Silver Cloud Hotel Now Open!

In just one visit to this lovely new hotel located right on the banks of the Puget Sound, you will be hooked. If it isn’t the amazing panoramic views from nearly everywhere in the hotel, it will be the wonderful little touches throughout the building that elevate it to extraordinary.

Located at Point Ruston Waterfront, the new Silver Cloud Hotel is set in the heart of a planned urban village with upscale dining, local shops selling everything from clothing to local wines and meats, a movie theater, and several fun bars. With walking trails, and just a few minutes’ drive to downtown Tacoma, the new hotel’s location is ideal both for people wanting to experience the South Sound on vacation or for those coming on for business stays.

According to the General Manager, Justine Kunz, “the ownership of the Silver Cloud brand is hyper-focused on creating an experience with exquisite hotel accommodations and luxury-style amenities.”

Those Silver Cloud amenities include a signature rooftop pool that will be open year-round, an exciting dining experience with an open kitchen concept and tremendous water views from every table, and spa services by the fall of 2021. Spa Serein will be a luxury oasis with massage, saunas, nail service, facials, and several Northwest-inspired specialty treatments.

Spacious guest rooms and suites, each with fantastic water or village views, greet each guest. The Silver Cloud Hotel Ruston features a state-of-the-art 3,000 square foot fitness center as well, for guests’ exclusive use.

Extensive conference facilities include a 5,400 square foot grand ballroom with an outdoor terrace, and smaller conference rooms for more intimate gatherings. There is secured parking available with the convenience of valet services.

The Silver Cloud brand is rooted in the Pacific Northwest, with eleven hotels across Washington and Oregon. To learn more about the new Silver Cloud at Ruston Way, visit silvercloud.com/pointruston.

LYNN CASTLE

Hikes that Define Washington

There is nothing quite like summer in the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy the longer days by adding these easy Washington hikes to the top of your to-do list and start exploring in your own backyard.

Staircase Rapids in Olympic National Park

Follow the stunning Lake Cushman along its north shore to discover handfuls of trailheads that will take you to the heart of the Eastern Olympics. Staircase Rapids trail is a very short loop that leads you through lush forests along the North Fork Skokomish River, offering several places to step off the trail and soak your feet in its glacial blue waters. If adventure still calls, check out the demanding Mount Rose trail, among others, or explore Cushman’s many day-use areas.
nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/visiting-staircase.htm

Cape Alava Loop on the Pacific Coast

The Cape Alava Loop, also known as the Ozette Triangle, showcases the best of Washington’s coast. Here you will find old boardwalks that wander through towering old growth forests, and then finally open up to the stony shores of the Pacific Ocean below. Wild life abounds as eagles, sea lions, otters and even black bears call this dynamic coast their home. Be sure to check the tides while planning your trip.
nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/ozette-loop.htm

Lava Canyon In Gifford Pinchot National Forest

The Muddy River that flows through Lava Canyon is anything but. These crystal blue waters etch their way into what was once a molten lava field, courtesy of Mount St. Helens. The trail begins as a paved ADA accessible path that ends at a waterfall viewpoint, then increases in difficulty as it descends into the canyon below. (At the time of publication, the suspension bridge was closed; please check current status before heading out.) Also nearby, check out the Trail of Two Forests and Ape Caves (when it reopens due to COVID closures) for even more fascinating volcanic geology.
fs.usda.gov/recarea/giffordpinchot/recarea/?recid=41610

Ancient Lakes in Central Washington

Located just east of the Columbia River Gorge, Ancient Lakes and its surrounding lakes are nestled below columns of basalt cliffs, offering a myriad of multi-use trails and recreational fishing opportunities. This desert area is very exposed, so bring appropriate protection. Explore nearby Dusty Lake, discover waterfalls around every turn, and be sure to stop for a wine tasting at one of the many wineries on your way back home.
wdfw.wa.gov/places-to-go/water-access-sites/30178

Packwood Lake in Goat Rocks Wilderness

Packwood Lake has a little bit of everything that the Pacific Northwest is best known for: mossy forests, a clear blue lake, bubbling creeks and peaks that peer from above. Plus, it’s dog friendly. Take the short loop around Packwood Lake to find camping, fishing and swimming opportunities for all. Don’t forget the bug spray!
fs.usda.gov/recarea/giffordpinchotrecarea/?recid=32104

DELANEY DVORAK

4 Trips on 2 Wheels in the Greater Olympia

The weather is now warmer and we are ready to get out of the house and explore the region on two wheels. Imagine the wind in your hair without a care as you explore the flat, paved biking trails and parks in the greater Olympia area.

