Lauren Braden

Five Great County Fairs in Washington State

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It’s almost August, otherwise known throughout the USA as Fair Season! My childhood memories from the fair where I grew up in rural Illinois are coated in sugar. Puffs of blue cotton candy, popsicles colored like the American flag, a plate of funnel cakes dusted with a heavy coat of sweet powder. Go to any […]

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Great County Fairs in Oregon

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  I grew up in a small town in southern Illinois that had been settled by German Catholic farmers a few centuries ago. Instead of a county fair, we had a festival every August called Kirchenfest on the sprawling church parking lot, and my Dad was in charge of making the funnel cakes–platefuls of sweet […]

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Six Summer Day Trips from Seattle

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Summer is nearly half over. Does the approach of August give you a mid-summer crisis, too? Six weeks of summer left until school starts again, and I feel it’s passing way too quickly. It always does here. So I pull out my calendar, and I start scribbling quick trips in. Here are six sunny day […]

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Quick Escape: Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula

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Most people think the Olympic Peninsula town of Sequim (pronounced Skwim) is a retirees’ enclave with year-round sunshine set in a rural landscape dotted with fragrant fields of purple lavender. And indeed, it is. But Sequim is slowly changing, and offers more to its visitors than sunshine and lavender (not that there’s a single thing wrong […]

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Day Trip: U-Pick Berry Farms Near Seattle and Portland

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Summer is berry season in the Pacific Northwest! And we happen to have the perfect climate for growing very tasty raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, nurtured to maturity in rich volcanic soils and plumped to juicy ripeness in the warm but not too hot sun. If you don’t have your own berry patch, head to […]

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Ask TripFinder: Where to Go Cherry Picking?

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Dear TripFinder, I would love to find a good orchard near Seattle to go cherry picking with my kids. I am willing to drive 2-3 hours. My goal is to buy tons of (ideally organic) cherries to make jam. I would be fun if there was a bit more than just cherry picking – a […]

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CAMP & HIKE: Icicle Creek Canyon

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The Icicle Creek Canyon may be a tad far away to be Seattle’s outdoor playground (five to six hours of drive time, round-trip) but for many Central Puget Sound hikers and rock climbers, it is anyway. Simply put, it’s totally worth the drive. There was a particular feeling I got the first time I hiked […]

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Tide Pool Party: Where to Spot Cool Marine Life Near Seattle

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Grab your rubber boots and low tide field guide–there are some fantastic minus tides in Puget Sound this summer! There are a few things in life that you can rely on with absolute certainty. One of those is the rhythm of the sea. Twice a day, the tide will come in (high tide!) and twice […]

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CAMP & HIKE: Cape Lookout State Park on the Oregon Coast

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On the craggy Oregon Coast, a “headland” is a giant chunk of rock that juts out into the ocean, formed over millennia from volcanic lava flows followed by constant water erosion. Some of the larger ones are called “capes”. The coast is dotted with them, all up and down from Indian Point to Cape Ferrelo. […]

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CAMP & HIKE: Steamboat Rock State Park

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In the heart of Washington’s Grand Coulee desert country is an outdoor lover’s paradise. And your base camp for all of it sits in the middle of an “island” surrounded by your outdoor playground. Cool rocks and unusual birds. Hikes through blooming desert wildflowers. Fragrant sagebrush whipping in the wind. Sleeping under a big sky […]

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