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Nine Ways You Can Tell You Are In The Pacific Northwest

December 9, 2020 Visit USA No Comments

The Pacific Northwest region of the United States is an area many appreciate for its breathtaking beauty and diverse cultural experiences. For locals the arts, outdoors and community spirit underpin what it means to be a Northwesterner. But for visitors looking to learn more about the area here is a list of the top nine surefire ways you know you are in the Pacific Northwest.

  • Playing in the pool means playing in the tide pool

Spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor adventures the mountains and coastlines are well worth exploring. Which is why when locals talk about playing in their pool they do not mean in their backyard. Instead, they pack their rubber boots and check for a low tide before heading to one of the beaches in the San Juan Islands and on the Olympic Peninsula. Here the small-town charm, rockpools, beachcombing and refreshing ocean air are the perfect recipe for a relaxing day. You have truly embraced what it means to be Northwestern when the ocean, rivers, lakes, creeks, and stories of the “prettiest rocks and shells ever found” make up some of your best travel stories.

  • Playing in the pool means playing in the tide pool

Spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor adventures the mountains and coastlines are well worth exploring. Which is why when locals talk about playing in their pool they do not mean in their backyard. Instead, they pack their rubber boots and check for a low tide before heading to one of the beaches in the San Juan Islands and on the Olympic Peninsula. Here the small-town charm, rockpools, beachcombing and refreshing ocean air are the perfect recipe for a relaxing day. You have truly embraced what it means to be Northwestern when the ocean, rivers, lakes, creeks, and stories of the “prettiest rocks and shells ever found” make up some of your best travel stories.

  • When rain doesn’t dampen the mood

With unpredictable, everchanging weather, a little rain has never hurt a northwesterner’s plans. A joke amongst locals is the easiest way to spot a visitor is by their umbrella. Most residents prefer to layer to keep warm unless the rain is torrential. So next time you pass through the northwest and it is starting to mist outside, think like a local. Strap on your waterproof boots and head outside anyway (and maybe leave the umbrella behind).

  • Sporting socks and sandals unironically

Fashion in the Pacific Northwest follows its own rules. While some areas might see the socks and sandals combination as the ultimate crime against fashion, locals disagree. Visitors looking to fit in should avoid double takes when a pair of socks and sandals strides by. Or if this sounds like the ideal fashion statement rock your own pair and maybe even consider moving to the northwest.

  • A Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love: When date night includes a bonfire

You haven’t truly lived like a local if you haven’t loved like a local. The pinnacle of relaxed romance is a night spent huddled by a bonfire watching the tide. Nothing spells Northwestern love like ‘smores, smoke and summer nights. For those cooler seasons, a romantic retreat might feature more greenery, but one thing is constant and that is that the fire is still burning.

  • You spot a “Twihard” or two

With the 2020 release of Midnight Sun, the fifth and most recent book in the “Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer, the small town of Forks on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, was in the spotlight again. Fifteen years ago, the little-known logging community gained global notoriety when the first book was released—a love story between teenager Bella Swan and vampire Edward Cullen. “Twihards,” as the fans call themselves, have flocked to Forks in droves for more than a decade. In 2010, it’s reported that 72,000 people visited the quaint town whose population is 3,800. To celebrate the beloved series by its fandom, the Forks Chamber of Commerce created the “Forever Twilight in Forks Festival.” It’s always held in September, as close to the 13th as possible, which is the birthday of Bella Swan. September 13th is called Stephenie Meyer Day to honor the author and the economic boon she has brought to the town.

Image: Bella’s truck parked outside Forks, Washington Visitors Center, credit: Port of Seattle

  • Self-confessed ‘coffee snobs’ say no to Starbucks

Although Starbucks was born in Seattle and rose to prominence on the Pike’s Place Market, locals no longer see, or rather taste, the appeal. A true local in the Pacific Northwest considers it  essential to be seen with  a latte from local vendors such as Stumptown, Peet’s and Boyd’s. But with so many local baristas all offering equally delicious brews, the choices are endless. Afterall, are you even in the Pacific Northwest if you don’t start your day with a fair-trade cup of coffee?

  • Too many great festivals on

If the biggest struggle of the summer is fitting in all the amazing festivals, chances are you are in the Pacific Northwest. From Seattle Street Food Festival, Oregon Country Fair, to Pickathon the summertime is full of dancing and dining celebrations. Or if it is the winter wonderland experience you crave, head to Leavenworth, Washington for a magical Christmas experience in a Bavarian-style village. Or visit Pike Place Market where the festival vibe is always alive with the many street performers.

  • Buying local is the only way of life

From farmer’s markets to craft breweries, supporting local businesses is what all good Northwesterners encourage. In fact, it is practically a weekend pastime to head to a farmers’ market and try out all their best food samples. From fresh cheese, homemade Greek yogurt, butter-toffee pieces, Rainier cherries and mini fried donuts, all paired with a free sample of locally roasted coffee, a trip to the farmers’ market is a great way to sneak in a second breakfast.

Image: Pike Place Market, credit: Port of Seattle

  • It’s all about the doughnuts

 In Portland, Oregon, Voodoo Doughnut is the cream of the crop, while in Seattle, Washington, Top Pot Doughnuts are the go-to. Either way, be assured they are mouthwateringly good! With the variety of pastries on offer in every colour under the rainbow, make sure to try whatever catches your eye and worry about the waistline some other time.

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