The Evergreen State
Take a break from the Texas summer heat and cool off in the shade and splendor of the Pacific Northwest.
Words & Photos by Blakely Kneisley
View the works of Washington-born and world-renowned glass blower, Dale Chihuly, at Chihuly Garden and Glass. The collection includes eight galleries, the Glasshouse conservatory and a whimsical garden path featuring colorful ground and chandelier sculptures. Spring for a package admission ticket, as this gets you a ride to the top of the Space Needle. Take in the ultimate view of the Seattle area from the observation deck. On a clear day, the peak of Mount Rainier is visible and truly breathtaking.
Don’t skip Pike Place Market! Have lunch in one of the counter restaurants inside or try Matt’s in the Market, which gives you a view of the famous sign and a menu sourced with fresh Pacific Northwest ingredients purchased from the iconic marketplace daily. You can’t visit Seattle without getting a great cup of coffee, so grab one at Storyville Coffee Company and take a walk through the vendor stalls. If you plan on doing any cooking during your trip, make sure to pick up your fresh seafood, vegetables and flowers for your table while you are at the marketplace!
Drive a scenic 2 ½ hours to the southern part of Olympic National Forest for some of the most diverse ecosystems the country has to offer. Temperate rainforests surround Lake Quinault and a short hike out of your car can take you that much further into the wonders of this wilderness. The Rainforest Loop Trail lets you meander around the rainforest while you relish the botanical mosses, gigantic Douglas firs and rushing waterfalls.
Eat lunch at Lake Quinault Lodge where FDR himself made a stop in 1937, before signing a bill creating Olympic National Park. Then check out the world’s largest Sitka spruce tree right down the road.
Spend the evening at your cabin and bask in the glory of solitude. Cook dinner, listen to the rain and look at the stars. Board games and puzzles make an excellent substitution for your cell phone, especially after you’ve lit the in-room fireplace.
From Amanda Park, drive west through the Quinault Indian Reservation to the coastline, then head north. There are multiple trailheads off the road where you can walk down to take in the panoramic views. Arrive at the town of Forks. It’s a small town, but if you’re a Twilight fan, this is the setting for the popular novels and films.
Or opt for Swanny’s Guided Fishing in Olympia. They offer some of the best salmon fishing in the Pacific Northwest.
If you go…
Where to Stay: Lochaerie Resort. Private, rustic cabins on the banks of Lake Quinault.
Getting Around: Seattle has adequate public transportation, but a rental car is recommended to fully experience the national park.
Forecast: Summer is warmer and drier on the Peninsula, with highs in the mid-60s. Since rain is typically in the forecast, bring waterproof hiking shoes and a rain jacket.