Washington Fall Hiking Essentials

With the air cleared of smoke and the return of the rain, autumn has finally arrived in Washington! The state’s most beautiful season of the year is upon us and as the landscape starts to shift from green to gold, orange and red, it’s time to hit the trails for the most breathtaking views! There is no better way to see autumn arrive than from the mountain tops, just make sure you have everything you need to make the journey.

Here are some of the best fall hiking essentials for Washington!

Feet First

The best way to prepare for any hike, but especially as the weather gets colder and wetter, is by starting from the ground up with your feet! In order to keep your feet warm and protected from blisters, hiking-specific socks provide better insulation and cushion compared to standard cotton socks. As trails become wet and possibly slippery, it is time to store away open-toed and trail running footwear and opt for hiking boots/shoes.

Layer Up

As any Washingtonian knows, the weather can change on a dime and the last thing you want when you’re in the middle of your hike is to be caught in a situation where you are not prepared for any change in weather (especially with elevation). The key to hiking attire? Layers! The first layer should be a base layer, and for the fall and winter months, this means some form of thermal wear. Next, a warm insulating layer is best, whether that is a wool sweater or a fleece jacket, as long as it can keep you warm. Finally, and in our state this is a must, a water-proof layer. This could be a rain and wind jacket as well as even waterproof hiking pants. Hats and gloves are also a must with keeping warm and dry on the trails!

Pack Responsibly

Depending on what kind of day out you have planned, whether it’s up a mountain trail or a less intense walk along a river trail, it’s best to always be prepared. If you are planning a less strenuous hike in larger state parks, bring a bag that is comfortable to wear all day, has room for your layered clothing as you need it, and has space for water bottles and some snacks. If you are planning a more intense hike out on further trails, day packs may be the better option. On these longer hikes, items like enough hydration and nutrition, navigation tools, first aid kit, fire starter, sun protection, and illumination tools are all essentials.

Research

Safety first! The best thing you can do to make your hike more enjoyable is come prepared! Taking time to look up the trail map, the weather forecast, and any potential risks (usually due to weather) is always important. It is also a good idea to let someone know where you will be going and when you plan on being back, especially in case you do not get cellphone reception on a trail. Just as we want to care for ourselves, we also need to be mindful of the nature we plan on enjoying by following any trail rules and doing all we can to leave no trace behind.

Make a Memory

Finally, one of the best things you can bring on a hike, especially this time of year, is a camera or binoculars to really be able to enjoy and even capture some of the changing scenery along the way!

Happy hiking!

Washington Summer Spots to Enjoy with Your Pup!

Summer has finally arrived in Washington! This season brings so many amazing opportunities to explore and enjoy new adventures and locations all around the state, but what makes any summer spot even better? When you can bring your furry friend with you! Whether it is at the beach, hiking a trail, or even going to a brewery, here are a few pet-friendly options to enjoy this summer!

Long Beach

As its name rightfully reflects, Washington State’s longest beach offers miles of wide sandy spaces, making this a summer paradise for all the lucky dogs who get to play on these shores! The beach has also been known to host Doggie Olympics too!

Deception Pass

About an hour and a half north of Seattle, you can find the most visited state park in Washington is also pet-friendly! As long as your pup stays leashed, you can enjoy the moderate 4.7-mile loop of Rosario Head Trail to Lighthouse Point and Lottie Point.

Yakima Valley Wine Country

This area in Eastern Washington is home to over 100 wineries and a lot of them are pet-friendly! If you are looking for a quick summer getaway, what could be better than sipping wine with your furry best friend at your side! If you are looking to stay west of the Cascades, there are a number of options, but Spoiled Dog Winery on Whidbey Island seems to be a crowd favorite – they even have their own “Winery/Vineyard Dogs” on duty!

Marymoor Park

In Redmond, you can find a 40-acre off-leash dog park, just a portion of the 640-acre Marymoor Park! This space offers open fields, swimming opportunities in the Sammamish River, and hiking/walking trails, a perfect day trip for you and your pooch!

Leavenworth Waterfront Park & Beer Garden

Traveling through the mountains this summer? Make a stop in the Bavarian town of Leavenworth! The beautiful waterfront park is pet-friendly and walks just along the Wenatchee River. When you are done with your walk, bring your dog with you to cool off Müchen Haus’s beer garden where you can enjoy a cold beer under their covered patio.

