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Pacific Northwest Cities


Return to 99W South as you leave the McMinnville area and continue for about 5 miles in the direction of Amity. Turn right at Fifth (the Bellevue Highway) then after about 2 miles the road will veer to the right at a sign reading Bellevue/Sheridan. Here’s where you have the opportunity to vis... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Ashland is a thoroughly charming place: a small town and culturally sophisticated destination spot. Occupying a corner in the gentle Rogue River Valley, it is protected between the magnificent Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges. It’s conveniently located only 15 miles south of the Medford/R... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

At the very top of the Oregon coast sits the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies, Astoria. It was first visited by the English Captain Robert Gray in 1792, then by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805, and thereafter by adventurous pioneers by the thousands. Today a great many rest... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From Gold Beach, continue on 101 North to Bandon. Exit at either Chicago, 2nd, or Delaware Streets and follow the signs to Old Town. Visitors enjoy rambling through Old Town to enjoy the shops and fine galleries or to watch the fishing boats sail in and out of the harbor. But nature is what rea... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Bellingham is a merger of what were once four different districts, each with their own character: the port where the transport of lumber still dominates the piers, the old town, the lovely residential district that encircles the waters of Lake Whatcom, and the quaint community of Fairhaven. A f... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Bremerton sits on one of the harbors of Puget Sound and is truly a navy town as it is home to the Puget Sound Naval Base and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. There are several naval museums, one of which is on the naval destroyer USS Turner Joy.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

This particular segment of coastline enjoys the warmest coastal weather in the entire Pacific Northwest. Flowers thrive here, especially Easter lilies and other varieties known to prefer winter months. You might take a stroll through Azalea Park (watch for signs off 101 just west of the Chetco... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The next village of Cannon Beach is considered the center for artistic activity on the Oregon coast. It is more contemporary and more sophisticated, especially along Hemlock Street, than many of its counterpart coastal towns, all the while retaining a small-town feeling. Travelers come to enjoy... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From Leavenworth, travel east on Hwy 2 in the direction of Wenatchee. The small town of Cashmere, is known for its famous Liberty Orchards-Aplets and Cotlets factory and store (509-782-4088, www.libertyorchards.com), and the outdoor Pioneer Village Museum (509-782-3230) replicating life in the ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Once on Whidbey, you’ll first pass through the small town of Clinton, once a steamboat refueling spot, and today home to the busiest of Whidbey’s two ferry docks. A strong Norwegian heritage influences many of the activities in Clinton and on the island generally.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The old lumber towns of Coos Bay, North Bend, and Charleston are sometimes referred to as Oregon’s “Bay Area,” once an extremely busy commercial hub where the timber industry thrived. Today, visitors are drawn here by three landmarks immediately southwest of Coos Bay via the Cape Arago mi... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Continue on to Corbett and your first astounding view of the gorge at the Portland Women’s Forum State Park at Chanticleer Point. Everything is well marked. This is the former site of the Chanticleer Inn, where the highway’s visionaries met in 1913 to plan its construction... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leaving Fort Casey, follow the signs to Engle Road and Coupeville. The oldest of Whidbey Island’s towns, Coupeville was first established in 1853. Brochures for self-guided walking tours through this 19th-century seaport town are available at the Island County Historical Museum, a good place ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The commercial center is Eastsound to the north, a charming place for browsing through small shops, sampling good restaurants, and learning more about the island. It’s a very small village, so it’s easy to walk around. You may happen upon something that piques your interest, including infor... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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From Leavenworth, it is an easy and beautiful drive taking Hwy 97 up the forested valley, across the Blewett Pass, down Hwy 90 and east to the university town of Ellensburg. The numerous, red brick buildings reflect the history of the town. Back in 1898, on the eve of a public vote to determine... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Friday Harbor is the San Juan Island’s primary commercial center and is home to just over 2,000 residents. The town is the hub for restaurants, small museums, shops, galleries, and parks that are located on the island.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

It’s at Gold Beach that the powerful Rogue River empties into the Pacific Ocean. Whatever else you decide to do in this area, don’t miss the chance to sign up for a jet-boat excursion up the mighty Rogue. Some 40 miles of riverside from Gold Beach to Grants Pass are protected within the Sis... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Grants Pass was once a stopping point on the Oregon-California Stagecoach Line. It got its name in 1863 when settlers building the main road through town got news that Ulysses S. Grant had captured Vicksburg. The town is now a central point for many downriver (the Rogue) rafting trips and a goo... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Make a visit to Hood River, a casual and friendly community of windsurfers and breweries, and one of Oregon’s major apple- and pear-growing regions. Consider a Mount Hood Railroad excursion, departing from the Hood River Depot and offering a four-hour, scenic round trip through the gently bea... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Protected by tall headlands to the west, Ilwaco lies just northeast of Cape Disappointment. It’s a popular spot for sports fishermen and a wonderful place to stay and explore.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From Ashland, head north on E. Main, which becomes N. Main, then Hwy 99. Just past the town of Phoenix, turn left on South Stage Road and follow the well-placed signage for 6½ miles to historic Jacksonville, population barely over 2,000. The short stretch of rural road leading you to town is a... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Once your island visits are complete and you’ve exited the ferry at Anacortes, head east on Hwy 20 and follow the signs to the town of La Conner. On the National Register of Historic Places, this small town dates back to the late 1860s and is perhaps best known for its annual Tulip Festival i... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leaving the Whidbey Winery, turn right onto Langley Road and head in the direction of the town of Langley. Langley Road becomes Sixth. Turn right on Anthes Avenue and drive to First. Park anywhere you like and take to this charming village on foot. Perched on a low bluff overlooking Saratoga Pa... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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From Seattle, take Hwy 520 east to I-405 North to Hwy 522 east to Hwy 2 east. The road to Leavenworth is absolutely beautiful. Surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery anywhere in the U.S., this town was once home to the Yakima, Chinook, and Wenatchee Indian tribes. By 1890, the original... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The tiny village of Lopez, on Lopez Island, just 4 miles south of the ferry landing on Weeks Road, provides the only sign of commercial life with a few shops, a bakery, and restaurants. The humble Lopez Historical Museum in the village chronicles Indian and pioneer life on the island over the y... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

A few miles south of Nehalem, Manhattan Beach is wide and sandy, good for strolling and soaking in the sun (follow the signs off 101 to Manhattan Beach State Wayside and walk the short path to the beach). The town of Manzanita is funky and friendly, with great beaches and enviable ocean-view ho... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leaving Anne Amie Vineyards, turn left to return to 99W and turn right on 99W toward McMinnville. From here, if you’ve had enough, you can turn right on 47 North to loop back to Portland, or venture bravely past the strip malls and turn left on NE 3rd Street to the historic downtown district ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Newport, established in 1882, and today a bustling coastal community of over 9,000 people. Its heart is a working waterfront on Yaquina Bay, where fishing fleets and fresh seafood markets share space with galleries, shops, and restaurants. You’ll want to visit Newport’s first-class Oregon C... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Oysterville at the northern end of the Long Beach Peninsula was, in the 19th century, a key supplier of oysters to the city of San Francisco. The town is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Buildings of note include a church, an oyster cannery, and an old post office. The peninsula... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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Small, friendly, quirky, Port Orford feel a lot like Big Sur 20 years ago. It offers the best of Oregon’s spectacular southern coast, from awe-inspiring seascapes to mountain hiking trails and winding rivers. It has a very active artistic community, with seven art galleries owned and oper... more

