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5 yr anniversary trip- Itinerary Advise

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posts: 63
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5 yr anniversary trip- Itinerary Advise

We are a couple 35-40 taking our 5 yr anniversary trip and first trip away from our 1 yr old twins ( my mom will be keeping them) in mid to late may.... I think we have settled on Portland/ Seattle We will go 5-6 days ( travel time is 5-6 hrs with getting to airport early etc. So once we are there we will probably loose a 1/2 day for travel on either end of the trip. We are thinking of taking the train between cities to just be relaxed and not have to worry unless the drive is much prettier.

We love good food and some nightlife Like cities but love gorgeous scenery too. not into hiking much but would for the right view.

Need to know weather or not to do 3 nights Portland two nights Seattle or the opposite? We have never been to this part of the country and would really like to see the scenery too.

Right now I am thinking:

fly into Portland on a Tuesday. Explore Portland that day/ evening. Wake up early the next day and drive to the Columbia river gorge. Stay at same hotel in Portland that night. Next day maybe drive to wine country Willamette Valley? Stay in Portland. get up and have breakfast and leave around 10ish for Seattle. get to Seattle Friday and enjoy a nice dinner and some nightlife. Get up the next day and explore Seattle... space needle, pikes market, etc. ( most of one day suggestions on this list.) Sunday get up and do the waterfront, have some great seafood and leave early evening fly out from Seattle back home.

This might push to Wed- Monday which would mean we might be able to catch the farmers market in Portland Saturday before we head to Seattle. Also might be better for the train to Seattle to do it on a Saturday rather than a Friday?

Does this sounds like a good trip? Would I be missing any must sees in these areas? Should I skip the wine country in Portland for another day in Seattle and do a day trip there? what are my day trip options in Seattle and what is best?

Thank you in advance for any advise. I have been reading the forums quite a bit and just still unsure of the best itinerary.

Seattle, Wa
posts: 2,638
reviews: 31
1. Re: 5 yr anniversary trip- Itinerary Advise

One thing I'd say is about the Sunday in Seattle: you don't need a whole day for the waterfront. More like a couple hours, if that. The Sculpture Park is great and the ferris wheel could be fun, but in general the waterfront is touristy and not very interesting. A ferry ride to Bainbridge and back is also great, and that leaves from the waterfront, but that can also be done at sunset the day before.

Since you mentioned farmer's markets I'd suggest taking the bus to Ballard and going to Brunch (maybe Bastille, make a rez) and the farmers market there. You could walk to the Locks after that. With a few days I think it's good to get out of downtown.

There has been plenty written on Seattle day trips all over the internet--if you're wondering what there is, I'd suggest googling and choosing based on your interests.

western WA
Destination Expert
for Seattle, Outdoors / Adventure Travel, Family Travel
posts: 8,866
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2. Re: 5 yr anniversary trip- Itinerary Advise

You could make a very good case for just basing out of Seattle or Portland and skipping the other city. From Portland, you can take a day to the Columbia Gorge, and two days at the ocean. Then two days in the city and you're done with no long boring drive between cities.

Alternately, fly to Seattle, and take three days in the San Juans or on the Olympic peninsula.

Then come back. There is much to do in both places, and you need more time to drive to the locations than you think.

Tacoma, Washington
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
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3. Re: 5 yr anniversary trip- Itinerary Advise

May the weather is unpredictable in terms of how much rain falls and how warm/cool it will be.

On Saturday in Portland besides the famers market on Saturday and Sunday ther eis the Saturday market under the Burnside St bridge.

The saturday market is similar to the pike place maket in Seattle in which its private vendors selling their arts or local farmser selling their foods.

Both have a wine area with Seattle having woodenville wjile Portland has willamette Valley

Both are near mountians.

Seattle has closer water access with the puget sound but its farther from the pacific ocean.

What you could do is 3 days city and 3 days nature.

the drive between the cities is about 3 hrs.

At this time there will still be snow at higher elevations so thing like Mt Rainier or Mt hood will be covered in snow (drive up still possible)

flying into Seattle you can do 2 days in Seattle, 1 day doing the wine area then 2-3 days tot he san Juan islands/Mt rainier/Leavenwoth/Port townsend/Sequim

flying into Portland do 2 days in Portland, 1 day doing the wine area, 2-3 days exploring the coast/Gorge/st helens/Mt hood

both Seattle and Portland are about the same distance from Yakima area and their wine country (Rattlesnake valley) and their local farms.

