If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? The south of France, Scandinavia, maybe the Tuscan countryside? Perhaps you’d like to experience another era, such as the Old West or Victorian England.  

If your bucket list is too ambitious to accomplish in 2022, then consider planning a few trips closer to home– there are plenty of foreign-feeling places right here in the Pacific Northwest. 

The locations we’ve listed in this feature may be within an easy driving distance, but they feel as though they belong somewhere else entirely: another country, another time, or even another realm. If you’re feeling the need to escape (if only for a weekend), read on– you’ve come to the right place. 


Population: 2,375

Go here if: You want to experience the ultimate Winter Wonderland in Old Town Bavaria 

Leavenworth is a Bavarian-style village, renowned for its idyllic small town charm and  wondrous winter celebrations. Originally settled by the Yakama, Chinook, and Wenatchi tribes in the 1880s, the area was regarded as one of the most plentiful lands in the state. Leavenworth saw a lot of logging prosperity before suffering a period of emptiness following the re-routing of its rails. It wasn’t until the ‘60s that the town embraced its Bavarian similarities, using the breathtaking landscape and endearing architecture to turn Leavenworth into one of the Northwest’s top tourist destinations.  

What to do 

No matter what season you plan your visit for, the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum must be on your itinerary. This one-of-a-kind exhibit features over 7,000 nutcrackers ranging from Roman times to the Archaic Period to modern day. Kids can even partake in a “nutcracker hunt,” and you can nab the perfect holiday souvenir.  

Winter visitors can indulge in a variety of fun activities at Leavenworth’s Village of Lights. While the winter decor is worth the trip alone, you can also find classic holiday characters, special performances, gingerbread house expeditions, prime sledding opportunities, and different events every single day.  

Where to eat 

Photo by Dean Davidson

For those looking for a genuine Bavarian-inspired meal, Leavenworth has plenty of options. As far as tradition goes, Andreas Keller Restaurant is the place to be. Founded in 1989, this eatery serves up homemade Bavarian food and imported draft beer. You can also find more live music than any other place in town. Willkommen!  

If you’re strolling through the town square, stop in at Rhein Haus for a nearly 7,000-square foot Bavarian extravaganza. This restaurant boasts three bars, multiple dining levels, and an extensive selection of brats, giant pretzels, and schnitzels.  

Where to stay 

Photo Courtesy of Bavarian Lodge

For those seeking a romantic getaway or private escape, the Mountain Home Lodge is a few miles out from downtown and rated as the No. 1 hotel in Leavenworth by TripAdvisor. Stay at the lodge or rent out a cabin to indulge in numerous outdoor and indoor amenities, from hiking and mountain biking to secluded meadows, heated pools, and gourmet meals.  

If you’re looking to be a little closer to the action, the Bavarian Lodge is located in the heart of the Bavarian Village, within walking distance of shops, sausage gardens, and trails. Not in the mood to venture out? The lodge features mountain views, private balconies, fireplaces, family rooms, and more. 


Photo Courtesy of Bavarian Lodge

Washingtonian Wonders 


The ghost town of Molson was established in 1898 and grew prosperous with the arrival of the Great Northern Railroad. However, its founder never officially registered it– so a local farmer claimed the town for his own, ordering other residents to leave. Years of fighting ensued, and Molson was abandoned once and for all in the mid-2oth century. Today it remains strikingly well-preserved, and visitors can explore its pioneer buildings, equipment, and schoolhouse for a suggested donation. 

Palouse Falls 

Visiting Niagara Falls is a bucket list item for many, but since this natural wonder is located on the polar opposite end of the country, it’s not exactly day trip material. Did you know there is another spectacular waterfall right here in Washington– and it’s actually taller than Niagara Falls by 17 feet? Palouse Falls was created 13,000 years ago during the last Ice Age, and it features a nearly 200-foot drop. It’s also one of the last active waterfalls on the glacial floodpath.  

Hoh Rainforest 

Located on the west side of Olympic National Park, the Hoh Rainforest is one of the most alluring spots on the coast of Washington. This temperate rainforest is home to elk, bears, and otters, as well as hundreds of species of plants and flowers. The lush green canopy of trees towering above your head along with the thick layer of moss and plants at your feet give this forest an immersive and otherworldly feel. 

