Berliner Pub

Berliner Pub in Renton, WA…it’s where it’s at.  This is where you’ll find the best Bratzel around (soft pretzel). Order it with cream cheese and a beer to make it a real treat! Berliner Pub is a great spot to meet up with friends, co-workers, to catch the Seattle Sounders game, order Schnitzel, Sausages, and more. The menu offers up some excellent options.  Bar. Wurst. Biergarten.

http://www.berlinerpub.com/

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100 things to do in Washington before You Go

I could write 10 books about all that Washington State has to offer.  But here on  www.within4hoursreach.com, based on my own experience, I’ll give you my take on ‘100 things to do in Washington State before You Go’ – some may be popular and others a bit unique.  Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Snoqualmie Falls – just about my favorite place on earth
  2. Salish Lodge – stay here and enjoy a fireside couple’s massage, enjoy the spa and in the morning, have their Country Breakfast…since 1916.  Check out their Country Store too – great items to take home with you or purchase as gifts
  3. Go river rafting on one of the many rivers – particularly one out of the Leavenworth/Cashmere area on the Wenatchee River
  4. Cougar Mountain Zoo for their Reindeer Festival during the holiday season – I especially liked the variety of options in their gift shop
  5. La Conner – perfect for shopping the boutique stores or purchase wine from Hellams Vineyard.  In the summer, check out Hellams Vineyard schedule for wine cruises.  Don’t forget to stop by the Berry Barn just down the road in Mount Vernon – you can’t go wrong with the delicious Marionberry pie
  6. Bellevue Festival of the Arts and Anacortes Arts Festival – typically in July and August respectively, a nice variety of vendors and craftsman await
  7. Whale Watching – explore the beauty of our waterways
  8. San Juan Island – makes for a fabulous Pacific Northwest long weekend.  Lime Kiln Point State Park, Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor, American Camp, English Camp, Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm, and more…
  9. Roche Harbor – this deserves a separate San Juan Island listing as it is a bit magical.  Sculpture Park, Roche Harbor Resort (Hotel de Haro built in 1886), good restaurants, gardens, a few shops and a marina.  It makes a perfect romantic long weekend for two.
  10. Other San Juan Islands are Orcas, Lopez and Shaw. Orcas Island is known for its pottery, galleries, Rosario Resort & Spa, Moran State Park.
  11. Maltby Cafe, located in Maltby, is known for having the Best Breakfast in Seattle, homemade fare with a country flair, and huge portions
  12. Visit local nurseries during the holiday season to take in the holiday décor and cheer – Wight’s, Molbak’s, Squak, and Swansons Nursery to name a few.
  13. Snowflake Lane in Bellevue during the holiday season
  14. Des Moines – have you been Scotch & Vine yet?  Great selection of hard to find Bourbons and Scotches and a tasty menu.  Take a walk around the marina or Beach Park while you are there.
  15. March is Washington Wine Month – check out a wine event like the Poverty Bay Wine Festival or Taste Washington.  Shop your local wine shop to purchase a bottle of Washington Wine.
  16. Snowshoeing – take a tour or head out on your own
  17. Pike Place Market and buy something from a local vendor as well as local cuisine
  18. Chihuly Garden and Glass at the Seattle Center
  19. Visit one of the many Puget Sound area beaches such as Alki Beach and Golden Gardens
  20. Walla Walla – stay – Marcus Whitman Hotel, eat – you won’t be without good restaurants here – see past posts in this blog, play – wine tasting galore.  Definitely book a 3-day weekend or longer, but you won’t hit even a third of the wineries located here. Walla Walla Valley has some of the best grapes/fruit around.  Fly in or take the 4.5 hour drive from Seattle – it’s great to stop by other wine regions, the fruit stands that showcase the goods from this area of the State and a varied landscape.
