1. Bainbridge Island
Though it’s only a half-hour ferry ride from Colman Dock, Bainbridge Island (see photo above) feels a world away. First, explore the shops and eateries in the quaint, walkable downtown area of Winslow, then find farm-to-table fare at award-winning restaurant Hitchcock nearby. Washington’s wine scene is on par with Napa and Sonoma, and on Bainbridge, you can sip Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay at Eagle Harbor Wine and Amelia Wynn Winery. Before heading back, see works from local artists at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.
The glacier-capped volcano of Mount Rainier looms behind Seattle — the crater summit is 4,392 high. This spectacular peak, its surrounding wildflower meadows and old-growth forests are protected by Mount Rainier National Park. Picturesque hikes abound, many of the best starting from the Paradise Visitor Centre, a two-and a- half-hour drive from Seattle. Scenic trails promising views of glowing blue glaciers and abundant wildlife start right from the parking lot. Rangers at the visitor centre can provide updates on weather and trail conditions. Fun fact: Its ice caves and lake are being studied due to their similar conditions to Mars and the moons of Jupiter
The fish hook-shaped fjord of Hood Canal, about an hour and a half from Seattle by car, is a rewarding day trip for seafood lovers. Start your day exploring the fjord and the view of the crags of Olympic National Park – from a kayak or paddleboard rented from Alderbrook Resort and Spa. Then, head to the canal-side town of Hoodsport to sip wines at the Stottle Winery Tasting Room and try small-batch gins and vodkas at the Hardware Distillery.
Hungry? Drive 15 minutes up the road to the Hama Hama Oyster Saloon. Here, tangy smoke from barbecuing oysters floats over wooden picnic tables just steps from where the shellfish were harvested. Or stop back in at Alderbrook; its waterfront restaurant serves up fresh-caught seafood dishes paired with respected Washington wines.
The high-speed Victoria Clipper whisks travellers to Victoria, Canada in under three hours, journeying through whale-inhabited waters. Here, learn about First Nations culture at the Royal BC Museum. Sip tea at the posh Fairmont Empress Hotel. Eat fresh seafood at the floating kiosks of Fisherman’s Wharf and sample local beer with harbour views at Spinnaker’s Gastro Brewpub. The return boat leaves at 6pm and gets you back by bedtime.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.
This article was originally published in the September 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine