Category Archives: Washington State

Trip Report: Washington State-Raintree’s Sandcastle Resort at Birch Bay (Part II)

Hopefully you are enjoying our current trip report of our three week trip out to the northwestern area of the country. We have written two posts about our Alaskan cruise and one post about our second week in Washington State. We are continuing that second week in this post. We will talk about some of the things we did in the State of Washington, and cover our one day trip into Seattle.


Washington is a beautiful state with lots of water, trees and mountains. It is nicknamed the “ Evergreen State” and we could see why when we did some driving around the state. We saw many picturesque towns with charming stores, restaurants, and businesses. The town of Lynden is patterned after a Dutch community because many Dutch had settled in the area. They even have a large windmill surrounded by a number of quaint shops.

The town of Bellingham is along the ocean, complete with lots of shops and a town square. Twice a week there is a farmers market and craft show. This is also the location where you can catch the ferry if you want to go over to Victoria in British Columbia. We had stopped there on our Alaskan cruise, so we decided not to take the trip from the state of Washington. We did talk to a couple from the resort that did the trip and had a great time and spent a couple of nights on the island. It is a beautiful city, which we enjoyed and well worth the short trip.

Another small town close to the resort, on the ocean, is Blaine. In its day, it was a fishing village. They still have a Salmon factory which you can tour. It is also the location of the border crossing into Canada. They have a beautiful park named the “ Peace Arch Park.” There is a large Peace Arch which is a symbol of the peaceful cooperation between our two countries. Even at this time of year the flowers were gorgeous.

We also took an afternoon and drove up into the Baker Mountain area. It was a beautiful trip with great views, mountain streams, several outstanding waterfalls and a view of the mountain and glacier. This mountain is in the Guinness Book of World Records as experiencing more snowfall in one season than any other place in North America, some 1,140 inches. The area is part of the North Cascades National Park and offers lots of camping and hiking. There is also an excellent ski area on the mountain.

There are many casinos in the state, and we passed several on our drive from Seattle up to our resort in Birch Bay. There was one located about 15 minutes fromour condo. We visited on a couple of occasions and had fun as well as a free meal for joining the slot club.

We took another day and drove back to Seattle to see the sights. The Space needle is a towering structure that offers spectacular views of the city, both during the day as well as at night. They also have a restaurant at the top. It was a bit pricey to go up, and as we generally don’t like heights, we took a pass on it this trip.

We took a walk around Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. This is complete with farmers market, retail center, artisan shops and all kinds of dining options from casual to gourmet. It was fun to see all the fresh fish, flowers, fruits and vegetables on display in the open. It was quite crowded, with a lot of locals buying dinner and a great place to people watch.

Pioneer Square, which is also in the downtown area, is another great place to visit. This area marks the first permanent settlement back in 1855. It is full of history, galleries, restaurants and lots of shopping. There are three historic museums in the area as well as a waterfall garden park right in the middle of the city.

While in the Pioneer Square area we took an excellent Underground Tour. This was a humorous tour through the subterranean areas of Seattle. The underground area was created when the city was rebuilt on top of itself after the Great Fire of 1889. We went down below on three occasions during the two-hour tour and found it fascinating. You could see much of the old city as it once stood, although not in very good shape. Our guide told many scandalous stories about Seattle pioneers, and the tour ended in their museum where we viewed, among other relics, an original Thomas Crapper toilet! Without a doubt, there have to be ghosts down there!

We ended our trip to Seattle with a good meal and headed back to our condo. We had a good week in Washington state, and look forward to returning in the near future to continue our adventures.