Ohme Gardens 

Come explore the beauty of the Cascades at Ohme Gardens in Wenatchee. This 40-acre garden is perched atop a bluff overlooking the Columbia River and is home to incredible waterfalls, historic stone pathways, lush pools, and breathtaking views of the valley below. Originally a family estate purchased in 1929, Ohme Gardens has grown exponentially in the past century and is now open to the public to experience the beauty of the valley. 

Tree of Life in Kalaloch

Located in Kalaloch, just north of the Kalaloch Lodge, the Tree of Life (also known as the Tree Root Cave) is often called a miracle of nature. With its visible roots and vibrant green treetops, there is no logical explanation for how this tree is not only still standing, but able to withstand the harsh wind and rain that Washingtonians know well. 

Ape Cave 

At Ape Cave in Mount St. Helens, you can (safely) explore the inside of a spacious lava tube. Though the rugged upper path requires some physical agility and caution, the lower portion provides a milder route for those not wanting to risk their safety. Ape Cave is the third longest lava tube in the United States, and visitors are asked to bring lights and not touch the walls of the cave in order to preserve its natural beauty. 

Copalis Ghost Forest 

Just upstream of the town of Copalis is the Ghost Forest, a cluster of long-dead trees that tell an important story. Their existence helped scientists prove the occurrence of a devastating 9.0 earthquake (and subsequent tsunami) in 1700. Only accessible via tours by kayak or canoe, the site is a (somewhat eerily) well-preserved monument to the Pacific Northwest’s geological history. 


Population: 8,024

Go here if: You’d like to spend a day frolicking in the lavender fields of Provence 

Photo by Zion Hillker 

Sequim, Washington is nicknamed “the blue hole” for its position within the rainshadow of the Olympic Mountains. Protected from the heavy rainfall typical of Western Washington, Sequim is one of the sunniest and driest places in the state. Lush lavender fields thrive in this unique climate, making this town the lavender capital of North America (surpassed only by Southern France). Sequim is also home to vast bluffs and miles of sandy beach banks.  

What to do 

Visit Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge to explore the breathtaking views and hike the many trails on the land. The well protected forest is home to many native deer and squirrels and the calm waters of the bay house marine life such as harbor seals and their pups. This is a great spot of birdwatchers as the refuge is also a haven for migrating birds of all kinds. 

Pick your own bundles of lavender at Lavendar Connection. This family-owned farm has been operating for 18 years, and more than 40 different variations of the sweet herb are grown on the 5 ½-acre farm. Visitors can learn about how essential oils are made and shop for natural lavender products to take home as gifts.  

Where to eat 

For a quick bite or a warm cup of coffee, stop in at The Rainshadow Cafe. Their rotating menu reflects local, in-season ingredients. All of their items are made from scratch and are carefully crafted to create delicious breakfast and lunch options.  

Due to its coastal location, Sequim is a hotspot for the freshest seafood around. Visit Salty Girls and browse their menu that fluctuates with the day’s catch! Owners Lavon Gomes and Tracie Millett are captains of their own charter boat and they are experts of exploring the local waters.  

Head over next door to the Peninsula Taproom for craft beer, hard cider, and wine. The two businesses share a wall and often pass orders through a window giving you the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful pairing. 

If you’re looking for a splurge, visit Tedescos Italian Fresh to dine modern Italian cuisine. The family owned restaurant provides a unique blend of traditional and contemporary Italian flavors. Their full bar serves a plethora of wine options as well.  

Where to stay 

The Dungeness Bay Cottages come in many different shapes and sizes to fit the desires of your individual experience. Their options include a rustic cabin and a beach cabin, each with unique amenities to complement the theme. All the cabins are within walking distance of the beach! 

If you’re traveling with a large group or are simply looking for a more luxurious space, a castle might be more to your liking. Stay at the Lavender Castle for a royal experience– this Airbnb is straight out of a fairytale with its chic, medieval decor. 

Those who hold lighthouses close to their heart have the opportunity to become a keeper for a week at the New Dungeness Lighthouse. Through the Keeper Program, you will stay in the authentic keeper’s quarters and take on all of the real responsibilities of caring for a lighthouse, including greeting visitors and polishing the brass in the tower. 

