Posts Tagged ‘Olympia’

Olympia

Driving distance from:Seattle: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Portland: 1 hour, 51 minutes

Ellensburg: 2 hours, 34 minutes

Bellingham: 2 hours, 39 minutes

The Washington State capitol building in Olympia

 

 

Founded: 1850 (According to the City of Olympia web site)

Population: 46,100 (2009 U.S. Census estimate)

Name Origin: Resident Isaac N. Ebey suggested the name in homage of the nearby Olympic Mountains. (City of Olympia web site)

Did you know … an Olympia Dairy Queen sold the world’s first soft serve ice cream (According to 50states.com).

Olympia is Washington’s capitol city, and as such often gets the most attention for its involvement in government. But if you just want to have some fun sans the political talk, check out my favorite spots to visit there.

Andrea’s Favorite:

Archibald Sisters in downtown Olympia

Quirky Store: Archibald Sisters. One thing’s for certain when you go into this store – you never know what you’ll find: jewelry boxes, handmade postcards, word magnets in various languages, dashboard Jesus bobble head dolls, buttons with political messages, basically anything you can fathom. I’m always surprised at least once by some merchandise whenever I visit. You’re bound to leave with something unique, or least have a good laugh.

Dancing Goats Espresso Bar near Olympia's Farmers Market

Coffee Shop: Dancing Goats Espresso Bar. While you’re visiting the farmer’s market, stop by Dancing Goats, which boasts coffee beans from all over the world. The shop also sells Fair Trade coffee, a company which ensures that the coffee beans were purchased from a farmer who was given a fair price for his product. I’ve never had a bad experience there, in terms of service or coffee.

Olympia's Farmers Market

Place to Shop: The Olympia Farmers Market. Sandwiched between the creatively named East Bay and West Bay, this market offers more than fruits and veggies. Here you can find restaurants serving foods of various nationalities, half a dozen bakeries, florists, seafood, and occasional live music. When you’re done shopping, stroll down the Olympia boardwalk, which, of course, is always free.

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Forks

 

Driving distance from:

Port Angeles: 1 hour, 2 minutes

Olympia: 2 hours, 56 minutes

Seattle: 3 hours, 11 minutes

Portland: 4 hours, 26 minutes

Bird's Eye View of Forks

 

 

 

 

 

Founded: 1945 (According to the City of Forks web site)

Population: 3,349 (2009 U.S. Census U.S. Census estimate)

Name Origin: Forks was named after the forks in the nearby Quillayute, Bogachiel, Calawah and Sol Duc rivers (According to the Olson’s Cabin web site).

Did You Know … in 1951, a fire destroyed nearly 38,000 acres of forest near Forks overnight. It was a huge blow to the community’s large lumber industry.

I should admit right off the bat that I’ve never been to Forks. However, since it’s a popular tourist destination, and since my fabulous housemate Caitlin hails from the town, I figured it would be a great place to feature. You probably already know that Forks is the primary location for the wildly popular Twilight series. Twilight- and vampire-themed attractions abound in Forks, and you’re sure to find them without trying. But if you’d like to experience the town through the eyes of a local, read on.

Caitlin’s Favorite:

Three Rivers

 

Restaurant: Three Rivers Resort. Caitlin recommends the Bogie Burger and the Quill Burger (named after the Bogachiel and Quilayute Rivers). If the weather’s cooperating, take your burger and strawberry milkshake to Rialto Beach. In addition to the restaurant, Three Rivers is also in part a family-run campground and convenient store.

The trail near Third Beach

 

Freebie: Hiking. Forks is an outdoors lover’s dream, with dozens of trails near the town. Caitlin’s personal favorites are Second Beach and Third Beach. She says the latter in particular offers some gorgeous views. Before planning your hike, check the forecast, as Forks receives a lot of rain. That said, summer is clearly the best time to hike. Caitlin describes the hikes around Forks as, “nature at its best.”

A parade from Forks' Old Fashioned Fourth of July

 

Summer activity: Forks’ Old-Fashioned Fourth of July. This event covers not just the actual day of the fourth, but a weekend of events leading up to the day. Highlights are the salmon bake by the Lion’s Club, the popular demolition derby, and a parade down Main Street with floats, logging trucks, demolition cars, and fair royalty from neighboring towns. But the main event is the impressive firework display at dusk. Best of all, you can be entertained by the events for an hour, a day, or a weekend and not spend a penny.

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Seattle

 

 

Driving distance from:

Olympia: 1 hour, 7 minutes

Vancouver, B.C.:  2 hours, 33 minutes

Portland: 2 hours, 55 minutes

Spokane: 4 hours, 39 minutes 

Seattle skyline

 

 

 

 

 

Founded: 1851 (according to the City of Seattle web site)

 Population: 616,627 (2009 U.S. Census estimate)

Name Meaning: Derivative of Sealth, a Duwamish Indian leader who helped early settlers.

Did You Know … Seattle is the hometown of musician Jimi Hendrix, billionaire Bill Gates , and comedian Ryan Stiles.

Ah, Seattle. The Seahawks. The rain. The geoducks (Really now, where else can you get all three?). Seattle is the twenty-third largest city in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census. You probably already have an idea of what you can expect from a city of that size: dense traffic, no parking, and overpriced everything. To a degree, you’d be right, but I’m going introduce you to some fun, cheap ideas to do there that will hopefully change that perspective of the emerald city.

Andrea’s Favorite:

Just a sample of the abundant produce you'll find at Pike Place

 

Freebie: Pike Place Market. Yes, I realize a market isn’t usually considered a “freebie,” but this truly is a place where you can spend no money and still have fun, I promise. I once spent an afternoon here with a group of friends on a scavenger hunt. We scoured different booths and stores for what we were looking for, took a picture, and moved on to the next item on our list. It was a great way to orient myself with the market and have fun with friends, and it didn’t cost a dime.

One of Pike Place's famous fish thowers

If you do decide break out your wallet, however, you are sure to find whatever you need at Pike Place. Nicknamed the “Soul of Seattle,” this diverse market has over 400 merchants, selling art, clothing, jewelry, flowers, farm produce, groceries, wine, homemade crafts, kitchen supplies, and so on and so forth. If you’re famished from shopping, eat at one of the market’s 66 restaurants. You also might want to check out the world’s first Starbucks, in front of which you will occasionally hear an amazing a cappella group in the winter. Also, don’t miss the famous fish throwers at Pike Place Fish Co.

Restaurant: Ivar’s. If you’re on a budget, make sure you go to Ivar’s Pier 54 Fish Bar, not the adjacent Ivar’s Acres of Clams. Both serve delicious food and are located on the beautiful Seattle waterfront, but Pier 54 is about half the price. It is also outdoors but offers a covered dining area. Pier 54 has a fast food atmosphere to it, and its menu is a bit smaller, but the food is just as good as Acres of Clams.

Safeco field, home field of the Mariners

Discount: Go to a Mariners game. Seats start at just $7. I’ve sat in the cheapest seats and didn’t feel like the experience was worse than any other seat I’ve had. Occasionally, packaged group ticket deals are offered on the Mariners’ web site, such as four tickets, four hot dogs, and four drinks for $90. And while you’re getting food, have some garlic fries for me (cue watering mouth). Also, you can park for free by Sears, less than one mile from the stadium.

 

 

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