I consider us somewhat fortunate that most of our family and friends are local. That means we almost never have to travel for weddings! Of course the flip side is that we don’t have the benefit of freeloading with family or friends on our vacations, but that’s ok, I am a bit of a hotel snob anyways.
Naturally, the one cousin that lives out-of-state decided to get married, and they happen to live in the Seattle area. To paint a nice financial picture for you, it is cheaper to fly from Boston to almost anywhere in Europe than it is for us to fly to the other side of the country. We made the best out of our most expensive 4 day trip, and really enjoyed Washington state!
In an effort to save a small amount of cash, we took the cheapest flight we could find. More often than not that translates to the most inconvenient flight we could find. We left Boston after work on a Thursday, had a quick layover, and were in Seattle at 1am on Friday. I don’t remember whose idea this was, but my husband and I rented a car and decided that we would pass on the hotel room for the night. We drove out to our hotel in Redmond, which is just outside of Bellevue. Here we found parking and “slept” in the car. It was miserable. Just awful. Given the chance I may save the money again, but it was not ideal. At 6’0 and 5’10, respectively, my husband and I are both way too tall and old to be sleeping in cars.
Since sleeping wasn’t much of an option, we found the nearest Denny’s and then located this pristine little park to watch the sunrise. Idylwood Park is a quiet little spot, and worth stopping at if you are in the area and looking to take a sunrise stroll.
Here are a few more pictures of Idylwood Park in Redmond, Washington…
After a nice brisk walk, I was ready to beg the hotel to let us check in early.
As I mentioned earlier, I tend to be a bit of a hotel snob. I am also very frugal, so the two don’t always match up. Yet, I have always been able to find good hotels at affordable prices. This isn’t always easy, but comparison shopping and track pricing features can be very helpful!
We ended up getting a room at The Hyatt House in Redmond, Washington. This hotel was perfect. It was a studio set up with a very comfortable king bed, a small kitchen, a sitting area, and very clean and modern bathroom. It had a pool, free parking garage, and a very nice restaurant/bar. It was also located within walking distance of a very cute downtown style outdoor shopping mall. I had the best burger of my entire life at The Tipsy Cow Burger Bar, and trust me, I am a burger fanatic who does not take the culinary art of burger making lightly. If burgers aren’t your thing, there are many other restaurants and stores to check out!
Other highlights of our trip included a several hour self-guided kayaking adventure where I insisted we were paddling towards Red Hook Brewery in Woodinville, Washington. I am sure I uttered the words “we are almost there” no less than a hundred times. As luck would have it, the nice young lad at the kayak rental place who pointed us down the river was wrong. After sustaining some serious sunburns, we paddled back, hopped in our rental car, and drove to the brewery. Much less exciting than floating up in our kayaks, but the beer was just as refreshing. If you are ever in the Southern New Hampshire/Massachusetts area, I suggest checking out their Portsmouth, NH location! No kayak docking here, but same great food and beer.
Our Day in Seattle
Naturally we decided to visit Seattle at a time other than 1am, and not just to see the airport. I am not big on large city adventures, and definitely prefer less crowded areas. So we chose a few key places to hit and headed back to the more peaceful and scenic area’s of the state. I must say, even though it was extremely crowded, Pike’s Place is a must see! There are so many vendor’s and you can spend hours swooning over the most beautiful flowers.
Like I said, I prefer the quieter side of things. Here are a few other cool spots to check out if you happen to be in the Seattle area:
Pies and Pints: Seattle, Washington
This place was amazing. It is a bit of a hole in the wall place, but who doesn’t love meat pies and water served in a bourbon bottle! UPDATE: Pies and Pints closed down in April 2017, but it will always be a local legend!
The Woodinville Wineries: Woodinville, Washington
Unfortunately there are no pictures of the beautiful Woodinville wineries and distillery, as I was hyper focused on sampling lots of wine, and a tad bit of whiskey.
TRAVEL WARNING: Do not make the same mistake we did and save this for the last day. It was a great time, and I wish we had thought to do it sooner. We actually found out about these wineries AFTER we went to the wedding at one of them on Saturday night. So we decided to come back on Sunday to explore a bit more, but it would have been even better if we had dedicated a full day to this.
Snoqualmie Falls: Snoqualmie, Washington
My dream was to go see Mount Rainier; however, with only a few days in Washington we simply did not have the time to make the four-hour trek out that way. Instead I polled the locals for best day trips, and hikes. Most people recommend checking out Snoqualmie Falls, which was only a quick 30 minute drive from our hotel. This is a famous 270 foot waterfall that you can hike to (more of a leisurely stroll through the woods, if you ask me). Regardless, it is a nice walk for all ages!
Lot No. 3: Bellevue, Washington
One benefit of traveling to visit a local friend is that they typically know the best places to eat. This held true for us on many occasions while in Washington. Lot No. 3 had one of the best brunch menu’s I have encountered. Most notably, they had this mimosa flight. Guava, Orange and Pineapple. Pure heaven to this mimosa lover. Everyone else in my party loved the Smoking Pig Blood Mary. Not my thing, but the jalapeno infused vodka with bacon was certainly a crowd pleaser!
Lessons learned in Washington State:
- The tolls in Washington state are absurd. When we picked up our rental car they asked us if we thought we would be driving on a lot of toll roads. We figured we might hit a few, and opted to just pay them as we went rather than pay the flat $50 fee. We quickly learned that most tolls are over $5.00, and they are everywhere. Thankfully the rental company let us retroactively pay the program price instead of our bill!
- Flights to Seattle are insanely expensive, so do your research! And always use “inprivate” browsing to avoid sites from increasing the prices when they know you are looking for a trip.
- Always wear sunscreen. Especially when kayaking. You never know when you might get lost.
- It does not always rain in Washington. I brought my cutest rain gear, and was severely disappointed by the lack of rain. Apparently there is a dry season, who knew?