While my sister and I were driving from Seattle to Portland, we passed by a directional sign on the highway bannering the cities of Vancouver and Portland, but pointing towards the same direction.
I know my geography quite well which is why the sign got me puzzled. I know that Seattle is in the middle, and Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada is to its north while Portland, Oregon is to its south. But I didn’t dwell on such “conundrum” because I presumed there probably is a roundabout route to go up to Vancouver while passing by Portland.
Yesterday, my sister told me she’d pick me up after work so she could take me to dinner in Vancouver. That’s when I learned that there is another city, a namesake of the one in British Columbia, and is located in the state of Washington, sitting along its boundary, right at the outskirts of Portland.
Vancouver, Washington has a population of 190,000+ and prides itself on being “close to everything, but far from typical.” It enjoys whatever Portland offers and is, in fact, considered a suburb of Portland. It is often used as the jump-off point by travelers visiting Mount St. Helens, Washington’s active volcano one-hour-and-a-half away.
As we entered the city, we were greeted by a large welcome billboard bannering the city’s historical value, and as we reached the downtown area, we immediately saw one of the city’s Instagrammable attractions. The Salmon Run Bell Tower is a glockenspiel, much like a xylophone, which lets out a melodious chime every now and then. It is located in Esther Short Park, the oldest public square in the state of Washington.
The 69-foot Bell Tower got its name from its historical past and a 6-minute diorama emerges from it, telling the story of how the Chinook Indians greeted the first salmon of the year. Originally, the diorama, followed by the chime, comes out at 12 noon, 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. but the schedule has now changed depending on the season.
Our next stop was the 7.3-acre Waterfront Park, with the V-shaped and 90-foot Grant Street Pier suspended by a massive and architecturally beautiful cable as its focal point. The massive cable structure is suspended over the Columbia River and highlights a 75-foot high beam, designed to look like the mast of a sailboat. What is interesting to note is that all the engineering details of how the structure was built are etched on the base of the beam. It then provides visitors, who are interested in structural engineering, a closer look at how this architectural masterpiece was built.
The 35-acre area which includes the Waterfront Park is filled with seafood restaurants, wine galleries, pubs, ice cream parlors, and residential condominiums, all part of the $1.5 billion development project designed to complement the modern Grant Street Pier on the banks of the Columbia River. My sister and I decided to have dinner at the most popular seafood restaurant in the area.
The Wild Fin American Grill is widely known for serving patrons its fresh catch every day. It also offers a breathtaking view of the large stretch of the Columbia River with the majestic Mt. Hood in the background. Naturally, we didn’t want to miss its culinary specialties and the view. Unfortunately, the dreary day hid Mt. Hood from us but the calming scenic view of the river was good enough for me.
I ordered for the Parmesan Crusted Sole which was three large slices of Oregon Coast Dover Sole, covered with Parmesan pepita breadcrumbs, sitting on a bed of organic farro risotto, fried capers, and butter sauce. This took me to culinary heaven right away! It was the perfect dinner for a cold evening. My sister also enjoyed her Trout Dijon which was a super large slab of garlic-and-Dijon-breaded Idaho trout, with marble potatoes, braised garlic Parmesan Tuscan kale, and Dijon aioli. I don’t know if it was because of the freezing temperature outside or the beautiful waterfront view, we both cleaned our plates, and not a morsel was left!
This visit to Vancouver in Washington was the best way to cap my short “escapade” to the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to my younger sister, Esperanza, who is the Director of the Sterile Processing Department of the Oregon Health and Science University Hospital, for showing me around and feeding me with what I like best.
My sister should be in the Tourism Industry because enjoys traveling and discovers many beautiful places along the way. She readily takes me or any member of our clan to the beautiful places she has discovered. Not only have I enriched myself with more calories through the many excellent restaurants she has brought me to, I have also enriched my knowledge of geography by discovering through her, these other interesting cities in the northwest corner of the USA. Yes, there is a Vancouver in Washington State.
YOUR MONDAY CHUCKLE:
Q: What did the Zero say to the Eight?
A: Hey…nice belt!
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