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Trip Report Trip report to Seattle and the Olympic National Park

Trip report to Seattle and the Olympic National Park
Posted by: allyboy on Oct 21, 11 at 10:23am
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allyboy on Oct 21, 11 at 9:51am
We have returned from a wonderful 6 day trip to Seattle and the Olympic Natiional Park!

This vacation was filled with magnificent sights, invigorating walks, delicous meals, friendly people, cooperating weather and tons of photos! I want to express my thanks to all Fodorites who had previously written about their trips and posted them on this site and in particular want to send some special shout outs to Candace Kaleberg, happytrailstoyou and hawksbill for their helpful suggestions.

Rather than posting a day by day itinerary I have chosen to break down our trip by categories.

TRANSPORTATION

We used the Link Rail Line from Seattle Airport into the center of town: Westlake to be exact. How easy and inexpensive it was especially for Seniors. We were not more than a few blocks from our hotel and the ride was approximately 40 minutes. No reservations needed--just need to purchase tickets before boarding at either end.

Our car rental was through Enterprise. We chose to walk a mile to this location (leaving our luggage back at the hotel), picked up the car and then picked our luggage up at the hotel. This gave us an opportunity to get some exercise before leaving for Port Angeles and a chance to walk through some neighborhoods in the early morning. The staff at Enterprise were friendly and very accomodating and drove us back to our hotel when we returned the car.

The Bainbridge Ferry that takes you from Seattle to Bainbridge Island was a beautiful ride allowing us to see Mt. Rainier (the only time during our visit). This ferry has lots of room, food, adequate toilet facilities and with the weather cooperating a very smooth ride which lasted about 35 minutes.

The Monorail that we rode from The Music Experience to the downtown area was a quick and fun ride (especially sitting in the front car). It was inexpensive and interesting to see the streets and buildings from up above after walking through these same streets only hours before boarding. It is definitely a fun thing to do with the kids!

Our Feet! We walked everywhere using street maps in the city and guide maps in the Park. Seattle is a very walkable city and should be experienced by wallking through neighborhoods. Don't allow a little rain to get in your way. Bring a small umbrella with you and just explore.

LODGING

SEATTLE

We ended up using two hotels: The Mayflower (1 night) and The Warwick (2 nights). and loved them both! Great location, staffs friendly and helpful. The room at the Warwick had us on the 14th floor with a magnificent view of the Space Needle. Our Entertainment Card was used at The Mayflower which gave us quite a good rate and we would have stayed there for the other 2 nights , however, we couldn't secure the same rate. We arrived in Seattle and were settled into our room at The Mayflower by noon and stayed just the night as the next morning we left for Olympic National Park.

PORT ANGELES

Olympic Lodge. I chose this instead of the Red Lion simply because the room I wanted at the Red Lion was not available. There was a Crab Festival in town and all the rooms were taken, however, I wasn't disappointed in the least as the Olympic Lodge room was spacious and had a lovely view of the Golf course. It had a nice lobby, fireplace and an outdoor pool/hot tub. There isn't a restaurant here so you will have to travel to one if necessary.

Lake Crescent Lodge inside Olympic National Park. Absolutely loved this place!!! Great room overlooking the lake (Marymere Room), two Queen size beds (only needed one), wonderful welcoming staff that always greeted us with a smile and allowed us to use their utensils when we brought our own wine and cheese. A highlight for us was sitting in their front room overlooking the lake sipping a glass of wine and sitting by the fireplace in the main room.

***Restaurants, Sights, Suggestions to follow!

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allyboy on Oct 21, 11 at 11:20am
RESTAURANTS AND FOOD

SEATTLE : Serious Pie Virginia 316 Virginia Street ** They have a Happy Hour each day 3-5 with pizzas @ $6 and wine @ $5. A great deal! No reservations taken.
Etta's Seafood 2020 Western Avenue (located across from Pike's Market
TASTE (at Seattle Arts Museum)
Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub 1916 Post Alley ( located across from Pike's Market). They have music almost every night. Make sure you look at the wonderful photos of Ireland on the wall in both the rooms.
Macrina Bakery and Cafe 2408 1st Avenue. Found this gem of a cafe while on a walk. Great coffee, baked goods, yogurt and all natural ingredients.

SEQUIM: Alder Wood Bistro 139 W. Alder Street. This restaurant came highly recommended and it was wonderful! We planned to arrive by lunchtime (after taking Bainbridge Ferry from Seattle) and it absolutely well worth it!

PORT ANGELES: Breakfast at Cafe Garden 1506 E. First Street. This is very close to the Olympic Lodge where we stayed the night. Great breakfast choices and wonderful staff!!

LAKE CRESCENT LODGE: Dined in the main dining room here. Food is adequate; service is good; a bit costly. Chose only to have one meal here.

LA PUSH: Three Rivers which is more like any roadside cafe with lots of Twilight posters surrounding you, however, it is the only restaurant around. We had driven to Second Beach in La Push and had planned to dine at the River's Edge only to find it closed. Not sure if it was closed for lunch, or on a Monday or closed for the season.

THRIFTY in Forks and SAFEWAY in Port Angeles to purchase food which we brought back to the Lodge.

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allyboy on Oct 21, 11 at 9:12pm
SIGHTS AND TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

SEATTLE

Self guided tours to Pikes Market, Olympic Sculpture Park, Pioneer Square, Space Needle area, The Music Experience. If you go to Pioneer Square there are two things you should not miss: The Waterfall Garden and The Firemen Sculpture. The Seattle Arts Museum (suggested donation rather than a specific fee) and the Library (unbelievable building and you should spend some time walking around). I also suggest you somehow get over to the Fremont neighborhood which is just a few miles away. You can go on your own tour and see things like the Troll under the bridge, a neon rapunzel, houseboats on Lake Union (think Sleepless in Seattle), Lenin Statue, Rocket Ship and a bunch of wonderful shops and cafes.

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

Hikes to Marymere Falls, Sol Duc Falls, Hurricane Ridge (closer to Port Angeles), Hoh Rain Forest, Rialto Beach, Lake Crescent.

TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS

If you are flying into Seattle and considering going to the Olympic National Park: Rent your car in town rather than the airport.
You don't really need a car while in Seattle. Walk where you can and take public transportation when you cannot.
Bring an umbrella and perhaps rain gear if you are planning some hikes in the Park.
Bring along a plastic bag for your camera so that you can keep it dry.
Be prepared for colder weather at the top of Hurricane Ridge.
Use the Link Rail from the Airport.
Buy some snacks/food from Safeway and Thriftway if you are staying in the Park to get you through some meals.
Schedule Hoh Rain Forest and one of the beaches on same day (especially if staying at the Lake Crescent Lodge) as it at least 11/2 hours drive and at least the Rain Forest and Beaches are in the same vicinity.
Also we discovered that it is best to select one beach rather than several. If you can arrange to see Rialto at low tide it will give you the best views and the ability to walk on the beach for longer distances.
Have fun; make new discoveries and take lots of photos!

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