Anacortes and Seattle Travel Guides
I cannot believe I was on my super long Motorcycle Excursion almost a year ago and I am JUST now putting out the travel guides!! Forgive me you all. I promise to be better.
With Summer officially here and more travels on the horizon, I am so eager to share my adventures with you. I have so many friends traveling to Seattle this season who have begging for this guide so here you are my dears!!! Cramming a lot of info into this one though so bear with me!
After Sandpoint, Idaho (promise to get that guide out this coming week) we decided to dedicate 3 days to Seattle. Well, two to Seattle and one to a neighboring island closer in. We took the long way from Idaho and were just ready to get off the bike and enjoy a glass of wine! We had heard such great things about Anacortes!! Anacortes is located on Fidalgo Island, in the Pacific Northwest. It is conveniently situated halfway between Seattle and Vancouver BC and is the destination point for the San Juans and International ferry runs for Washington State. It has such a vibrant coastal community. All within walking distance you'll find casual cafes to elegant dining, quirky to sophisticated shopping, art galleries to antique shops and unique accommodations. Whether you are planning a day trip or a vacation, Anacortes has something for everyone. Whale watching tours, kayaking excursions, sailing, boating, birding, fishing, crabbing, hiking or biking to name a few. It's such an incredibly romantic little place which you will witness for yourself in just a bit!
So really quickly if you are doing the Northwest Trek from Oklahoma, once you leave Idaho you will have a long drive to Omak, Washington. We stayed the night at The 12 Tribes Resort Casino and highly recommend it. It has a real modern feel and there is even a spa! We were so tired that we literally ate a terrible greasy pizza from the casino snack bar and watched The Big Lebowski in bed. If we could do the trip over again we would have drove the extra hour to Winthrop. We discovered Winthrop the next morning on our way to Anacortes. I took some photos of this adorable place so you can check it out! We had breakfast at 3 Bears Cafe Quilts and it was so adorable and quite delicious. Winthrop has so much character and I really wish we would have planned better. Just see for yourself.
Once you leave Winthrop keep heading the long way through Deming. You will want to see the breath taking views as you travel through the Cascades on the North Cascades Highway!! Highway 20 over the North Cascades Pass goes past towering crags. It's wild and unspoiled country. There are several places to stop and view the majestic grandeur. It truly is a breathtakingly beautiful scenic drive and to experience it on a motor cycle--well I have no words. If simply taking a scenic drive, I would strongly recommend stopping at Diablo Lake Overlook, Ross Lake Overlook (3.5 miles east) and Washington Pass Overlook (a further 28 miles east). Perhaps stopping for a picnic by the water's edge at Thunder Knob Trailhead (situated at the southern spur of Diablo Lake). There are basic facilities and free parking areas along the route.
From Wiki: Ross Lake is a large reservoir in the North Cascade mountains of northern Washington state, United States, and southwestern British Columbia, Canada. The lake runs approximately north-south, is 23 miles (37 km) long, up to 1.5 miles (2.5 km) wide, and the full reservoir elevation is 1,604 feet above sea level (489 m).The U.S. portion of Ross Lake is in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. North Cascades National Park is adjacent to the west and south, while the Pasayten Wilderness is east of the lake. In British Columbia the lake is a part of Skagit Valley Provincial Park, and Manning Provincial Park is nearby to the east.
So much thanks to my friend Jamie Gua for routing this part of our trek!!!! We would have missed this entirely without her help and that would have been a shame.
Whoa! So incredible. Now you will be so close to the ocean's edge and reach Anacortes. You guys!! At this point it had been almost two weeks on the bike and we made it to the great big blue. This was the first picture I took from the back of the bike and though it's not great quality, I will never forget this special moment in time. This was a huge adventure crossed off my bucket list.
And now Anacortes, you charming little island, you!
We stayed at The Anacortes Ship Harbor Inn which had come recommended by a man we met in Montana. The Ship Harbor Inn is such a hidden treasure located at the top of the hill above the Washington State ferry terminal & just minutes from historic downtown Anacortes. The views are incredible! And they have a full bar and a delicious menu! Plus "Chasing Cars" was playing when we checked in--hello Grey's Anatomy!! (all though my heart was literally broken when I learned that Grey's wasn't even filmed in Seattle) We ended up staying there and having an al fresco dinner and lots of wine as watched the ferries come in.
The next morning we packed up and headed for Seattle. We took a longer route to see Deception Pass and I highly recommend doing that! Do not miss it if you are ever in The Seattle area in fact. Then we grabbed the ferry!
Now for Seattle---
Arriving at lunchtime we were quite famished. We headed to Capital Hill to a place I had on my list called Volunteer Park Cafe. Volunteer Park Cafe (so-named because of its location in Capital Hill, just blocks from Volunteer Park) is the definition of a neighborhood joint. Long communal tables, fresh pastries every day, and best of all, Stumptown coffee. There’s a counter at the front for to-go orders and coffee and pastry pickups. The salads and sandwiches are divine.
501 17th Ave. E., Capitol Hill, Seattle
Then we checked into our hotel. We stayed at Motif downtown Seattle. We found a great rate and it was honestly the perfect location to everything we wanted to do.
1415 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
After a little nap, and showers we ventured out and walked to Pike Place Market. Touristy, I know but I just had to experience it! And honestly it was dinner time and we saw so many locals stopping by after work in their suits for fresh seafood.
