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.

 

Opening Day…Seattle Mariners

Opening Day with the Seattle Mariners!  This night brought a tribute to Dave Niehaus as well as awards to Ichiro… all-time Mariners hits leader and other Gold Glove awards.  Safeco Field has a new addition…The Pen, courtesy of Root Sports.  They have opened up the pitching area so that there is no cage/wired barrier.  This is a great place to view the game.  There are TV’s, great music playing, a fireside lounge, a historical journey showcasing “The Sheriff” Norm Charlton, Gaylord Perry, Randy Johnson, and others.  There is an additional bar that serves cocktails and new restaurants, like the Flying Turtle (Slow Cooked Beef Torta, Braised Pork Torta), Hamburg & Frites, and La Creperie (Strawberry crepe…you can skip this), and APizza (White Pizza…this has broccoli on it…fyi).  After trying all three of the pizza options, definitely go for the pepperoni.  There is also a M’s store called Good Stuff.  Nice!  I am starting a diet this week as we took advantage of it being opening day. 🙂  As it was opening night, they have some work to do.  The menus do not contain the ingredients…so ask what is on it before the guy says “with everything”.  Also, the scoreboards were not quite up to par as they indicated scoring from the day before and earlier in the day…so not accurate.  We were sitting in section 108 so we were able to text @msbeervendor for personalized service, as he was donating some of his tips to the Japan relief fund… #36.  Those serving the beverages are now wearing neon green shirts – I like it!  Was that the longest 4th inning in Mariners history?  I don’t know, but it felt like it.  Although there was a loss this evening, I still recommend going out and supporting the M’s and enjoying the good ‘ol American pasttime…baseball.  Safeco Field is top-notch!

UPDATE June 2011 –  still a nice experience…but, they removed much of their beer selection from The Pen.  So, if you want Snoqualmie Amber or others, you will need to find it elsewhere in the park.  It looks like they are mainly carrying the “big” boy brands.   Bummer, as it looks like they did it again…you have a good thing and they screw it up by changing it.

Mariners Baseball and Elysian Fields

Although I have written of this before (see May 2010), I needed to add to it as the experience was again a good one.  Prior to the July 8th Seattle Mariners game vs. the New York Yankees, we had starters at Elysian Fields.  Recommendations:  1) Side:  French Fries 2) Starter: Oasis Plate – Hummus, Baba Ganouj, cucumber salad, grilled pita.  The cucumber salad is wonderful – nice chunks of tomato, feta cheese, cucumber.  So good I had to mention it.  3) Starter: Fried Goat Cheese – rosemary honey, red pepper coulis, grilled baguette – YUM!!!! It is also served with greens that has a delicious balsamic dressing.  Delectable!  4)  Men’s Room Original Red – and for the fans… it is being served in other establishments around the Puget Sound area and is now being bottled.

The weather was great for baseball in the summertime.  Did you ever hear that summer starts July 5th in the Seattle area?  It is true much of the time.  On this day, it was our hottest day yet…but still comfortable.  We were sitting behind right field where Nick Swisher was playing for the Yankees.  I am not a Yankee fan but am a Nick Swisher fan.  I was wearing my Oakland Athletics 33 Swisher t-shirt…I stood up and yelled…Hey Swish!  He looked, smiled, and tipped his hat…now that was cool!  It made my night.   A shout out must also be given to the staff at Safeco Field – my sunglasses of five years (purchased in NYC), fell from my purse and one of the clean-up crew actually turned them in to lost and found!  How great is that!

Seattle Mariners Baseball

May 25-  Enjoy Baseball?  Want to see a ballpark that offers a great experience?  The Seattle Mariners and Safeco Field won’t disappoint…at least not this day with a win (5-3) vs. the Detroit Tigers.  www.seattlemariners.com

Safeco Field is a terrific ballpark for baseball.  It offers a view of the downtown Seattle skyline, the ability to watch the pitchers in the bullpen up close and personal and  .  It features a comprehensive, state-of-the art scoreboard system and a one-of-kind retractable roof (designed to cover not enclose the ballpark).  The Mariner Moose…the Mariners mascot, can be seen around the ballpark, in the stands, and in the Moose Den (at certain times during each game).  Take note of your surroundings as the Art in the Park is varied and impressive.  My particular favorite is the “quilt” made of license plates, discarded pop cans and other metals.  Also, located at the Home Plate Gate, a sculpture (chandelier) made of baseball bats.

A wide assortment of food vendors can be found here – Thai, sushi (including the famous Ichiroll), hot dogs, pizza, soft pretzels, microbrews, organic/veggie selections, Mexican fare, BBQ, Ivar’s seafood,  Kidd Valley burgers… and the garlic fries with the can’t miss aroma, Shishkaberry (chocolate covered strawberries on a stick), and of course the typical ballpark fare (along with some surprises). The club level offers the Terrace Club, specialty food selections, suites, and the Hit It Here Cafe.  The third level offers sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains, Seattle and Puget Sound.

 An ongoing suggestion:  more rock music…although I did like “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” 🙂

Prior to the game, we enjoyed Taco Tuesday (in the bar from 4-6 pm) at Elysian Fields.  It is located in the Stadium District (with two other locations around Seattle).  The restaurant has windowed garage doors that open to its patio which adds to the atmosphere during the nice weather.  The beer selection consists of beer from Elysian Brewing (I liked the Mens Room Original Red (KISW radio)) as well as a variety of “guest” beer.  The menu doesn’t fail to impress. On certain game nights, Elysian Fields has a special/limited bar menu and on the regular menu, a number of items have been tried (and enjoyed)…steamed mussels (or clams), steak sandwich (or salad), and the hamburger is a continued favorite.  http://www.elysianbrewing.com/elysianfields.html