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Explore Vancouver’s new waterfront

Views of the Columbia River in a new trendy area of town

The new 7.3-acre Waterfront Park in Vancouver is a great place to walk and enjoy the scenic views of the Columbia River. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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Vancouver's waterfront is undergoing a vibrant rebirth with new restaurants, hotels, wineries, trails and parks. The waterfront is now anchored by the 90-foot Grant Street Pier. The cable stay pier makes a great gathering spot as it looms over the Columbia River providing not only great views of the river but also of all the new $1.5 billion Gramor Development. The 7.3-acre Waterfront Park has an urban beach for sandcastles, a water feature, playground and an open lawn and picnic area.

Find parking in one of the many lots located along the waterfront. Begin your day with an easy hike along the Columbia River Waterfront Renaissance Trail, which is such an appropriate name with all the new development on the waterfront. It is a short jaunt under the Interstate 5 bridge, then you can continue along the five miles of paved pathways along the river or connect with the Discovery Historic Loop Trail. This 2.3-mile urban trail takes you past Fort Vancouver and the Pearson Air Museum.

The Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is worth a detour. Set on 191 acres next to the Columbia River, the grounds have seasonal gardens, a village, and a reconstructed fort with a bastion. Also onsite are three working trade houses for blacksmithing, carpentry and baking. Cultural demonstrations are held regularly.

The Discovery Historic Loop Trail will take you back to the other side of Interstate 5 to Esther Short Park. It is the oldest public square in the state and includes a playground, water feature, a rose garden and a clock tower. The Salmon Run Bell Tower is a work of art and contains 25 cast bronze bells, four tower clocks, and a glockenspiel which tells the Salmon Story from the Chinook Indians. Each day at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., the bells chime and then the glockenspiel diorama emerges from the tower. Local historian Pat Jollota wrote the words to the Salmon Story which is spoken as the diorama is displayed.

After all the walking, it is time for something to eat. The new development has Twigs Bistro, WildFin and a Stacks 571 (coming soon). I chose Warehouse 23, which is an old Vancouver favorite. House-smoked and cured bacon is liberally part of many dishes, and the small plates on the lunch menu are fun to order and share. They had me with bacon jam and pear honey butter on house-made cornbread, which is so worth the calories.

Before you end your day, head back to Maryhill Winery's newest tasting room. Although the $15 tasting is high, you get to taste eight wines, and if you spend $25 in wine purchases, it goes towards the cost of your wine. They also offer a 10 percent military discount. Maryhill Wines are award-winning and well regarded. Wines that are available for tasting change often and I like that the tasting includes wines at all price points. The tasting room also has a nice lunch menu.

For more information on planning your daytrip to Vancouver, visit: The website is a wealth of information on planning a day trip to the area.

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