Quaint Towns

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Mar 24th, 2010, 04:21 PM
  #1
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Quaint Towns

Looking for some quaint/scenic/picturesque towns to visit in WA.

We live in Bellevue, so suggestions for day-trips or weekend trips would be great.

We especially like scenic drives, easy hiking, great views, and charming towns to stroll around.

We have been to Coupeville and Langley on Whidbey Island, Edmonds, Port Townsend, Bainbridge Island, and Leavenworth. Liked them all except Leavenworth was a little too touristy for us (very pretty drive out there tho!)

We have heard that the Hood Canal area is very scenic - any towns/sights recommended?

What about Mt Vernon or La Conner? San Juan Islands?

Thanks in advance for any help
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Mar 24th, 2010, 04:51 PM
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How about Winthrop. It's probably pretty touristy by now, but the drive from Seattle via 2 to Winthrop is beautiful.
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Mar 24th, 2010, 04:54 PM
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mms
 
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I don't think of Mt. Vernon as quaint. But definitely La Conner. Snohomish as well. Try Poulsbo over on the Kitsap Peninsula. Gig Harbor too.
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Mar 24th, 2010, 05:00 PM
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Thank you Pegontheroad and mms!

I don't really mind touristy that much really, just that Leavenworth was maybe too themed for me? Not sure.

OK,
Winthrop
La Conner
Poulsbo
Gig Harbor

Thanks for the suggestions!
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Mar 24th, 2010, 05:01 PM
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oops and Snohomish too - why did I think that was a county?
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Mar 24th, 2010, 05:03 PM
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mms
 
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Personally I love Leavenworth, but I know it isn't for everyone Yes, it can be kitschy, but we love to hike so the area really draws us. We have our favorite restaurants and shops, and avoid the others.

Definitely add Snohomish to your list. The waterfront has some nice restaurants and shops.
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Mar 24th, 2010, 05:04 PM
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Snohomish is a county as well as a town. We used to live there and miss it. In the fall, definitely go to The Farm there.
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Mar 24th, 2010, 05:09 PM
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mms - we took the 2 to Leavenworth and loved the drive. My daughter loved it there - she told me it reminded her of Pinocchio. It wasn't terrible, definitely not a waste of time. I think it was the yodel music playing loudly that was a little creepy? Maybe it reminded me of Solvang, CA - got a little burnt out on that place, a family favorite.

I will look into Snohomish for sure
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Mar 25th, 2010, 01:18 PM
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I have another question - what is the best way to get to Gig Harbor from Bellevue/Seattle? When I use google, it says to take highway 5 through Tacoma to the 16. That doesn't sound very scenic, and I'm imagining a ferry ride would be better? What would be best?
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Mar 25th, 2010, 01:48 PM
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I have another question - what is the best way to get to Gig Harbor from Bellevue/Seattle? When I use google, it says to take highway 5 through Tacoma to the 16. That doesn't sound very scenic, and I'm imagining a ferry ride would be better? What would be best?

If quaint towns is your aim, then you'd be best to go via Vashon Island. Take the ferry from West Seattle to Vashon, then drive the length of the island down to the ferry to Ruston, which is a fairly "quaint" neighborhood that's now part of the city of Tacoma. From Ruston just head down Pearl Street (SR 163) to the junction of SR 16, over the Narrows bridge, and bingo, Gig Harbor.

BUT - while on Vashon, be sure to have a look around Burton on Quartermaster Bay - one of the most picturesque spots on Puget Sound IMO.

If you want to make a big loop out of it, from Gig Harbor go north through Port Orchard (which also has some cuteness in the downtown area) then around Bremerton on SR 3 all the way up to Poulsbo and then over to Port Gamble before heading back to the mainland via the Edmonds ferry. Port Gamble is an old "company town" with some killer Victorian architecture and splendid setting - sends the quaint needle way up.
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Mar 25th, 2010, 02:02 PM
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Thank you Gardyloo, I will map this route out!

What do you think about the Hood Canal area? Hoodsport, Union, Belfair? I don't think we'd want to squeeze it into this trip (the route you suggested), but do you think it's also scenic? If so, how would you map that out?

Thanks again!
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Mar 25th, 2010, 02:40 PM
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I don't think the Hood Canal towns (Hoodsport, Brinnon, Quilcene) amount to much more than wide spots in the road. The drive is beautiful though. If you like gardens, the Whitney Gardens nursery in Brinnon will be spectacular late next month when all the rhodies and azaleas are blooming.

Agree with Gardyloo about Port Gamble...it does define quaint. Downtown Poulsbo is nice with its Norwegian theme; although it may also remind you a bit of Solvang. Gig Harbor (the old downtown) is cute, but it sort of sprawls along the waterside and there is no real "center" to it.
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Mar 25th, 2010, 03:25 PM
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You can actually stay in some of the houses in Port GAmble. It is one of my favorite places.
Very old settler cemetary, fabulous and surprising sea shell collection, where I used to visit as a child and learned about shells from far away places to visit someday.
In the summer a very nice farmers market; not big but nice. Nice bunch of wild blackberry bushes nearby too...
If you stand on the high top cliff and look out to the strait you can imagine the tall masted ships sailing into the Puget Sound and logs the logger company would fill the bay with to cut in the sawmill onsite to make the houses you see.

If you don't want to stay there I recommend http://www.portludlowresort.com/
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Mar 26th, 2010, 02:05 PM
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Eastsound, Olga (tiny), Lopez Village and maybe Friday Harbor (which is a bit big and has too many fudge and gift shops for me, but lots of people love it) in the San Juans, definitely. Port Gamble is beautiful but more of a preserved historic site instead of an actual town. Snohomish and Poulsbo seem more like suburbs (albeit with cute main streets) to me.
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Mar 29th, 2010, 03:52 PM
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Thank you azzure, 1JAR, AND christy1. Your descriptions were very helpful. So glad there are so many places to visit in the beautiful state!
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Apr 21st, 2010, 08:09 AM
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I live in Poulsbo so I spend a lot of time in the Olympics. The Hood Canal is a nice drive, but I agree not a place for visiting quaint towns. I also agree with your feelings about Leavenworth. The Bavarian theme is more like Disneyland for me, but I do love the area. Although I have lived here most of my life and would not live anywhere else, I grewup in New England. Because our history is so short and our small towns so dependent on logging, there is a totally different feel out here. Have you been to Port Townsend? Doing that on Saturday durring their outdoor market is fun. It is of course bigger then a quaint village. You could drive thru Port Gamble, which does not take much time and Poulsbo on the same day. Or you can combine it with a visit to lovely Whidbey Island.
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Apr 21st, 2010, 09:12 AM
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One of our favorite drives from Seattle follows this routing: Edmonds for the ferry to Kingston, Port Gable, Quilcene, Hoodsport, Belfair, Tacoma, Seattle. The drive south on 101 and west on 106 are particularly beautiful almost any time of year. From Bellevue this is a 200-mile loop drive. It is a long but rewarding day trip.

Another very favorite scenic drive ends in Sultan, which is less than an hour from Bellevue. Consult a good Washington State atlas to see this routing:

• Novelty Hill Road
• West Snoqualmie Valley Road NE
• Crescent Lake Road
• Tualco Road
• Highway 203 for a short distance
• Ben Howard Road on left a short distance

We discovered this beautiful country drive about twenty years ago when a nephew was living in Start Up.

In Sultan, Ixtapa is a good place for Mexican food and the Sultan Bakery is a popular place for lunch and pastry. There is a McDonald's not far east on Highway 2. Sometimes we continue on to Index and return to Highway 2 on Avenue A in Index, which turns into Reiter Road.
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