  • Traveler Recommended

A seaport town of no mean stature back in the 1800s, today’s Port Townsend goes to heroic lengths to preserve as much of its 19th-century heritage as it can. One of only three Victorian seaport towns in the United States to earn the distinction of placement on the National Historic Register, ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Portland is a very easy city to get around in. There are many inexpensive parking lots in the downtown area, so park your car and venture out on foot. Maps and self-guided tours are available at the Visitor Information and Services Center located in the Pioneer Courthouse Square complex. (701 S... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leaving Keyport, drive west on the 308, and at the second set of traffic lights turn right on Viking Way; then, again at the second set of lights, turn right on Finn Hill Road to enter Poulsbo, Washington’s “Little Norway,” a pretty town sitting at the head of Liberty Bay. Settled in 1882... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Roche Harbor at the north end of the island now stands on the spot first occupied by a Hudson’s Bay Company post. When the U.S./Canadian boundary was settled, it became the Roche Harbor Lime Quarries and changed hands several times until it was purchased by John McMillan in 1886. McMillan was... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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Like most cities, Seattle is ideally approached on foot, one neighborhood at a time, rather than fighting your way on unfamiliar one-way mazes in traffic. Consider taking cabs between the neighborhoods you want to explore (distances are not great) or using public transportation—the Seattle Me... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

When you’re ready to leave Port Townsend, retrace your steps on Hwy 20 then head west on 101 to Sequim (say Skwim), long known for its dry and sunny climate—a benefit of being in the rain shadow of the Olympics. In recent years, the town has taken advantage of this Provence-style weather an... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Start in Ashland and take I-5 North to 234 east, toward and through the friendly town of Gold Hill. (A quicker route to Crater Lake would involve getting off I-5 about 15 miles sooner and following 62 North, which we’ll soon join a little less directly.) Enjoy this lush valley byway to Hwy 62... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Some of the most delightful bed and breakfast inns anywhere are located in the harbor side village of Sooke, a 45-minute drive west on Hwy 14 from downtown Victoria. Truly, some of these inns are destination spots in themselves; and anyway, a trip to Sooke is about rest and nature, not about al... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Once you’ve had as much or as little of Edgefield as suits your fancy, head back into and through the town of Troutdale, cross the Sandy River Bridge, and veer right to begin the Columbia River Highway. Climb uphill to the town of Springdale. Stop at Mom’s Garden Bakery (the big blue house ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The 3 Capes Scenic Route will join 101 again near Tillamook, the center of Oregon’s dairy industry. You might want to stop here and visit the Pioneer Museum (2106 Second St; open Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm; 503-842-4553) or drive 2 miles south of town to t... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From Portland, take I-84 east to our first stop off Exit 17: Troutdale. Exit and drive along the frontage road to Graham Road (follow signs for Troutdale and Columbia River Highway), where you’ll turn right. Take your first left on Columbia River Highway and drive directly into town, where a ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The historic town of Union Creek located in the Rogue River National Park and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Union Creek was built on the Crater Lake Trail used by early settlers to cross the Cascade Mountains.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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Vancouver sparkles. The gateway to western Canada is the pride of the country, and top-rated as a world-class city by numerous travel magazines and newspapers. The city's eye appeal may be its snow-capped mountains and ocean shores. When you add the city's diversified ethnicity, numerous cultur... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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Now dust off your passport. It’s time to take a ferry ride across the Juan de Fuca Strait to the beautiful city of Victoria at the south end of Vancouver Island, the capital of Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia. Citizens of the U.S. visiting Canada need to supply proof... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From Lake Chelan, continue north on Hwy 97 to Hwy 153, and then to Hwy 20, traveling in the direction of Winthrop. Spring through fall, Hwy 20 would deliver you back to the coast, but in winter it dead-ends at Washington Pass. With the towering peaks of the Cascades looming in the distance, Hwy... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Yakima is often referred to as the "Palm Springs of Washington" as it has the warmest climate in the state. Yakima is also noted for its apple and hops production. Also, just north of the city along the Yakima River is reputed to be one of the finest areas for spotting bald eagles, ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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