A Great Vacation Rental in Sequim – 3 Crabs Beach House

I love going to Sequim. Any road trip on or around the Olympic Peninsula should definitely include a visit to Sequim. This small city is famous for its sunny weather, Dungeness Spit, lavender farms, easy access to the Olympic Mountains, and of course the Olympic Game Farm.

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In need of a place to stay, and wanting to do something other than a hotel, I checked for some sort of vacation home that might be close to the water. One of the first options I stumbled upon was the 3 Crabs Beach House. I didn’t have high expectations, seeing as it was the first place I’d come across, but the more I checked it out the more I thought it would be pretty close to what I was looking for.

It was extremely economical, especially considering I quickly found out it was actually right on the water. It also looked like it had some great views. I booked our stay for two nights and got ready to enjoy some time in Sequim.

This was a very simple house, which was perfect, with some very cool features. First, there’s a hot tub on the deck which allows for viewing of the tankers and cruise ships that pass by all day and all night. The interior was very clean and had everything necessary to make for a pleasant stay. The best part of the whole thing though was outside. A short walk of 15-20 feet takes you from the deck to the sandy shore. We then had a pretty long stretch of open shore we could explore, hunting for shells and whatever other treasures had washed up.

To be honest, the house was so cool that we ended up spending more time there, because of the hot tub, deck, and waterfront, than we did scouring the local area for attractions. We still made it out to some of the biggies, but definitely left some to come back and check out later.

Our time at the 3 Crabs Beach House was a definite plus for our road trip.

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A Classic Tavern Experience at Bern’s Tavern in Prosser, Washington

The small town of Prosser is right in the middle of Washington’s Wine Country. It’s a fun little destination with lots to offer, including an engaging atmosphere and some interesting shops to hunt through. There is a relaxed way of life there that is impossible not to embrace.

My experience in Prosser was top notch. We must have visited seven wineries the first day we were there. This led to us sampling tons of great wines and getting the chance to eat some tasty morsels. The wineries there all have unique decors which makes for a cool experience too. One minute we were standing in a Spanish courtyard and it seemed like the next we were in a French chateau.

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After a day of touring wineries, I wanted a little something substantial to eat. That evening we set out into Prosser’s small downtown area and stumbled upon Bern’s Tavern. After walking in the door, we immediately felt like we were in our own hometown bar.

Bern’s Tavern is the perfect tavern experience, and to think, it comes in the heart of wine country. There were a lot of different beers to try out and they served top notch bar food. Grabbing a booth, shooting a pool, and the loose flow of chit chat that followed was perfection.

Prosser was a fun place to visit and many of my best memories came from the hours we spent at Bern’s Tavern.

5 Fun Facts: Washington – Grand Coulee Dam

I’m a fan of dams. I have been since I was a kid. I remember Mom taking us for day trips, as she called them, to large and small dams throughout the state of Washington. Most of these were dams on the Columbia River of course, but we’d also go see minor ones too. The king of all of these dams though was always Grand Coulee Dam. There is so much to enjoy there but it all starts with just staring at this huge, man made, awe inspiring structure that has harnessed the mighty Columbia River. Was that corny? Oh, well… here are five fun facts about this very cool place to visit.

1. Grand Coulee Dam measures in at 550 feet high from base to top. The original plan was for a low dam to be built that would be just over half that high at 290 feet tall. At that height, it would’ve produced electricity but would not have contributed to the irrigation system that the surrounding area relies on.

2. Due to the rising water behind Grand Coulee Dam, known now as Lake Roosevelt or Franklin Delano Roosevelt Lake, more than 3,000 people had to be relocated, many of them Native Americans.

3. The reservoir behind Grand Coulee was officially recognized as full on June 1, 1942 when the first water flowed over the dam’s spillway.

4. The Columbia River Treaty is a treaty between the United States and Canada that allows for water storage where backed up water of the Columbia River behind Grand Coulee Dam extends north of the Canadian’s border.

