Even as a native Oregonian, and spending my whole life in the Pacific Northwest, I’m still discovering the many rich stories of community, settlement, commerce, and tradition. There is no other place in the Northwest that is more immersed in history and tradition than Vancouver, Washington.
My first stop in the 98661 zip-code was the beloved National Historic Site, Fort Vancouver. Originally a fur trading outpost and headquarters for the Hudson’s Bay Company, Fort Vancouver has been preserved as a historical site which many generations have enjoyed visiting. This beautiful destination prompts you to silence your cell phone, connect with the people around you, and take in some history.
Be sure to visit the Fort Vancouver blacksmith, who provides demonstrations of his or her craft on site. Renowned Colonial Williamsburg blacksmith, Jay Close, was teaching a class the day I visited. He was open to share his knowledge and made me feel right at home.
Apart from the actual Fort, the greater Fort Vancouver park has three additional unique sites that any first-timer should take the time to see:
- Vancouver Barracks The Northwest’s first U.S. Army post was home to 70 historical generals, including Ulysses S. Grant.
- Pearson Air Museum Get a detailed look at the golden age of aviation at one of the oldest operating air fields, Pearson Air Museum. Another hidden gem at the air museum is the restored event hall. Available to rent for special occasions, the space even includes tables and chairs! A perfect venue for weddings, family reunions, company events, and more.
- The McLoughlin House Chronicling the life of the ‘Father of Oregon’, the home of John McLoughlin is one of the oldest homes in Oregon. Tour the McLoughlin House for free on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Kids Dig! – July 2, 9, & 23rd at 10:30am and 2:00p
Kids from 8-12 can participate in a dig at one of the Northwest’s most famous archaeological sites. Help excavate with Fort Vancouver staff members and learn about the past while digging around the dirt.
- 1860s Vintage Baseball
– July 23rd at 7:00pm
Watch a free baseball game at the Parade Ground, played by the rules used in the 19th century.
- World War II Encampment –
July 23rd from 9:00am to 5:00pm
Watch live reenactments from Living History Group Northwest with authentic WWII vehicles and airplanes.
- 100th Birthday of the National Park Service –
August 27th from 12:00pm to 3:00p
Celebrate the 100th year with Fort Vancouver. Enjoy family-friendly activities, historic demonstrations, and refreshments for free!
The Water Resources Education Center is a beautiful, educational facility overlooking the Columbia. While visiting with my family, I learned more than I ever thought I would know about water and how to become a better steward of our resources. Here you’ll find a treasure trove of information, fun activities, and a great way to engage with the community.
An UnZip The Zip-Code segment wouldn’t be complete without discovering a great, local Northwest haunt. This time we found three amazing spots to indulge the foodie in all of us.
Our first stop was at Pines Coffee. I could not believe the following that this tiny drive-through coffee shop has gained. However, after drinking a cup of my favorite, a Dirty Chai, I quickly understood why. They are true coffee artists. By making most of their ingredients in house, you are assured a quality cup every time. By the way, a Dirty Chai is made of a shot of espresso, mixed into Chai tea, and steamed milk (my secret is coconut milk). My drink from Pines was so much better due to the fresh ingredients, including their rich and refreshing coconut milk.
We stopped by The Nomad’s Gourmet Hot Dogs for lunch. Talk about worldly weiners – these are Top Dogs! Gabriel started the stand in February of 2014. His creations are, not only mouth-watering, but use high quality, locally sourced ingredients with handmade toppings. As one fan put it: “The Nomad is taking an American staple and creating a one-of-a-kind taste discovery. The Nomad delivers what you cannot imagine.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Grab The Nomad’s Gourmet Hot Dogs from 10:30am to 3:30pm, on Tuesdays through Fridays.
Heading up to Minnehaha, we jogged on in to Ghost Runners Brewery. Founded in 2012, this 10-barrel brewing facility has a great selection of handcrafted and seasonal ales. Each high-quality, premium brew has a “running-based” name (Pace Breaker – Oatmeal Pale Ale, Cross Country – Red Style Kolsch) to celebrate the excitement and culture of running. Ghost Runners even had some well-deserved praise from the Washington 2016 Beer Festival and took home the Silver Medal for their Imperial Red Ale.
I love how all of these entrepreneurs pay homage to the cool and quirky things that make the Pacific Northwest unique and wonderful.
Thanks for checking in with me and letting me blaze a trail to so many great zip-codes in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Feel free to send me a note if you want me to check out your zip-code or know of a unique place that you would love to help get noticed. As always, I would love to hear from you. Just send me an email at email@example.com.
See you next time when we head to 97068 in West Linn!
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