We had the privilege of seeing the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula this last weekend. This is an area that I, despite being a local, had never had the pleasure of seeing.
Luckily, thanks to Toyota, we had a reliable vehicle to take us through the occasionally bumpy terrain. Our 2017 50th Anniversary Special Edition Toyota Corolla (Read all about the car HERE) held up to its reliable standards and kept us safe, comfortable and up to speed during our weekend getaway.
On a beautiful spring day with our sunroof open, wind in our hair, sun warming our skin and music bumping we set out on an adventure.
Our journey began in the southeast of the peninsula, at the Alderbrook Resort and Spa. In addition to fabulous views of the coast, we were treated to an extremely comforting room with a mini fridge, huge bed and an oversized tub.
Our hosts even included a bag of ingredients for s’mores, for outside there are several small fire pits for roasting. There’s also a full size pool and hot tub, all under cover of transparent greenhouse style housing, so you can enjoy a swim in a heated environment while soaking in the sunset and ocean views.
Alderbrook Resort is an ideal spot for both locals and tourists to unwind and enjoy a peaceful getaway. They have lots of entertainment on site, such as live music in the lounge, morning yoga, a Xbox game room for kids and even water rentals. When it comes to dining, they got you covered, with a fine dining restaurant and a lounge to choose from your tummy will thank you. Devour some of the freshest local fish and meat while sipping on local wine. Facebook / Twitter
The next morning we packed up our bags and continued up the peninsula. We stopped to check out the Staircase trail which is less than an hour from Alderbrook. It’s a 4-mile round trip hike where you get to explore the park and hood canal.
The park itself is a treat to see, and if you don’t know where to go, there are plenty of places to check out the natural beauty of the area. Dozens of hiking trails are available to try, including those ranging from the relatively easy to the very hard.
Actual mountains like Mount Ellinor can be scaled if you have the endurance. But if a moderate climb is more your speed, Hurricane Ridge is a great hike and rewards with a great view. There’s also a trail following the Sol Duc River that ends in a captivating waterfall. Facebook / Instagram
Spruce Railroad Trail
On the north part of the peninsula there is the popular Spruce Railroad Trail. It is a relatively easy path to follow with a neat historical edge to the trail along with some great visuals. We had the pleasure of walking through the remnants of the railroad tunnel going through the stone mountain, and looking out across Lake Crescent with beautiful, clear water. If you want an alternative route back take a left turn once you pass the tunnel and you’ll be on the Devil Punchbowl trail which has incredible crystal clear views of the lake with a beautiful bridge for photos.
Elsewhere, there’s great views of the ocean near Port Townsend, especially around Fort Worden State Park. There, you can check out the beach, take in the views from the massive cliffs on the ocean, or explore the historical site of the this former military base.
A score of buildings and shelters sit there, dating back to the second world war. There’s even a beautiful lighthouse and residence next to it to see, a striking remnant of days gone by.
Grab a bite to eat at the many homey restaurants along the downtown strip, then stick around for the sunset, where you can get an amazing view from the top of McCurdy Point or park and walk down to Glass Beach.
If you’re an animal lover, a can’t miss spot is the Olympic Game Farm. A former training ground for movie and tv animals, they worked with Disney Studios for over thirty years. This wildlife refuge allows you to get up close to creatures you’d normally only see from afar in the zoo. You drive through and feed wild animals like yak, buffalo, and elk, directly from your car as they stick their hungry mouths in your face!
The more dangerous animals like the bears and tigers stay behind fences. You’ll have to do with feeding them from afar, but they still relish your food and attention. Plus, you’re still much closer than you ever would be in a typical zoo.
Even if the natural world doesn’t strike your fancy, the towns that lie on this stretch give any traveler plenty of options to huddle in and chow down or walk around and take in the scenery.
Port Angeles offers great views of the waterfront from its downtown, whether from the dock, watchtower, streets, or restaurants.
From breakfast enthusiast to casual morning eater, the Chestnut Cottage Restaurant on Front Street offers fabulous meals that are sure to fill your stomach. They change and theme both the decorations and menu depending on the season, and we were treated the the Saint Patrick’s day styles. The breakfast offered both Irish and seafood centered meals, and the drinks included a delectable mocha drink with whipped cream and Lucky Charms cereal pieces on top. They also have fresh squeezed juice and fruity mimosas to order.
From the breakfast menu we enjoyed a mouth watering plate of creme brulee stuffed french toast and a plate a salmon omelet cooked to perfection. They also have baked goods on the menu, including homemade cinnamon rolls, which just melts in your mouth.
While the sun set in the horizon, we had the pleasure of dining at the Kokopelli Grill. A fantastically located eatery with a menu full of delicious specials located right on the pier in downtown Port Angeles. The upstairs restaurant area boasts beautiful views of the pier and water, which makes for splendid sunset views.
Their seafood meals fit the setting perfectly, with lots of local fish and meat offered on the menu. Kokopelli also offers a wide selection of wine and drink options, which include their house made apple sangria, which was so good we bought a bottle for ourselves to take home.
The same owners also have a small Texas style BBQ pub next door that offers plenty American southwest style food and beers on tap.
When you’re done exploring and eating, there’s plenty to choose for lodgings. One place we highly recommend is the cozy cottage getaway, Domaine Madeleine. A perfect place for privacy and quiet for couples, it included a tv, fridge, and indoor jacuzzi for two.
Nestled on a property tucked away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Port Angeles, lays a beautiful gated bed and breakfast home which offers several ‘suites’ within the main house and also several disconnected cottages to rent.
This lovely bed and breakfast is managed by Stephen and Chris, who take wonderful care of the property. Chris is a very talented artist who has hand painted mesmerizing murals throughout the home and cottages. In the main home there is breakfast packages including to-go meals such as full breakfast items to wine and cheese. Also available in the main home is games and other amenities to make sure your stay is as close to perfect as it can get.
This little getaway to the Olympic Peninsula was one of my favorite road trips by far. We were able to explore the national forest, check out historic sites, devour amazing food and most of all, enjoy an amazing ocean view the whole time.
Our Toyota Corolla helped us explore both mountains and sea with the wind in our hair and the sun on our skin. Best of all, the 35 mpg helped us travel far and wide without putting much of a dent on our gas tank.
Are you ready for a new adventure?
Let’s Go Places!