East Fork of the Lewis River | Photo credit Happy in Dole Valley
This post is the fourth in a new series of guest posts called The Place Where I Live. Learning a bit about the place people call home is a great way to get to know them better, and also makes a wonderful resource of insider knowledge for places you might like to visit one day. (If you love the place where you live, and would like to write a guest post in this series, please email me.)
Lisa of Happy in Dole Valley is a wife and mother who lives in Washington state. She is a really lovely lady with a wonderfully positive outlook. I met her through the blog hops I host, and she has become a great blogging friend. I’m so happy that she has agreed to be part ofThe Place Where I Live series. So without further ado, over to Lisa!
Nestled in the Cascade Foothills of southwest Washington state is the small town of Yacolt (“yeah-colt” with the emphasis on the “yeah”) which just happens to be the place where I live. If you were to visit, you’d find within the city limits an elementary school, a bank, a post office, a tavern, a small grocery store, an espresso stand, a barber/dry cleaners, a day spa, an auto repair/towing, and, of course, city hall and fire department. But why do I tell you this? My name is Lisa, also known as “Dole Valley Girl”, and author of the blog Happy in Dole Valley, and I’m honoured to have been asked by April, The 21st Century Housewife, to write a guest post for her series, The Place Where I Live. I hope you’ll be inspired, if you ever venture to southwest Washington, to explore the beautiful wilderness of Yacolt andNorth Clark County, Washington, USA. Welcome to my corner of the world.
Having grown up in the suburbs of Vancouver (the city in southwest Washington State, not BC, Canada), I spent many a summer day swimming in the East Fork of the Lewis River at Moulton Falls, not too far from the Dole Valley area of Yacolt which we now call home. The drive from Vancouver isn’t too terribly long (about 45 minutes); it’s a gorgeous drive, much of it along the river. As a teen I always dreamed of living out here, far, far from the burbs. And now I do. It’s quiet here, it’s peaceful, and on a moonless night, you can actually see the Milky Way. Imagine that.
So if you happen to find yourself in the area for a few days, what is there to do? I’m so glad you asked!
Sunset Falls | Photo credit Happy in Dole Valley
Hiking, biking, mountain climbing, swimming, hunting, fishing, camping and berry picking are just a few of the many activities you can enjoy here! But before settling on an adventure, you will need a place to stay. The closest hotel is the Best Western, located just 17 miles southwest of Yacolt in the city of Battle Ground. I’m sorry to report that a quick internet search for local bed & breakfasts revealed that there are none close by, but you didn’t want to stay in a B&B anyway, did you? If camping is your style, you are in luck; of the manylocal campgrounds four of them are located within 8.5 miles of Yacolt, three of which are just minutes (literally) from our home in Dole Valley.
After you have settled in at the hotel or pitched your tent, you’ll surely need something good to eat. My recommendation is dinner at the Laurelwood Public House in Battle Ground, where you can satisfy your hunger with a really tasty burger (made with grass fed beef), a side of garlic fries, Organic Pale Ale battered fish & chips, or a variety of other delicious and wholesome GMO-free main dish options. Order a pint of whatever’s on tap (organic options are available), or sip on a glass of Maryhill Winemaker’s Red (my preference).
After a good night’s sleep, I recommend you enjoy breakfast at the Hockinson Café before heading out to explore.
The Hantwick Trail | Photo credit Happy in Dole Valley
In a hiking mood? The Hantwick Trail, our favorite Sunday afternoon stroll, is an easy, fairly level 2 miles of wooded beauty that parallels the East Fork Lewis River. For a more challenging hike, you might enjoy the Bell’s Mountain Trail which is accessed from the Hantwick Trail. Maybe you’ll find yourself in the mood for a leisurely afternoon by the river. If so, you’ll enjoy the beauty of Sunset Falls, Moulton Falls or Lewisville Park. In addition,Battle Ground Lake, just north of Battle Ground, is a gorgeous state park where you can camp, swim, hike, picnic, or spend the day fishing.
Cedar Creek Grist Mill | Photo credit Happy in Dole Valley
Maybe you’ll want to go for a drive to explore the countryside; if so you’ll enjoy the scenery along the North Clark County Scenic Drive. Perhaps you’d like to venture further into the Cascades? Mount St Helens is only a couple of hours away by car, but the view from theJohnston Ridge Observatory is well worth it.
After an exhilarating day, you might want to make haste back to camp to enjoy a quiet evening by your campfire, but then you might want to take a drive into Vancouver to catch a movie at Cinetopia, a locally owned luxury theatre that will make you wish you had one in your area. Of course you can always drive a little further south and cross the Columbia River to explore the big city life of Portland, Oregon, but why would you want to do that when we’ve got it all right here in and around Yacolt?
Thanks so much for taking the time to read about this wonderful place I call home. There’s so much more I could have shared about Yacolt and the surrounding area, but I think you get the picture. If you are ever in the area and would enjoy more recommendations, or have any questions about the place where I live, feel free to send me an email.
Thank you so much for sharing The Place Where You Live so beautifully, Lisa!
Lisa shares family, faith, home education, homesteading and recipes on her blog Happy in Dole Valley. One of my favourite features on the blog is the wonderful Muffin Mondays, a project which she works on with her young daughter. Lisa also has an Etsy shop where she sells beautiful hand-knitted crafts including gorgeous hats and baby booties as well as handmade soaps.