Dog Breweries/Bars

In almost every zip code around the state there seems to be a number of local dog-friendly breweries and bars to enjoy, find one in your local area!

No matter if it is in the mountains, at the beach or enjoying a cool drink there is no better way to enjoy the summer than with your four-legged friend at your side!

Five Fall Must-See Spots in Washington

Autumn is here! After one of the hottest summers the state has ever seen, the cool breeze and changing landscape is a welcomed change! Washington alone is an incredible spot to call home with rivers, mountains, farmlands, rainforests and beaches there is no place quite like it – but in the fall, it is something magical.

Five Fall Must-See Spots in Washington

Leavenworth

Though this little Bavarian-style village is best known as a winter holiday destination, being nestled in the heart of the Cascade Mountains offers breath-taking fall scenery, whether you are traveling two hours from Seattle or just three hours from Spokane. It is the perfect day or weekend trip to really get into the fall spirit! For a little extra fun, visit on the weekends this October to enjoy their Oktoberfest Market!

Kubota Garden

For a more urban fall experience, Rainier Beach’s Kubota Garden has been an autumn favorite for years. The unique part of this park is that all of the plant life in this garden is indigenous to the area, but the layout and style of the garden is Japanese. Enjoy a peaceful and beautiful afternoon stroll in this gorgeous city experience!

Spokane

Live on the east side of the state? Another breathtaking urban experience can be found in Spokane! Between the 90-acre public park that is Manito Park, the 65-acre John A. Finch Arboretum, on-campus at Gonzaga University, the Riverfront Park and a drive around Mount Spokane, there are endless fall foliage opportunities to experience in this eastern city!

Olympic Peninsula

Looking for a more removed autumn experience? The Olympic Peninsula is the perfect place to get out into the beautiful color-changing rainforests! Whether by car or hiking trails, this location will not disappoint when it comes to scenic views. For hikers, the Quinault Rain Forest and Hoh Rain Forest are the must-see trails to see before the winter months. For drivers, follow Highway 101 around these rain forests for the color-popping views!

 Mount Rainier

Though an obvious Washington State staple, this national park does not disappoint no matter the season. Between the lakes, forests and mountain views autumn is definitely a breath-takinig season to take a trip to this famous park. If you are driving, the most scenic views can be seen from the Chinook Pass roadway. If you want to experience the park on foot, the Grove of the Patriarchs is a beautiful wooden walkway that puts you right into the picturesque landscape.

Wherever you are in this beautiful state, take some time to get out and enjoy the magic of autumn in this gorgeous place we call home!

The Best Summer Spots Across Washington State

After the first heatwave of the summer and loosening safety restrictions this year, people are getting out of their homes and hitting the roads to enjoy the warm weather all across the state! No matter what part of the state you call home, Washington is never short on the perfect summer getaways!

Here is our list of the best summer spots across Washington state!

Northwest Washington

Olympic National Forest

Escape the heat and get lost in the trees in the Olympic National Forest, part of the Olympic National Park and surrounding the breathtaking Olympic Mountain range. With activities like hiking, fishing, horseback riding and more, it is the perfect place to explore this summer!

Southwest Washington

Long Beach

Looking for a beach experience without wanting to cross state lines? Long Beach is the perfect spot for the summer! Not only is there plenty of shopping, kid’s activities and camping options available here, but at 28-miles long, it is also the World’s Longest Drivable Beach!

Central Washington

Lake Cle Elum

Located right on the other side of Snoqualmie Pass, Lake Cle Elum is a beautiful hidden body of water just seven miles north of the city of Cle Elum. With a sandy beach, clear and cool water, and a fishing season that is open all year long, it is the perfect destination to cool off from the summer heat and enjoy breathtaking views of this mountain lake!

North Central Washington

Lake Chelan

In a little valley about 180 miles northeast of Seattle, Lake Chelan is the summer oasis everyone is looking for! This beautiful, glacier-fed body of water is cool, crystal clear, and surrounded by orchards and vineyards. Vacationers have the option of watersports, boating, a waterpark, golf courses, campsites, beautiful lodging, wine-tasting, and more! This is definitely a Washington summer must, and we recommend making this trip longer than a weekend!

