Come late winter, Seattle can start to feel like kind of a drag. Many swear by skiing and snowboarding to beat winter tedium, but the snow is horrible this year (so I hear -- personally I like my bones to remain intact and therefore stay far, far away from the slopes). So, what to do on winter weekends when downing coffee and staring at the rain just isn’t cutting it? When boredom strikes, escape Seattle’s soggy streets and hideous traffic on one of these easy, affordable day trips.
The faux-Bavarian village of Leavenworth is kinda cheesy, but a definite Washington State must. If an Oktoberfest trip sounds too intense, winter is a great time to visit. Stroll around town and check out Leavenworth’s many locally owned shops, stopping for a lager and a pretzel at Icicle Brewing. Feeling adventurous? Head to the nearby Leavenworth Winter Sports Club tubing hill. To get to Leavenworth (about a two hour drive), take I-5 north from Seattle then take exit 194 for US-2 East toward Wenatchee. Lederhosen optional.
Skagit Wildlife Area
To view majestic bald eagles as well as ducks, geese, swans and shorebirds, grab your binoculars and head to Skagit Wildlife Area, which comprises over 16,700 acres of wildlife habitat. The landscape is gorgeous, featuring open water, island shoreline, tidal mudflats and marshes, and forested uplands, which can be explored via many well managed trails. The trip to Skagit Wildlife Area takes about 70 minutes: head north on I-5 and east on Fir Island Rd. in Mount Vernon.
Several beaches in Washington open for razor clam digging in February (check here to confirm openings). These beaches, including Mocrocks Beach, Copalis Beach, Long Beach, and Twin Harbors Beach, are several hours from Seattle, but enjoying freshly caught razor clams make the trek 100% worth the effort. To legally dig, you will need a license. You’ll also want to bring a shovel or clam tube, bucket, and a cooler to transport the clams home to your kitchen.
Brew Your Own Beer
If home brewing some delicious IPA or pilsner appeals, but equipment needs, space issues, and the potential mess turn you off, check out Gallaghers’ Where-U-Brew in Edmonds, about 30 minutes north of Seattle on I-5. Gallaghers’ provides step by step brewing guides and access to professional brewmasters to help you through the process. Brewing takes about two hours, and you can return two weeks later to bottle and take home your creation.
-Leah Wyatt, TWIF Blogger and Social Media Coordinator