Sunday, November 14, 2010

TOGETHER ON THE ROAD-- Day Trip to Kalama, WA

What do Edward and Bella (Twilight), Jack Benny and Elvis have in common? They all visited Kalama, Washington! This quaint little town is located just north of Vancouver, WA and just south of Longview, WA. It's a great day trip destination as it's easy to get to, located right off I-5. Plus, there's plenty of FREE activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Claim to fame: Twilight fans have already discovered it. It's where some of the most exciting scenes from the movie Twilight were filmed. Die hard fans of Twilight and New Moon, ("Twihards" as the locals call them), have been flocking to this small town to see Kalama High School, middle school and the now famous "lower parking lot" where Edward saved Bella from the runaway van. But this recent brush with Hollywood isn't the only ties to tinsel town for Kalama; the local Columbia Inn restaurant claims "Jack Benny and Elvis ate here".
Where is it?
From Seattle: Take I-5 South- 2 hours and 19 minutes (136.02 miles).
From Portland:  Take I-5 North-42 minutes (37.53 miles).
History: The city of Kalama was named for the river located 2 miles north. The Kalama River was named after John Kalama, a native Hawaiian who was born on the Hawaiian island in 1814. He came to the Northwest in the early 1830's and traveled to the area for fishing with the Nisqually Indians. He eventually made it his permanent home, and the town was named after him.
Cool things to see: The tallest totem pole carved from a single tree in the Pacific Northwest is located at the Marine Park, within walking distance from downtown Kalama.
Fun for the kids: The Marine Park is a 5 acre day use park situated along the Columbia River. It features a playground, covered picnic shelters, paved walking and bike path along the Columbia River. The adjoining Louis Rasmussen day park has tennis courts, basketball hoops, volleyball area and horseshoe pits.You'll enjoy the beautiful view of the Columbia River and the kids will love watching the huge ships pass by as they navigate the river.
Fun for the grown ups: Downtown Kalama features several antique stores within walking distance of each other, creating an "antique district". It's a great rainy day activity, as the shops are close enough together for quick dash from one to another. Don't miss Rivertown Antiques Market, which is one block off the main street, but worth the short walk (155 Elm St., 360-673-2263). You'll find all the shops are warm and cozy with friendly shopkeepers ready to brew you up a hot latte while you browse (Antique Deli and Pastry Shoppe, 413 N. 1st Street, Kalama 360-673-3310).
Local favorite: The Lucky Dragon Chinese Restaurant is located on the main street of town. It was given a "Top 100 Chinese Restaurants in the U.S" rating, and locals will tell you the honor is well earned.(274  NE Frontage Rd., Kalama 360-673-1818)
More info:

Affordability break-down:
Marina and Louis Rasmussen Day Park- FREE
Tallest Totem Pole in the Pacific Northwest- FREE
Browsing local antique stores- FREE
Lucky Dragon Chinese Restaurant-  Lunch special (11am-3pm) $5.95-$7.25

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