So as well as visiting Seattle last week I got to spend 24 hours discovering Washington State.
First we caught the ferry to Port Townsend, an absolutely gorgeous Victorian seaport with a colourful past, which has the kind of houses you see in old Judy Garland movies, many of them perfectly preserved. It was like stepping back in time: there was even a drugstore with a soda fountain.
From here we drove to get another ferry to Whidbey Island, where our hotel for the night, the gloriously situated, very luxurious Inn at Langley, is considered one of the top small hotels in the world: my suite was super comfortable, all warm wood and thoughtful touches like blankets and hot chocolate, and absolutely stunning views of the sea from the balcony. You could even have a jacuzzi bath looking out at the ocean.
It was, really, my dream house (this was the view from the balcony the next morning, absolutely no filter); and because it was a hotel, I didn’t have to clean up after myself, so yes, actually, it was totally my dream house.
Breakfast was amazing, an array of fresh fruit, jams, granola, pastries,cheese, quiches and all sorts of homemade deliciousness. I’m not ashamed that despite having a raging temperature and sore throat which I’d brought with me from London I still managed to stuff my face.
And then it was time to discover more of Washington State. We drove past mountains shrouded in mist, huge lakes, proper Twilight territory, although sadly we didn’t have time to make it to Forks, where the books are set; or Snoqualmie, where Twin Peaks was filmed,that other great slice of Americana set in Washington State.
There are some very obvious reasons this state is so inspiring to countless writers and filmmakers: it’s truly, naturally spectacular, and some parts are SO big and dense and to be honest, more than a little spooky, particularly when it’s raining, which it did a lot, you could probably go days without seeing another human being. Or vampire. Or Log Lady. No wonder someone decided this was where Sasquatch (Big Foot) lived. I’d say it’s perfectly possible.
We saw ENORMOUS trees and vast expanses of land in the most incredible shades of green, with the mountains as a backdrop: real cowboy country. Along the way we passed three native American reservations, and tulip fields, where we joined tulip peepers all looking at the extraordinary colours (they even export tulips to Holland). I was excited to spot a hawk, and buffalo: this is where the deer, coyotes, wolves and bears also roam, although we didn’t see any of those, but you just KNEW they were out there somewhere.
After my time in the wilderness (OK, not really the wilderness, but you get the idea) I was happy to return to Seattle, where after just two days I already knew my way around and felt right at home. But there’s so much to see in Washington State and the magnificent Pacific Northwest I can imagine spending more time there someday. Preferably without bumping into Bella and co.
*You can find out more about holidays to Seattle and beyond at Visit Seattle.