Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Our Trip to the Pacific Northwest

About 6 months ago Noah and I had a thought. "We should totally take a road trip to Seattle then drive down the coast to Portland." We aren't sure why we chose those places but it's just somewhere we've always wanted to visit. We aren't beach people, if we had our choice between Hawaii or Alaska, we'd choose Alaska hands down. We are mountainous, tree dwelling king of people. Oh and we love the rain. So now I guess it makes sense why we wanted to visit the rainiest of all rainy places. 

We loaded up the car on a warm Friday and hit the road for the PNW. I was worried, super worried. The longest drive Finn has been on was 4 hours, and that seemed like A LONG TIME. But he did so amazing! He was happy, he napped in his seat when he got tired and he kept busy playing with his beads and listening to Siri's navigation. 


Our first stop was in Yakima, Washington. We'd been driving for almost 9 hours at this point and we decided we'd bunk there for the night. It was dark so I can't really tell you what the town was like. The next morning we packed up and took off for Seattle. We made a pit stop in Snoqualmie to visit the falls, which were incredible! We then went to lunch in Issaquah. Issaquah holds a special place in my heart because my dad lived there as a kid, it was a cute town.

We made it to Seattle! The first item of business was the Ballard Locks. The locks are basically the divide between the salt water of the Puget Sound and the freshwater of the Lakes. It was cool to see the Salmon jumping up the ladders. We then went to Archie McPhee's which is a toy and novelty store, we dinked around in there for a while then headed downtown.

For the rest of the evening we bummed around the waterfront. We got Finn a corn dog, took a ride on The Great Wheel, and watched the boats come in and out.


On our second day we got up bright and early and hopped on a ferry to Bainbridge Island. We loved Bainbridge! We stopped at a little coffee shop for a drink and pastry while Finn took a snoozer in his stroller. Then we walked up and down the main street, in and out of shops. We hopped back in the car and drove to the next island, looped around and stopped in Bremerton. The highlight of Bremerton was that it had some naval ships you could tour. It was a Sunday so most of the shops were closed, we didn't stay long. We took the ferry back to Seattle, which was a beautiful ride.

Food was always on our minds during the trip so we jumped off the ferry and decided where our next meal would be. We decided on a little BBQ joint called Bitterroot BBQ that we read had good reviews. We loved this place, if you're in the Seattle area we definitely recommend it. They're pulled chicken was to die for and Finn's macaroni and cheese was the best I've ever had. This little restaurant was in a part of Seattle named Ballard. We instantly fell in love with Ballard, it was quaint with an old city vibe.


Up again bright and early and off to the Space Needle. I just have to say one thing about these touristy spots. You kind of have to do them just because, when in Rome, right? If I could go back I'd probably not go to the Space Needle, it was expensive and super packed. Also, heights are not my friend. After the Space Needle we went to Pike Place Market. I wish we would have went earlier in the morning to see more of the fish throwing business but we had fun walking around and looking at all the different shops, vendors and yum yum food. We grabbed some pastries from Piroshky Piroshky, a little Russian bakery in Pike Place. They had the most delicious savory and sweet pastries. I'd definitely recommend trying a few. After Pike Place we had to stop by the Post Alley gum wall. It was seriously gross and mind boggling but you just gotta do it.

We had decided at this point we were kind of tired of crowds and tourists so we looked up some parks to visit. We first went to Golden Gardens Park which is actually a beach. It was so beautiful and we had fun finishing our pastries and playing in the sand. Then we went to Kerry Park which is a quaint little park nestled in a neighborhood. The great thing about his park is the amazing view of the city! That night we met up with my sweet friend Dani who was my roommate in college, it was fun to see her and we ate at an awesome diner, Lost Lake Cafe.

That concluded our stay in Seattle, we absolutely loved this city. We got lucky and barely had any rain while we were there and the scenery is just beautiful. So quick recap, here are the things we loved seeing and places we ate at.

