Washington State
WASHINGTON State has earned the nickname ‘Evergreen State’ – and it’s certainly a very appropriate term as I discovered while travelling around this picturesque corner of the United States.
After spending a few days in the bustling metropolis of Seattle, I was keen to discover the beautiful unspoilt scenery of the famous Olympic Peninsula.
But first we took a ferry from Mukilteo (about half an hour outside Seattle) and arrived at Clinton on Whidbey Island.
The scenic islands which lie between Washington State and Canada are ideal for whale watching expeditions – however during this visit we remained on terra firma for our activities.
After driving through Deception Pass, which is a stunning strait separating Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands, we spent a night in the charming seaside city of Anacortes.
As it is conveniently situated halfway between Seattle and Vancouver in British Columbia, Anacortes is an ideal stop-off point if you are combining a holiday between both cities.
As well as availing of whale watching and water sports, visitors to Anacortes can also embark of numerous walking trails which are dotted around the surrounding countryside.
The following day, we took a ferry from Coupeville across to Port Townsend – ready to embark on an exploration of the Olympic Peninsula.
Port Townsend is a quaint seaside town which has retained its impressive Victorian architecture.
The Port Townsend Historic District, an area including many of the well preserved Victorian-era buildings, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.
Nearby Fort Worden, which was originally designed as a US Army military base to protect Puget Sound, is also well worth exploring.
The 434-acre park is now used to host many different events and was a central filming location for 1980s classic ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ starring Richard Gere.
We stopped off in Sequim (famed for its Lavender Festival held each July) which is a good base for exploring the Peninsula.
The snow-capped peaks overlooking Sequim signalled that we had reached the Olympic National Park.
First up was a hike to Hurricane Ridge which, as the name suggests, is quite a blustery spot!
However, it was worth braving the elements to reach a vantage point which offered stunning views.
As we made our way towards Hurricane Ridge, we marvelled at unspoilt views of nearby Vancouver Island and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
After working up a healthy appetite from an energetic hike, it was time to stop off for lunch at Lake Crescent Lodge on the shores of picturesque Lake Crescent.
After a sumptuous lunch in a tranquil setting it was time to embark on further travels through stunning forestry.
We made our way through what seemed like a continuous green canopy as we progressed towards the town of Forks.
For any fans of the huge Twilight series, Forks will need no introduction.
The town was plucked from obscurity by author Stephenie Meyer and used as the setting for the adventures of Bella Swan, vampire Edward Cullen, werewolf Jacob Black and the many other characters which readers across the world have come to know and love.
Due to the phenomenal success of the books and the film adaptations, Forks has capitalise on this global recognition and quirky references to Twilight are evident throughout the town.
Tongue-in-cheek signage dotted throughout the surrounding countryside warns visitors of approaching vampires and werewolves.
While in the area, we visited many of the beaches which are referenced in the Twilight series such as La Push.
The stunning beaches along this stretch of coastline contain huge drift wood logs washed up by the mighty Pacific Ocean.
And a visit to a location such as Rialto Beach at sunset is a must.
If Twilight isn’t you thing, then a visit to Forks Timber Museum offers a break from the mayhem of vampires and werewolves.
The museum displays exhibits relating to the area’s logging industry and should please visitors of all ages.
During our progression further down the Olympic Peninsula coastline, we stayed at Kalaloch Lodge.
Belinda Carlisle famously sang ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ in her huge 1980s hit of the same name.
Well, that statement certainly applies to Kalaloch Lodge which is an oasis of calm and tranquillity and a great base for exploring the Olympic Peninsula.
We had planned to visit Hoh Rain Forest but unfortunately the access route was blocked as a result of storm damage.
This can often be the case in the Olympic National Park due to the area’s often wild weather.
However there are no shortage of alternative and lesser known trails to explore.
Instead, we headed for the area around Quinault Lake where we enjoyed an exhilarating hike through beautiful, unspoilt countryside.
So, if you’re after a holiday which combines a city break with a chance to explore the Great Outdoors, then Seattle and Washington State certainly ticks all the boxes.
For further information on Seattle and Washington State visit www.Seattle-WashingtonState.co.uk or the following social media pages: www.facebook.com/SeattleWashingtonStateUK, www.twitter.com/Seattle_WAUK
Anacortes: Majestic Inn & Spa, 419 Commercial Ave, Anacortes
Sequim: Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 1441 E Washington St, Sequim
Forks: Forks Motel, 351 S Forks Ave, Forks
Kalaloch: Kalaloch Lodge, Olympic National Park, 157151 US-101, Forks