  1. The Chehalis Western Trail is a quiet, scenic 22 miles heading south from Olympia. You’ll be near Olympic Crest Coffee Roasters in Lacey just about the time you get thirsty for a hot or iced beverage. Farther along the trail, take a break to explore over 100 sculptures and the maze at Monarch Sculpture Park. The Chehalis Western Trail ends at the intersection with the Yelm-Tenino Trail.
  2. Millersylvania State Park has 7 miles of bike trails to explore, a fun outing with young riders in your family. You will need a Discover Pass to enter the park.
  3. The Yelm-Tenino Trail connects several small towns along 14 miles of its eastwest route. Enjoy water views at McIntosh Lake and Cochrane Memorial Park. Stop for sweet treats at Main Street Cookie Company in Rainier and count the historic sandstone buildings in Tenino. Watch for scheduling news about the popular farmers markets in Yelm and Tenino.
  4. Farms, wineries and attractions on the Thurston Bountiful Byway have revised schedules; check before you head out. Or, follow the map and simply enjoy miles of bountiful biking and save side visits for another day.

Willamette Valley Wine Escape

Oregon’s Willamette Valley winemaking presence grows larger each year. Located in the heart of Oregon, this valley showcases nearly 600 wineries.

We decided to focus our trip on the Eola Hills Wine Cellars, Legacy Estate Vineyard, and this 162-acre scenic vista draws us in. We are instantly drawn to the Estate’s “Wiking” wine-hiking trail as we enjoyed a light stroll through the vineyard vines while savoring heavenly sips of Eola’s own Muller-Thurgau sparkling wine. Named after the Greek god of the winds, Aeolus, the rolling emerald-hued hills of ‘Eola-Amity’, revealed to us a special destination, providing a reason to stay for the day.

Our Legacy Estate adventure continues as we enjoy plates of locally sourced charcuterie while tasting some of the finest top-tier reserve wines that Oregon has to offer. Katie Bass, Wine Club Manager shares, “Wine making is our passion, but creating a destination and unique experience for our guests is what we’d like to achieve here at the Legacy Estate.” Guests won’t be looking far for adventure. The Legacy Estate boasts a beautiful and sought-after outdoor wedding and special occasion venue.

Then we head to The Independence Hotel. This new gem is located just outside of Salem in the quaint town of Independence. Situated along the scenic Willamette River Water Trail, the Independence Hotel has made itself a bit of a cyclist’s mecca. Bike amenities include indoor and outdoor maintenance spaces complete with rinse-off station, tools and a bench. Rooms are designed elegantly and beautifully, all with designated spaces to store two bikes. Each room features local artistry that can be seen in the live-edge wood tables, cedar headboards, wall art and even handmade soaps.

Independence Hotel general manager Matt Smith shares, “Since opening day in late 2019, we’ve continued to be a favorite amongst locals and travelers to the area. We pride ourselves on building lasting relationships with our guests.”

As if the year wasn’t challenging enough, this hotel filled its 75+ rooms (at a steep discount) to house displaced families during the September wildfires that burned hundreds of acres in the region, forcing hundreds to evacuate their homes.

Our day was complete after a visit to dine at the Hotel’s Territory Restaurant. Its impressive menu boasts locally-sourced fresh food, wines, microbrews, cider and distilled spirits. Be sure to consider a take-away order and growler fill or wine bottle purchase and head up to hotel’s rooftop deck. Morning, afternoon or evening, guests discover beautiful views, elegant lounge-style seating, and fire tables to warm you on a cool evening. Looking for more peace and quiet? Consider reserving the custom-designed indoor hot tub/spa before retiring to your cozy room and private deck overlooking the great Willamette River.

The options for adventure are endless in this region. Whether you are looking for an outdoor adventure, shopping, or wine tasting, visit the beautiful Willamette Valley for a treasured experience with elevated offerings.

