A Week In the Life of a Vancouver Family-Part 1

This will be the beginning of a week-by-week peek into our lives, so I can show you how I go about finding our adventures while traveling and how easy it is to turn even ordinary errands into something fun. For those of you who grew up on Disney and musicals, I need no other person to illustrate my point than Mary Poppins: https://youtu.be/ssZk_4vcAKw

Day 1

Friday, June 10th. I chose today as the start of Summer Break because it was my son’s last day of school, at least figuratively. His teacher was sick, so we didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. Rather, I took him and his friend out to a graduation lunch at Red Robin. (It doesn’t hurt that his mom and I are friends too.) We had a blast, then had to go to an appointment in Tigard, Oregon. By the time we were done, traffic had backed up with over an hour delay to get to Washington. We “hunkered down” on the East side and ran errands. I needed to get my ring cleaned and we needed new shoes, so hit up 2 stores before grabbing dinner and running home. On the way back, we found a beautifully kept cemetery lined with American flags by the American Legion. It is so nice to know that some people still want to bravely wave the stars and stripes! We also saw the Navy ships that came in for the Rose Festival and decided to come back tomorrow to see them.

Crossing things off my bucket list and having never completed the license plate game, I decided to start. Plates found: Oregon, Washington, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, California, Montana, Vermont.

My son and his friend share a smile over lunch.
Not the best photo as it was taken from my moving car window, but Ron and I loved being able to tell Michael the reason why the American flags lined the cemetery, I believe Crescent Grove Cemetery.

Day 2

Saturday, June 11th. We headed out anticipating making it to the Rose Festival and drove around Portland heading to Jim and Patty’s Coffee People first, https://www.jimandpattys.com/. This is by far one of our favorite coffee shops. The owners are amazing and their baked goods cannot be beaten. I usually get a Soviet Mocha and my husband a Mocha Bogia. My son, a purist, orders an apple juice every time. Jim and Patty’s was closed due to a staff shortage, but that didn’t stop our adventure. We traveled on, discussing the architecture and rooflines of surrounding homes. (The neighborhoods around Fremont in Portland have some extremely well-built older houses). This has always been a hobby for my husband and me, and my son is beginning to enjoy it as well. We continued to travel toward the Rose Festival. I noticed some fascinating signs and murals on the way.

Continuing on, we traveled downtown and ended up scoring a great parking spot on the corner of Yamhill and Park. We ate lunch at the Potbelly Sandwich Shop. What the place lacks in sandwich taste, it makes up for in soups (so good!) and atmosphere (so fun!)

A potbelly stove greets you as you enter the Potbelly Sandwich Shop.

We traveled around the area by foot, taking in the sites. Things to note include the mix of old and new buildings, the unique sasquatch-themed garbage and recycling receptacles, sculptures outside Pioneer Courthouse, what may be a Benson Bubbler (real or replica, I’m not certain), and my favorite treasure of the day; an antique piece of equipment in an optometrist’s display window. By the way, I first learned a fascinating bit about the Benson Bubblers here https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/gallon-house-covered-bridge-ground-zero-in-battle-over/id490506026?i=1000554371633. We never made it to the Rose Festival, but enjoyed our day as a family exploring a small part of Portland.

License plates that were seen:

Oklahoma, Utah, Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Michigan.

Day 3

Sunday, June 12th. Not a great deal to report today. We drove to church, noting you-pick strawberry patches en route to stop at later. We did stop by Fairway Coffee on the way home, one of the few spots you can get a cup of Stumptown this side of the river. They don’t have a website, but Yelp reviews can be found at https://www.yelp.com/biz/fairway-coffee-vancouver.

License plates spotted: Maryland

Day 4

Monday, June 13th. We went to the Vancouver Community Library. The Early Learning Center is open again and Michael enjoyed playing with a giant letter wheel. For the first time ever, he also chose his own materials to take home. Michael loves the construction going on across the street at the Academy and could not resist a peek out the 3rd story window. The library has always been a great resource and second home for me. Have you checked out all the resources they have to offer?

New license plates discovered: zero.

The construction going on at the Academy is too exciting to resist.

Day 5


Tuesday, June 14th. We drove around Lacamas Lake after taking Michael to the dentist. The drive was pleasantly verdant and we decided on the destination of Velvet Acres Gardens, a produce stand and more I’ve long been meaning to visit. On the way, I saw a slightly overgrown airport, Green Mountain Airport and I am looking forward to taking an airport tour soon. The growing season has been slow this year so there wasn’t any fresh produce to be had, but we were able to get some beautiful things, a type of basket I’ve always wanted and some fresh honey among them. Velvet Acres is a tidy and handsome acreage with an even tidier store, definitely worth a stop on a lazy country afternoon drive. Apparently, they are known for their pumpkin patch. I think we will have to check it out this autumn.

License plates spotted= Nevada and New Mexico.

Day 6

Wednesday, June 15th. What a crazy busy errand day! Today we lived out the theory of dynamic equilibrium, no change through constant change No photos to share, but my son also graduated from preschool, a very big moment for our family. Today we saw two license plates, Illinois as a U. S. Government plate.

Day 7

Thursday, June 16th. Michael got his hair cut today and I had to run an errand at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District’s operation Center, so we made the most of the time by sightseeing. The roses as you enter the library are a creamsicle kaleidoscope. We took the time to savor each, the colors, textures, and scents all unique and timeless. As we made our way to the barber’s, we spotted a cool new space-themed playground at the elementary school due to open in the fall of 2022. I promised my boy we could play on it after his haircut.

We stumbled upon the KD Way Barber Lounge by accident one day when we decided to treat ourselves to waffles next door at The Syrup Trap. In the area just outside their main eating area, we struck up a conversation with the owner, Nestor. He showed us around his barber lounge and I immediately liked what I saw. I grew up with parents that worked opposite shifts, so I often went with my dad to the local barber. I felt nostalgia with a hip vibe upon entering. My husband usually takes my son, but I had to on this trip due to scheduling issues. I did not feel out of place but rather welcome. Check out KD’s Barber Lounge on Instagram @kdwaybarberlounge.

I will be honest; when it comes to playgrounds, I’m a bit envious of the children of this generation. Gone forever are the metal, lead-filled, blister-making contraptions of my youth. Cool new playgrounds like this space-themed one are popping up everywhere! We were one of the 1st to try this one. Located at the new Vancouver Innovation, Technology and Arts Elementary School, it boasts a large natural play area, interactive planet-themed games, a moon-climbing structure, inclusive swings, basketball hoops, and hopscotch games, among other cool features. We had an absolute blast here! More info can be found at https://vansd.org/reschools/project-school-vita/.

Things to note about this playground:

  • We saw planes fly to and from Pearson and PDX. This is a very exciting experience but also can be very upsetting to children with noise sensitivities.
  • It is not always open. We went on a Thursday afternoon. I checked to see if it was open on Sunday and it was not.
  • Fort Vancouver, the Vancouver Community Library, Marshall Park, and Clark College are all within a square mile of this locale. This would make a great part of a day trip!

License plates spotted: zero.

A moon crater climbing structure is one of the cool new features at VITA’s playground.

What did you think of our week? How do you make errands fun? Any comments are always appreciated.

I would like to dedicate this blog to Rashonda Qualls and Brayden Lanz. You are always up for an adventure!

Reader, dream fearlessly, travel and buy locally and remember; even though it’s in your backyard doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit.

Until next time- Tammy

Published by nearvancouver

Dreaming big and traveling locally in or near Vancouver, WA.

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