Eastern Washington

Spokane Riverfront Park

If you are looking for a more urban experience, this 100-acre park right on the Spokane River is the place for you! It offers a great view of upper Spokane Falls, walkways, a carousel, gondola rides, a giant Red Wagon playground, and more! It is the perfect mix if you are looking to get some scenic views and enjoy the benefits of a big city in the summer with excellent cuisine and shopping!

We hope this list is helpful wherever you are in the state for packing up and hitting the road for your summer adventures!

Quintessential Spring Hiking Gear to Have in Your Arsenal

Lately we’ve been on the topic of the great outdoors. Now that I have given you my must-stop-spots for spring, along with some invigorating hikes for the winter, this blog post I’ve decided to let you in on some of my favorite essential gear for the rainy season. 


Whatever distance you are hiking, there are a few items that must be brought. The most obvious would be a backpack, preferably with a rain cover. This will allow you to bring the true essentials detailed down below.


Water, though seemingly everywhere in the PNW, is a must-have when on a hiking excursion. Often times, river and stream water is OK to drink if filtered. To ensure you are staying safe and away from any parasites, it’s always best to bring your own. 


Bringing a map, headlamp, and first aid kit starts becoming more necessary the longer the hike. As a good rule of thumb, stick to packing these items for any hike ranging over five miles long. In addition to these three, packing a way to start fire (matches, lighter, etc.), some extra food, and a knife can be a life saver, literally. 


Now that we’ve gotten the boring safety items out of the way, let’s get into the fun stuff. When it comes to the spring season, rain is almost guaranteed. With this, we want to prepare properly and avoid wet feet and cold shivers. A solid pair of water-proof boots can aid with the first problem, with a water proof outer-layer solving the next.


Trekking poles, though not used by everyone, can be helpful with avoiding slips and tumbles of freshly unburied land after the snow melt. In addition to grip, trekking poles allow you test the depth of puddles along with the stability of the upcoming path.


I hope this helped you better prepare for getting outside and enjoying the weather. Let me know if you have any questions or additional recommendations! 

Five Puget Sound Destinations to Visit

When you buy a home, you are also buying the area. Most of my clients are looking to the Puget Sound to find their perfect nook around the vast waters. I figured I could offer some incredible must-stop spots to explore and connect with local communities in the Puget Sound. These five Puget Sound destinations to visit will knock your socks off!

Separating Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island, Deception Pass is one of the most beautiful, and slightly terrifying, state parks in the Puget Sound. This destination is most famous for its high bridges that provide a spectacular view of the water. If you’re looking to explore the area on foot, getting down to the sound does not come as a challenge. Here lies jaw-dropping cliffs, secluded beaches, and immersive hikes for an all around wonderful PNW experience.

On the Puget Sound, the Point Defiance Park is a hot spot for locals and tourist alike. This park offers various hiking trails that restrict vehicles during certain times of the day for a truly enchanting experience. Another notable feature of this park would be its accessibility. In the last blog, we talked about scenic hikes, but what if you’re not a hiker? Point Defiance Park has it all offering two five-mile drive loops. This means that vehicles can drive through nature and enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of their own vehicle.

Coming into Spring, the weather is assumed to start warming up. Though, this doesn’t take away from the fact that warming up in the Puget Sound hovers around the 50’s. If your lovely home doesn’t include a hot tub, I may have the spot for you. Located in Port Angeles, the Olympic Hot Springs consists of 21 hot springs. These hot springs are surrounded by luscious rainforests making them the perfect sanctuary to destress.

The San Juan islands are a unique set of neighboring islands with rich cultures and communities.  Though these islands offer many different adventures, Lopez Island stands out from the crowd. There are many museums, shops, and cafes located on the island though it is most notable for its cycling. Starting in April, Lopez Island offers four routes at 5, 12, 17, and 31 miles. Whatever your pace, the “Tour de Lopez” is an invigorating experience you can’t miss out on!

Four Scenic Winter Hikes in Washington State

One of the best things about Washington State is that there is no off-season for outdoor recreation! When it comes to hiking, many favorite trails are open in the winter months, providing hikers with a completely new experience to the surrounding landscape compared to the summer.

