Exploring the Pacific Northwest

 
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Hey guys! Hope you’re having a great Labor Day weekend. We are being very lazy this weekend and recovering from our trip last week. We went to Portland for my friend Emily’s wedding and then headed up to Seattle afterwards. We had been to Portland before but were super excited to explore Mt Rainier and Seattle for the first time! The beginning of the trip started off rough with our flight out of Charlotte getting delayed 4+ hours. We finally switched to a flight the next day, went home and slept, and headed back to the airport the next morning. We eventually made it to Portland Friday evening, just in time to go to dinner with our friends at Paadee. We had Adult Thai Teas, Issan Wings, Dungeness Crab Fried Rice, and Khao Soi. It was all delicious! After dinner we went to Fifty Licks across the street and I had the best strawberry ice cream I’ve probably ever had.

The wedding was on Saturday but since it wasn’t until 5pm, Tristan and I got up early, grabbed donuts at Blue Star Donuts (SO good!), and drove to Cannon Beach, 1.5 hours from Portland. It was bright and sunny until we got close to Cannon Beach but once we reached the beach, it was super overcast, foggy, and drizzling. It was still BEAUTIFUL! Such a stunning and peaceful place. We walked on the beach a little then went into the town for breakfast. The town was really cute, beachy and cozy, and we had an awesome breakfast at Lazy Susan Cafe. We drove back to Portland, got ready, and all headed to the wedding at 5 that night. It was such a beautiful wedding (cue the tears) and I’m so happy for Emily and her new hubby Ben.

On Sunday morning, Tristan and I got up and grabbed breakfast at Pine State Biscuits before starting our road trip up to Seattle. The biscuits were good and the hash browns were even better. We had decided to take a small detour to Mount Rainier National Park on our trek up to Seattle. We drove to Paradise first, stopping along the way at various viewpoints. Unfortunately there was a cloud covering Mt Rainier that day but it was still sunny and warm. We stopped at Reflection Lakes, Box Canyon, and Inspiration Point. It is such a gorgeous place, truly breath-taking. We exited the park to grab lunch and stumbled upon Cliff Droppers, one of the absolute BEST burgers we’ve ever had. We went back through the park and made our way on up to Seattle. We checked into our airbnb, which uunfortunately did not have A/C. It was 71 degrees outside and 82 in the airbnb (a small studio apt). I had missed that in the listing (HOW? I’m still kickin myself..). Even with a fan and the window open, it was sweltering inside the entire time... MASSIVE fail on my end. :| The best part about the airbnb was that it was walking distance to the Space Needle and Pike Place Market.

We walked over to Pike Place Market early Monday morning and got in line at the original Starbucks, which we both agreed was pretty cool. It has all of the OG signs and logos, exclusive merchandise, and an exclusive Special Reserve brew. After caffeinating, we had a blast exploring Pike Place Market, sampling everything in sight and eating pastries at Three Girls Bakery, mac n cheese from Beecher’s, popcorn from Cobb’s, and fresh apple cider… all DELICIOUS. We walked over to Waterfront Park and decided to explore the Seattle Aquarium, which was absolutely awesome. I hadn’t been to an aquarium since I was little and this one was great. After that we walked back to the airbnb to nap and get ready for dinner. We went to Shiro’s Sushi, a well-known Edomae style sushi spot in the neighborhood we were staying in (Belltown). They only take reservations a few days in advance, so we arrived 30 minutes before they opened and were second in line to grab seats at the sushi bar. We decided to do the open-ended Omakese, where the chef selects your sushi, serving it piece by piece. He served us every kind of fish you can imagine, from all over the world and locally. It was AWESOME and we literally didn’t want to stop, haha! We ended up having 22 pieces each :O.

On Tuesday, we grabbed coffee at Uptown Espresso in Queen Anne and headed to Kerry Park, for a beautiful early morning view of Seattle and Mt Rainier (perfectly visible that day). We purchased tickets to the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden & Glass in advance, so we headed to the Space Needle next. At the top, there’s a glass revolving floor and an observation deck. It wasn’t very crowded and the view was amazing. Next up, we explored Chihuly Garden & Glass, which was incredibly cool. We took a break and walked to the nearby Tilikum Place Cafe for a delicious brunch. Then we explored the Museum of Pop Culture a little but neither of us were impressed. The only exhibit I enjoyed was ‘A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes’. We went back to the airbnb, freshened up for dinner, and headed to the ferry terminal and took a ferry over to Bainbridge Island. The ride is about 30 minutes, with a beautiful view of Seattle, Mt Rainier, and Mt Baker. Once we arrived, we walked into town, stopping at Fletcher Bay Winery for a quick tasting then Amelia Wynn Winery for a snack and glass of wine. We had a dinner reservation at Hitchcock and that was fantastic (we had the rigatoni and clambake). After dinner we stopped at Mora Iced Creamery (TERRIBLE, skip it!), before heading back on the ferry at sunset.

The next morning, we went back to OG Starbucks and then Lola for breakfast, a recommendation from my friend Emily. We had the made-to-order donuts with vanilla mascarpone and peach jam and they were to DIE for. Then it was time to head to the airport and back to Charlotte!

It was such a great trip and we already can’t wait to go back to the PNW. The first trip Tristan and I ever took together as just friends was to Portland (Thanksgiving 2015) and our first trip together as a couple was to Vancouver, BC, so the PNW definitely holds a special place in our hearts. <3

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