  21. Go on a wine tour of the various wine regions in our state – Yakima, Red Mountain/Benton City, Horse Heaven Hills/Prosser, Walla Walla, Spokane, Woodinville, Olympic Peninsula… and more
  22. Mount St. Helens – visit the visitor centers, observatory, and learning center.  Stop in at the Ape Caves too. Where were you when it erupted on May 18, 1980?
  23. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon is a must-see every April
  24. Cape Disappointment State Park ~beachcombing, hiking, two lighthouses, abound with history
  25. Hike the Alpine Lakes Wilderness
  26. the Washington Coast –  visit Washington State beaches and towns like Ocean Shores, Westport, Long Beach, Kalaloch, Ruby, Rialto beaches, First beach and more.  Stay at the Kalaloch Lodge or camp nearby to really soak it in.  Don’t forget to stop at Lake Quinault Lodge too.
  27. Olympic Peninsula – visit the Hoh Rain Forest and hike the nearby beaches, stay at the historic Crescent Lake Lodge (President Roosevelt stayed here).
  28. In October, visit the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival in Port Angeles
  29. Sip the spirits at a local distillery in Seattle, Gig Harbor, Woodinville, Spokane, and more… search for these options
  30. Tulalip Resort and Casino – you’ll have an overall good experience here – play, attend an event (like Taste of Tulalip in November), eat at one of the great restaurant options (known for their gourmet fare and foodie likability), check out the nice gift shops and if you have a chance, stay.  The resort is well-appointed.
  31. Space Needle – especially in the summer.  Enjoy the beautiful view from the observation deck (hope that Mt. Rainier makes an appearance) and have dinner at SkyCity
  32. Get out your platform shoes and boogie with the Afrodisiacs – regularly perform at Tulalip Casino and Clearwater Casino
  33. Hibulb Cultural Center ~ see an exhibit, experience, enjoy
  34. Pick your Festival, any Festival
  35. Whidbey Island – Langley, South Whidbey State Park (with views of the Puget Sound), Fort Casey State Park, Fort Ebey State Park, Ebey’s Landing, lighthouses, Coupeville, Greenbank Farm, and the beautiful Deception Pass State Park
  36. Deception Pass State Park – check out Bowman Bay and don’t miss my favorite park, Rosario Beach.  See tide pools, walk, picnic, enjoy the beach.  This area is deep in Native American history.
  37. Ride a Washington State Ferry
  38. Port Townsend – Take in the old time spirit of this Port city
  39. Vashon Island is a rural gem that showcases island cheese, local wine, beach walks, the famous Vashon Strawberry Festival, and a great farmers market.  A bicyclist will feel right at home here. Stay weird.
  40. Bainbridge Island – visit the public Bloedel Reserve garden.  Continue on to Poulsbo to shop and take in the Scandinavian flavor.
  41. See a summer concert at Chateau Ste. Michelle – bring a picnic and some friends
  42. Jazz Alley in Seattle ~ especially a Bobby Caldwell show
  43. Walk the Cedar River Trail in Renton or the 27 mile multi-use Burke Gilman Trail
  44. Edmonds ~ a favorite for the boutiques, variety of dining options, access to beaches and the ferry, farmers market, festivals, and more.  A city for all seasons.
  45. Walk Greenlake – a vibrant Seattle community lives here
  46. Go crabbing out of Anacortes – this is great fun if you haven’t tried it before
  47. Woodland Park Zoo – check out the exhibits or attend a summer concert on the lawn here
  48. Seafair and the Blue Angels – since the 1950’s – what a treat!
  49. Kayak Lake Union and then kayak up to Aqua Verde or Ivar’s Salmon House for an afternoon meal
  50. See a show at Showbox (at the Market or Sodo) – a few of my favorites seen here include Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, Candlebox, Paul Stanley and Daugherty  🙂
