columbian. From classic toys to the newest and best toys on the market, Kazoodles has pretty much everything a kid could dream of.
Located in the heart of historic downtown Camas, Camas Antiques is an antique lover’s dream come true. Gift items, garden supplies, and home décor from years past, there are all sorts of unique items here that have a rich history behind them. Most of these things, you simply won’t be able to find anywhere else. The prices are very affordable and no matter what your design preference is, you’re sure to find something simple yet elegant for your home or office space here. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit the basement area, which is chock-full of even more treasures. This place is antiquing paradise.
There are some fantastic retail destinations in the area that are just waiting to be explored. So get out there and start enjoying the fantastic shopping to be had in Clark County!
If you have driven through this portion of Evergreen Boulevard, you have seen some beautiful historic homes with nicely manicured lawns. The area is lined with mature, stately trees, there are often events happening in some of the buildings, and you’ll oftentimes see tourists and even Vancouver residents walking through the area to immerse themselves in history. Officer’s Row is one of Vancouver’s greatest assets.
What’s the history behind Officer’s Row?
For over 100 years, the homes along this row were used as residential housing for soldiers, officers, and families that were stationed in Vancouver at the Barracks. The oldest homes date back to the mid-1800s! In the 1970s, there was an effort started to save the site and restore the properties. In 1987, there was a $10.9 million rehabilitation effort approved and the following year, tenants began moving in. Today, there are 34 residential units, office space, as well as business space in the various buildings. Windermere Real Estate is a proud tenant of the building on the entrance to the Row at the traffic circle and the company also occupies another building to the west. In addition, many of the homes were originally duplexes that housed two military families, and today you can still see that mirror image as you visit the office space.
What are the specific houses used for?
There are three houses that have been designated for specific use. The first is the George C. Marshall House. This home was built in 1886 for the commanding officer of the Department of the Columbia. In the 1880s and 1890s, it was a popular social destination for military and civic people. George C. Marshall (commanding officer at the Vancouver Barracks from 1936 to 1938) lived in the home. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for his efforts in helping rebuild economies in Europe and the Pacific Nations after World War 2. Today, the Marshall House is open to the public and is often rented out for weddings, ceremonies, conferences, and other social gatherings.
The second home is the Ulysses S. Grant House. This was the first home that was built on Officer’s Row and it was frequented many times by Grant when he was visiting the Vancouver Barracks. It served as an officer’s club for more than 25 years. After his incredible military successes, the home was named after him and today it is available to the public. The building also houses The Grant House Restaurant, which is open to the public.
The last home is the Howard House, which is named after the first General that lived there, General Oliver Otis Howard. He received a Congressional Medal of Honor in the Civil War and he worked to help aid former slaves. He also served as the U.S. Army’s Department of the Columbia Commander. The home boasts beautiful Italianate-style architecture.
If you haven’t experienced the beauty and rich history of Officer’s Row, head down there for a walk and visit some of the buildings.