Seattle's Great Escapes 2010
Category: Seattlepi.com featured stories
Places tried and true lure us back to discover what's new
Seattle's Great Escapes
There’s nothing like returning to a place that holds special memories—and stands ready to inspire new ones. Like a favorite pair of jeans, a cherished vacation spot is comfortable, versatile. And even though everyone you know has a similar pair, your jeans remain, well, yours. A perfect fit. * Such is the appeal of Seattle’s favorite getaway spots—places near and dear and so familiar, yet adaptable enough to offer limitless possibilities. It’s why we keep going back to Friday Harbor and Lake Chelan, to Sun Valley and Bend, to the glorious Methow Valley. * Familiarity breeds contentment—an easy, gratifying acceptance of the already known and the readily knowable. It seems each time we return, there’s something new, or something we hadn’t noticed before. And so we revisit Seattle’s favorite destinations this month—and we take a few side trips to some newer “stand-alone” resorts worth exploring the next time you’re packing your jeans into a travel bag.
Sapphire skies and long sunny days, the buzz of Jet Skis, the scent of sunblock, the sizzle of burgers at a roadside drive-in: This is what Chelan has meant to generations of Seattle families who have made visiting it an annual summer rite. Now home to a burgeoning wine industry, the little lakeside village is attracting big-city attention and weekend wine sippers. Even so, Chelan’s casual, friendly air remains, and flip-flops are definitely still welcome.
To Seattleites, perhaps nothing symbolizes getting away from it all as aptly as the ferry ride from Anacortes to San Juan Island, where time, for the most part, has been standing still for decades. Driftwood-festooned beaches, winding country roads, seaside ice cream stands and spirited whale-scouting tours are tonic to weary city souls. But just because we’re setting our watches to island time doesn’t mean we have to forgo the cultured life. Friday Harbor, the only incorporated town in San Juan County, is a bustling metropolis compared to anywhere else within an hour’s boat ride. Whether you linger over roasted beets with goat cheese, followed by pan-seared sea scallops in the plush dining room at Backdoor Kitchen, or get takeout from Mi Casita or China Pearl and scarf it down on the rocks at Lime Kiln State Park as the sun slips behind Vancouver Island, you’ll be glad Friday Harbor was there for you when you needed it.
The stress of daily life falls away as you drive to the Methow Valley over the spectacular North Cascades Highway. Surrounded by the glacial peaks of the North Cascades, and gateway to the vastness of the Okanogan National Forest, the Pasayten Wilderness and the Sawtooth Wilderness, the Methow lures Seattleites back again and again. A trio of small towns in the 50-mile-long valley attracts bold adventurers and seekers of quiet. From Mazama to the Western-themed Winthrop and finally to Twisp, outfitters will take visitors to secret fishing spots and on hot-air-balloon rides, river-rafting trips, mountain climbs, horseback rides and mountain-bike adventures. Or they'll happily let you kick back and do nothing.
In the middle of Oregon, Bend is a town of seeming contradictions