  51. Take a drive along Chuckanut Drive in Bow, WA and stop in at Taylor Shellfish Farms for some of the best oysters and other shellfish that come straight from tidelands across Western Washington and British Columbia.
  52. Stop in at the historic Fairhaven District of Bellingham.  Walk the cobblestone streets for a bite and shopping.
  53. Attend a Bellingham Bells or Everett Aquasox game
  54. See the Everett Silvertips play vs. the Seattle Thunderbirds.  Buy a raffle ticket.
  55. Go to a Seattle Seahawks football game and be a part of the 12th Man/Woman
  56. Try a new craft brew from the brewery itself in the Georgetown area of Seattle (or other, like Black Raven Brewing in Redmond or Redhook Brewery in Woodinville)
  57. In University Place, walk along the trail and park near Chambers Bay Golf Course – grab lunch there and check out the beautiful views
  58. Like to shop? Don’t miss out on University Village, Pacific Place or the Bellevue Collection
  59. Ride The Big Wheel – go during the day and at night
  60. Visit the North Cascades Visitor Center in Newhalem
  61. Take I-20 through the North Cascades National Park – hike Ladder Creek Falls (and more), see the views of Diablo and Ross Lake, the Washington Pass Overlook, walk the paved trail at Rainy Lake – it will not disappoint!  It’s one of the most beautiful areas of the USA.
  62. Maryhill Museum and winery – located on the bank above the Columbia River, see the museum and a replica of Stonehenge.  During the summer, there are outdoor concerts and car shows here.
  63. Mazama, Winthrop (has a feeling of the Old West), Twisp (and the entire Methow Valley) – shop, cross country ski, attend a festival or farmers market.  Try a brew at Twisp River Pub or breakfast at Cinnamon Twisp Bakery.  This would be my favorite road trip as you can go I-20 or Hwy 2/Blewett Pass via Seattle – it takes you through a varied landscape and much beauty.
  64. Boat on the Columbia River
  65. Lake Chelan Valley – create your own wine tasting tour, stop in at Campbell’s for their fish & chips, golf, water ski, hike, camp.  Nefarious Cellars has a beautiful view of Lake Chelan and also has outstanding wine.
  66. Take the Lady of the Lake from Chelan to Steheiken – rent a bicycle to discover additional parts of the area
  67. Leavenworth – stay, eat, sport.  Festivals are plenty year-round, including Oktoberfest, Autumn Leaf Festival, Tree Lighting at Christmas.  Summer and Winter activities galore.  I got engaged here while taking a horse drawn sleigh ride. A favorite place to stay is Run of the River.
  68. Suncadia in Roslyn- makes for a great retreat – golf, spa, and have a bite (or wine tasting) at Swiftwater Cellars which sits on Coal Mine No. 9 and has a great view of Rope Rider Golf Course.  Check out the Harvest Festival in October for some family fun.  Also, drive up the road to Roslyn and you’ll find what was home to the popular TV series Northern Exposure.
  69. Toppenish – walk through downtown to view 70+  murals created to reflect Native American and Western history.  It’s also home to the American Hop Museum and the Yakima Nation Cultural Center.
  70. Spokane – stay at the Davenport Hotel during the holiday season – check out the Festival of Trees; visit Barrister Winery for wine tasting (and the Friday night art walk).
  71. As you drive by the wheat covered fields, make your way to Waitsburg for small town life and enjoy the grub at Whoopemup Hollow Cafe (call for reservations) or Jimgermanbar
  72. Stay at a Lighthouse and be a Lighthouse Keeper – possibilities include New Dungeness, Point No Point, Point Robinson, North Head, Browns Point
  73. Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, in Issaquah, this historic XXX hosts car shows
  74. Take in a show at the Village Theater in Issaquah or Everett.  There isn’t a bad seat in the house.
  75. Hike Wallace Falls
