Seven Highlights of the Pacific Northwest

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I’ve been home from my trip to the Pacific Northwest for nearly two weeks, but due to Hurricane Sandy and losing power for five days, I’m just now posting about my journey. Better late than never!

I took a total of ten days to explore Seattle, a majority of the Oregon Coast, and Portland. While I loved nearly everything about my first visit to the Pacific Northwest, there were seven things that particularly highlighted the trip for me. But, first, here’s a look at my trip by the numbers:

Days: 10
Hotels: 7
Lighthouses: 7
Miles Driven: 987
Photos Taken: 1839
Cups of Clam Chowder: 7
Gas: Most Expensive – $4.20 in Garibaldi, OR
Cheapest – $3.95 in Drain, OR
Roadside Stops: Too Many to Count

I’ll be focusing on other aspects of my trip in future posts, but these are the moments and places that really stuck with me…

1. Pike Place Market
There is so much to experience at Pike Place Market that it’s easy to see why it’s called “The Soul of Seattle”. When I arrived in the city, America’s premier farmers’ market was naturally my first stop. From unique shops, craft stalls, fresh produce stands, the Gum Wall, delicious clam chowder, the oldest Starbucks, street performers, and flying fish…there’s a little something for everyone. Pike Place Market is truly an explosion of sound, color, and taste! As good as advertised.

2. Peter Iredale Shipwreck
This destination was not originally on my list of things to see in Astoria until several friends insisted that I must go. I’m so happy that I did! The Peter Iredale was a steel sailing vessel that ran ashore October 25, 1906 on the Oregon coast en route to the Columbia River. I arrived at Fort Stevens State Park not long before sunset on an overcast, windy evening which made for the perfect setting to view a shipwreck.

3. Cannon Beach
Of all the places I stayed at along the Oregon Coast, Cannon Beach is the most quintissential coastal town you’ll find. I planned to stay here overnight, knowing that the morning light would be perfect for photos of the iconic Haystack Rock. I woke early and headed down to the beach, where there was only myself and few other people. The sound of the crashing waves on the mist-shrouded beach and the perfect golden glow of the morning sun against the many rock formations, instantly made Cannon Beach one of the most beautiful places that I have ever seen.

4. Spouting Horn
I was very fortunate to stop here, as I almost missed it while driving on Highway 101 through Depoe Bay. There are so many roadside stops along the Coast and, luckily, this one was about twenty feet off of the highway…that’s really the only reason I noticed the giant geyser of water shooting straight into the air. Not to mention the mist that was spraying all over my windshield. I quickly pulled off the road so I could find out the source of this magnificent sight. I was told that all along Depoe Bay’s scenic sea wall are points where fissures and caverns in the basalt rock channel direct upward incoming surges of seawater, or a spouting horn.

5. Devil’s Punchbowl
The name alone is what drew me to this destination. I didn’t know what I was going to observe, but what I found was literally a large bowl naturally carved in a rock headland which is partially open to the Pacific Ocean. Waves enter the bowl and often violently churn, swirl, and foam. It’s certainly one of the most unique natural formations that I’ve ever seen.

6. Winchester Bay
There’s nothing overly exciting about Winchester Bay that makes it stand out from any of the other coastal towns, except for the fact that it was the home to a photograph that my grandfather had taken thirty-one years earlier…and I hoped to duplicate it. It was very satisfying knowing for sure that I had photographed and stood in the same location that my grandparents had in 1981, a year before I was born.

7. Meeting a Friend in Portland
One of my favorite things while traveling is being able to finally meet people I’ve gotten to know through various social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. My biggest Portland highlight was meeting up with my friend, Jen. I “met” her through a mutual Twitter friend here in Philadelphia, and it was only natural that we had to hang out when I knew that I’d be making my way to Portland. This is a message for all my social media friends: if I’m in your town, or you’re in mine, let’s meet up!

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