With its historical downtown and lush greenery flanking the undulating Columbia River, Vancouver, Washington, is a Pacific Northwest paradise for the laid-back. This is just fine with Vancouver Segway Tours, a family-owned company that invites its patrons to experience the small city in one of the most relaxed manners?from a Segway.
The upright machines, which balance themselves through dynamic stabilization technology and yoga classes in their off-hours, respond to the movements of the rider, moving forward and backward along with the helmeted guests. This allows the riders to glide through the city's streets and park paths comfortably and confidently as they learn historic tidbits about the area.
Just west of Mount Hood, Henry Creek High Country Guides' owner and naturalist Tyler Allen puts the skills he learned in Alaska to the test, ushering clients to local fishing holes and teaching them everything from casting the line to grilling their catch in the wilderness. With a focus on conservation and respect for the environment, Allen and his groups embark on half-day trips through Oregon's lush majesty in search of a place to hook a cutthroat trout or kokanee salmon. Trips end by reeling in the day's catch and pouring a complimentary craft beer.
Cascade Pack & Paddle, LLC calls Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument its playground. Permitted by the US Forest Service, Cascade’s guides can lead kayak tours through Coldwater Lake within the preserve, where they introduce visitors and locals to sweeping views of majestic mountains and lush surrounding foliage. They also helm other kayak tours in local waters such as Yale Reservoir, Speelyai Bay West, and the Lewis River. If the preferred method of transportation is by foot, Cascade’s guides shepherd groups on hiking tours, some of which are canine friendly, around area trails such as Coldwater, Blue Lake, and Windy Ridge.
Dotted with myriad awards, the wine list at Three Brothers Vineyard & Winery continues to collect accolades at both local- and national-level competitions. Across the vineyard's 15 acres, fully productive vines grow heavy with juicy Riesling, Pinot, and Gewurztraminer grapes, to name a few. During warmer months, the outdoor "amphitheater" can seat up to 1,000 visitors for the vineyard's summer concert series, an ideal setting for a picnic with wine and friends.
In the late 1800s, a well-connected Vancouver businessman named L.M. Hidden set out to build a railroad from Vancouver to Yakima in the hopes of accessing the area’s timber and mineral resources. After spending a decade building the railroad—and more than 100 miles short of the proposed destination—construction stopped. The Vancouver, Klickitat and Yakima railroad was broke.
This kicked off decades of financial struggles for the railroad. Eventually, the prospect of logging profits saw the railroad extended to Yacolt and Chelatchie Prairie. But by the late 1970s—after the decline in popularity of peg legs as a fashion accessory—the area’s lucrative logging industry was a thing of the past.
That is, until 1998, when a group of volunteers came together in the hopes of transforming the line into a functioning, historic railroad. They restored track-beds, rails, and bridges along the route, secured a fleet of historic diesel and steam-powered trains, and they began making runs on May 26, 2001. Today, they run a full schedule from May–December, including themed trips such as the train robbery or Halloween special.
Philip Foster was one of the few Americans who could say they helped establish one of the United States. As one of Oregon's earliest pioneers, Foster was instrumental in settling travelers during the mid- to late-19th Century. He helped build and operate Barlow Road, and even directed travelers into Willamette Valley by guiding covered wagons and waving a candle for landing airplanes on foggy nights. Foster's farm and home in Eagle Creek also played a major role in the area's history. Today, visitors can explore the property's house, store, barn, and outbuildings, all while soaking up historical facts from guides in period clothing. Guests can also stop by the farm for annual events, including a Dutch oven cook-off, garden parties, and other seasonal festivities.