For Additional Information
Independence Hotel
theindependencehotel.com

Eola Hills Wine Cellars,
Legacy Estate Vineyard
eolahillswinery.com

BY DANA PETHIA

Whidbey Island: A Welcome Winter Escape

The perfect opportunity for a winter escape is just over the water on Whidbey Island. As you drive onto the ferry from the mainland to the island, you are transported across the Sound to a true adventure that is close to home, but feels much farther away.

To start your journey, be sure to stop by the adorable artist town of Langley. There are plenty of local boutique shopping options in town, as well as places to grab a bite to eat, like Braeburn Cafe. This eclectic bistro offers vibrant food that is sure to please, and owner Lisa Carvey and her staff know how to make guests feel at home in the café.

After shopping downtown, make a stop at Sweet Mona’s for handmade chocolates, caramels and truffles. Sweets are made in-house, and the owner invites visitors to try her artistic creations.

Grab breakfast at Sunshine Drip in Coupeville before heading off for the day! This adorable breakfast and lunch spot serves delicious food and has a cool vibe with plenty of fresh breakfast options and outdoor seating.

Enjoy shopping and galleries along Front Street NE, followed by lunch at the Oystercatcher. This restaurant serves up savory, sustainable, farm-to-table dining options created by owners Chef Tyler Hansen and Sara Hansen. The Oystercatcher also produces in-house breads made from local wheat, which are then featured at their sister location, the Little Red Hen Bakery.

For a creative way to relax, try your artistic hand at Marbley, where you can create your own silk scarf with water marbling. It’s an intuitive, fun, grounding, and mesmerizing art form where you float colors on water and move them with a comb or stylus. Then, when you have a pattern you want to save, you capture it on a silk scarf to take home.

There are plenty of fantastic dining options on Whidbey Island, and if Italian food is on your wishlist, check out Ciao during your vacation time. This family-owned business offers homemade local Italian cuisine made with finesse by Mark Laska and the entire Ciao family. They create wonderful meals for takeout or delivery.

For a day excursion, travel to Oak Harbor for a mouth-watering seafood lunch from the Seabolt’s Smokehouse. At Seabolt’s, seafood is smoked and processed daily in the open-air kitchen for a wonderful smell and fresh taste.

This escape would not be complete without exploring the trails and beaches at Deception Pass State Park where beautiful vistas and beaches await you.

Looking for an easy escape that is safe and has a multitude of options for food, art, shopping and outdoor activities with a laid back vibe? Whidbey Island is just a short drive and sail away! MORGAN LUCAS

For Additional Information:

whidbeycamanoislands.com|braeburnlangley.com |sweetmonas.com|sunshinedrip.com|oystercatcherwhidbey.com |ciaocoupeville.com|seabolts.com

Go-to Getaways in Washington

Do you need a break from your regular routine’s stress, but don’t want crowds or travel far? Find secluded bliss at four extraordinary Washington retreats. 

Cave B Resort- Quincy, WA

Stroll through lush vineyards, delight in a glass of Caveman Red at the tasting room and admire the incredible view of the Gorge from the central balcony. Cave B Resort is an elegant experience in the middle of beautiful farm country right next door to the famous Gorge Amphitheater. Lodge in prepared cavern rooms, lavish yurts, condos or cliff cottages that each overlook the breathtaking Columbia River. The resort is adorned in earthy tones, marble, rock slab, ornate iron furnishings and rustic paint detailing to reflect the area’s beauty and ancient history. The Inn offers a full delivery service of cuisine and drinks from their Tendrils restaurant to lesson interactions. *The spa and pool are closed until it is safe to reopen them.

Guemes Island Resort- Guemes Island,WA

Paradise awaits amongst the San Juan islands at Guemes Island Resort. Book a stay at one of the personal beach homes or cabins. Wake up to views of Mt. Baker, take a peaceful boat, kayak or paddleboard ride out on the water, reserve some alone time in the Dutch hot tub and sauna, or simply relax with a book and cup of coffee in the modern oceanside architecture and decor. *Massage therapy and recreation room are closed until it is safe to reopen them.

