It’s hard not to fall in love with Seattle, Washington. From the majestic scenery to the diverse cultural experiences, the Pacific Northwest region of the States has plenty of charms to behold. Here are eight things to know and do in this special part of the world that I call home.
- Playing in the pool means playing in the tide pool
As someone who loves outdoor activities, it’s fair to say you are spoilt for choice given the mountains and coastlines to explore. Which is why when locals talk about playing in their pool they do not mean in their backyard. Head to one of the beaches in the San Juan Islands and on the Olympic Peninsula and enjoy the rockpools, beachcombing and ocean air.
- The sound of rainfall
The sound of heavy rainfall is something I’ve always found relaxing and that’s fortunate given the unpredictable, everchanging weather in this region. There’s even a joke amongst locals is the easiest way to spot a visitor is by their umbrella. For me though, waterproof boots suffice.
- Bonfire magic
Huddle by a bonfire with friends and family as you watch the tide. Northwesterners love ‘smores, smoke and summer nights. For those cooler seasons, a romantic retreat might feature more greenery, but one thing is constant and that is that the fire is still burning.
- “Twihard” or two
With the 2020 release of Midnight Sun, the fifth and most recent book in the “Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer, the small town of Forks on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, was in the spotlight again. Fifteen years ago, the little-known logging community gained global notoriety when the first book was released—a love story between teenager Bella Swan and vampire Edward Cullen. “Twihards,” as the fans call themselves, have flocked to Forks in droves for more than a decade. In 2010, it’s reported that 72,000 people visited the quaint town whose population is 3,800. To celebrate the beloved series by its fandom, the Forks Chamber of Commerce created the “Forever Twilight in Forks Festival.” It’s always held in September, as close to the 13th as possible, which is the birthday of Bella Swan. September 13th is called Stephenie Meyer Day to honor the author and the economic boon she has brought to the town.
- Self-confessed ‘coffee snobs’ say no to Starbucks
Although Starbucks was born in Seattle and rose to prominence on the Pike’s Place Market, locals no longer see, or rather taste, the appeal. A true local in the Pacific Northwest considers it essential to be seen with a latte from local vendors such as Stumptown, Peet’s and Boyd’s. But with so many local baristas all offering equally delicious brews, the choices are endless. Afterall, are you even in the Pacific Northwest if you don’t start your day with a fair-trade cup of coffee?
If the biggest struggle of the summer is fitting in all the amazing festivals, chances are you are in the Pacific Northwest. From Seattle Street Food Festival, Oregon Country Fair, to Pickathon the summertime is full of dancing and dining celebrations. Or if it is the winter wonderland experience you crave, head to Leavenworth, Washington for a magical Christmas experience in a Bavarian-style village. Or visit Pike Place Market where the festival vibe is always alive with the many street performers.
- Buying local is the only way of life
From farmer’s markets to craft breweries, supporting local businesses is what all good Northwesterners encourage. In fact, it is practically a weekend pastime to head to a farmers’ market and try out all their best food samples. From fresh cheese, homemade Greek yogurt, butter-toffee pieces, Rainier cherries and mini fried donuts, all paired with a free sample of locally roasted coffee, a trip to the farmers’ market is a great way to sneak in a second breakfast.
- It’s all about the doughnuts
In Portland, Oregon, Voodoo Doughnut is the cream of the crop, while in Seattle, Washington, Top Pot Doughnuts are the go-to. Either way, be assured they are mouthwateringly good! With the variety of pastries on offer in every colour under the rainbow, make sure to try whatever catches your eye and worry about the waistline some other time.