5. 1952 saw the United States Post Office issue a commemorative Grand Coulee Dam stamp with a face value of three cents.

Take a Ride on the Portland Brew Bus!

With a name like the Portland Brew Bus, let’s just say I was intrigued at what lay ahead for my afternoon excursion one day in Portland, Oregon.

Portland is known as the microbrewery capital of the United States, with more microbreweries per capita than anywhere else in the country. I found myself in the city and wanting to go check one of these microbreweries out. Then the Portland Brew Bus was recommended to me and that sounded like a whole lot of fun.

I boarded the bus and we immediately set out on our excursion. The driver was extremely knowledgeable, and in addition to giving some great background information on craft brewing and the city’s microbrewery culture, he provided some nice general Portland knowledge as well.

Stop after stop, I kept finding great tasting beers that I wanted to remember later so I could purchase some. Lucky for me, the Portland Brew Bus provided a beer scorecard so I could keep track. Afterwards, it was very easy to find outlets that sold these fine beers. I also found my way back to one that was my favorite the next night.

If you are a beer drinker and will be finding yourself going through the Portland area at anytime, I highly recommend this fun and unique way to get out and about in the city and sample the high quality beers of several microbreweries.

Give the Portland Brew Bus a shot at entertaining you!

Check Out The Great Northern & Cascade Railway In Skykomish

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While driving on US 2, west of Stevens Pass, I got lucky and found a nice little attraction in the little town of Skykomish.

Skykomish is the last community you pass by when you travel eastbound over Stevens Pass. Or, I guess, it could be the first community on the west side that you reach when heading over Stevens Pass from Eastern Washington. Regardless, it’s a cute little town and definitely worth a quick pull off from the highway.

Skykomish has some nice ties to the railroad and logging industries, and though I’d stopped there before, what caught my attention this time was some small signs along the highway promoting “Free Train Rides”.

Having kids in the car with me on this trip, I decided this was worth some investigation. Truth be told, we were about due for a snack anyway. As we crossed the Skykomish River, we saw that the signs led to the small historic train depot in the center of town. We pulled into the parking lot just in time to see the train leave the station. The train in question that day was a miniature narrow gauge train run by an engineer and ferrying children, some “disguised” as adults, around on a fairly good sized track. We’d just found the Great Northern & Cascade Railway.

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The train passes over a bridge, goes through a tunnel, and passes by several full size rail cars and railroad equipment. Needless to say, the kids had an excellent time.

The town’s historic depot, dating back to 1898, contains some interesting things to see too. Restoring the depot and bringing the railroad history to visitors and locals is a big project and you can support that project by purchasing some of the shirts, books, and other souvenirs found inside. There are also other things to see there including a historic train bell waiting for you to ring it, replica train cars and engines done to scale, and more.

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The Great Northern & Cascade Railway is located at 101 North 5th Street in Skykomish, Washington. The facility is open Saturday and Sunday from the end of May to the end of October. It’s great for a quick stop, especially if you are traveling with kids or have an interest in history. Plus, you can’t pass up the feeling you get supporting small community projects like this.

Follow the Great Northern & Cascade Railway on Facebook!

Or check out the Great Northern & Cascade Railway website!

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Oregon’s Astoria-Megler Bridge

Astoria-Megler Bridge

If you’re like me, one of the hits of going on a road trip is driving across, or seeing, interesting bridges.

I’ve always thought bridges were cool for a couple of reasons. First, I like the idea of the people who built these bridges making a manmade object that spans across a river or chasm. This is sometimes a pretty impressive feat of engineering. Second, I like the feeling of driving across the bridge, high above what lies below, knowing that if the bridge were not there, my travels would be a lot different. Third, I appreciate many bridges for their architecural values. I like the lines of some bridges, the way the incorporate interesting angle, and the way they vanish to a horizon point off in the distance. Bridges, to me, are one of the best subjects for taking pictures while out enjoying a road trip.

