Editor's Note: Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Drive a few hours in any direction away from Seattle and you can be in just about any type of terrai

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Vacation,
All I Ever Wanted

One of the great ironies of working at the same place for a long time is that you accrue the maximum allotted vacation time but never really get to use it.

Then there is this conundrum: My husband works at the University of Washington–Tacoma, our older son is in the Seattle public school system, and when it comes to spring or midwinter breaks, never the twain shall meet. On top of that, I try not to take vacations near the end of a month, when I tend to be shipping a magazine, so we’re left carving out odd trips here and there. (As I write this around spring break, I’m cramming to make deadline in order to squeeze in a little five-day getaway.) Our biggest window of vacation opportunity has been the last two weeks in August, before school starts. Thank goodness we live in a state where we don’t have to go far to get out of Dodge.

Drive a few hours in any direction away from Seattle and you can be in just about any type of terrain and certainly any type of Northwest vacation spot you want. I have professed my love of the coastal getaway numerous times in this space (hello, Seabrook!), but last year my sun-starved husband could not take another chilly night (or, let’s face it, day) on the beach. Instead, we decided to pack the boys into the minivan and head east to Lake Chelan for the first time. We had heard raves from friends and colleagues who spend a week there each summer with their families. As much as I love the coast, going in a different direction was the jump start we needed, and after passing through the Cascades, the dramatic change in landscape was like a veil being lifted. It had been a few years since we drove east, and the craggy topography was so different from what we see on this side of the mountains, we felt worlds away.

We went to Chelan late in the season, just before Labor Day weekend (the hotel deals were amazing). Most of the summer vacationers had cleared out and we nearly had the place to ourselves: the water park, the mini-beach at Campbell’s Resort and—most important to me—the winery tasting rooms. We could still visualize the summer-resort town abuzz in season…and we could see vacationing there becoming a regular thing.

As the Hamptons are to New Yorkers and the Cape is to New Englanders, so are the Northwest vacation towns of Lake Chelan, Friday Harbor, Bend, Sun Valley and the Methow Valley triumvirate of Mazama, Winthrop and Twisp to Seattleites. Sometimes I forget how lucky we are to have so many all-terrain playgrounds in our backyard. Reading this issue’s feature on “Seattle’s Great Escapes” reminded me there’s a whole lot of ground out there I still haven’t covered.

My husband and I haven’t decided if we’ll head east or west this summer. First, I need to work on getting that Go-Go’s song out of my head.

Until next month,
rachel.hart@seattlemag.com

P.S. I’m still a Washington coast girl at heart and in case you are, too, we recently dedicated a cover story to our favorite coastal getaways. Visit seattlemag.com and look under “guides.”