Clever chap. Except no one called him that…

Battleground, Washington…a mix of the natural world, amusing history, and good eats!

Strong’s Battle Ground. What an interesting name in light of the fact that Captain William Strong successfully talked his way out of doing battle.

That was way back in 1855 when Strong, post commander at Fort Vancouver, was left to protect the fort while most of the other soldiers went off to fight. Some incarcerated Klickitat tribe members, held for fear they’d join the opposition, escaped. When Strong went after them he talked them into returning without warfare.

Clever chap. Except no one called him that.

He was deemed a coward and in derision the area where he encountered the tribesmen was called “Strong’s Battle Ground.” His name has been dropped by the town, but it’s a great story.

Welcome to  Battle Ground, Washington, where curious visitors have a lot waiting for them…

We flew across the country to visit our son and granddaughters for a few days. They live in Battle Ground which is just over the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. Oh, boy. That river is awesome and on a previous visit we did the “gorge”, but this time would be different.

C’mon. I’ll show you…

Our first trip out and about was to Moulton Falls Park on the East Fork Lewis River Watershed. Oh, my!

Inspiring views of the Columbia River Gorge…

Walk the trails here or cross a wooden bridge there and suddenly the rest of the world has dropped away. Quiet, beautiful, moss on everything with water dancing and tripping over the river rocks like sprites on a vintage postcard. Weird little bits of flora and fauna await discovery and that moss? Like space-alien stuff and so gorgeous you want to go live in it.

The park is bisected in several areas by wooden bridges. We noticed the rope dangling just below one of them from which no one is supposed to swing out, let go and splash dash into the water far below.

A walk to remember…

But countless feet have worn imprints into the ledge from which no one leaps. How does that happen?

Probably local kids simply can’t resist the thought of adventure even as posted signs warn against it. The little rebels. But, golly gee, what fun to be Tarzan for a moment or two with a brisk shock at the end of your drop to spice it up. That would be my guess anyway.

“We’ll go to the Rusty Grape, too,” said son…

Fresh from the oven…wood-fired pizza

We’d heard of the Rusty Grape. Small, quaint, family friendly and an award winning enterprise in the bargain. So, on the next afternoon of our visit off we went. Greeted by Heather and Jeremy Brown, we were presented with a short tasting at the bar, behind which blazed the stove where wood fired pizza is skillfully wrought. The olfactory senses were on high alert as dough met sauce met cheese.

The nose was in heaven.

Our frequent visitor son winked. We chose our wine while he spoke with Jeremy. A few minutes later we were treated to a private tasting of Barrel #30 and Barrel #29 in that order and both were excellent. Winking son had arranged this for us.

This confirms my belief that raising up a child to appreciate good wine is one of the best things a parent can do.

And, no, you won’t find that tidbit in any parenting magazine. Then, satisfied with the award winning choices offered we ordered pizza and a Caprisi salad to go and enjoyed both with our excellent wine at home.

And then there’s sushi…

People leaving their comfort zones to linger over sushi in bamboo boats..

Not all that familiar with it and married to a real meat and potatoes kind of guy, I nonetheless relished the experience. The next evening we trooped into Battle Ground’s own Sushi Bento and sat in the small, spotless, dining area to linger over the menu. Youngest granddaughter already knew what she wanted, shrimp, and while perusing other choices I spied the bamboo boats lining the counter.

“What are those for?” I whispered.

Son smiled. “You’ll see.”

And we did. Four of us ordered from the menu and Grandpa got a Bento Box. Seated where we could see the preparation of our meal, I was mesmerized by the hands of the owner. How swiftly they moved to produce the beautiful boat of delights that our waitress soon presented at our table. We wasted no time digging in and now I am a sushi fan, like a change my name to Lotus Blossom, sushi fan.

The Bento Box, filled with beef, rice and vegetables, went over well with Mister Meat and Potatoes in case you wondered. He didn’t grump about it once.

I have a feeling Captain Strong would soundly approve of what Battle Ground has become. An oxymoron. A better place to live in and visit than to war over. Where there’s room for well-preserved wilderness, great wine and pizza, and people leaving their comfort zones to linger over sushi in bamboo boats.

The captain is smiling.