If you have a hankering to get out and take a country drive, the rural nature of our region provides the perfect opportunity. But while you’re out and about, make some time to stop and check out some of the unique, picturesque and just plain odd sights.
Tenino, Home of Wooden Money
Visit Tenino, a town famous for its sandstone quarries and its creation of wooden money during the banking crisis of the Great Depression.
In the summer months, the city operates the Tenino Quarry Pool, which is exactly as its name would imply — a pool built into a former rock quarry.
Tour the facilities to meet the wolves and unleash your inner wild animal at a “Howl-in.”
3111 Offut Lake Road S.E.
This state preserve shows off the unique geographic formation known as Mima Mounds. Their origin is a mystery and their ecology is equally fascinating, as they offer a home to rare prairie flowers, grasses and lichen. Keep an eye out for butterflies and the elusive Mazama pocket gopher.
Once a mega-store that carried everything from clothing to pets, the building that housed it has now been repurposed into a home for several small shops comprising the largest swap meet in the region. The Yard Bird itself, the giant structure greeting people on National Avenue, has been voted KING 5 Evening Magazine’s Best Roadside Attraction.
2100 N. National Ave., Chehalis
Little Crane Cafe
This popular restaurant serves as a hub for the quiet south Lewis County town of Vader. Stop by this diner for some homemade food at good prices. Menu choices include pancakes, burgers, and roasted turkey and roast beef. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all available any time of the day.
110 7th St., Vader
St. Urban Church
Once the religious centerpiece of a town that is no longer, St. Urban Church opened in 1891. It was restored in 2010 after having been slated to be destroyed. A cemetery from years past sits behind the structure.
Military Road, Winlock
Gospodor Monument Park
The Gospodor Monument Park was built by the late Dominic Gospodor, a millionaire from Seattle, in South Lewis County near the town of Toledo. The enormous statues pay tribute to Mother Teresa, Jesus, American Indians and Holocaust victims. See them while you can, because time and the elements are taking their toll. Some of the monuments — now in the ownership of the Cowlitz Tribe — have fallen, and others will soon be moved.
World’s Largest Egg
A giant egg that bills itself as the world’s largest pays tribute to the towns days of being home to a chicken co-operative.
520 Kerron Street, Winlock
DeGoede Bulb Farm
If strolling through 30 acres of tulips sounds like a nice way to spend an afternoon, consider visiting the family-owned DeGoede Bulb Farm and Gardens, located just off U.S. Highway 12. The family first grew flowers in Holland, then later moved to Mount Vernon, Wash., and finally to their current location in Mossyrock. There are also 100 greenhouses, a garden center and a show garden with a pond and waterfall.
409 Mossyrock Road West, Mossyrock
Justice General Store, Onalaska
Step back in time when you visit the quaint Justice General Store, with its wooden floors and old-fashioned ambiance. It is said to be the oldest continually running grocery store in Washington.
116 Main St., Onalaska
Underwater Ghost Towns
The towns of Mayfield, Riffe and Kosmos are located under Riffe Lake — a result of building the Mayfield and Mossyrock dams in the 1960s. You can see the towns if the water level is low enough.
The park is popular for camping and fishing. Nearby Dog Mountain is a mecca for hang-gliders.
More than 4,000 years ago, the Cowlitz and Yakama tribes inhabited the area — an interpretive display is at the park with more information about the location’s history.