The city of Vancouver, Washington, was one of the first settlements in the Northwest and consequently has a long pioneer and military history. After the British gave up Fort Vancouver, it became the site of the Vancouver Barracks U.S. military post, and stately homes were built for the officers of the post. The buildings of Officers' Row and their attractive, tree-shaded surroundings are now preserved as the Vancouver National Historic Reserve. Within the reserve, just east of I-5 (take the East Mill Plain Blvd. exit just north of the I-5 Interstate Bridge), you'll find not only Officers' Row, Fort Vancouver, and the Pearson Air Museum, but also the Waterfront Renaissance Trail. At the west end of this paved riverside trail, in a small park through a walkway under the railroad tracks, is the oldest apple tree in the Northwest, planted in 1826.

Exploring Outside of Town

In the town of Washougal, 16 miles east of Vancouver on Wash. 14, you can visit the Pendleton Woolen Mills Store, 2 17th St., Washougal (tel. 800/568-2480 or 360/835-1118;, and see how its famous wool blankets and classic wool fashions are made. The store is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm, Saturday from 9am to 6pm, and Sunday from 11am to 6pm, with free mill tours offered Monday through Friday at 9, 10, and 11am, and 1:30pm. The mill closes for 2 weeks in both August and December.

Twenty-three miles north of Vancouver, in the town of Woodland, are the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens, 115 S. Pekin Rd., Woodland (tel. 360/225-8996; Between mid-April and mid-May, these gardens burst into color and the fragrance of lilacs hangs in the air. During this time, the gardens are open daily from 10am to 4pm. Admission is $2.

Ten miles east of Woodland off NE Cedar Creek Road is the Cedar Creek Grist Mill, Grist Mill Road (tel. 360/225-5832;, the only remaining 19th-century gristmill in Washington. Built in 1876, the mill was restored over a 10-year period, and in 1989, once again became functional. When the mill is open, volunteers demonstrate how wheat is ground into flour. Hours of operation are Saturday from 1 to 4pm and Sunday from 2 to 4pm. Admission is by donation. Adjacent to the mill is one of Washington's two historic covered bridges.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.