Best of the Northwest: July

by Lauren Braden on June 30, 2014

in Trip Ideas

What’s on your local travel list this month? We dive right in with our monthly spotlight for the Pacific Northwest in July. Keep cool, and enjoy the music, y’all!

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Head to a Northwest Music Festival!

July is the busiest month of the year for outdoor music festivals, from bluegrass to jazz. Here’s a sampling.

Darrington Bluegrass Festival by Eric FrommerDarrington Bluegrass Festival, July 18-20 2014

When tarheels and loggers settled in the Stillaguamish Valley, they brought their bluegrass music from Appalachia with them. Their musical roots are still alive and well. Thousands make the trip to this great festival, one of Washington’s best. Many pitch their tents on the wooded campground onsite, and the music goes on all night long. 

Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival, July 18-20 2014

Located at the Blues Ranch on the Methow River in the resort town of Winthrop, Washington, the Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival is a three-day music festival packed full of exciting national and regional entertainment for all ages. There is on-site camping, food and craft vendors, portable showers and a beer garden.

Columbia Gorge Bluegrass Festival, July 24-27 2014

The Columbia Gorge Bluegrass Festival in scenic Stevenson, Washington is a unique blend of the best in bluegrass. The festival features amazing talent, workshops, a fiddle contest, fine craft and food vendors, and nightly dances.

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“Beat the Crowds” Day Trips!

kayakingthewillamette_round

In Portland? Kayak the Willamette.

There’s plenty of room in the river, and the best way to see Bridgetown’s bridges is to paddle right under them. Rent a couple of kayaks from Portland Kayak Company on Macadam Avenue ($10 – $20 / hour or $50 – $75 for the whole day) and launch into the Willamette River right there. Your choices include paddling up the river towards downtown, around Ross Island, or across the Willamette to explore Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.

In Seattle? Go Underground at the Market.

Pike Place Market has nine acres of shopping, yet everyone seems to congregate in the same couple of spots. Fight your way through the crowds towards Pike Place Fish, where you’ll find stairs on the right side that take you “down under” to three maze-like lower levels of unusual shops and unique restaurants.

In Victoria? Have Afternoon Tea.

What’s more fun than afternoon tea? Taking a boat to the tea house! Point Ellice House and Gardens is one of the most unique spots to visit in the city and tea service (taken on the lush green lawn) is affordable. Tea service comes with a tour of the historic property, and their accompanying tea nibbles are generous and delicious – we’re talking soup of the day, butter scone, a slice of savory quiche, crust-less egg salad sandwiches, a desert trifle, cream cheese cucumber sandwiches, a sweet cake, a cookie and fruit. $25 for tea, includes a tour of the house and gardens.  Tea serves 11am-2:30pm Thursday – Monday.

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Hit Up a Unique Farmers’ Market!

Eugene Market by Austin Valley

What makes an awesome farmers’ market? Fresh produce draws you there, but add in live music and made-to-order crepes and you’ve suddenly got a day trip! Try one of these offbeat Northwest markets this month.

Chelan Evening Market (4pm-7pm Thursdays at Riverwalk Park in Chelan, WA) – dine on wood-fired pizza and homemade fruit pie, then sample pours from local wineries.

Eugene Farmers’ Market (10am-5pm Saturdays at 8th and Oak downtown Eugene, OR) – shop for magic wands, nosh on delicious burritos and dance to the blues.

Qualicum Beach Farmers Market (8:30am – noon Saturdays at Veteran’s Way at Memorial Avenue in Qualicum Beach, BC) – Along with fresh produce from farms around Vancouver Island, pick up handmade pasta and sausages, seasonal jams, a few hand-sewn sock monkeys and even some fishing lures.

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Happy July!

photos: Darrington Bluegrass Festival by Eric Frommer, Eugene Farmers Market by Austin Valley, kayaking the Willamette by Greg Z,
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