BANDON (Oregon) 


Go here if: You’d like to try your hand at a game of proper Scottish golf 

Located on the Oregon Coast and known as the “Cranberry Capital of Oregon,” Bandon shares its name– and many of its geographic features– with founder George Bennett’s hometown in Cork, Ireland. Bandon’s rolling dunes and breathtaking waterfront vistas make it an ideal getaway if you’re longing to explore the lush, windswept coasts of Ireland or Scotland. Beyond the scenery, this quaint town has year-round recreation including fishing, hiking, and most famously, Scottish golf.  

What to do 

The Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is a golf course that “stays true to the spirit of Scotland’s ancient links.” No fake sand is used, no condos can be seen, and golfers play in perfect harmony with the nature that surrounds them. 

Resting in the heart of town is Old Town Bandon, a vibrant district packed with dining, art, and local businesses. With yearly events for the Fourth of July, the September Cranberry Festival, and multiple winter holiday activities, Old Town is a hub for tourists and locals alike. 

Bandon also has a bustling birdwatching scene, and spots such as the Coquille River are perfect for viewing a wide variety of birds. Bandon is also a great cycling spot, and the Whiskey Run trail features more than 10 miles of two-track beginning and intermediate trails.  

Where to eat 

Photo by mdurson — stock.adobe.com 

Tony’s Crab Shack is a great option if you’re craving the taste of fresh seafood by the seashore. Their menu features award-winning fish tacos, and the chef will even cook your catch for you.  

For fine dining with a view, Edgewaters offers delectable steaks, salads, local seafood, and pasta.  

Want to have a social night complemented by delicious food? Then Wilson’s Market has you covered. With tacos, burritos, jerky, and a heavy focus on BBQ, diners can expect both great meals and a fun experience. 

Where to stay 

Bandon is known for its seaside vistas, so the Bandon Marina Inn is the perfect choice for those wanting to wake up near the shore. Each room has an individually designed boutique aesthetic, and to maintain this peaceful atmosphere, guests must be over 18 years of age. 

For those looking to stay closer to town, The Lamplighter Inn is a cozy choice located near the heart of Bandon. The rooms are accented with nautical-themed art, and past guests have noted how unbelievably comfortable the beds are.  


Population: 529

Go here if: You want to experience the wild wild West– emphasis on the “wild” 

Photo Courtesy of Sun Mountain Lodge

Located in the heart of the Methow Valley, Winthrop is a vacation town surrounded by natural beauty and miles of trails for outdoor recreation. Early white settlers flocked here in the late 19th century hoping to strike gold, but Winthrop didn’t undergo its “Westernization” until the construction of Highway 20 in 1972. In anticipation of more tourists, business owners pitched in money for Western-themed remodels– and visiting today’s Winthrop feels like taking a time machine to New Mexico or Texas circa 1885. 

What to do 

First and foremost, Winthrop is a goldmine (pun intended) for adventure-hungry travelers. The town’s Western motif may be memorable, but the wildest part about Winthrop is its great outdoors. Cross-country skiers can enjoy groomed trails stretching for 120 miles— the largest distance in North America. There are also opportunities for snowshoeing, sledding, and snowmobiling.  

Photo Courtesy of Sun Mountain Lodge

In the summertime, options abound for hiking, biking, and rock climbing. Winthrop is located just 20 minutes from the town of Mazama, noted as one of Washington’s best climbing destinations. It’s also close to the North Cascades National Park and Pearrygin Lake State Park, the latter of which offers 160 in-demand campsites. 

Back in town, it’s hard to beat window shopping along the distinctive Riverside Avenue. Winthrop’s main street is home to numerous boutiques and art galleries, including Gathered Boutique and Winthrop Gallery. Trail’s End Bookstore is also a must-visit for bibliophiles. 

Where to eat 

Photo by MelissaMN — stock.adobe.com 

Three Fingered Jack’s is the oldest (legal) saloon in Washington state, and today it offers everything from hearty breakfasts to steak dinners and, of course, an extensive selection of beverages.  

On the upscale side of things, Arrowleaf Bistro is a hidden gem that specializes in locally inspired meals. Many of their ingredients are local to the Methow Valley, and they always use sustainability sourced meat and seafood. 