Cameo Heights Mansion- Touchet, WA

A truly unique bed and breakfast experience and an oasis sitting right on the Walla Walla River, the mansion contains several luxurious suites that each hold a different cultural theme. The themes come down to coloring, room details, complimentary food, and even floor placement. Consider the Greek suite, the ancient influence apparent in the wall art and furniture detailing, even in the Corinthian column bedposts. Test the Dubai room where you indulge in modernized Ottoman luxury- gold accents to a white-dressed room. Observe the Arabian lamps and bottle decoration. Feel romantic in the French suite that is complete with a luxurious standing bathtub and French doors that open to a private balcony- Parisian style. As only 14 guests total can stay at the BNB at a time, you will have all the safe distance you need. 

Little Owl Cabin- Packwood, WA

For some, an ideal getaway is rural and mountainous. The Little Owl A-frame cabin options are perfect for the ultimate private experience. The cabins are settled cozily in the woods and are magically quaint but still full of updated amenities for the most comfortable stay possible. Woodburning stoves, indoor bathrooms, hot tubs, books, TV (in some), fun furniture and decor. The best part is that Mt. Rainier National park is right next door if you need an adventure day.

From Slavery to the Founding of Centralia

Most people know that Washington state was named in honor of U.S. President George Washington. But did you know that there was another George Washington who played prominently in our state’s history? The founder of Centralia was also named George Washington. In recognition of his 200th birthday, the city’s residents are commemorating his life and good works in a yearlong celebration culminating with the unveiling of a bronze statue this past August.

Centralia’s George Washington was born Aug. 15, 1817, in Virginia to a white woman of English descent and a black man who was a slave. Knowing that her child with dark skin would likely be taken from her and eventually become a slave too, the mother asked a white couple to raise him as their own. Her friends James and Anna Cochran agreed. This set the stage for Washington to live a remarkable life, though one with many hardships as well.

Washington and the Cochrans eventually made the journey west to find, as Washington said, “any decent place in this world.” Together, through hard work and legal ingenuity, they acquired 640 acres where the Skookumchuck and Chehalis rivers join. This would become a settlement known as Centerville, and later Centralia.

As the community grew, George Washington lifted it up in every way he could. Stories about his generous spirit run deep. He cared for and supported his foster parents until their deaths. He took wagons to Portland to bring back rice and supplies to feed his neighbors during hard times. He paid others’ debts to stop foreclosure on their homes. He started the city’s first floral club because he loved flowers. He was the best in town at manning a barbecue, according to local lore.

“George Washington was not only a unique figure in Pacific Northwest and American history, but he was a really good man and someone who should be celebrated,” says Brian Mittge, chair of the George Washington Bicentennial Committee. “We invite everyone to join us in celebrating our founder.”

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For Additional Information
George Washington Bicentennial Committee
ourgeorgewashington.com

Ultimate Fall Getaway in Leavenworth

Ready for a midweek escape? Look no farther than Leavenworth, Washington, nestled on the east slope of the central Cascade Range. Fall’s cooler nights and shorter days mean the mountainous region comes alive with vibrant colors of orange, yellow and red, providing breathtaking views as you drive along the Cascade Loop Highway.

At an elevation of 1,200 feet, the Bavarian-themed village of Leavenworth provides an excellent base for enjoying outdoor activities your family will love. There are over 800 miles of accessible trails for hiking and biking. You can play a round of lateseason golf or miniature golf. Take a walk along the Wenatchee River at Waterfront Park. Visit an orchard to pick apples or pears. Pack a picnic at the Cheesemonger’s on Front Street and enjoy all the sights and sounds of Leavenworth in autumn. If you enjoy the arts, check out the events lineup of music, opera, theater, dance, films and more at Icicle Creek Center for the Arts.

While exploring the streets of downtown Leavenworth, you can imbibe in a little wine-tasting in any of 20 tasting rooms. Indulge in an afternoon of “retail therapy” in the shops, followed by some quiet time in Front Street Park. This beautifully landscaped park in the heart of downtown provides a welcoming respite after a busy day. It’s also the site for some of Leavenworth’s most exciting fall festivals and celebrations.

Stick around through the weekend to enjoy the Autumn Leaf Festival, Leavenworth’s original festival dating back to 1964. There’s also live music in the Gazebo, Art in the Park, Fall Wine Walk and Oktoberfest. Visitors from all over the country flock to scenic Leavenworth in September and October to indulge in traditional festivities, fantastic food and of course beer!

Take in a little sightseeing while immersing yourself in fabulous fall color. Head to Lake Wenatchee, located halfway between downtown Leavenworth and Stevens Pass. The 489-acre lake offers over 12,000 feet of waterfront with plenty of space to relax along the shore and take photos of the stunning fall scenery. The reflection of vibrant autumn colors on the lake is breathtaking.