Seattle, must see attractions:
  • Ballard Locks
  • Archie McPhee's
  • Great Wheel
  • Waterfront
  • Ferry to Bainbridge Island (Bremerton was ok, but we liked Bainbridge best.)
  • Shopping in Ballard
  • Space Needle (eh, you just have to do it cause it's the Space Needle, am I right?)
  • Pike Place Market
  • Post Alley Gum Wall
  • Golden Gardens Park
  • Kerry Park
Seattle, places to eat:
  • Bitterroot BBQ
  • Piroshky Piroshky Russian Bakery
  • Daily Dozen Donuts
  • Lost Lake Cafe


The fourth day consisted of a lot of driving. Instead of heading straight south to Portland we decided to take the long way, driving around the peninsula along Highway 101. We are glad we did because it was a beautiful drive along the coast. We stopped in Port Angeles for lunch and a quick walk around to stretch our legs then it was off to Forks! Ok, I'm not like a die hard Twilight fan, but the 18 year old inner me was pretty stoked! Forks is a sleepy little town, nothing really like the book/movie but it did own up to it's reputation of overcast and rainy. Oh and we didn't stumble upon any vampires. Before we got settled in our hotel we wanted to stop by the Hoh National Rain Forest. I'd heard incredible things about this forest and it did not disappoint. It was insanely beautiful! Green and moss everywhere! I felt like I was in a fairy forest. Wildlife all over, this sweet little deer I named Ip, followed us around the whole time. Then as we came out of the forest we stumbled upon an elk, he was just chilling on the grass, we walked right up to him and he couldn't have cared less. This may have been one of our favorites parts of the trip, you know us, nature people. When we got back to Forks it was dark so we had dinner across the street from our motel (Forks Motel... so authentic). We attempted to watch Twilight that night, how legit would that have been? But the wifi wasn't working. Wah wah wah.


This was another long day of driving. We really wanted to stop in Astoria, Oregon. We've heard great things about this little town, plus a few movies have been filmed there. Kindergarten Cop and Goonies anyone? We had lunch at little restaurant called Baked Alaska, you can imagine why we chose this place (Alaska fanatics). Such yummy food, Finn had grilled salmon like an adult. We then walked around downtown and peeked our head in at all the shops. We then went to the Astoria Column. 260 stairs up... Noah held Finn. Our last stop in Astoria was the Goonies house. The house has residents so you can't go in or anything but just being there was good enough for me. Goonies never say die! Then it was back on the road. We made it to Portland that evening, had some pizza and hit the hay.


Portland! The city of breweries, beards and food trucks. First stop, Japanese Garden. It was really beautiful and we got some great ideas for landscaping our backyard. Next up, Voodoo Doughnuts. You can't not go to Voodoo when in Portland. They have the most bizarro doughnuts, some a bit scary. But all delicious. Next up we walked around downtown. I had to stop at the Ace Hotel, I'd seen pictures of the lobby and fell madly in love. Its rustic decor is charming. Then we took a ride on the Aerial Tram. It's a sky tram that takes you from the Waterfront up to Marquam Hill. Then we headed back to the hotel. This was the best hotel experience we've ever had. Every night they served soup and warm cookies. Talk about service! 


Our last day. This was the first day we weren't out of our hotel room by 9 am. We slept in, ate the delicious continental breakfast and then we were out the door to explore more of Portland. We had lunch at a yummy food truck that serves nothing but grilled cheese. But these aren't your average grilled cheese, they're fancy. And the best part is the eating area is an old remodeled bus. After lunch we hit up the local Goodwill, Goodwills are expensive in Portland unfortunately. Then we took Noah to get a barber cut at a cool shop called Bart's Barber Shop. For dinner we met up with my aunt and uncle who live near Portland. We ate at a yummy Latin American restaurant called Sabor Savadoreno. This was our last night in the Pacific Northwest. The next day we got up packed the car and headed east. We stayed the night in Boise and then drove the last 4 hours on Sunday. By the time we made it home we were beat and so grateful to be back.

Portland attractions:

  • Japanese Garden
  • Aerial Tram
  • Ace Hotel
Places to eat:

  • Voodoo Doughnuts
  • Grilled Cheese Grill
  • Twilight Pizza Bistro
  • Sabor Savadoreno

Our trip was seriously amazing. Finn was incredible the entire time, not one single meltdown. The kid was a trooper. We loved being in the Pacific Northwest. The rain, cool weather and lush trees are right up our alley and we enjoyed every place we visited. We're already thinking about our next family trip. Where to, where to?

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