Adam and I just completed our 2 week trip touring around Washington and Oregon state this past week. It was amazing and we are seriously considering moving there. We loved the weather, the hiking and beautiful scenery that is around pretty much every corner. We tried different beers, wines and amazing foods.
Washington state has the most wineries and breweries of any state besides California. We went to a lot of breweries around Seattle and on the Columbia River Gorge (which everyone confuses with The Gorge- a music venue). Washington also has the beautiful Mount Rainier State Park with tons of hiking, views of the cascade mountains and waterfalls.
Things to do
- Pike Place Market, Seattle. The flowers at this market are unbelievable and affordable! If I lived there I would be buying them multiple times a month. They also have great fresh fish and tons of other amazing vendors. We went to the first Starbucks that is located there the morning before we went to Snoqualmie to embark upon or grueling hikes.
- Space Needle, Seattle. The price when we went was $22 per person. You go up an elevator to the top of the space needle for amazing views of the city, Olympic National Park, the Cascades and on a clear day you may be able to see Mount Rainier! There is also a restaurant up top for views while you are eating, but we did not try it out.
- Snoqualmie Region. Here we did the Granite Mountain and Franklin Falls trails. Granite mountain was very tiring consisting of 8.6 miles roundtrip and a 3,800 foot elevation gain, but wild blueberries along the trail and breathtaking meadows make it worth the effort. Franklin Falls was an easier 2 miles and 400ft gain. These hikes require a permit that costs $5 per day and you can pay right at the trail head if you have cash.
- Mount Rainier National Park. We did so many hikes in this Park. We stayed at the Alta Crystal Resort the first night and hit up the Sunrise area of the park, then for the next 2 nights we stayed at the Nisqually Lodge just outside of the Nisqually entrance (west side) of the park. The park has 5 different areas of which we hiked in 4.
- Sunrise: We did the Glacier Basin Trail and the Naches Peak Loop here. Both would have had amazing views of Mount Rainier if it wasn’t cloudy, but it was amazing anyways. The clouds came and went throughout both hikes. Sunrise point is here which is the highest point in the park reachable by vehicle at 6,400 feet.
- Ohanapecosh: Grove of the Patriarchs and Silver Falls Trails. Grove of the Patriarchs was an easy hike that highlighted the giant trees with a lot of history and the Silver Falls trail was a fairly easy hike to view some beautiful falls.
- Paradise: Here we completed the Pinnacle Peak Trail, Skyline Trail Loop, and Comet Falls Trail. The skyline and the comet falls trails were the highlight of this area. Comet falls was my favorite waterfall on the Washington part of our trip. Skyline trail was difficult and took us through ice and snow, but we got to see glaciers and Mount Rainier.
- Longmire: We finally saw Mount Rainier for more than 15 seconds on the Rampart Ridge Trail! It was amazing when the sky finally opened up and showed us what had been hiding the entire time we had been there. It was our last day in the park and it couldn’t have been better. The Trail of the Shadows is connected to Rampart Ridge and basically just takes you through the history of that part of the park. We also did Carter Falls Trail and we got to see Mount Rainier again!
- Columbia River Gorge (Washington side). Here we stayed at Skamania Lodge, which was a very cute place that had views of the river, ziplines and hiking trails on property. We loved what the Columbia River had to offer: friendly people, fresh fruit, wines and craft beers. A few of the locals convinced us that we should move there! Here we hiked Beacon Rock and Rodney Falls Trails (breathtaking).
- Pike Place Chowder, Seattle. Adam had the smoked salmon chowder in a bread bowl (which was awesome!!) and I had the Dungeness crab roll which was also pretty good. I definitely recommend giving this place a try… or two.
- Rachel’s Ginger Beer, Seattle. Very unique and interesting flavors at this place. I had their drink of the day, which was some kind of a moscow mule that left me feeling pretty good afterwards. The ginger beer here is very tart and was different from what I am used to, but still yummy.
- Fremont Brewing, Fremont. The Fremont Troll is just around the corner from this cute brewery overlooking the water. They serve free pretzels and apples to those who buy the beer, but do not prepare food.
- Two Beers Brewing, Seattle. Located in The Woods tasting room which they share with Seattle Cider company. This was the first brewery we went to on our trip and Grey Skies Dark Pale Ale was my favorite brew here. They also served food, but the menu seems to change throughout the year.
- Dick’s Drive-In, Fremont. Cheep burgers, milkshakes and fries. This place is a popular place for native Seattleites to go to, especially since it is so close to the University of Washington.
- Infusion Bar and Grill, Snoqualmie. We stopped at this place after a lot of hiking in Snoqualmie. They have a good beer & food selection and is casual enough to stay in your hiking boots. I scarfed down the cod fish tacos and had a Mack & Jack African Amber to wash it down. We sat next to the fireplace to warm up after the chilly hikes.
- Copper Creek Restaurant, Ashford. This restaurant is connected to an Inn and is located just outside of the Nisqually entrance of Mount Rainier. I had a delicious burger and beers here after a long day of hiking. The staff was very nice and seemed to really enjoy working there.
- Mt Rainier Railroad Dining Co, Elbe. This is located in a small town outside of Mount Rainier National Park in a unique setting. We ate in actual train cars and they even have lodging located in the caboose. I had the elk burger (they also offered buffalo) and Adam had the ribs.
- Backwoods Brewing, Carson. This looks like a shack from the front, but if you go around back and enter the brewery it is anything but. We had the smoked salmon spread that was served with fresh vegetables and pita bread and tasted a flight of 6 beers.
- Cascade Dining Room and River Rock at Skamania Lodge. The omelet I had in the Cascade Dining Room was actually where I got the idea for the recipe for this post. It had bits of apple, Tillamook cheddar cheese and bacon. I also had a fantastic Thai Chili Cocktail with dinner that I need the recipe for (when I get it I will post it!). The River Rock was more of a lounge and had more bar type foods like burgers and finger food apps.
- Everybody’s Brewing, White Salmon. This brewery was in a cozy room right in the middle of a small town. It is a popular place fore the locals to come and hang out. I had my first taste of Curry Chicken Soup here and that’s when I fell in love. Adam had a large pulled pork burrito. They have a great selection of beers here with a friendly staff and good atmosphere.
- Maryhill Winery, Goldendale. As you go further east of the Cascade mountains the climate gets drier. Maryhill is about an hour drive east from the Hood River area and reminded me of a dessert. Tasting is $10 and is waived if you buy 2 bottles. I loved the Zinfandel and the Grenache wines.
Washington State Inspired Dish
I decided to take some of the unique flavors of Washington, Gala apples and cheddar cheese, and stuff them into chicken. Stuffed chicken goes with a lot of different sides and is a fun way to add flavor to the often boring baked chicken. I got this idea from a breakfast I had at the Skamania Lodge on the Washington side of the Columbia River.Cheddar cheese and apples pair well together in this dish. I made a cheddar apple sauce to serve on top of the chicken add some moistness to the chicken. I used a sharp cheddar cheese from Tillamook in Oregon and a Gala apple grown in Washington state for this dish. Apples are very popular and grow almost everywhere in Washington!
I butterflied and tenderized the chicken to make it thinner and placed the cheese and 2 apple slices in between each chicken breast. Then we breaded it and baked it for 35 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.