Where to stay 

Photo Courtesy of Sun Mountain Lodge

River’s Edge Resort lives up to its name in the sense that it’s by the Chewuch River; however, it isn’t quite a resort. It’s actually a collection of cabins located right along the water, and they range in style from cozy to deluxe (some even feature hot tubs!).  

We also recommend Sun Mountain Lodge, an upscale retreat featuring a spa, a wine cellar, and first-rate dining. 

Favorites from Fiction 


Post-Twilight craze, Forks and nearby La Push are irreparably associated with a certain sparkling vampire. Perhaps it goes without saying that the city has no shortage of Twilight-themed attractions. (This includes a four-day “Forever Twilight in Forks” festival this September!) 

Photo by MelissaMN — stock.adobe.com 

If you’re planning a Twilight pilgrimage, bear in mind that novelist Stephanie Meyer took (more than) a few liberties when writing about the legends and traditions of the Quileute tribe. Yes, they Quileutes are actual people– and no, none of them are werewolves. The tribe also was not financially compensated. 

Photo Courtesy of Quileute Oceanside Resort & RV Park

Consider supporting the Quileute tribe by renting a cabin or campground at scenic Quileute Oceanside Resort & RV Park. The Quileute people are also campaigning to move their community, which is located in a dangerous tsunami zone, to higher ground. To donate to this cause, visit mthg.org. 


Photo Courtesy of Salish Lodge + Spa

David Lynch fans might be disappointed (or relieved?) to learn that Twin Peaks, Washington is as fictional as the TV show itself– but you can still visit some of its most iconic locations. Much of the show’s exterior stock footage was filmed in Snoqualmie, including that mysterious waterfall in the opening credits. It’s really Snoqualmie Falls, one of Washington state’s most popular tourist destinations. 

The real Great Northern Hotel, located just above the falls, is more upscale than you might expect. It was remodeled in 1998 to become the luxurious Salish Lodge and Spa. (Note that the fictional hotel’s interior was inspired by Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo. Although the pilot was actually filmed there, it was recreated on a sound stage for the rest of the series). 

Photo by MelissaMN — stock.adobe.com 

Last but not least, you can order yourself a slice of cherry pie at the Double R Diner– although in real life it’s known as Twede’s Cafe. As with the Great Northern Hotel, the pilot was filmed on-location and subsequent sets were recreated on a soundstage. 


You probably remember Benny and Joon as another whimsical ‘90s flick starring Johnny Depp– or as the film that made The Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” a karaoke staple. Either way, did you know that much of the movie was filmed in Spokane? Notable sites include the diner (Ferguson’s Cafe in real life), Benny’s auto repair shop (which today is Hillyard Tire Center), Riverfront Park, and even Benny and Joon’s house on North Cedar Street. 

Whidbey Island 

If you’re in the mood to get scared, head to Whidbey Island and take a tour of filming locations from iconic early-aughts thriller “The Ring” (namely Deception Pass Bridge and Pass Lake). Not a horror fan? Ironically enough, the ‘90s rom-com “Practical Magic” was also filmed nearby. Coupeville is home to Sally’s shop (now The Little Red Hen Bakery), Toby’s Tavern (now The Catch and Fry), the movie’s farmers market, and more. What can I say? Whidbey Island is as versatile as it is beautiful. 


Population: 6,202

Go here if: Your ideal afternoon involves wine tasting in Tuscany 

Photo Courtesy of Coyote Canyon Winery and Vineyard

The quaint town of Prosser is located within the Yakima Valley– but given its rugged hills and expansive vineyards, you’d be forgiven if you mistook the area for the Italian countryside. Like Tuscany, the Yakima Valley is a prolific region for wine: It comprises 120 wineries and five American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in just 70 miles. While the most common varietals are classics such as cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and merlot, certain Italian varietals also grow well here. 

There are a whopping 30 wineries in Prosser, and this small but mighty town is often referred to as the “birthplace of Washington wine.” This is because Prosser is home to Washington State University Irrigated Agricultural Research Extension Center (WSU-IAREC), and research from the school first prompted Washington farmers to try their hands at wine. Less than a century later, the state is second to only California when it comes to wine production.  

