The Olympic Peninsula and Seattle, a Sense of Place

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THE OLYMPIC PENINSULA & SEATTLE: A SENSE OF PLACE
By Linda Milks

 

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Travel writer Linda Milks discusses her adventures in Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Spreaker, PodBean, or SoundCloud.

 

The Pacific Northwest has a mystical quality about it, saturated with natural beauty. It’s about the lakes, clear streams, and the ocean. It’s about the giant Sitka spruces, firs, and hemlocks with a lush undergrowth of lichen, moss, and mushrooms. The rugged mountains are draped in shades of soft blues and grays and the morning mist that settles in them. The bounty of the farms and the ocean. The feeling of being dwarfed by the size and majesty of the area. To me, it’s all about a sense of place rather than a particular place.

A fellow writer and I explored the Olympic Peninsula and the charming city of Seattle for seven days.

The Pacific Northwest is home to a huge apple industry along with premier cideries, wineries, and breweries. Visit Finnriver Farm & Cidery, an organic farm built on dairy farmland originally owned by an Indigenous Chimacum tribal member. Try their Shaded Stream Cider with hints of elderberries, elderflowers, and aged red cedar created by Sommelier Andrew Wiese.

At the 25-year-old Camaraderie Cellars, we met co-owner Vicki Corson who enlightened us on their delicious and award-winning wines. Our favorites were the rosé and the cabernet franc. Then we trekked over to Harbinger Winery which is set in a converted logging truck shop, and features “out of the ordinary” varietals.

On the first part of our trip, we stayed at Lake Crescent Lodge in Olympic National Park. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007, it consists of the original lodge and three cabins built in 1915. The beauty of Lake Crescent from both the lodge and cabins is reason enough to enjoy a stay. Cabins are nestled under giant fir and hemlock trees, a throwback to an earlier era with simple yet pleasant cabin-like interiors. The main lodge with its antique furnished lounge (built using lumber from the surrounding area) and large fireplace provides a great setting to have a glass of wine. Don’t miss the Lakefront Dining Room, winner of the “Washington Wine First Award for Fine Dining,” with delicacies like Penn Cove Mussels, fresh halibut, and salmon fished by the local indigenous people.

Boating and hiking are natural activities when staying at Lake Crescent Lodge. The 1.8 mile-round-trip-hike to Marymere Falls provided spectacular views of the stunning falls. The lush undergrowth of ferns, lichen, and mushrooms as well as enormous old-growth fir and hemlocks along wooden railed paths is a delight of natural majesty.

Hurricane Ridge is aptly named for its huge gusts of wind. During warmer weather, it’s said that the Visitor Center is a great starting place. There, on a clear day, you can see the steep ridges of 19 mountain tops, as well as the deep valleys below that were originally formed from the seafloor.

The Hoh Rain Forest on the Hall of Mosses Trail awed President Franklin D. Roosevelt so much that in 1938, he established it as a national park. The lush canopy of varying shades of green is kept moist by over 12 feet of rain a year.

Drive to Ruby Beach, a photographer’s dream with the expansive sandy beach, waves whipping foam into the air, and massive sea stacks jutting out of the ocean.

Our next lodging was Lake Quinault Lodge which offers a luxurious stay in the Fireplace Rooms featuring a gas burning fireplace, king bed, heated bathroom floor, and amazing views of the lake. Inside the lodge, you’ll find a lounge area with a giant fireplace and classic leather furniture. The Roosevelt Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Save room for some marionberry pie!  If you want to walk off some of those delicious meals, check out the world’s largest Sitka spruce tree across the meadow from the lodge or walk the 1.7 mile Cascade Falls Loop to a sparkling waterfall.

After all this natural beauty, we drove to Seattle, a gutsy, sophisticated city with a history of gold miners, fishermen, ladies of the night, loggers, and farmers, that now boasts some of the best restaurants, breweries, and wine bars in the country.

We stayed at the historic boutique Hotel Sorrento. The 1909 hotel features unique rooms and Italian Renaissance-style architecture. The hotel lobby’s rich mahogany-walled entrance leads to the elegant Fireside Room. If you like great cocktails and exquisite wine offerings as well as Italian-inspired dishes featuring locally sourced seafood, Stella, located in the Hotel Sorrento, is your spot.

Pike Place Market is home to Seattle’s original and largest incubator of small businesses, a culturally diverse group of vendors with over 220 independently owned shops and restaurants. Founded in 1907, it is one of the oldest and largest continually operating public markets. It is the “soul” of Seattle.  We took an informative and fun food tour, Eat Seattle, where we tasted some of the best of Pike Place Market while hearing stories from our chef/tour guide. It’s a great way to experience a lot of the market in a short period of time. Make sure you sample the chowder at Pike Place Chowder!

A designated landmark, the Space Needle is an icon. Board the elevator to the observation deck for a magnificent view of the city. It was built in 1962 for the World’s Fair and at one time was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. Leave time for photos at the top while sitting on tilting glass benches and walking on the world’s first and only revolving glass floor.

I never tire of the brilliantly shaped and brightly colored glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly. These magnificent works surround you as you walk through Chihuly Garden and Glass. Master Artist Chihuly, after receiving a Fulbright scholarship, worked at the Venini glass factory in Venice where he developed the team approach that he uses today.

The Olympic Peninsula and Seattle give a sense of place that speaks of the true Pacific Northwest.

We appreciate being hosted on this trip so that we can share the magnificence of the area. Plan your visit at https://olympicpeninsula.org/ and https://visitseattle.org/.

Linda Milks specializes in exploring all that is food, wine, and travel with a hearty supply of curiosity and enjoyment. Connecting with people to learn about their activities, environment, culture, food, and wine inspire her to write for others to capture the reader and rouse an interest in discovering new horizons. Sometimes it’s the hidden gems that bring Linda the most joy. Linda serves on the executive board of the International Food, Wine & Travel Association (IFWTWA) as the Treasurer. She is also a member of the Wine Review Council, a group that reviews local, national, and international wines. Follow her adventures at https://toastingfoodwinetravel.com/

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