Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Springtime in the Other Vancouver: Enjoying Spring Sights in Vancouver USA

Monument to Captain Vancouver on the Washington side of the I-5 Bridge
When you say Vancouver, most people think you are talking about Canada. However, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon lies Vancouver USA.

Vancouver, named after Captain George Vancouver who explored the Pacific Coast of northwestern America, lies on the Columbia River and is a port city. Vancouver is also a vibrant town which is less crowded and less hectic than its neighbor across the river.

The downtown area anchored by the Hilton Hotel and Convention Center is a pleasant place to spend a day, especially when the weather starts to warm. It's easily accessible from the Washington side of the I-5 Bridge.


In Spring the weekend Farmers Market, held downtown just off Esther Short Park, is a draw both for the excellent food and live music. The Farmer's Market is colorful and fun. Whether you are shopping for dinner or for a bouquet of flowers to grace your table, you'll probably find it at the market.
You can buy plants, produce and more at the
Vancouver Farmer's Market

Once it is tulip time, Esther Short Park will be dotted with beautiful tulips, a gift of Burgerville's founder George Propstra. Mr. Propstra donated funds to improve Esther Short Park with the caveat that there will always be tulips, a nod to his Dutch heritage. And there are... hundreds of them.

Historic Slocum House
On the southwest edge of Esther Short Park you'll find the historic Victorian-style Slocum House. This beautiful home is what is left of the former downtown neighborhood. The house was moved to the Esther Short site from about a block away.
The house, originally built prior to 1842 by Charles W. Slocum and his wife Laura. was fashioned after their Rhode Island home. It is a modified Italianate villa with a widow's walk. Today it houses a tasting room for East Fork Cellars and is available for special events.

On the east side you'll find the "Salmon Clock." The huge Salmon Run Bell Tower is a three-scene piece of art that rotates to tell a Native American Chinook Tribal story about the importance of salmon. It is the anchor and showpiece of the renovated Esther Short Park. The 69 foot clock tower was dedicated in 2002 as part of a reclamation effort to beautify downtown Vancouver and keep the area safe. Having lived in Vancouver prior to this effort, I can tell you that the area has vastly improved. Now it is THE place to visit in Vancouver.  More
Salmon Run Bell Tower


Just south of Esther Short Park you'll come to a railroad bridge that has been transformed into a Veteran's Plaza with murals depicting the wars that Americans have fought. It is a permanent memorial to the men and woman who sacrificed, in many cases everything, to preserve our freedoms and way of life.

If you keep walking to the river, you'll then come to the Captain Vancouver Monument... you'll see the red sculpture depicting the explorer's vessel.

And then, enjoy watching the majestic Columbia River flow under the I-5 bridge. It is an old fashioned draw bridge, soon to be 100 years old, and will lift for vessels such as tall workboats pushing barges up and down the river. Continue on the Renaissance Trail along the river for a scenic walk.

An excellent Halibut Dinner at Grays
After all this sightseeing you'll be ready for a meal. If it is Farmer's Market day, you'll find a variety of booths with both ethnic foods and traditional foods.

The Hilton's Grays at the Park has excellent food.

If you walk the Renaissance Trail, you'll pass several fun restaurants.

Vancouver has newly become welcoming to food trucks. There are at least three good ones and, on some days, you'll find one in the downtown area.

For a relaxing day without the hassles of big city traffic, head to Vancouver USA.

Visit Vancouver Website

More on Esther Short Park
Vancouver Public Art

Photos Copyright: Elizabeth Rose Photography