NEWS: Cascadia Hot Springs, New Ferry to Port Townsend

by Lauren Braden on September 5, 2011

in Travel Tips & Trends

Labor Day weekend is the last hurrah of vacation travel for some, but not for me. I spent most of my summer weekends closer to home in Seattle this year–in my garden, on hiking trails in nearby parks, or on day trips to nearby small towns. Now, I’m ready to get out a little further and explore!

Autumn is when the crowds thin a bit, rates drop a little, and Northwest weather stays nice and mild through October. I hope you’ll squeeze in some long weekend getaways if you can.

Here’s what caught my eye in local travel news this week.

Northern Pacific Railroad

1. The Port Townsend – Seattle Foot Ferry. Surely you’re as excited about this news as I am? By sometime in 2013, there will be a foot ferry to transport passengers between Seattle and Pt. Townsend, and the crossing will take just 70 minutes! The long-wanted ferry route received a very important boost to help make it a reality – a $1.3 million federal grant from the Department of Transportation. Of course, should you have extra time there will always be tasty reasons to go the regular route and drive through the Quimper Peninsula on your way to PT.

2. NYT takes on PDX. While this isn’t the first time a New York Times travel writer has visited Portland and discovered its enchantment, a few recommendations in this latest piece, 36 hours in PDX, caught my attention. The first stop on the itinerary is the Japanese Garden in Washington Park, adjacent to the Rose Garden but far less crowded. This is one of my favorite spots in PDX. And, how many travel guides to PDX send you to Sellwood-Westmoreland? I love that. And there is absolutely no mention of the ubiquitous Voodoo donuts or shopping in the Pearl. Still, though you’ll spend plenty of time sipping horchata borracha in the Northeast and brunching on crepes in the Southeast on this itinerary, both hotel recs (The Ace and the new Crystal) are not on the east side, but downtown.  I wonder, when is someone besides us going to discover the awesomeness of the Bluebird or Clinton Guesthouses?

3. Weigh in on the Discover Pass. Many states require an access pass to use state recreation lands, and Washington joined the bunch this year with the $30 Discover Pass for State Parks, DNR lands and more. Have you bought one? Why or why not? Washington Trails Association, who worked to get the pass through the legislature in the face of imminent state lands closures from budget woes, wants your feedback. Take the Discover Pass survey.

4. Cascadia hot springs.  The Pacific Northwest is pretty close to paradise for the geothermal-inclined. Christy Karras just penned a piece in the Seattle Times on some of Oregon’s best   hot springs, from Terwilliger to Breitenbush. If you’re looking for some cheap sleeps along with your hot springs, check out my previous piece, a Spa in the Woods.

5. Four Seasons’ glass problem. We all know it rains a lot in Seattle, but what were tourists were thinking when it suddenly started raining shards of glass downtown on August 28th? The Four Seasons lost a few of its tempered-glass balconies over the past few months as they spontaneously dropped to the ground below. Fortunately, the third time was a charm, and the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences, which is just to the south of Pike Place Market, is in the process of removing all 300 glass balcony railing panels. Phew!

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