Seattle is a city that is ideal for the outdoor adventure lover. Surrounded by water and mountains it is home to one of the world’s most photographed structures; the Space Needle. This tower symbolizes innovative forward-thinking that Seattle is known for in the tech world.
There is much more than just technology to be found in this city. It is blessed with cultural activities, museums and an amazing array of public gardens. That said, the surrounding landscape is also breathtaking and begs to be explored.
On this one-day road trip we will take in a volcanic mountain to learn more about the subterranean world and the national park that surrounds it and we will drop in at a pioneer village. Along the way, we’ll grab a bite in a traditional southern food kitchen.
Thirty-seven miles is just about enough for younger family members' tummies to start rumbling. Southern Kitchen was established in 1981 with the motto, 'food for the soul'. This little restaurant has received numerous awards for its ability to serve authentic southern cuisine. These include the 2014 and 2015 Top America Cuisine and Barbecue Award from trip Adviser and best Soul Food 2017 from Yelp.
You may have seen this restaurant if you are a fan of the TV series Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives or Food Network’s Top Places to Eat.
Some of the dishes to consider are fried green tomatoes or okra, fried Mississippi catfish or, of course, southern fried chicken. Follow that up with peach cobbler and you have a breakfast that will keep you going for a week.
The Mount St Helen Visitors Center is ninety-one miles from Tacoma. Here there is an exhibit that shows the devastation caused when this volcano erupted in 1980. There are videos, interactive displays and many photographs dealing with the eruption, but also demonstrating nature’s ability to bounce back.
A short walking trail offers stupendous views of the volcano and includes a boardwalk circuit around Silver Lake. You are likely to see elk and migratory waterfowl that flourish in the area. Don’t forget to keep an eye open for a sighting of the local giant banana slugs. The kids will love them, even if you don’t.
Before leaving, check out the gift store where you will have the rare opportunity to purchase original gifts made from volcanic ash.
Just under an hour away is Fort Vancouver National Historic Site which is a former pioneer village, fur trading post, and military base. These three elements serve to provide a fascinating view of American heritage.
You will be able to wander the village streets and look in on the different houses and shops for a quick glimpse back in time. The bakehouse will demonstrate how they once made sea biscuits in its vaulted brick oven. These biscuits could last for many months.
In the blacksmith's forge, you will learn how tools were made for both the fur trade and local farmers. You can also drop in at the carpenter shop and learn about making wheels and furniture.
The gardens are planted with heritage seeds fruit and vegetable seeds from that era. In earlier days these were shared with the native Indians.
Another sixty-four miles will see you entering the Mount Hood National Forest. This forest extends from the Columbia River Gorge across sixty miles of mountains. With its many streams and lakes, this whole area is a hiker's dream. There are also fishing and horseback riding adventures to be had.