Sauvie Island, Oregon; Farms, Fun Beaches, and Family Traditions
View of Mt. St Helens from Sauvie Island
Over 250 species of wildlife
Lewis and Clark
Get to Know Sauvie Island
I am lucky enough to live in the Great Northwest near Portland Oregon. This is a beautiful corner of the world and home to many free thinking, organic eating, animal loving, sensibly clothed, outdoor crazed, friendly people. Now that you know the people, I would like to introduce you to a popular place that has something for everyone. Sauvie Island, Oregon, about 10 miles Northwest of Portland- a short drive from the city transports you into another world.
Sauvie Island is 14 miles long and about 4.5 miles at it's widest point. Even though it's so close to a major city, it retains it's incredible landscape throughout; pristine natural wildlife areas, farmland, and sandy beaches. Located in the Columbia River, it is the largest river island in the United States. It has 360 degree panoramic views of mountains in the distance, such as Mt. Adams and Mt. St Helens.
Discovered by Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition, they originally named it Wapato "Indian Potato" Island, home of the Multnomah Indians whose major food source was this indigenous plant. The historical northern tip is known as Warrior Point due to the unfavorable welcome early settlers received by several armed Indians.
Ultimately, Sauvie Island inherited it's name after becoming a trading post and home to dairy farms established by Laurent Sauve, employee of Hudson Bay Company. The state of Oregon acquired the island's wildlife areas in the mid 1940s. Most recently (2008), a new bridge was construced between Highway 30, the Portland, Oregon side, to the island.
In addition to interesting historical attributes, there is no doubt Sauvie Island has become a hot spot for family traditions, hobbies, and fun. Many of you first read about Sauvie Island in my fun and humorous hub about my accidental experience at a clothing optional beach, Collins Beach. This is one of many beaches located on this island.
First, lets cross the Sauvie Island bridge in our Subaru station wagon with Oregon plates and our Chai Tea Latte conveniently contained in a BPA-free bottle next to our wheat-free vegan granola bar. We should probably do about 10 miles under the speed limit so we don't run over any bicyclists or lumberjacks as we start our day trip to some of the freshest, trendiest, family fun farms the area has to offer.
Portland's Family Outings; OMSI, Oregon Zoo, and Sauvie Island
Kruger Farm concert events
The Pumpkin Patch
Seasonal Farms and Family Traditions
Kruger's Farm Market http://www.krugersfarmmarket.com/. This farm is visible upon crossing the bridge. Take an immediate left on Sauvie Island Road and you'll be in farm heaven. Seasonal veggies and fruits range from blueberries to beans, tomatoes, raspberries, and all in between. There are picnic tables available if you packed your own lunch, want to eat fresh from the farm, or decide to sample the collection of restaurant style food stands.
In addition, there are beer stands available for you to get a taste of Oregon's local brew pub beers, such as Widmer Hefeweizen or Black Butte Porter- some of Oregon's finest if I do say so my tipsy self. Kruger's Farm is also host to several events, including weekly concerts, birthday parties, and weddings.
The Pumpikin Patch http://www.thepumpkinpatch.com/is my other seasonal favorite just about this time of year when the pumpkins are hatching and hay rides are stacking. I find myself getting lost in the spirit of the holidays, and the corn mazes as well. The Pumpkin Patch is a family tradition must-do! It can get pretty cold, but there are food stands to warm you up with hot chocolate, corn on the cob, and steamed baked potatoes fresh from the farm, topped with local ingredients, such as Tillamook (Oregon) cheese and sour cream.
Other great features include endless fields to pluck your personal pumpkin from. Size doesn't matter here; my daughter picks the smallest one she can find, my mom seeks the "ugly, overlooked" one missing a stem she feels sorry for, and my husband just wants us all to "find a pumpkin sometime this year for goodness sake!" Of course, I literally try to find the perfect pumpkin- no scratches, dents, or mishaps. They even have ghost pumpkins which are white- so cool! Next there are hay rides, gift shop, corn maze, haunted house in the field, a petting barn with small livestock for the kids, and a huge tower of hay mountain for kids to climb on. I'm getting goosebumps writing about it, knowing the season is approaching swiftly.
Some additional farms worth visiting include The Lavender Farm and Sauvie Island Farms.
Below, I've mapped out a course, which makes a great day trip for the family or a fun outdoor adventure with friends. Beginning at Kruger Farms, you can head to Sauvie Island Farms as well, then onto The Lavender Farm, which is very close to the Wildlife Area. Continue down Sauvie Island Road for as long as you like, making several convenient stops for birdwatching or dog walking. The easiest way to reach the beaches is to backtrack toward the bridge so you can stop by The Pumpkin Patch then to my favorite Sauvie Island Beach, Walton Beach, just 7 miles away.
Wildlife Areas; Outdoor gear required
About 12000 acres of Sauvie Island is dedicated as the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area.Bald eagles and cranes are some of over 30,000 fascinating birds you will see. Other popular activities are hunting, trapping, fishing, dog training, and great photo opportunities. Bicycle riding is ultra popular on Sauvie island in general, because of it's ideal flat terrain. Sturgeon Lake, comprising much of the central area of Sauvie Island is a hot spot for fishing.
A tradition, when the weather is still cold, but crystal clear, our family gets out to do some amateur birdwatching. It's an awesome experience. There are plenty of people around, but everyone is quiet and engaged in their activities/hobbies; dog walking, photographing, rugged Oregon men preparing for their hunting venture, and of course birdwatching.
Fun in the Sun
Terrific beaches outline Sauvie Island with various convenient access spots. The best part is they are never too crowded, even on a hot summer day. The beaches are dog and kid friendly, but one in particular is not clothing friendly- I'll explain later.
My favorite spot is Walton Beach, a very relaxing place to unwind, soak up some rays, and watch boaters, inter-tubers, dogs frantically trying to catch the waves on the surf, and my daughter and husband dig a hole to China in the sand. Walton Beach is located 9 miles south of the Sauvie Island Bridge, about 7 miles from The Pumpkin Patch farm.
Other beaches include Reeder Beach, only accessible by boat or hike. Reeder beach has a campground with hook-ups and a little country store for roughing it convenience. Collins Beach is another; if traveled down Reeder Road past Walton Beach, it eventually turns into a gravel road. Collins beach is a one mile long clothing optional area where adults can enjoy a different type of relaxing and a more even sun tan.
Sauvie Island in a Day
Sauvie Island is fun year round with hunting and birdwatching in winter/early spring, fresh produce available spring through fall, sunny and sandy beaches in the summer time, and seasonal family fun, such as The Pumpkin Patch, autumn's main attraction in the Portland area. Sauvie Island can be enjoyed in a spectacular day trip or, as I would suggest, come back often and enjoy little bits at a time.
That's the end of our journey and now we can go back to our overpriced Oregon home tucked away in the woods, sprint the distance from our car to home because it's suddenly pouring down rain, take off our Birkensocks, pet our Labradoodles, sauté some tofu, and study for our Master's Degree in Russian Art. Thanks for joining me.
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