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Northwest Traveler

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February 11, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Need a getaway? Pick one

washwknds

Monthly through 2014, The Seattle Times is revisiting weekend getaway destinations around the state of Washington, seeking a fresh spin on 12 old favorites. Here’s where we’ve visited so far:

1 Arts and ales liven up downtown Bellingham

90 miles/90 minutes north of Seattle, this city of 82,000 is home to Western Washington University.

This model rocket, outside Rocket Donuts in downtown Bellingham, is indicative of street art and the lively arts scene. (photo by Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)

This rocket, outside Rocket Donuts in downtown Bellingham, is indicative of street art and the lively arts scene. (photo by Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)

Most visitors to this college town make a beeline for Fairhaven, the understandably popular gentrified historic district at the north end of Chuckanut Drive. On your next visit, mix it up: Head downtown, where Whatcom Creek meets the bay.

Two downtown draws worth your time: lively arts and good local beer.

Get Brian Cantwell’s full story here.

Get reader tips, and add your own, here.

See Alan Berner’s photo gallery here.

 

2 Stay in your own 'castle' next time you visit Port Townsend

Two hours northwest of Seattle by ferry and car,  this town of about 10,000 touts its history as “Washington’s Victorian seaport.”

Historical buildings are a trademark of Port Townsend. (photo by Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times)

Historical buildings are a trademark of Port Townsend. (photo by Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times)

Port Townsend has vintage buildings that are home to good restaurants, quirky shops, comfortable hotels and fancy B&Bs.

Yet when I visited recently, I didn’t stay in one of the town’s popular Victorian-style B&Bs or small hotels. Instead, I went for something completely different and rented a “castle” in the 434-acre Fort Worden State Park at the edge of town.

Get Kristin Jackson’s full story here.

Get reader tips, and add your own, here.

3 Look beyond the tulips in La Conner

About 67 miles/75 minutes north of Seattle, this town of 900 people edges the salty Swinomish Channel.

The La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum is housed in the historic Gaches Mansion.  (photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

The Gaches Mansion houses the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum. (photo by Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times)

La Conner is a logical stop at Skagit Valley’s tulip time. But this historical little waterfront burg built on a rocky knoll is worth an overnight in any season. Take time to explore hidden grottoes and courtyards, plus poke your nose into museums spotlighting quilts, Northwest art and the history of this fertile farming valley.

Get Brian Cantwell’s full story here.

Get reader tips and add your own here.

See Mark Harrison’s photo gallery here.

4 Find yourself on Whidbey Island

Reached by ferry from Mukilteo or via state Highway 20 and the Deception Pass Bridge, this 50-mile-long island is about 12 miles northwest of Seattle

Get centered at The Yoga Lodge on Whidbey Island. (photo by Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times)

Get centered at The Yoga Lodge on Whidbey Island. (photo by Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times)

Staying at Langley’s fancy inn or renting a cozy cottage can make for a classic Whidbey Island getaway.

But this time I went for the island’s alternative side. I woke up with downward dog yoga poses (and a real and very cute little dog) at The Yoga Lodge, and wandered the trails at Earth Sanctuary, dotted with stone circles and festooned with Buddhist prayer flags.

Get Kristin Jackson’s full story here.

Get reader tips, and add your own, here.

5 Pig War and more on San Juan Island

Reached via Washington State Ferries from Anacortes, this second-largest island of the San Juan archipelago is about 70 miles northwest of Seattle.

San Juan Historical Museum is among attractions in Friday Harbor. (photo by Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

San Juan Historical Museum is among attractions in Friday Harbor. (photo by Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

Whale watching and kayaking might be the first things that come to mind if you think about visiting San Juan Island. But a rich history — from the Pig War to 19th century lime kilns to Hudson’s Bay Co. sheep farming — provide fodder for fascinating island explorations.

Get Brian Cantwell’s full story here.

Get reader tips, and add your own, here.

See Ellen Banner’s photo gallery here.

6 Go birding or kite surfing at Ocean Shores

Ocean Shores, 135 miles from Seattle, occupies Point Brown Peninsula, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Gray’s Harbor.

It’s hard to miss the entrance to Sharky’s gift shop at Ocean Shores. (photo by Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times)

Everybody knows Ocean Shores is a place for kite-flying, beach driving, clam digging and other sandy fun. But there’s more to do beyond the sand, from bird-watching to kite surfing to hiking.

Get Jackie Smith’s full story here.

Get reader tips, and add your own, here.

7 Island of eats: Farm-to-table on Orcas

Get to Anacortes. Take the  ferry to Orcas, the biggest of the San Juan Islands.  Eat, drink and be a  merry locavore .

 

 

Jay Blackinton stands outside his restaurant Hogstone's Wood Oven on Orcas, one of a crop of excellent island eateries. (Maddie Meyer photo / Seattle Times

Jay Blackinton stands outside his restaurant Hogstone’s Wood Oven on Orcas, one of a crop of excellent island eateries. (Maddie Meyer photo / Seattle Times

For years my family would escape to Orcas Island for a summertime week in a waterfront cabin. In between bouts of hiking, fishing, reading, cooking and cocktailing, we might go gallery-hopping or venture into “town” for a treat, but we seldom dined out during those summer idylls. As a restaurant critic, that felt too much like work.

But recently I headed to Orcas for a weekend of gastronomic sleuthing and discovered much to excite the culinary adventurer.

Get Providence Cicero’s full story here.

8 Find more than sun in the Yakima Valley

The Yakima Valley, in South Central Washington, is about 150 miles from Seattle, a 2½-hour drive.

Rancher Clay Schuster visits the Horse Heaven Saloon in Prosser. (photo by Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Rancher Clay Schuster visits the Horse Heaven Saloon in Prosser. (photo by Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

A vintage sign on the freeway calls sunny Yakima “the Palm Springs of Washington.” But the Yakima Valley is about more than tanning oil and poolside lounging these days, as visitors follow wine roads, ale trails and hiking paths.

Get Jackie Smith’s full story here.

See Greg Gilbert’s photo gallery here.

9 Autumn is mountain-biking time in Winthrop

Winthrop is about 190 miles (3½ to 4 hours) from Seattle via the North Cascades Highway (Highway 20).

The Old West theme is easy to find in Winthrop. (photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

The Old West theme is easy to find in Winthrop. (photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

Winthrop and the Methow Valley’s elaborate network of cross-country ski trails draws visitors every winter. But not everyone remembers that many of those trails are great for mountain biking, too. This autumn is a good time to enjoy them, after a summer plagued by wildfires.

Get Brian Cantwell’s full story here.

See Mark Harrison’s photo gallery here.

 

10 Meet the new guard at old-school Long Beach

The Long Beach Peninsula, just north of the Columbia River, is 170 miles, or about three hours by car, from Seattle.

October is cranberry-harvest time on the Long Beach Peninsula. (photo by Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

October is cranberry-harvest time on the Long Beach Peninsula. (photo by Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

You could always count on Long Beach, on the Washington coast, for being an old-school beach town. Now a fresh breeze is blowing on the 28-mile Long Beach Peninsula as a new generation brings a younger vibe to renovated hotels and eateries, a craft brewery, even an organic cranberry farm.

Get Brian Cantwell’s full story here.

See Ellen Banner’s photo gallery here.

Comments | More in List, Northwest, Washington state, weekend getaways | Topics: bellingham getaway, Bellingham travel, Friday Harbor

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