When friends ask me what my favorite spot in Washington is outside of Seattle, without a beat, I always enthusiastically answer, “Orcas Island!”. If you’re unfamiliar, Orcas Island is the largest island in the San Juan Islands and is located in northwestern Washington. I liken it to a Northwest version of Hawaii. The island is covered with lush vegetation and evergreen trees, while surrounded by the deep blues of Puget Sound. It has that magical power that makes you feel worlds away, when actually it’s just a short weekend trip from Seattle.
There’s nothing more I love than a good weekend road trip with my husband H. Busting out our old high school CD case and singing along to all the classic jams. (The original NOW! That’s What I Call Music CD is my personal favorite.) Sitting in the passenger seat and not being able to move my legs because they are covered by an overabundance of water bottles and snacks that would last anyone weeks. (You can never be over prepared.) It’s the journey, not the destination people!
But I digress. We are lucky to live in Seattle where there are so many unique and beautiful places to visit that are within a short driving distance. Now that the countdown clock is ticking towards our move date to Ohio, I am hurrying to book trips to some of our favorite places. Here’s a list of our top five favorite Northwest weekend road trips:
When I moved to Seattle in 2013, one of my first purchases was a pair of coveted Hunter rain boots. Living in San Francisco prior to our move, I always admired the chic women who wore the rain boots on their wet commutes to work. I could never justify buying them in California since our rainy days were rare, but I figured living in Seattle was the perfect excuse!
My first job in Seattle was at a major technology company where the dress code was very casual (think engineers in sweatpants and Crocs). I remember one rainy fall day I decided to wear my new Hunter rain boots to work. To my credit, I did have a wet commute walking down a hill to my bus stop, riding a damp bus, and traversing through puddles downtown to my office. However, I was less observant to what my fellow Seattleites deemed appropriate rain footwear, especially in the office.
When people find out I live in Seattle, the first thing they ask is “Does it really rain all the time?” To which I respond, “Yes, but…” and rattle off my list of defensive answers that it’s not as rainy as it seems (all Seattleites have this monologue memorized).
With our countdown to our Ohio move getting closer, my husband H and I are trying to visit as many Pacific Northwest destinations as possible. Our list includes old favorites as well as new places we’ve been eyeing to go. Last weekend we finally made the pilgrimage to one of the top ski destinations in the world – Whistler, BC.
This trip was a milestone for me because up until a few years ago I did not know how to ski. When we moved to Seattle in 2013, I decided it was finally time to learn. Seattle is famous for our dreary winters and what makes them slightly more bearable is escaping the rain to ski on the mountains. Because when it’s raining in the city, it’s snowing in the Cascades. It’s the silver lining that us Seattleites use to cheer up our sun-deprived selves!
Whether you are visiting Seattle or live in the city, Pike Place Market holds a special place for tourists and residents alike. Founded in 1907, it is one of the oldest continuously operated farmer’s market in the United States. Today, it is a place of business for small farmers, craftspeople, and merchants. What I love most about the market is the old school charm it retains, despite being in the middle of a rapidly growing city.
My husband and I make a point to have lunch at the market once a month, usually on Sundays when 1) it is less busy and 2) we can take advantage of free street parking. Over the years, we have visited dozens of spots but we keep returning to the same handful. While this by no means is a comprehensive list (I know, I didn’t even list a fish stand!), these places meet the insider mark by having minimal lines and being easy on the wallet. And, of course, they’re delicious too!
So without further ado, I present to you my countdown…