Planning Your PNW Family Reunion


It’s Summer!

Every summer, Washingtonians and Oregonians take to the great outdoors in droves. We enjoy the precious moments with the sun – even if we do complain about the heat sometimes. The outdoors activities are nearly endless in the PNW Paradise.

Ensuring Your Family Reunion is Fun and Memorable

Are you organizing a small get-together with a few households? Or do you need to rent a motor coach to get everyone to the same destination together? No matter what, the following ideas will delight everyone* in your party. Here are five activities that will make your family reunion a hit!



Welcome to Volcano Country. You can’t say that anywhere else on the North American continent. At the Johnston Ridge Visitor Center, you’ll stand face-to-face with the volcano. On May 18, 1980, Mount Saint Helens erupted, losing the top 1,300 feet of its peak. As you take in the majesty of the mountain, try to imagine a cloud of ash coming out of that crater. Imagine it screaming fifteen miles into the sky from the 24 megaton explosion.



Mount Saint Helens has changed quite a bit since the eruption in 1980. As you drive to the mountain, you’ll see a landscape that has been repairing itself for a few decades. Most likely, you will leave the mountain with a new appreciation for the force of nature.



Wine Tasting in the Columbia River Gorge


Some of the PNW’s best wines come from the Columbia River Gorge. If you visit Hood River, you’ll find tasting rooms for several of the area wineries. You’ll also find several more wineries with on-site tasting rooms at their vineyards.




In fact, the Gorge is where you’ll find two of our favorites. Maryhill makes Hudson’s exclusive house label. You will recognize Flume from the menus and signage around the Lodge and Hudson’s.


Cruise the Columbia (or the Willamette) 

Now matter how many family members attend your reunion, there’s a cruise that’s perfect for you. With fifteen or fewer guests, you can join an existing cruise. But if you have a large enough family reunion, why not charter the entire vessel?



With five ships of msizes, they can provide the perfect experience for you. Head south to Willamette Falls in Oregon City. Cruise through the middle of downtown Portland. Take a trip up the Columbia and through the locks at Bonneville Dam. You can enjoy the sights without distraction, or you can have a full meal. You could even opt for a party with a DJ!


Take an Excursion on the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad

Take a ride on a heritage rail line pulled by a steam engine. Several reviewers talk about the time spent with family while enjoying the scenery. Many parents have noted what a wonderful bonding time it was with their kids.



Relax and take in the sights as you pass through gorgeous logging and farm country. This journey features incredible views as you travel along the river as well as a stop at Yacolt Falls. You might choose a well-appointed wine dinner. Be aware, though: excursions frequently encounter train robbers on the weekends! If this happens, never fear. The local sheriff has set up shop and is watching for your safety.


Have a Picnic at Fort Vancouver


Take your family reunion to Fort Vancouver and have a picnic they’ll remember for life! Gather and eat under one of the largest and oldest trees at Fort Vancouver. Inside the Fort, you can walk around and see the various cultural demonstrations. These take place throughout the day amd show what life was like when people lived at Fort Vancouver. Watching the blacksmiths work is mesmerizing!




To the east, you’ll find Pearson Airfield. This is where Valery Chkalov landed after flying nonstop 5,475 miles from Moscow. Even today that’s quite a trip. Back in 1937, it took him 63 hours. At this working airfield, you’ll find a museum full of old airplanes. Most are in working order, and some under restoration.




You can also take a stroll across the Land Bridge that connects the Fort with the shore of the Columbia River. Make sure you don’t miss the Old Apple Tree. It’ss believed to be the oldest apple tree in the Northwest, planted in 1826.




Finally, you can visit Officer’s Row. Here, you’ll find the Grant House.  It’s named after one of Fort Vancouver’s most famous residents. Ulysses S. Grant later commanded the Union Army in the Civil War. President Grant dreamed of retiring to the Pacific Northwest. He would never realize that dream.


Make the Pacific Northwest and Heathman Lodge Your Reunion Home


Are you planning your family reunion for this summer? Why not give us a call? Our sales team can help you to put together the perfect hotel and banquet package for your family. We’ll also put you in touch with Vancouver’s best event coordinators. They’ll help you to plan your family’s daily activities and tours.


Vancouver is the place to be for great activities and perfect summer weather. It’s the perfect location to bring your family together and celebrate the people, heritage, traditions, and future of your family. The Heathman Lodge is the perfect place to call home while you’re here.

by Bryan White

*Heathman Lodge is not responsible for people who don’t like to enjoy themselves.