Here are four of the best winter hikes around the state!

Palouse Falls State Park
Eastern Washington

Travel the 1.2-mile gravel loop around the canyon to enjoy every view of this beautiful frozen waterfall! To make the most of this winter spot, take advantage of the short trail and make it a sunset hike, enjoying the magic of the sun setting over the canyon rim. The trailhead starts at Palouse Falls State Park in Franklin County and is classified as moderate difficulty with an elevation gain of 50-200 feet.

Sol Duc Falls
Olympic National Park

Starting at the North Side of Olympic National Park, this short 1.6-mile out-and-back trail does not disappoint! One of the best parts about this location is that it is situated in a rainforest, so it remains open mostly all year long. Though hikers may not find snow, this trail provides the rainforest experience, waterfalls and even hot springs at a nearby resort! With the difficulty level classified as easy and an elevation gain of 200 feet, is the perfect spot for families and first-time hikers!

Gold Creek Pond
Snoqualmie Pass

Located in the Snoqualmie Pass area of the Cascade Mountains, this short loop has a 2.3 miles out-and-back trail that is a great spot for scenic winter views of the lake and surrounding evergreens! Because of the elevation level, this trail is almost guaranteed to have snow all winter long. With 100 feet of elevation gain and a difficulty level classified as easy, this is the perfect place for snowshoeing beginners!

Lake Wenatchee State Park
East Stevens Pass

With a classified difficulty level of very easy, a trail length of about half a mile and less than 50 feet elevation, our easiest hike on the list does not disappoint when it comes to winter scenery! Located in East Stevens Pass, Lake Wenatchee State Park provides breath-taking views of a snow and ice-covered Emerald Island located in the middle of the lake! Though the trail is easy, be sure to bring a backpack to keep your hands free to climb over a few rocks and fallen trees.

Safety First

Proper preparation for any outdoor activity is always of the utmost importance, so make sure to pack the following essentials:

  • Warm clothing
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Water and food supplies

Happy hiking!

August Produce Recipes

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With the last weeks of August slowing burning out, there is one major summer treat we are holding onto – produce!

There is nothing better than fresh produce, and August provides an abundance of in-season fruits and vegetables (and let’s face it, nothing beats berry season)! Another huge bonus of summer produce this year is that farmers markets are a safe alternative to indoor grocery shopping and it supports small businesses.

Take advantage of what is in season and try out some new recipes this August that are perfect for any outdoor grilling night!

Drinks

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Spicy Jalapeño Watermelon Margaritas

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Fresh Bellini Cocktail

Soups

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Zucchini Corn Chowder

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Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho

Salads

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Grilled Corn and Peach Cobb Salad

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Summer Squash Grain Salad with Corn and Feta

Entrees

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Roasted Pepper, Nectarine and Ricotta Grilled Pizza

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Tex Mex Rice and Beans with Zucchini

Desserts

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Balsamic Stone Fruit Sundae

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Mixed Berry Crisp (Gluten Free)

Grab your fresh produce and support small businesses and visit your local farmers market! Happy cooking!

August Produce Recipes

Fun Ways to Ring in the New Year

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New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. What better way to celebrate than to host an NYE gathering of your own?  Let’s kick off the new year with a gathering that best fits you. Here are a few fun ways to ring in the new year:

Game Night

No need to get all dressed up for this one. Invite a few friends over for a fun game night, family friendly or adults only, you decide. Make it a PJ party and stay up late playing games prior to ringing in the new year with those you love!

Cozy Night at Home

This is perfect for those who are homebodies. If the idea of a larger gathering brings you stress, then make it a cozy night in to watch the ball drop. Snuggle up with your loved one and fur babies, and ring in the new year the coziest way there is. Don’t be afraid to say “Happy New Year” on East Coast time and hit the hay early!

Themed Night

Great Gatsby, Black Tie, Prom, 80’s Throwback or Disco Fever are just a few ideas for a themed NYE party. Get creative with this one. Pinterest is a fantastic place to find some great décor and food ideas for this festive night.