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
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4. Re: 5 yr anniversary trip- Itinerary Advise

Just to clarify: the Willamette Valley and Woodinville, WA are two completely different things. Woodinville is a Seattle suburb that is home to a high concentration of wineries. There are no vineyards; grapes don't ripen properly in Western WA. Instead, there are many tasting rooms ranging from garage setups to grand wine palaces. The wines that you taste in Woodinville come from grapes that were grown in Eastern WA. Willamette Valley is a wine growing region. It is not a suburb of Portland. It is a place where grapes are grown and turned into wine. It is agricultural, not suburban, and it possesses considerable natural beauty.

Both Woodinville and the Willamette are great fun to visit, and you can find serious wine in both places, but the Willamette Valley is the real deal. Woodinville is a tourist construction. A great idea, but still a tourist construction.

western WA
Destination Expert
for Seattle, Outdoors / Adventure Travel, Family Travel
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5. Re: 5 yr anniversary trip- Itinerary Advise

I don't think Woodinville is a tourist construction. The boom, perhaps, but the wines are actually made there and have been for quite awhile.

I believe one of the things which started the grow it there, make it here nature of the Washington wine industry is the Boeing wine group. These employees banded together to bring grapes over and buy specialty equipment to make hobby wines over here, near their jobs. Some of them got very skilled at it, quit those jobs and made their operations bigger and bigger. We also don't have anything as easy to get to as the Willamette valley to grow grapes nearby. So the two places are just the product of their "terroir".

Seattle, Washington
posts: 505
reviews: 277
6. Re: 5 yr anniversary trip- Itinerary Advise

That sounds like a reasonable itinerary if you want to get a taste of both cities, rather than seeing one area in more depth. Do take the train between Portland and Seattle, it's a very boring drive.

Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 1,893
reviews: 109
7. Re: 5 yr anniversary trip- Itinerary Advise

I have to disagree with the characterization of Woodinville's wine industry as a tourist construction. Wine grapes are not grown there but world class wine is made there in a host of wineries. It is a real deal place to experience mostly small production Washington wine There are some stand alone tasting rooms mostly for Eastern WA wineries but for the most part you are where the wine is being made.

There are production vineyards in Willamette valley. Keep in mind that you will be there before grapes will be mature -- you'll be there only weeks after bud break. Wine production is ongoing but really all that typically happens in the Spring is racking or possibly bottling. The wine is created (crush, fermentation and press) only in the harvest season in the fall. So you can look at the vineyards and the wineries but mostly you are going to taste. I would note that in the Willamette Valley the wineries are generally much more spread out. Most of the wineries in Willamette valley also specialize in Pinot Noir.

Dont get me wrong. Willamette Valley is called American Burgundy for a reason. It is wonderful - esp for Pinot. A day trip there from a Portland base is doable but will just be a little more labor intensive. It is really not much further from Portland than Woodinville is from Seattle but in Woodinville the wineries are closer together with some clusters that are optimally walkable.

I would split your time between the cities equally. I will post again with ideas for Seattle.

Edited: 7:51 am, January 23, 2014
Destination Expert
for Portland, Sunriver
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8. Re: 5 yr anniversary trip- Itinerary Advise

ainwa and ksalas--I agree with your desctiptions of Woodinville as well as the Willamette Valley, so thank you for letting others know as well.

Woodinville is a beautiful area and was there before the wineries even located there. Granted, the wineries are the main draw. Those and Molbaks' ;)

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
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reviews: 6
9. Re: 5 yr anniversary trip- Itinerary Advise

Saying Woodinville is a tourist construction - planned destination might be better - is not criticizing the quality of the wines poured or made there. I love the place and go with friends every year. But Woodinville is the result of a conscious decision to create a wine making/wine tasting destination in a Seattle suburb. There is nothing phoony or cheesy about Woodinville, but it is completely different from wine growing destinations such as Yakima, Walla Walla, or Willamette, all of which started out as agricultural regions that evolved toward grape growing and wine making. The land, the light, the scale, and the history are totally different.

I think it is important to prepare visitors who come to Woodinville expecting to see something like Napa Valley North or the Willamette Valley.

posts: 63
reviews: 11
10. Re: 5 yr anniversary trip- Itinerary Advise

This is all very helpful. Thank you for the input. I think we are really trying to get a taste of each area without completely over whelming ourselves with travel. We will see. It might be better to focus on one city. Trying to decide. I know you could spend all 5-6 days in each city and their surrounding area alone. We love the city but are really looking to see some dramatic different scenery.

thanks again. I have re-posted an updated itinerary in the Oregon forums. I might be trying to take on too much hoping to get the experts opinions.