A retreat to nature at Cold Creek Retreat

Five-acre event space offers intimate forest setting in the city’s Minnehaha neighborhood

Cold Creek Retreat
Courtesy of Cold Creek Retreat

As Clark County becomes more populated, a growing movement has emerged on small farms and at event spaces to preserve little slices of what used to be large swaths of undeveloped land.

Recently, a close-in homestead that was settled in the 1920’s opened its entertainment-oriented backyard for private events.

Owned by husband and wife team Chris and Tina Cannard, Cold Creek Retreat is located in Vancouver’s Minnehaha neighborhood bordered by Cold Creek Apartments and Crystal Creek Apartments. Within the Cannard’s five acres, visitors can find a magical oasis of mature Evergreens and a forest floor filled with wonder.

For the Cannards, the project began as a way to spend more time outside. Once their small outdoor kitchen was installed and a screened-in area to extend outdoor living was built, family and friends began suggesting other ideas and with every addition attendance increased.

Today, Cold Creek Retreat boasts trails along Cold Creek, hammocks, intimate seating spots scattered throughout, a small outdoor amphitheater, a large seating area around a fire pit, the screened in seating area with a 12-person granite table, a sound system and audio-visual equipment.

Spotlight cardThe kitchen has been expanded to include an industrial fridge/freezer, a convection oven, microwaves, an array of grills, a stove and cooktop, sinks and a separate walk-in refrigerator and a Tiki hut bar.

Additionally, the retreat features an array of lawn games. From corn hole to horseshoe pits, ping pong tables, a bocce ball area and a volley ball court, Cold Creek is easily family-friendly.

Although Cold Creek hosted a multi-week kid’s camp for local shelter children last summer, a “Reindeer Village” last Christmas and “The Great Bunny Hunt” this past Easter, the retreat officially opened for private events on June 17 with a German wine dinner.

The Cannards’ propensity for entertaining stems from the fact that for the last 11 years they have produced the NW Food and Wine Festival in Portland (which they sold last year but still consult for) and The Monterey Wine Festival in Monterey, CA. It makes sense, then, that they’ve paired up with the Wine and Food Society of Clark County to put on wine and food-centric events.

Cold Creek Retreat 2
Courtesy of Cold Creek Retreat

Last month’s “Ewald Moseler Wine Experience and Dinner Party” was actually the first in a series of dinners that runs through September. In addition to that, “Cats at Cold Creek” is a jazz series running twice a month through September. “Winemaker’s Dinners” are also on the events calendar.

Located about 20 minutes from downtown Portland and three minutes off I-5, Cold Creek is prime for hosting Portland/Vancouver-area individuals and businesses. Tina Cannard said she sees the setting as a unique alternative to stuffy corporate meetings, and several private parties have already been booked.

As the residents of such an inviting location, the Cannards have a list of their own personal favorite ideas for the retreat.

“This would be a fun place for a yoga class and lunch or an art project,” said Tina. “It’s great for family reunions because it’s got lots of shades, lots of sun, plenty of seating for people to hang out around the fire pit and cook food… There’s a lot to do, but lots of sitting and talking places too.

“It’s rare to have this five-acre property,” she added.

To learn more about Cold Creek Retreat and view the event calendar, visit www.coldcreekretreat.com.