A place to play, eat & rock out

Stevenson offers a variety of activities for a day trip

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Stevenson, Washington has come a long way from a sleepy little town on the way to something better.

Now, day trippers can find a plethora of activities to suit their tastes, from an old-fashioned county fair to breweries, a selection of restaurants, art galleries and riverfront activities.

Those who don’t want to drive the 30-plus mile trek from the Camas-Washougal area can hop on the West End Transit, a bus that will take them from Washougal to Stevenson and surrounding areas, for $1 each way. Well-behaved dogs and bicycles are allowed as well.

“There are so many things to do on your next venture to Stevenson,” said Casey Roeder, Skamania County Chamber of Commerce director. “Gorge Blues and Brews [kicked] off the summer season [in June], and it wraps up with a classic car show and Hoptoberfest in September.”

The Stevenson waterfront saw several improvements this past year, to enhance visitors’ experiences.

Renovations were finished in the spring, complete with a new paved parking area, landscaping and decorative rock entrance.

Additionally, some new eateries have opened their doors, including the Lil’ Smoke House, offering barbecue fare; JoMoto Cafe, which serves food including sandwiches, coffee and bakery items.

El Rio Texicantina serves the lunch crowd seven days a week and a new outdoor seating area allows patrons to enjoy margaritas and tacos in the sun.

Walking Man Brewery is now open six days a week, also at noon instead of 3 p.m.

“Loyal followers of the brewery know how big this news is,” Roeder said.

For those seeking a cultural element to their day trip, the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum is a must-see on the way into town.

Once in Stevenson, art enthusiasts can peruse Hawk Merlin Studio, or see the work of Laura Buchan, a wood sculptor whose inspiration comes from anatomy of all kinds. She shares a space on the Stevenson waterfront with Phloem Studio, a custom furniture maker that relocated from the Portland area. Its pieces have been featured in several magazines.

“A little bit of culture in town is a good thing,” Roeder said.

Venture down to the Stevenson waterfront, a short walk from any of the restaurants in the downtown area, and watch the windsurfers and kiteboarders in action. Bring a blanket, and a picnic lunch, and stroll the riverfront trail to the old boat dock, where visitors can now capture scenic photos or check out all the riverfront action.

“There are a lot of wind and water based events this year,” Roeder said. “The waterfront offers an incredible vantage point to watch exciting boat races.”

The season of summer will wrap up with the annual Show N’ Shine at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Museum on Saturday, Sept. 3, followed by Hoptoberfest on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Walking Man Brewery.

“Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the festivities,” Roeder said. “There is so much happening in Stevenson.”

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