What to do 

Do we even have to say it? If you’re vacationing in Prosser, you’re going to want to visit a tasting room (or four). Some of our favorites include Alexandria Nicole Cellars, Mercer Wine, and Thurston Wolfe Winery.  

If you’re looking for Italian varietals, Coyote Canyon Winery and Vineyard offers both a 2015 Sangiovese and 2015 Primitivo. Prosser also makes a great home base for exploring other wine areas  in the Yakima Valley. 

Wine may be the main attraction, but Prosser has more to offer than vino alone. Visitors can take a bike tour, ride horses, or go antiquing in the historic downtown area. Fun fact: Prosser also has the largest concentration of alpaca farms in Washington state. To befriend one of these fluffy critters, book a tour with farms such as PacaPoo Alpacas and Alpacas at Red Barn Farm. 

Where to eat 

Wine O’Clock Bar and Bistro has everything from small plates to artisan pizza and, yes, really good wine. If you’d like your meal with a side of history, part of The Prosser House restaurant is located in a house originally constructed for Prosser’s first-ever mayor. Its cozy decor boasts lots of homey touches and historic photographs. 

For something on the sweeter side, Jade’s British Girl Treats is the spot for indulgent baked goods. 

Where to stay 

Photo by William Munoz 

Seven Gables Pensione is a six-room restored farmhouse with a countryside atmosphere, and it’s within walking distance of 12 wineries. Depending on the size of your party, you can book a single room, the whole house, or a separate cottage. 

 In addition to its tasting room, Desert Wind Winery also features a Santa Fe-style inn with four guest rooms– each with a private riverfront balcony. There’s also a spa offering a variety of soothing facials and massages. 


Population: 10,148

Go here if: You long for the Victorian era 

Both charming and easily accessible by ferry, Port Townsend will expose you to a rich history (from Native American roots to Victorian legacies) without ever leaving the Olympic Peninsula. Originally a small outpost, this seaside town experienced a boom in the early 1880s when it became a hub for the state’s maritime activities. While this community still remains “sea-centric,” Port Townsend has many more adventurous, artistic, and beautiful opportunities to offer.  

What to do 

History buffs will enjoy a visit to The Rothschild House. While only open during the summer months, this historical home remains practically untouched since its construction in 1868, allowing visitors to literally step into the past. For a closer look at Port Townsend’s history, stop by one of the town’s many historical museums, ranging from Victorian to maritime to aero-inspired.  

From kayaking to whale watching, there’s plenty of outdoor activities to indulge in during your trip. Fort Worden, a former military base, is now one of Port Townsend’s most beloved state parks – home to more than 100 historic structures, two miles of shoreline, and views of the Olympic Mountains and the San Juan Islands. Hikers can enjoy a trip down the čičməhán Trail, an interpretive 18-site, 12-mile loop that details the history of the relationship between the S’Klallam people and European settlers.  

Where to eat 

Photo Courtesy of FairWinds Winery

For a nautical twist on wine-tasting, pay a visit to FairWinds Winery. This winery is Port Townsend’s oldest winery and is dedicated to producing both popular favorites and “non-mainstream varietals.” Tickle your tastebuds with a glass of Captain’s Blend as the ship on the bottle transports you to a time of “fair winds and following seas.”  

Photo Courtesy of Tommyknocker’s Cornish Pasty

Enjoy your dinner with a helping of history and whimsy at Tommyknocker’s Cornish Pasty. This eatery is named for the helpful spirits of deceased miners found in Cornish folklore. The Cornish pasties served are an homage to the “last bites” of pasties thrown into the mines by Tommyknockers in order to give thanks for warnings of imminent danger.  

Where to stay 

Location, location, location. For those looking to truly experience Port Townsend, The Belmont offers just that. Located on the waterfront, this hotel is only a short walk away from the area’s hottest and most historic attractions. That being said, you don’t have to leave the building to indulge in the rich backstory of the town. The Belmont itself was built in 1889, providing shelter for a variety of sea captains, adventurers, and merchants. The history is reflected in the architecture, from the facade to the rooms themselves.  