Tumwater Canyon, located along the Stevens Pass highway, is one of the top fall-foliage viewing spots in the region. Along the way are multiple pull-off areas for incredible viewing—and photo opportunities—of the towering cliffs standing above the roaring Wenatchee River. Don’t forget your camera!

For information on places to stay and things to do in Leavenworth, visit leavenworth.org.

KELLY LENIHAN

Introducing Kids To Birding

Birds are the perfect hook for getting kids interested in nature. Children are mesmerized by nature, so a window into that world is all you need to get them started on this lifelong hobby.

Backyard bird feeders are a wonderful place to start. Neighborhood parks also provide endless potential for observing birds, as well as butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, toads, rocks, leaves and more. Many parks also have wetland areas, and since water birds are often large and conspicuous, ponds are enjoyable for beginning birders.

Birding as a Family When kids see an unusual bird or observe its entertaining behavior firsthand, they’ll be thrilled. To get started, consider attending a guided bird walk. Many local bird clubs, nature centers, parks and wildlife refuges offer regular walks. Your local Audubon Center is another treasure trove of information and is a great place to visit.

The younger your budding naturalist, the more important it is to be flexible. Rather than focusing solely on birds, encourage exploration and opportunities to discover something in the natural world. Perhaps the glimpse of a small animal—or something as simple as a caterpillar or pretty stone—becomes a lifelong memory.

For younger children, binoculars may be a bit tricky to master and can be frustrating. To start, skip identification and go on a bird-behavior scavenger hunt without the pressure of pinning down an exact species. Ask kids to watch for specific behaviors, from preening and perching to walking and hopping.
Bird Walks & Nature Trails Few things are more inspiring than exploring nature with children. With over 70 Metro Parks in the region, there are endless opportunities for birdwatching. Nature trails, woodlands or wetlands provide exciting opportunities for exploring nature and wildlife. Some locations offer scheduled guided walks.

KELLY LENIHAN

McMenamins Renovates the Elks Lodge

A crumbling façade is about to be reborn. For decades, the prominent Tacoma Elks Lodge has perched vacant on the hill at 565 Broadway downtown, not unlike a large white albatross. The substantial stone structure commands attention. Its stature, intricacy and lore have long beckoned to natives and passersby. Soon, thanks to the cultural and rehabilitative wizardry of McMenamins, we’ll be able to go inside.

McMenamins has an undeniable track record of crafting destinations that are inventive, engaging and charming. Using regional themes, local artists, carefully chosen materials and a keen understanding of Northwest history, they have breathed new life into dozens of historical properties.

Designed by É. Frère Champney in the second Renaissance Revival style, the Elks Temple was built in 1915 and 1916, when popular fraternal organizations were making big impacts on communities. On the south side of the building, a sprawling stairway scales the hill. Modeled after the Scalinata di Spagna in Rome, the Tacoma staircase carries the same name, in English: the Spanish Steps.

According to local historian Steve Dunkelberger, brothers Mike and Brian McMenamin spend countless months researching the history of an area and draw from that past to craft their decor and entertainment features. “They know how to inform and entertain with the simplest of details. The Tacoma project won’t be any different from that ‘voodoo’ they do so well,” he says. “Everything they do is top-notch.”

McMenamins Elks Lodge will include 44 guest rooms with private baths. The grand ballroom is being transformed into hotel rooms with terraced views of Tacoma’s waterfront. Inspired spaces will host live music, events, weddings and meetings. Three restaurants and a McMenamins brewery will be highlights of the entertainment. (There are also rumors of a “secret bar”—shhh!) Gardens on site will supply fresh, seasonal ingredients. Local artists are being commissioned to paint murals, and some large graffiti that accumulated during the building’s vacancy will be preserved. Stay tuned for the grand opening in early 2019.

Take a staycation at other area McMenamins hotel and entertainment properties, the Anderson School in Bothell and the Olympic Club in Centralia. Dine and drink at McMenamins on Seattle’s Queen Anne or Capitol Hill, in Mill Creek, or at Olympia’s Spar Café.

EMILY HAPPY

For Additional Information:
McMenamins
mcmenamins.com