It’s another gray day in Seattle. Even though I’ve lived here for over almost 4 years, I’m still not used to the consistent gloomy weather. No wonder people in this city love their local beer and wine – it’s a survival mechanism to get through the drizzle and cold we typically see November-May/June. I’ve actually become Vitamin-D deficient. It’s no surprise that I spend the entire rainy season dreaming about Seattle’s perfect summer weather and all its glory.
This summer, I hope my husband and I can take every weekend to catch up on our Vitamin D. If you’ll be in the Seattle area this summer, check out my list of what I’m looking forward to most:
Rattlesnake Lake: We discovered Rattlesnake Lake through a local hiking guidebook. The hike up to the rocky ledge (Rattlesnake Ledge) overlooking the lake wasn’t too long or intense (be warned if you’re afraid of heights…or falling off a cliff) and the view of the bright blue water and surrounding green mountains is amazing. This year, we hope to make this one of our prime picnic spots but we’ll have to get there early – parking near this North Bend, Wash. lake is limited, overflow cars have to park on the side of the road. We’ll be investing in a rolling cooler so we can easily get our picnic gear the quarter-mile or so from the car to the lake shore.
Snoqualmie Falls: Another awesome site nearby is Snoqualmie Falls. The Falls can be seen from the upper viewing deck (who doesn’t love a great misty waterfall?). Ever since we moved out to Seattle, the main trail leading to base of the falls has been closed for renovation however it’s just recently reopened and I can’t wait to finally get the chance to take on this easy hike. You can take a virtual tour of the updated trail on the Falls website.
Whitewater rafting: Every year, my husband and I drive a couple hours east to ride the “rapids” of the Wenatchee River. I say “rapids” because we typically wait until late July or early August when only a few big rapids remain (I’m not hardcore enough to go in June when you still have to wear a wetsuit). For someone who is not overly adventurous outdoors, our whitewater rafting experiences have been a blast. We raft with Blue Sky Outfitters and have never had any issues and always a lot of fun. The guides are skilled, passionate about rafting and full of stories about crazy times on the river. Without too many wild rapids, you can spend more time enjoying the scenery around you – bald eagles, beautiful riverside homes, and the occasional modern-day bearded gold miner
Washington Brewer’s Festival: Held Father’s Day weekend each June, the Washington Brewer’s Festival marks my official start of summer. Over 150 breweries from across the state keep a booth at this outdoor beer fest where a token gets you a 3 oz. pour (or a 5 oz. pour if you upgrade – we do every year!). This is a chance to not only taste the beers that are the pride and joy of local breweries but also to try those weird beers with flavors like sour cherry or spicy habanero. Whatever your beer fancy (there’s some wine and cider on hand, too), you’ll definitely find it here. The festival’s annual keg toss competition is really just the manly icing on the cake.
Whidbey Island: Accessible by both car and ferry, Whidbey Island is a fun day trip for a couple good hikes and walks along stoney beaches in Deception Pass State Park, followed by lunch with a view further down the island in Coupeville. For dessert, stop at Whidbey Pies Cafe for a sweet slice, and before the ferry ride home, try some of the wineries found mostly at the far south end of the island.
River tubing: If you miss the rafting boat…er…raft, you can always grab a tube down the river once the rapids die out in August. There’s two types of tubing experiences – a wet one, and a dry one. The first time we went tubing, we went with River Riders just outside of Leavenworth. That tubing course was pretty exciting but you had to be alert since low water meant a few small rapids with made big splashes, large rocks to circumnavigate, and frankly, some bumps on your butt if you weren’t paying attention. Our second tubing experience was much dryer (and less painful on the tush) with the Leavenworth Outdoor Center, where the entire course is flat water with just a couple swift points. Flat water means more opportunities to get out of the river along the way, or simply, just more opportunity to relax. Choose the course that is most comfortable for you – we had fun on both!
Chateau Ste. Michelle: If you like Rieslings, you might already know Chateau Ste. Michelle. Even though it’s Washington state’s largest and most famous winery, the winery’s main campus and concert grounds in Woodinville, Wash. make this huge company seem much more down to earth. The grounds feature tall trees, a fountain, duck pond, and a few vines actually growing on the property – a perfect picnic setting with a chilled bottle of wine you can purchase, along with picnic supplies and snacks, from the tasting room shop – BYOG (bring your own glass). If you’re lucky, you might even see one of the winery’s wandering peacocks. My most favorite part of the Chateau experience is the summer concert series, where the winery transforms into a rocking outdoor concert venue with plenty of lawn seats. Most of the acts are the “oldies” but oh man, they are the goodies. Next up this year: a return of Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band. I can’t wait!
Home DIY: What’s a summer without a little DIY around the house? I’d much rather be working out in the yard on a sunny day than a rainy one, that’s for sure. This summer, I hope we can tackle a few outdoor projects to make our front porch and small backyard seem more like “outdoor living” than “outdoor avoiding.” Our front porch is great, a good size – except for the sun beating down on you in the afternoon until you’re burnt to a crisp. To fix this problem, we’ll install a pull-down sun shade to give us a little more privacy and a little less risk of skin cancer. In the backyard, I hope to use some simple planter boxes and maybe even some creative lighting to make our postage stamp-size backyard feel cozy instead of dingy. The fence is getting re-stained, too. Basically, stay away from my house this summer or I’ll find something for you to do. You can follow my backyard idea board on Pinterest.
Just 5 more months of the rainy season before these dreams can become a reality. Until then…I’ll be waiting.