Perfect Places for Weekend Warriors to Explore.
To celebrate the publication of Tiger Oak Media’s all-Chinese Seattle Luxury Living magazine, Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR) is introducing a special English language content series, which will highlight select articles from the magazine over the coming weeks on the RSIR blog. From small towns to luxe resorts, the third post in our series highlights nearby spots to recharge in 48 hours.
San Juan Islands
These green islands are as beloved for their food as for their beauty – especially San Juan and Orcas Islands. Think: Oysters you shuck and slurp on the beach, fat pears, spicy cider. These taste sensations are farmed, fished and foraged in such small quantities that they get gobbled up on the islands and never make it to the mainland.
On Orcas Island, Pebble Cove Farm features goats, chickens, an orchard and big garden from which guests are encouraged to harvest dinner. Your pretty room’s kitchenette is supplied with the staples you need to whip up a feast. Once in a Blue Moon Farm is not as polished, but in your big unit above the barn, you get a real kitchen and homey furniture. Head to Island Hoppin’ Brewery to find your new favorite beer.
Over on San Juan Island, go directly to the iconic Westcott Bay Shellfish Company for crisp, creamy and salty oysters, clams and mussels. Chase them with local spirits at the nearby San Juan Island Distillery.
If you don’t want to wait for the ferry, a quicker option for reaching the islands is via Kenmore Air. Seaplanes depart from Kenmore, Lake Union or Boeing Field and arrive on Orcas, San Juan or Lopez Island.
At the south end of Whidbey Island and just a 20-minute ferry ride from Mukilteo, this quaint seaside town offers a highly curated escape. Shop and eat at Kalakala Co. Mercantile, a café stocked with beautiful local pottery, artwork and artisanal soaps. One street over, visit shop and gallery Edit, which maintains a similar aesthetic and devotion to local producers.
Other must-visits include The Star Store, an almost century-old shop. Refuel with a latte and a snack at Useless Bay Coffee Company. ). For dinner, experience inventive, island-inspired fare at the Inn at Langley, then splurge on the inn’s Saratoga Suite, where two can comfortably watch for whales from the bathtub while sipping bubbly (after a spa treatment, naturally).
An easy—and stunning—35-minute ferry ride away from downtown Seattle, step off the boat and directly into Bainbridge Island’s charming downtown area of Winslow. Replete with wineries, breweries, museums and shops, there’s something for every appetite. And speaking of appetites, the food is not to miss. One of your first stops off the ferry should be at nearby Mora. Their delectable ice creams and sorbets—in flavors ranging from richest chocolate to refreshing lemon—will hold you over until dinner at Hitchcock, where diners relish the opportunity to experience what James Beard Award semifinalist Brendan McGill can create with local ingredients.
Port Townsend is home to creators, craftspeople and independent thinkers. Line-caught salmon, local goat cheeses and organic free-range eggs are what’s for breakfast at Better Living Through Coffee, where the organic drip coffee is brewed by the cup. Locally crafted jewelry and watercolor paintings fill numerous galleries on historic Water Street. End the day with dinner at the Fountain Café for seafood and farm-fresh produce. A vacation rental through VRBO.com is a good way to go in Port Townsend, especially if you have an aversion to bed-and-breakfasts. Otherwise, rent a studio and shared patio at The Swan Hotel.
The Chuckanut Loop
Take a weekend to experience Bellingham, beginning with a leisurely Saturday morning start; Bellingham is less than a two-hour drive from Seattle. On the way, stop in adorable Edison for lunch at Tweets. The portions are generous, and the food is as fresh as it gets. (Bring cash.) Drop by the Smith & Vallee Gallery, one of several artful shops on the short main street, to peruse local art and handcrafted furniture.
Resume your journey toward a plush room in Bellingham at the regal Hotel Bellwether. Beer fans may opt to hit all five local breweries: The big ones are Chuckanut and Boundary Bay, and the lesser-knowns are Aslan, Wander and Kulshan.
Take Sunday to go hiking in Larrabee State Park, followed by a stop at Taylor Shellfish’s Samish Farm Market for a half-shell oyster barbecue. They have grills and oyster knives, just bring your own drinks of choice.
Vashon Island’s rolling hills and forests are a short 20-minute water taxi ride from downtown or a car-ferry ride from West Seattle. It’s an outdoor-lover’s paradise, but there’s much more to do, like visiting the Vashon Farmers Market, Saturdays on the Village Green. Try the locally made vodka, gin, whiskey or coffee liqueur at Seattle Distilling Company or take a Point Robinson Lighthouse tour any Sunday through mid-September (call Captain Joe, 206.463.6672).
Book a table well in advance for dinner at May’s Kitchen + Bar for arguably the best food on the island. The small Thai restaurant is a favorite of islanders and visitors alike. In the morning, great breakfast options include The Hardware Store and Zombiez.
For overnight trips, you have the option of a mini-lodge of your own at The Lodges on Vashon. Each “Northwest modern” cottage is stocked with locally made amenities, and staying here means you can leave the car at home, as most everything is within walking distance.
It’s easy: Drive in. Unpack. Have fun. Seabrook is a family-friendly New England-meets Northwest–style planned village on the Washington coast with an incredibly beautiful, sandy beach, parks and trails, everything from sweet little cottages to stately homes for rent, and amenities such as an indoor community pool and a main street with a pizza place, candy store, coffee shop, wine bar, restaurants and more to come in 2018.
Spend days getting physical with hikes, long beach walks, bike rides (cycles are available to rent) and playground adventures. Perfect evenings include cooking fresh seafood in a fully equipped kitchen, followed by relaxing on the front porch or roasting s’mores at the communal fire pits. It’s the best of two worlds: roughing it combined with the comforts of a beautiful roof over your heads (welcome on rainy afternoons). More information here.
As Featured in Seattle Luxury Living Magazine:
Stay tuned for the next installment of the series, which will cover the best art galleries and museums in the area on Friday July 14th.
This is a shortened version of an article published by Seattle Magazine in August 2015. Edited and Written by Nicole Meoli Myles with Ali Brownrigg, Sheila Cain, Danielle Centoni, Jenny Cunningham, Rachel Hart, Allison Scheff and Jess Thomson.