Looking for something to do this summer that is fun, local, educational? You are invited by the Yamhill Downtown Association to take a literary walking tour. A self guided walking tour to share history and inspire literacy to children, families, schools and literary enthusiasts.
Yamhill Mayor Yvette Potter cut the ribbon for the opening of the literary and historical walking tour about Beverly Cleary and Yamhill. Each of the five signs share what life was like in Yamhill around the early 1900's along with whimsical Beverly Cleary characters from her books.
It was a fun project to write about one of my all time favorite literary heroes. I have loved living in Yamhill and raising my children. Combining both story and local history while working with Kara Weber, a local artist, has been such a fun experience. We discussed the content for each sign, then she created illustrations to highlight the history and characters from her books. All art for the signs and brochure are created by Kara Weber. The color page contest art was created by Kimberly Howell.
The tour map is like a scavenger hunt for kids to find a new character and book highlighted on each sign. The virtual map is found here but brochures guides with this map can be found at The Larson House to take the tour. Just write in the Beverly Cleary character found on each sign. (Brochures also contain coupons for local businesses that can be redeemed after completing the walking tour.) The YDA is continuing to seek supporters for funding the brochures to the public.
Local historical buildings are on the tour as well as the historic Bunn house where Beverly lived when she was young. Her early years on the Yamhill farm were mixed with wagons, horses and the first Ford Model T cars.
The walk takes about twenty minutes to walk the full loop. A favorite local spot for snacks or an ice-cream can be found at T&E the local grocer that is still one of the oldest and still operating grocers of Oregon. Two restaurants can be found on the tour who serve wonderful family style food. The Larson House is location #1 with pizza, sandwiches, and delicious soup. The Yamhill Bar & Grill is location #3 with out door seating and a log cabin feel for the rustic old times when stagecoaches would come through long ago. They have burgers, steaks and salads, plus more family friendly meals. A third restaurant on the loop but not on the historic tour, Lago de Chapala restaurant is a local favorite for authentic Mexican dining. Scoggins Creek Coffee is also found on the loop and is participating in the redeemable coupons.
The last sign on the walk leads to the Yamhill Public Works dog park. A walking trail that is soon to be updated and will have more to come in connection with the Beverly Cleary walking tour. This sign gives story starting ideas for children to write their own stories by sharing the inspirations of "What did Beverly do?" If you are looking to help keep your kids stay active in reading and writing this summer, this is a great opportunity. Kindergarten through fourth grade is a model target, but it is a fond memory for all who have read and enjoyed her books. A slice of 'old time living' is shared when taking this tour. So grab a popsicle, an ice-cream, bring your dog or a wagon and come visit Yamhill.
This fun project began as a dedication to a notable children's author and to inspire literacy and community outreach. It has creatively taken new opportunities each year with the help of grant support from YCCC and new supporters, Lee and Linda Schrepel. Like Beverly Cleary's character Emily who is a fictional character mirrored after her own experiences growing up in Yamhill, "a run-away imagination" has certainly helped our committee to take new approaches to sharing literacy and community action. Committee members past and present: Amy Brewer, Kara Weber, Kimberly Howell, Dana Gray.