Dance Party

That’s right, you heard me. Who wouldn’t want to have a living room dance party? Make a playlist full of your favorite dance music, clear the floor, string some lights and dance the night away until it’s time to say “Happy New Year!”.

Whichever gathering you choose to have, make it a great one. Let’s start 2020 off right! Here is a yummy mocktail and cocktail drink recipe to get your NYE party going:

Holiday Pomegranate Mojito Mocktail

Ingredients:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
4 lime wedges
10 mint leaves
Ice
4 ounces pomegranate juice
8 ounces club soda
Pomegranate seeds
2 highball glasses

Directions:

  • In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar over high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Set aside and let it cool.
  • Place two lime wedges, five mint leaves and half of the simple syrup mixture in each glass. Muddle the ingredients together to infuse the flavors. Add in the ice and pomegranate seeds. Then, pour two ounces of pomegranate juice in each glass, followed by about four ounces of club soda. Stir well.
  • Garnish the tops of the drinks with extra mint and pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Original Recipe from The Butter Half

Cinnamon Bourbon Apple Cider

Ingredients:
Fresh apple cider
Your favorite Bourbon or Whiskey
Cinnamon sugar for the rim
Rosemary Sprigs
Fresh, sliced apples for garnish

Directions: 

  • Mix equal parts of cinnamon and sugar on a small plate. Dip the rim of your glass in apple cider and then onto the plate with cinnamon sugar.
  • Mix 2 parts bourbon and 4 parts apple cider in a microwave safe glass for about 20-25 seconds, making sure it doesn’t get too hot. If you’d like your drink iced {as shown above}, feel free to skip this step!
  • Add a slice of fresh apple and a rosemary sprig to your glass and enjoy!

Original Recipe from Charmingly Styled

Fun Ways to Ring in the New Year

2019 Puget Sound Holiday Events

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With the holidays upon us, we often look for fun festive activities for all ages. There are so many great Puget Sound holiday events from now until the holiday season ends. Here are just a few festive fun ideas for you and your family and friends to enjoy.

Downtown for the Holidays Kickoff!

Enjoy a day full of festivities including horse drawn wagon rides, hot chocolate, Jingle Bell Parade, a visit from Santa and Mrs Claus and the annual tree lighting ceremony at Sylvester Park.

When: Sunday, December 1st from 1:00pm-4:00pm

Where: Downtown Olympia

Oly On Ice

The local ice skating rink is back for it’s second year of fun. This pop-up ice skating rink brings fun for all ages!

When: November 22 – January 17

Where: Isthmus Park

529 4th Ave W

Olympia, WA 98502 

Lacey Parade of Lights

Come watch local businesses and families in the parade of lights. Enjoy some hot cocoa, popcorn and visit with Santa Claus. Lighting of the Christmas tree to follow.

When: Monday, December 2nd @ 6:30pm

Where: Huntamer Park

618 Woodland Square Lp SE

Lacey, WA 98503

Oly Toy Run

Enjoy thousands of motorcyclists from all over coming together to ride and bring donations of toys to children in need for the holiday season. There’s something nostalgic about watching riders of all ages and groups come together to not only bring smiles to kids faces, but admirers as well.

When: Saturday, December 7th @ 1:00pm

Where: Parade starts at Marathon Park

1011 Deschutes Parkway SW

Olympia, WA 98502

Click here for the route map

Parade of Lighted Ships

One of the most popular and longest events of the holiday season is the Parade of Lighted Ships brought to you by the Olympia Yacht Club. Head down to the Port Plaza to enjoy.

When: Saturday, December 7th @ 6pm

Where: Port Plaza

701 Columbia St NW

Olympia, WA 98501

Pet Pictures with Santa

This one is for your furbabies. Santa will be at Kiperts Korner Feed in Tumwater for pictures with your pets. So bring your furry little one in their Christmas best!

When: Saturday, December 14th from 10:00am-1:00pm

Where: Kiperts Korner Feed

8439 Old HWY 99 SE

Tumwater, WA 98501

Snowflake Saturday

Learn all about snowflakes, the science behind snow and ice. The kids, and adults, can make fun snowflake crafts as well!

When: Saturday, December 21 from 10:00am-4:00pm

Where: WET Center

500 Adams Street St

Olympia, WA 98501

Puget Sound Holiday Events