Population: 958 (Roslyn), 2,115 (Cle Elum)

Go here if: You’re fascinated by history and the coal-mining West 

Photo Courtesy of Suncadia Resort

Like Winthrop, Roslyn and neighboring Cle Elum are towns that feel teleported from another era. Located just three miles apart, they were founded in the late 19th century and relied economically on coal and timber for many years. The towns’ last mine was shuttered in 1963, but Roslyn and Cle Elum showcase their industrial roots even today.  

The downtown storefronts retain their historic brick exteriors from the coal boom era, and Roslyn even has a statue honoring those who lost their life in the mines. In the 20th century, filmmakers flocked to Roslyn for its timeless appearance– the city was used as a filming site for movies such as “The Runner Stumbles” and the TV show “Northern Exposure.” 

What to do 

The best way to get a sense of the towns’ heritage is to see the sites along the Coal Mines Trail. This approachable six-mile walk follows an old mining easement from Cle Elum, through Roslyn, and to the neighboring town of Ronald. For more outdoor activities, Cle Elum Lake is the spot for water sports and summer fun. 

The Roslyn Cemetery is also worth a visit, as the site is a testimony to the 25+ nationalities and ethnic groups that immigrated there to work in the mines. Important fact: More than 300 Black miners, along with their families, were brought into Roslyn in 1888 as (unknowing) strikebreakers. Less than a century later, many of these families had long departed– but William Craven, a descendant of miners, became Washington’s first-ever Black mayor in 1975. 

Where to eat 

Photo Courtesy of Roslyn Brewing Company

The Brick Saloon in Roslyn is the oldest continually operating bar in Washington state. Their pub-style meals are hearty and filling, and the drinks have been flowing here since 1889.  

If you’d prefer a locally-made brew, stop by the Roslyn Brewing Company for a refreshing German-style lager. First opened in 1990, the brewery follows in the footsteps of the historic Roslyn Brewing and Malting Company, which sold similar brews to thirsty miners for just a nickel a bucket. 

In Cle Elum, Miner’s Pizza Co. is a local favorite for thin-crust pies (and ice cream!), whereas Orchard Restaurant is perfect for an upscale date night. They specialize in dishes that are low waste, from scratch, and farm-to-table fresh. 

Photo Courtesy of Orchard Restaurant

Where to stay 

Photo Courtesy of Suncadia Resort

We’d be remiss not to mention Suncadia Resort, which features a spa, golf course, and a wealth of outdoor activities. Though technically located near Cle Elum, Suncadia’s forested grounds and nearby mountains feel like a world of their own.  

For a more rustic stay, The Huckleberry House is a cozy inn that stays true to Roslyn’s historic vibe. It has a wraparound porch, easy access to downtown, and plenty of character.  

JOSEPH (Oregon) 

Population: 1,065

Go here if: Your bucket list includes exploring the Swiss Alps  

Photo Courtesy of Oregon’s Alpenfest

Joseph is tucked away in a remote, northeastern corner of Oregon amid the stunning Wallowa Mountains. Given that the Wallowas are known as America’s “Swiss Alps,” you can probably guess why this town is often referred to as “Little Switzerland.” It’s undeniable that The Wallowas bear a striking resemblance to the European Alps– and these two regions even share a similar climate. 

Originally an agriculture and timber town, Joseph pivoted towards the bronze industry in the ‘80s. As a result, outdoor enthusiasts and art lovers alike will be delighted by what it has to offer. Bronze sculptures can be found all around town, and despite its small population, Joseph has attracted a nationally recognized community of artisans of all stripes. 

What to do

Photo Courtesy of Phinney Gallery of Fine Art

Unforgettable scenery is one of Joseph’s biggest draws, and a joyride down Hells Canyon Scenic Byway is an immersive way to enjoy it. For a more hands-on experience, head to Wallowa Lake State Park for kayaking, boating rentals, and water sports. More extreme thrill seekers can also book a whitewater rafting trip with Winding Waters River Expeditions & Day Tours. 

The town takes its name from Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce (Niimiipuu) people. They were driven out of their homeland 144 years ago by U.S. soldiers, but in 2021, the tribe reclaimed 148 acres of ancestral land known as Am’sáaxpa (Place of Boulders). History-conscious visitors can learn more about Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce people at the Josephy Library of Western History and Culture. 