Hungry from our walk around the market, we set course for drinks and dinner in The Ballard neighborhood. Pizza was on the brain naturally and Delancey came highly recommended. This pizza spot is the brainchild of husband-wife team (all though no longer married) Brandon Pettit, a former New Yorker with a passion for NY-style dough, and Molly Wizenberg of the popular food blog, Orangette, and author of the book, Delancey, which tells the story of the restaurant’s Seattle opening. Their awesome pies are served out of a wood-fired oven, in a minimalist, small space set with wood tables and drop-ceiling light fixtures. While the pizza here takes its inspiration from New York, many of the ingredients—from the veggies to the flour, cream, honey, and ginger beer—are locally sourced. It's absolutely incredible! Every single thing we had was perfection! Our waitress was a dollface too. She rides motorcycles and her and her hubby roast their own coffee too. I have kept up with her on the gram and that has been fun! It's tiny so you most likely will have to wait but lucky for you their bar Essex is right next door so have a few craft cocktails while you wait for your table. The Ballard neighborhood is quite adorable!
1415 N.W. 70th St., Ballard
Then it was off for one nightcap in our hotel. Motif has an incredible rooftop bar on the 5th floor with incredible views!
So first full day in Seattle and there was a lot of ground to cover before taking off to Portland the next day. So I am just going to lay this out in order of exactly how we spent the entire day.
From Motif walk to Pioneer Square. It's one of the greatest areas in Seattle! I adore the Pioneer Square’s late-1800s Romanesque Revival buildings and could walk around for hours with my camera. You can explore subterranean streets on the guided Underground Tour, and learn about Seattle’s roots at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Unwind in secluded Waterfall Garden Park or grab lunch from food trucks at Occidental Square, a plaza with bistro tables and bocce courts on a nice day. When we were there it was surprisingly a tad warm and sunny. The locals were loving it though!!!
Grab coffee from Slate Coffee Roasters. The baristas at Slate are total connoisseurs—from the source of the beans to the grinding process to the water quality, they're obsessed with every detail of the coffee-making process. What's more, they're extraordinarily friendly and happy to give you a full education on the current (generally always light) roast.
Breakkie at London Plane is a must for some more coffee and a pastry! We wanted to eat light so we could save room for lunch. The London Plane serves food all day in their café-style restaurant, offering an array of baked goods and sourdough toasts (e.g., curried avocado with radish, cabbage, and cilantro), as well as granolas, egg dishes, and veggie plates (like baby beets served with pomegranate and pistachio). Their dinner menu, which is available Wednesday through Saturday, includes mains like roasted chicken with wild mushrooms, strawberries, and hazelnuts. What makes The London Plane a bit different is that it's also part grocery and flower shop (overseen by Katherine Anderson of Marigold and Mint), so you can pick up specialty food items, gifts, floral arrangements, croissants to-go, all while brunching.
300 Occidental Ave. S., Downtown
After The London Plane, we shopped all around Pioneer Square. Some stand out faves were Bon Voyage Vintage, E. Smith Mercantile (Lin bought so many cool socks here) Arundel Books, and Ebbets Field Flannels. (wasn't able to get pics of everything because my phone died)
Now it was off to grab an Uber and head to lunch at Saint Helen's. It's a modern brasserie with a fire pit patio serving contemporary American eats & drinks. The interiors are the dreamiest.
After lunch grab another Uber and head to West Seattle to Alki Beach Park for some Vitamin D and to watch the Volleyball tournaments. It looks out towards Bainbridge Island (and with stunning views of Downtown Seattle in one direction, and the Olympic Mountains in the other), Alki Beach Park is a nice local hangout on warm days. There’s a big wide bike path that’s popular with runners and bike riders, and it’s one of the only spots this close to the city where you can have beach bonfires—so long as you confine everything to one of the pre-made fire pits. There is also Golden Gardens Park and Discovery Park that sound amazing too. Wish we had more time to explore all the wonderful things to do in Seattle.
1702 Alki Ave. S.W., West Seattle
After the beach it was around 4 and it was time for a proper happy hour so we grabbed an Uber back to Capital Hill to Tallulah’s. Tallulah’s bills itself as a neighborhood café, and with a long, cozy bar and ample patio space that always seem to be buzzing with energy (probably in part because it’s outfitted with cozy wool blankets for cold days), the place definitely fulfills that expectation. The vibe is sort of Scandinavian meets vintage, with clean, mid-century furniture juxtaposed against design prints and patinaed brass chandeliers, plus a quirky painting of a cat welcoming you at the entry. The menu is short but sweet, with a selection of small plates like halloumi with local melon, or beet salad and a straightforward roster of locally-inspired mains like a grilled albacore tuna bowl and Samish Bay King salmon; locals recommend getting at least one plate of the hanger steak frites, which are almost always a source of order envy. Their happy hour is a local fave!!
550 19th Ave. E., Capitol Hill
Grab some ice cream at Molly Moon next door.
And now off to dinner at Stateside. It's so close to Motif so after dinner you can burn some of those calories walking! Chef/owner Eric Johnson spent a decade-plus working in Paris, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, time that is reflected in the Vietnamese menu at Stateside, which takes cues from French and Chinese cuisine. The vibe here is great, too. The interior is a mix of clean wood and marble, with fun palm frond wallpaper and retro overhead lights. Make a reservation in advance to avoid a long wait. Grab a drink after dinner at next-door Foreign National.
300 E. Pike St., Capitol Hill
After a long walk, it was time f or a slumber! We woke early to get the bike loaded, check out, and head for coffee and brunch at Oddfellows. It's such a cozy spot for a laid-back brunch or an easy dinner. It’s hard to order wrong here, and we’ve never been disappointed by classics like homemade biscuits and eggs, Nicoise salads, and spiced caramel bread pudding. Note: Arrive early on weekend mornings, as they don’t take reservations.
1525 10th Ave., Capitol Hill
Have the best time in out there you dears!!!! Please let me know your Seattle faves in the comments so I can check them out on my next trip out there.