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Vancouver, Seattle, Portland

Been to someplace of historical interest? Planning a trip? Have a question? Post here!
Ash
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Vancouver, Seattle, Portland

Post by Ash » Tue December 15th, 2009, 12:27 pm

Ok, my idea for a cross country Canadian trip is out of the question. Instead we are going to concentrate on these three cities. Any suggestions re: hotels (under or about $100 US), best places to see, best off the beaten track to see....Also, thoughts on using mass transit instead of renting a car - doable?

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Tue December 15th, 2009, 3:34 pm

Ash, got a ton of ideas but I'd like to hunt down some sites for you as well. What time of year are you planning? There are some places I'd highly recommend but not in the winter.
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SonjaMarie
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Post by SonjaMarie » Tue December 15th, 2009, 6:41 pm

Wow someone from the forum actually coming to Misfit's and my part of the world! I haven't lived in Seattle for over a decade and haven't actually been to the city in over a year (yikes!), so can't help you on anything new that's going on. Seattle Center and Pike's Place Market is always a good bet!

SM
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Post by Misfit » Tue December 15th, 2009, 7:10 pm

Well if it's summertime/early fall a trip to Mount Rainier should not be missed, as well as the Pike Place Market. Same goes for a trip to Portland area - a drive along the Columbia River through the Gorge is a must, and a hike or two along the waterfalls.
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue December 15th, 2009, 9:15 pm

As long as you're in the area, let me put in a word for Astoria, Oregon, at the mouth of the Columbia. It has historic Ft. Stevens State Park (the place Lewis and Clark wintered) the Astor house, beautiful scenery, and the Coast Guard Airstation where I spent a delightful year long ago while California endured drought.

While you're in Seattle, go have a cup of coffee at Vivace. Their espresso is fantastic. (Disclaimer: my sister Geneva owns it. but it's still great coffee.)
Unfortunately it's been a few years, so I can't tell you about hotels.
In Portland, you must definitely go to Powell's books.

I don't know Victoria enough to recommend anything, but Jay's family all hail from Port Townsend, a little Victorian city right across the straight.

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Tue December 15th, 2009, 9:45 pm

I'll second the rec on Fort Stevens if you have the time, and Port Townsend is adorable as well a trip to Fort Worden State Park. An Officer and a Gentlemen was filmed out there.

I've never had the guts to go into Powells. I'd probably never leave :)
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Post by Ash » Wed December 16th, 2009, 12:37 am

Misfit, we will be their late May, early June. Thanks for the recs, keep em coming.

Any info on mass transit would be esp helpful. We are thinking of taking a train between the cities, and not having to rent a car if possible.

Oh yes, Powells is high on my list!

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Post by SonjaMarie » Wed December 16th, 2009, 1:30 am

If it's feasible and you guys want to, maybe we 3 can meet for lunch or coffee (even though I don't really drink it, lol). Just an idea.

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Post by Misfit » Wed December 16th, 2009, 1:31 am

OK, travel agent hat on and a topic warm to my heart. Do use Amtrak between the two cities it's very reasonable. Don't use the one that goes to and from California we learned that it always runs late. I think (but don't quote me) that's the starlight one (the sleeper). Just get the train (Cascades?) that runs back and forth. There is an Embassy Suites very close to Amtrak station in Portland but then you'll be hoofing it to the downtown attractions. Downtown I've stayed at the Hilton (the newer tower is much nicer), the Marriott (very nice) and the Embassy Suites (also very nice). I hear the Heathman is quite nice as well and your bellhops, etc. are dressed in Beefeater uniforms. But you might also like Macmennaminsfor some more *unusual* lodging (and if you take Columbia River sidetrip detailed below DO NOT MISS stopping at their Edgefieldlocation, especially the little red bar. Other hotel deals here.

Portland and environs has excellent mass transportation, but I've never availed myself of it. Perhaps Margaret can jump in?

One thing I like about the downtown Portland restaurants is the lounge happy hours - it's more on appetizers and small entrees at reduced prices than drinks. You might find some good hotel deals and other info here. The art museum is quite good and you'll enjoy the waterfront park. You do want to stay in the heart of downtown and not on the south and/or east side of the river.

If you have time and are interested I can't recommend strongly enough taking at least two days to explore the Columbia River Gorge to the east on I84, especially the scenic byway. Awesome and some gentle to strenuous hiking trailswith waterfalls aplenty. Punchbowl falls is my favorite. Lots of history as well and interpretive sites along the Lewis and Clark Trail. There are two Best Westerns on the OR side, one in Hood River (older and it's been years since I've stayed there so check the ratings) as well as a newer BW in Cascade Locks. If you want to splurge try the Skamania Lodge and get a fireplace room. The lobby is to die for with HUGE fireplace, lots of chairs and a stairway leading to a lawn with an awesome view of the river. There's always Sunday brunch....

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Also if you go do stop at the historical Columbia River Gorge Hotel. I believe it was a favorite of Valentinos. The grounds are to die for.

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If you do go and have enough time, don't miss The Maryhill Museum and Stonehenge replica on the Washington side. Not often you'll find Rodin sculptures stuck in the middle of nowhere.

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There's also the Willamette Valley and all those wineries but you'll have to chose which ones you want to go to, you won't make them all. The Oregon coast is to die for, but I won't carry on unless you think you have time. Yachats and the Sea Lion caves are favorite stopping places.

******

Washington. Yes the Pike Place Market is a must see, and the whole waterfront area downtown is fun. If the water taxis are running you might enjoy a jaunt over to West Seattle and Alki beach. I have never done it (shame on me) but you probably don't want to miss the Underground Seattle tour. Lots of shopping, and don't forget Seattle is the hometown of Nordstroms. The public transporation is not as good as Portland's, but we do have the new light railup and I can't input on that much. Downtown hotels you will not find on the cheap. If it works with the new light rail you might look at the Airport Hotels and/or Tukwila (there's a very nice Doubletree and Embassy Suites very close to the Tukwila rail station and I'd guess they have courtesy transporation).

Mount Rainier? If you have time don't miss it but at this time of year I'd recommend a guided bus tour. Roads are iffy and I doubt you'd want to deal with it. You'd only get to Paradise (Sunrise doesn't open until July at the earliest). It would be cool as you have noooooo idea how much snow they get up there (and at only 5500') and I promise it won't be gone by the time you get there unless we've had a dry dry dry dry winter. A couple of my own pics attached and no, that's not me in the one :o

I'm guessing you're not going for a Twilight visit to Forks but there's also the Olympic National Park - either Hurricane Ridge or out to the rain forest. A bit much for a day trip though.

Enough info for now, I must go read a book for a while before I nod off to bed ;)
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SonjaMarie
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Post by SonjaMarie » Wed December 16th, 2009, 1:34 am

I've never done the Underground either, sigh! Or the Ride the Duck tour.

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