  76. Mount Rainier – experience the boundless natural beauty and things to do
  77. See a concert at the Gorge.  The views are beautiful and it’s fun to hang on the lawn in the sun with friends.
  78. Grand Coulee Dam – as part of the Coulee Corridor, it’s the third largest producer of electricity in the world. Hike a desert plateau, see wildlife and wildflowers, boat on the Columbia River, drive through Colville Indian Reservation to Omak.
  79. Eat at one of the various Anthony’s Homeport locations where you’ll get a view of the water and a Pacific Northwest meal
  80. Attend the Olympic Music Festival in Quilcene ~ concerts in a barn (weekends during the summer).
  81. See the Seattle Mariners play at Safeco Field.  This stadium is like no other. Rain or shine
  82. Seattle Sounders represent the MLS well.  Seattle has some top names in the world of soccer that play here.  There is quite a rivalry between the Sounders and our neighbors to the south – the Portland Timbers.
  83. Enjoy a world-class meal at The Herbfarm in Woodinville or Canlis in Seattle
  84. Spend a Sunday at the Ballard Farmers Market.  A great variety of vendors of organic, handmade and locally grown foods.  There is a plethora of great places to eat and shop nearby.  I especially like the boozy shakes at Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery.
  85. Mercer Slough Nature Park and Environmental Education Center in Bellevue.  This is a true gem on the outskirts of a vibrant city.  You’ll experience nature walking on boardwalks among the wetlands and hiking through wooded trails.
  86. Bellevue Botanical Garden – enjoy the variety of gardens and trails throughout – the newly built Ravine Experience is especially nice.
  87. See Sequim.  The annual Lavender Festival each July brings in a crowd. And for beautiful water views, walk along the rocky beach to the lighthouse on Dungeness Spit – this is five miles which takes you into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The spit is part of the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.
  88. Palouse Falls  – one of the state’s most beautiful waterfalls, with the heaviest volumes of water flow in spring and early summer.  The area surrounding is made of rolling hills and farmland, and buttes that showcase magnificent views.
  89. For the bird/eagle lover, visit Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, take a float trip on the Skagit River, or see the Snow Geese in the La Conner area
  90. Gig Harbor – visit this maritime city for culture, shopping, take in a tasty meal at JW, and drive down the road to Kopachuck State Park for beautiful views of the Olympic Mountains
  91. Just to experience it ~ go to the Capital Hill area of Seattle for great people watching, restaurants that a foodie will love, clubs to take in a concert (or festival)
  92. Visit Tillicum Village and Ride the Ducks  – these are known as tourist attractions but it is fun for the local too – great to experience the city, Puget Sound waterways, culture and history
  93. Washington State Fair (formerly known as the Puyallup Fair) and Evergreen State Fair (we still call it the Monroe Fair) – animals, concerts, crafts
  94. Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (the Ballard Locks) – picnic on the lawn above, see the fish ladder, boats and kayakers alike are transported between Salmon Bay and Lake Washington/Union and the tidal waters of Puget Sound
  95. If you’re at SeaTac Airport (Seattle Tacoma International Airport)  – visit the Sub Pop store in Concourse C
  96. In Arlington, reserve a table and enjoy a meal at Bistro San Martin
  97. Go Sailing
  98. Enjoy the views of or play in the International Fountain at Seattle Center
  99. Stay in a Yurt or camp at one of the many Washington State Parks
  100. Stop in at Berliner Pub in Renton ~ it has the best Brätzel (warm soft pretzel) ever!  Served with two different mustards and add a side of cream cheese.
  101. I could go on…

