Seattle and the Olympic National Park
If you like wine, food and nature, you will enjoy the activities of our dazzling six-day excursion in the Pacific Northwest.
Our Stay in Seattle
For our three-night stay in Seattle, we chose the Seattle Courtyard Marriott at Lake Union. The hotel is 20 minutes from the SeaTac Airport. Beautiful Lake Union is all about seafood, boating, and seaplanes. The paths near the lake are a paradise for walkers, runners, and cyclists. The views are spectacular. The Marriot Courtyard Union Lake is also walking distance to the Seattle Center, where the Space Needle is located. The Marriott is expensive by our standards, but the convenient location, along with their bar and restaurant, is a plus.
Within walking distance of our hotel were three excellent restaurants, Duke’s Seafood, the White Swan Public House, and Daniel’s Broiler. Daniel’s Broiler is mainly a steakhouse and very pricey. We liked Duke’s the best for its views and seafood menu. All three restaurants provide beautiful lakeside seating.
We have been to Seattle in the past, so we did not join tourists at the Space Needle, Pike’s Fish Market, or Pioneer Square. We decided to explore other options for wine and food.
Woodinville for Wine
Washington State wines are outstanding, especially the reds. Wine country is to the east of Seattle. The majority of the vineyards are in the Columbia Valley AVA and its sub-AVA’s. Traveling to the Columbia Valley is a long trek, but only 25 minutes from Seattle is the amazing wine town of Woodinville. It is home to 150 wineries. This is an astonishing number, considering no vineyards are in Woodinville. All the grapes are shipped from the Columbia Valley during the harvest period.
In the Warehouse District, wineries have tasting rooms and all the equipment to make wine. From tanks and barrels, to portable bottling lines, it is all done at the Warehouse. On the weekends, the Warehouse District becomes a madhouse. Visitors come from all over to enjoy the wines and party hard. I have to wonder how guests choose which wines to taste among 100 wineries!
One of the most interesting areas of Seattle is the neighborhood of Ballard. The business area, Ballard Avenue, provides a variety of interesting shops. There are abundant places to drink beer or eat pizza. This street is a happening spot on Friday and Saturday nights. One Ballard Avenue shop peaked our interest, Steele Barber, an upscale men’s barbershop. It is where the cool men of Seattle come to be pampered and get the perfect haircut. I decided to give the place a try and was glad I did.
Tutti Bella Pizza
We had a great dinner at a fantastic pizza joint in the Wallingford neighborhood. It Is Tutti Bella, serving Neopolitan-style pizzas and other delicious appetizers. The pizza dough is fresh and cooked perfectly. We found the Bruschetta appetizer one of the best we have tasted. It is delicious and almost a meal by itself. If you like pizza, don’t miss Tutti Bella.
Golden Beach Park
Need a beach outing? The Golden Beach Park sits on Puget Sound. The beach is perfect for relaxing in the sun, playing volleyball, and gazing at the Olympic Mountains across Puget Sound.
Chihuly Glass Museum
At the Seattle Center, not to be missed is the Chihuly Glass Museum. The galleries, the Glasshouse and the Garden showcase the gorgeous glass creations of artist Dale Chihuly. The vibrant colors and intricate designs are a site to behold.
Olympic National Park
We spent three days in Olympic National Park. We needed a couple of more days, because the park is vast and some of the main attractions are many miles apart. From Seattle, we headed to Olympia and then to Highway 101 via the city of Aberdeen. (Be aware that Highway 101 runs on the West, North and East sides of the Park). Highway 101 West took us to our first lodging spot, the Kalaloch Lodge.
The Kalaloch Lodge sits on the bluffs of the Pacific Ocean. If you stay at the Kalaloch Lodge, ask for a room with a view of the beach and ocean. The lodge also has cabins, perfect for families and all with terrific views of the ocean. Guests can find grocery needs at the convenience store on site. The Creekside Restaurant at the Kalaloch Lodge is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The grilled King Salmon – delicious!
From the lodge we took a long ride to the Hoh Rainforest. Can you believe 120 inches of rain per year? This might be the most popular spot in the entire Olympic National Park. The Hall of Moss Trail is only .08 miles long and is a fantastic look at a rainforest. If you hike the nearby Hoh River trail, there are fewer people and amazing silence as you walk. You can walk a few miles or just 15 minutes out and back, whatever your preference is. It is quite an experience. Warning: The Hoh Rainforest is one of the most popular spots in Olympic National Park. We waited 45 minutes to get admitted into the parking area.
Lake Quinaut Lodge
After a two-night stay at the Kalaloch Lodge, we headed back on Hwy. 101 to The lodge at Lake Quinault. The lodge is spectacular with a fantastic view of the lake and the Olympic Mountains. There are several short hikes and a few that are longer from spots around the lake. The restaurant at the lodge is packed during the tourist seasons, and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited the Lodge in 1937, and he was so inspired he created the Olympic National Park.
Before we left Seattle, we’d purchased a Styrofoam ice chest at Fred Meyer for $8. We stocked it with Washington wines and a few cheese wedges. There are various spots in Olympic National Park where you can find a table and enjoy a picnic lunch and a hike. Don’t forget to bring a wine opener!
We were surprised to find that the restaurants in the park do not feature more wines from Washington. Washington makes excellent wines every bit as good as, if not better than, Calilfornia wines.
Other excursions on Wine Country Getaways
- Combine hiking and wine country
- Searching for Redwood Trees and wine country
- Explore little known Hopland wine country