One of the coolest bridges we get to drive across here in the Pacific Northwest is the Astoria-Megler Bridge that connects Oregon to Washington at the mouth of the Columbia River. The city of Astoria sits at the south end of the bridge and is a great host to your Northern Oregon Coast activities. The trip across the bridge though is the highlight for me.

The Astoria-Megler Bridge is about 28 feet wide and runs for a distance of 4.1 miles. At its highest point, it is 196 miles above the water of the Columbia River. Much of the bridge though rides much lower and provides a very nice view of either state, depending on your direction of travel, and of course of the river and the ocean it is meeting as well.

I’ll be honest here, I cannot remember the last time I came to the Astoria-Megler Bridge and drove across it one time. I usually drive across it once, turn and retreat back to where I came from, driving across it a second time in the process, and then drive across it a third time as I go on my way. This is especially true if I’m spending the night in Astoria.

The Astoria-Megler Bridge was completed in 1966 and all these years later it is still a very special treat for anyone road tripping in the Northwest.

Lincoln City’s Siletz Bay Lodge

Lincoln City has been like a magnet to me since I was a little kid. I have so many great memories of heading to this part of the Oregon Coast with my mom, brother, and sister. Without fail, I cannot let more than a couple years go by now without returning their even these days.

My last trip through this always changing and always welcoming little oceanside slice of paradise saw me staying at the Siletz Bay Lodge. Siletz Bay has a unique look about it when compared to the rest of Lincoln City that sits out on the ocean beach. You can still easily get to the oceanfront beach, it’s just a short walk, but staying on this little bay can give you a feeling of being tucked away in a cozy nook while still being right in the middle of it all.

Lincoln City Siletz Bay Lodge

The lodge itself is awesome. It is very modern and very clean. Our room not only featured the basic necessities for a night away from home, but also had free wi-fi, plenty of computer ports, a coffee maker, and both a microwave and a refrigerator. Outside the room, the rest of the lodge featured a gift shop, laundry area, comfortable sitting area, and a hot tub that we had to make use of. The continental breakfast was also very nice, offering something for everyone.

Lincoln City is famous for its seven and a half miles of walkable beaches. Accessing them from the Siletz Bay Lodge was extremely easy too. Other nearby attractions included the Tanger Outlet Mall, D’River Wayside, Desert Storm War Memorial, Devils Lake, and more. Plus, just hanging out and watching the action that takes place on the small bay is fun too. To experience Lincoln City fully, I thought this pleasant little lodge was perfectly placed.

The Siletz Bay Lodge played a big role in us having yet another fun memory making trip to the Lincoln City area.

The River’s Edge Lodge in Leavenworth

The Wenatchee River flows from Lake Wenatchee to the Columbia River, and along the way passes some of the most incredible scenery, attractions, and locales in Washington. One of those locales is Leavenworth. This little Bavarian themed city has been one of the more popular tourist attractions in Washington for years… and there are a lot of reasons for that.

Leavenworth is home to a year round festive atmosphere, some incredible food, top notch scenery, and friendly locals who just wait to welcome you in. The shopping opportunities there are legendary too. Whether going for an afternoon, a weekend, or a longer stay, you can easily have a great time in Leavenworth.

My last visit to Leavenworth saw me staying at the River’s Edge Lodge, which is east of town. I bring this up because it ties in both of the above subjects. During my stay, I ate some of the best bratwursts ever, picked up a couple of very cool gifts, and I even danced a polka in public (yeah, you read that right). What I also got to do though was stay right on the banks of the Wenatchee River.

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It was very cool, as the sun went down, to sit outside and hear the water rush by and watch it do what it has been doing for centuries. The River’s Edge Lodge was very clean, very comfortable, and worked perfectly for my weekend in Leavenworth.

I’ve got to take some polka lessons though before I head back to Leavenworth.