What would you add to this list?

It’s a photographer’s dream, season to season, Washington State is abound in beauty.  Experience Washington State.

 

Seahawks Training Camp

Since the new VMAC (Virginia Mason Athletic Center) was built on the shores of Lake Washington in Renton, WA, the Seattle Seahawks have opened up practice/training camp to the public.  This year there are 15 practices between July 29th and August 15th.  It is a nice opportunity to see the new recruits and veterans get ready for their upcoming NFL season.  You will see a scrimmage and drills.  The practice lasts about two hours and possibly a bit longer with the signing of autographs.  You must register at trainingcampregistration.seahawks.com and only those who register will be allowed at camp.  At registration, you will be charged a $5 transportation fee.  Chairs and snacks may be brought in, with restrictions of course.  There is merchandise and also food and beverages available.  Sports Authority offered a $10 coupon for anything purchased over $25 there at the complex.  We indeed made use of this. Park at The Landing in Renton (3rd and 4th level of the parking garage) and take the shuttle buses to and from the event.  They have the process down well…you will check in at the Landing prior to boarding.  This is a nice afternoon for the kids, family, and friends!

Whether it be prior to or after training camp, check out The Landing.  The Landing is still expanding but you will find a nice variety of retail options – Regal Cinemas (entertainment), services, shopping, dining, and more.  http://www.thelandinginrenton.com/.  Today’s stop was at Vino at the Landing…always recommended.  http://www.vinoatthelanding.com/home

Pizzeria Pulcinella…and other dining experiences in May

May (as it is my birthday month) caters to going out more often.   And yes, I had others to share in the variety of selections noted below.  The #1 choice this month was Pizzeria Pulcinella in Seattle, WA (southend of Rainier Ave).  Great for a date night!  It has an ambiance and a feeling as if you are in a local pizzeria in Italy.  The centerpiece of the pizzeria is the Valoriani wood fire oven from Italy.  The oven design allows the pizza to be baked in about 90 seconds at a temperature of 800 -900 degrees, which is a key element of authentic Neapolitan pizza.  We enjoyed a caesar salad, the Vesuvio pizza, and cream puffs for dessert.  Bridgette J. has been our server on different occasions…and is wonderful!  Rated best wood-fired pizza in Seattle in Seattle Magazine’s 2009 Best Restaurants issue.  http://www.pulcinellapizza.com/index.htm 

An overview of some of the others:

The Pumphousehttp://www.pumphousebellevue.com/ Bellevue, WA.  A Bellevue landmark since 1978.  A great selection of brews, some of the best hamburgers around (in my opinion), and a great place to gather to watch your favorite sporting event.

Brix Wine Cafehttp://www.brixwinecafe.com/  Kirkland (Juanita area) WA.  Happy Hour is served daily throughout the entire cafe 4-6 pm and the last hour.  Good to meet up with friends or co-workers.  Sangria.  Parking is limited.  A variety was sampled:  Truffle Fries, Chipolte Hummus & Grilled Flatbread, Brix Mac & Cheese, Prosciutto & Arugula Flatbread Pizza, Pesto Chicken Flatbread Pizza.

Chandler’s Crabhousehttp://www.schwartzbros.com/chandlers.cfm  Located in Seattle on Lake Union.  Deck with views.  Generous Happy Hour 3:30 – 6:30 pm and 9-11 pm nightly…selections tried were the Brie Wedge, Tempura Prawns & Asparagus, Colorado Lamb Riblettes, Crab & Artichoke Dip, and the Sliced Sirloin Slider.  Good size bar area.  Ira the manager on duty and the staff are top notch.

Matt’s in the Markethttp://www.mattsinthemarket.com/  Pike Place Market, Seattle.  A charming, intimate setting with views of Elliott Bay and the hustle and bustle of Pike Place Market below.  Although we were able to be seated upon arrival, reservations are recommended as this hotspot fills up quickly.  Lunch included Seared halibut fishwich with a cup of Seafood chowder, simple green salad (which includes bleu cheese, pumpkin seeds, roasted garlic dressing), chips & dip, and a custard style chocolate dessert.  This was my first time at Matt’s (after all these years in the Seattle area), and will definitely return.

The Red Househttp://www.redhousebeerandwine.com/default.asp  Renton, WA.  Tapas are the specialty of this local establishment with an extensive selection of wine and beer for both in-house and retail purchase.  Wednesdays offer wine tasting and food from 6-8 pm for $20 per person with a different selection of wineries each week.

The Met Coffee & Wine Barhttp://www.themetwinebar.com/ Renton, WA.  Located in the heart of downtown Renton, WA, the Met Coffee and Wine Bar specializes in Northwest wines (plus a number of others thrown in) by the glass or bottle.  Constantly rotating specialty draft beer selections…so, stop in to see what is on tap this week!  The coffee is top notch in this Wi-Fi hotspot.   Relax in the large armchairs and sofa in front of the cozy fireplace or gather with friends at a number of tables (that promote gathering).  Sample some light fare and on Tuesdays during the summer/Renton Farmers Market, join Mike, the owner for a barbeque out on the patio.  Join the wine club!  Every Thursday, join the loyal following for wine tasting from 5-7 pm.  Cheers!

Cedar River Trail on a Sunday afternoon in April

It was just like Summer…many enjoying the beautiful blue sunny skies. This was a first on the Cedar River Trail…walked from the Maplewood Golf Course area to Lake Washington. Did you know that you could rent a kayak or canoe or take a lesson at the Cascade Canoe & Kayak Center? Also along the way we came across tables for picnicing, those taking their inflatable raft out, walkers, bikers, a playground, those enjoying the skate park and the always irresistible dog park. It was approximately a 6 mile walk although the trail extends further.

http://www.kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks/trails/regionaltrailssystem/cedarriver.aspx

http://www.canoe-kayak.com/

http://www.rentonoffleash.org/Dog_Park_Info.html