May 16, 2013 at 2:28 PM
Seattle Times readers have spoken on their favorite Washington state parks. And we’ve created an interactive map with their picks.
If you’re looking for somewhere to camp, picnic, hike, or simply enjoy the scenery, take a look at your fellow Washingtonians’ comments, photos, and advice on state parks. They’re categorized as best all-around parks, best parks in which to camp, and most kid-friendly parks.
May 10, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Want to be a sightseer in your own town? Or coming to visit Seattle? Here’s where you can go play and sightsee at 10 top spots around Seattle (and slightly beyond).
Most are old favorites, from Pike Place Market to the Ballard Locks. Still, I bet lots of us haven’t been to all 10, even if we’ve lived in Seattle for a long time.
Got some different, more off-beat favorites? Add them in the comments and I’ll make another list.
May 9, 2013 at 1:38 PM
Mount Rainier National Park is cutting some visitor services this summer because of “sequestration” – the federal budget cuts that have shaved the park’s operating budget by 5 percent this year.
A popular visitor center won’t open for the summer season and campgrounds will open later and close earlier than planned since the park has not been able to hire the staff necessary to keep everything going. Mount Rainier had $11.35 million for operations last year, according to a park statement, but the federally mandated cuts have reduced that to $10.75 million for the fiscal year ending in September.
The biggest cutbacks will fall on (more…)
May 7, 2013 at 4:09 PM
Skiing at Whistler-Blackcomb, the mega B.C. ski resort, earlier this spring, I practically swooned at the cost of a walk-up lift ticket – more than $100 a day.
Luckily, some people can beat that stunning price by purchasing an Edge card, a pass that gives discounted rates for five or 10 days of skiing and boarding to residents of Washington state (and all Canadians).
The purchase deadline for the early-bird discounted Edge card for next season was May 6, but Whistler-Blackcomb has extended it for another week until May 13.
A five-day Edge card costs $355 Cdn. (the Canadian and U.S. dollars are almost at par) for an adult, bringing the daily lift price down to $71 a day. A 10-day Edge card is $639, shaving the daily cost to about $64.
There’s also a three-day Edge card for $232, giving a daily rate of about $77 for a ski ticket. Tax is extra on all passes.
Get details and purchase (more…)
May 7, 2013 at 9:08 AM
On a vacation or business trip it’s way too easy to indulge in unhealthy foods and abandon a fitness routine.
The solution: Find a hotel with a decent fitness center or pool big enough so you actually can swim lengths. Or pack your running shoes and hit the streets.
Some hotels in the Pacific Northwest and B.C. this spring are starting to help guests stay in shape with free guided runs and bikes to use.
At the luxurious Heathman Hotel in Portland, the general manager, Chris Erickson, will lead guests on a run through downtown every Tuesday morning at 7 a.m., starting May 14. Erickson is a marathon runner, but he won’t set a punishing pace or length: runs will be about four miles.
Anyone staying at the Heathman can join the run, but those buying (more…)
May 2, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Is your fridge so cruddy you’d need a hazmat suit to clean it out? Would it be easier just to leave town for the weekend? Here are some good reasons to go:
If you’re ready for a dose of “WINTER IS FINALLY OVER” heat, go east of the Cascades, where temperatures are promised to climb into the 80s this weekend. It’s a good time to go whitewater rafting or tubing on the Wenatchee River. (It’s snowmelt season.) Here’s a line from the website for Leavenworth-based Osprey Rafting Co., describing its “Main Event” float trip: “You’ll survive the bad boy rapids: Rock and Roll, Drunkards’ Drop, Snowblind, and last but not least: THE SUFFOCATOR.” (Bring a snorkel.)
Just about everywhere in the Northwest is supposed to be sunny and warm this (more…)
April 30, 2013 at 12:36 PM
Want to take an evening walk to the haunted spots of Friday Harbor? Maybe take a guided tour of Roche Harbor and the founding father’s quirky mausoleum in the fashion of a Greek ruin?
