Wow! Nine days in the pacific northwest just isn’t enough time to do everything! Every beautiful hike / every brewery (and cidery!) / every swanky hipster restaurant … There is just too much fun stuff out there.
The only drawback about the northwest is that people drive under the speed limit, which – to a Bostonian – is a mortal sin. But they more than make up for it with jaw-dropping vistas, fun times, and good eats.
I’ve managed to put together my top 5 things we discovered between Seattle and Portland:
1. Mount Rainier, Washington
This mountain is absolutely worth all the hype, especially for us flatlanders from the northeast. While we couldn’t hike the trail we wanted to due to SNOW (in late June!), we did a lot of hiking -and we wish we could have done more! The hikes were fun and gorgeous. The short Stevens Canyons hike took us to a river with rapids, freezing water, and sunny rocks to lounge on.
The trail that loops around the mountain is called Wonderland Trail – a five day trek that someday Don and I might return to do. The trail also inspired my northwest beer-choice: this super-adventurous brew from our friends at Two Beers Brewing (who we later visited in Seattle).
Don and I stayed at Wellspring Spa, just on the edge of the park. The best word to describe this place is MAGICAL (and affordable!). This forest retreat includes a labyrinth, a gazebo with grills, outdoor wooden hot tubs in the middle of the woods, and trails leading to mystical woodland places such as the sanctuary, a salmon pond, and your shared bathroom. Have you ever chimed a giant gong in the middle of the forest at sunset? I have.
There is also a hiking trail on the property, and I’m pretty sure we heard a Sasquatch out there. I didn’t stick around long enough to find out.
2. Orcas Island, Washington
This place is so peaceful, but exciting at the same time! It has everything: forests, farms, ocean cliffs, beaches, bear-free wildlife, hiking, mountains – It’s like Instagram gold everywhere you look. And you need to take a ferry to get here through Peugeot sound, which is a beautiful ride through the San Juan islands.
And we stayed in a tiny house, with a loft bed! A dream come-true for me.
3. Ballard, Seattle, Washington
Possibly the best foodie and brewery scene I’ve ever stumbled upon in all my travels. This neighborhood has enough craft cocktails, microbreweries, and trendy farm-to-table eateries crammed into a few city blocks to make a hipster’s head explode.
The best part? I didn’t feel like an old fart. The scene in Ballard is a bit older than Boston – maybe early 30’s – no obnoxious college partiers here! Just my big-bearded, flannel-wearing brethren. Hallelujah.
4. Multnomah Falls, Oregon
About 30 minutes outside of Portland, these falls are tall and impressive. Bring your hiking shoes – and be prepared to get aggressive with your parking skills – the place is crawling with tourists on the weekend. The hike up to the top of the falls is steep, with 11 switchbacks, but well worth the huffing-and-puffing and sore limbs.
5. Mississippi Avenue, Portland, Oregon
This is another fun street lined with breweries, food trucks and colorful eateries. It’s a happy, quirky, and relaxed neighborhood. No sign of pretentiousness here, and everyone is so friendly!
And of course we got VooDoo Doughnuts, like real tourists. We went to VooDoo Too (not downtown) at 10pm – and there was still a big line. Good thing they are open 24/7.
…..and then we went home and ate them – with shots of whiskey – in our pajamas – like grown-ups.
And that fashion blog I posted, and all the time I spent packing? Well, the weather didn’t exactly cooperate. When we left Boston, the forecast for Portland and Seattle was all sun and mid-seventies. But half our trip was doused with drizzly rain, and in the 50’s.
I wound up wearing all my warmest clothing – all at once – for 3-4 days straight. So much for fashion and looking like a local! ..but I guess that’s just how the Northwest rolls. 🙂
Looking for more adventures? Follow along on Instagram! @TheKrisMix