Free guided walks every weekend in May are among offerings in the San Juan Islands as part of national Preservation Month, designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Park Service to celebrate history and historic places. In the San Juans, they’ve declared it Heritage Month.
Here’s what’s on the calendar:
SAN JUAN ISLAND
April 25, 2013 at 12:06 PM
It’s Spring Barrel Tasting weekend at 40 member wineries of Wine Yakima Valley, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. A visit to the Yakima Valley will allow you to sample yet-unfinished wines from the barrel and get a sneak preview of upcoming vintages from your favorite wineries. Premier Pass holders ($35) will receive access to exclusive pairings, library tastings and tours not available to the public. More information here.
Olympia’s Procession of the Species is at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. This annual non-commercial parade is a community collaboration in which people from all over the area march around our state capital’s downtown dressed up as their favorite animal or plant. It’s like an Earth Day cousin of the Fremont Solstice Parade. Participants can range from a preschool class attending as frogs after making their masks out of cereal boxes and paint, to friends in batik butterfly wings, fluttering high in the air on stilts. See last year’s parade here.
Head for Bellingham’s Apple Blossom Festival Saturday and Sunday at BelleWood Acres, 6140 Guide Meridian Road, a 25,000-tree orchard (now in bloom) that offers everything from you-pick apples to hard cider and locally made liquors. Come out for train rides, orchard tours, family activities, food and drink specials, distillery tastings/tours and live music. At day’s end, an Apple Blossom Party starts at 5 p.m. featuring music from the Shadies (6-9 p.m.). All ages welcome. Live music from the Prozac Mountain Boys on Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.
April 25, 2013 at 6:00 AM
North Cascades National Park has announced its summer operating plans and how it will be affected by sequester budget cuts.
“We are moving forward with summer operations with reduced budgets and staffing,” said Karen Taylor-Goodrich, superintendent of North Cascades National Park Complex, which includes the park and adjacent national recreation areas taking in parts of Ross Lake and Lake Chelan.
The park has had to reduce its annual budget by 5 percent. Visitors can expect limited operations and fewer rangers to provide information and programs, a news release said.
“We are striving to meet the required budget reductions while providing adequate public access and safety, and vital resource protection and management to the greatest extent possible this year,” Taylor-Goodrich said.
All areas of the national park and related national recreation areas will be open to the public including Hozomeen, Stehekin and the Skagit District along State Route 20.
Opening information for various facilities:
- North Cascades Visitor Center, near Newhalem, and the Marblemount Wilderness Information Center will open daily by the first weekend in May.
- Newhalem, Colonial and Goodell Campgrounds will have at least one loop open with fee collection beginning May 17. All loops and group reservation camps along SR20 will open by Memorial Day weekend.
- The Hozomeen campground, near the north end of Ross Lake and just south of the Canadian border, and its boat launch will open for vehicle access from June 21–Sept. 3. The gate at the Canadian border will close again just after Labor Day. Park rangers will patrol the area and seasonal park staff will provide service to the visiting public.
For more information on the North Cascades National Park Complex, see www.nps.gov/noca.
April 24, 2013 at 3:28 PM
The developers of Seabrook, the created-from-scratch beach community and vacation destination near Pacific Beach, Grays Harbor County, announced Wednesday they would bring their formula to another Washington vacation and retirement venue: Lake Chelan.
Led by developer Casey Roloff, Seabrook is a carefully planned and controlled development designed to be pedestrian friendly, with its own small shopping district and park areas, and homes in the style of early 20th-century, New England-inspired beach houses. About 200 homes have been completed, more than half of which are offered as vacation rentals. Sale prices range from about $300,000 to $2 million.
The new Lake Chelan development, to be called The Lookout, will occupy an 83-acre lakefront site, a former apple orchard, on the lake’s north shore a mile from downtown Chelan. Plans include a community lakefront park, a 70-slip marina, swimming pools and a neighborhood winery.
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