Contemporary Joseph is home to a multitude of art galleries, including Aspen Grove Gallery and Phinney Gallery of Fine Art. Moonshine Glass Art offers glass blowing courses, and those interested in sculpture can take a tour of the foundry at Valley Bronze of Oregon. 

Last but certainly not least, Oregon’s Alpenfest is the only Swiss-Bavarian cultural festival in the U.S., and it takes place in September every year. Think beer, bratwurst, yodeling, polka, and more. 

Where to eat 

Photo by Joseph Long

For artisan truffles, Arrowhead Chocolates can’t be beat. That said, there’s more to Arrowhead than delicious chocolate– they also offer rotating selections of premium coffee and tea. 

Photo courtesy of Arrowhead Chocolates

The Blythe Cricket is a rustic bistro/bakery perfect for breakfast or lunch, and at dinnertime, The Dog Spot serves rotating international fusion small plates prepared from scratch. 

Photo by Talia Jean Galvin

Where to stay 

Photo by Talia Jean Flipek

The Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast is a family-run B&B boasting rustic charms and lots of amenities. Its grounds are also home to three outdoor gathering areas and gardens that are recognized by the National Wildlife Federation as certified wildlife habitat spaces. 

Photo Courtesy of The Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast

For an all-inclusive experience, the iconic Wallowa Lake Lodge has been providing guests with peace, quiet, and direct access to Oregon’s wilderness since 1923.  


Population: 11,180

Go here if: You love arts, culture, and Norwegian fjords 

This small yet thriving community, affectionately known as “Little Norway,” is situated on the north end of Liberty Bay in Kitsap County. Originally the homeland of the Suqamish people, Poulsbo as we now know it was settled by Jørgen Eliason in 1880. Eliason was a Nordic immigrant, and it’s said that he was drawn to the area due to its geographic similarity to Scandinavia. Today, Poulsbo is a thriving waterfront community with tons to offer in terms of shopping, dining, and the arts. 

What to do 

Photo Courtesy of Nordiska

When exploring Viking Avenue, make sure to stop and pay your respects to the Norseman Statue. For an even deeper glimpse into Poulsbo’s Nordic past, visit the Heritage Museum and Martinson Cabin. Both offer a peek into the lives of the town’s earliest Scandinavian settlers. 

If you’d instead prefer to see how Poulsbo embraces its Scandinavian roots in the present day, make sure to book your trip around the annual Viking Fest, normally held in the springtime (though COVID-19 necessitated cancellations in 2020 and 2021– check online for info about 2022). It features live entertainment, local art, a donut-eating contest, and even a Viking village.[Text Wrapping Break] 

To bring your own slice of Scandinavia home with you, a visit to Nordiska is in order. This cozy downtown shop offers a curated selection of contemporary and traditional Scandinavian home goods, kitchenware, gifts, and more.  

Other notable places include Liberty Bay Books, a beloved indie bookstore, and art galleries such as Front Street Gallery and Red Plantation. For the outdoorsy sort, Poulsbo offers an array of opportunities for kayaking and paddle boarding. 

Where to eat 

Photo by Cocoa Laney 

Continue along Front Street and you’ll find Sluys Poulsbo Bakery, a veritable Poulsbo institution. They’re best known for inventing a world-famous multigrain loaf known as Poulsbo Bread,  but you should also pick up some traditional Scandinavian goodies– namely the cardamom buns.[

Valhöll Brewing is, well, exactly what it sounds like: a Viking-inspired brewery. Make sure to sample a pint of the Valholl Oktoberfest or Summer Wit if they’re on tap; both of these brews took home awards at the 2021 Washington Beer Awards.

Town & Country Market is a community hub in Poulsbo, offering a selection of fresh, local ingredients as well as ready-to-eat options (and pizza!). Nearby Marina Market offers a huge selection of imported Scandinavian and European goods, namely grocery items, beer, and wine. It’s also home to a licorice shrine that showcases more than 600 varities of the eponymous candy. 

Where to stay

Photo Courtesy of Hotel Scandi

As far as home bases go, it doesn’t get better than Hotel Scandi. This nine-unit, VRBO-style accommodation is located in the very heart of downtown Poulsbo within steps of some of the area’s best businesses and attractions. 

The rooms are located on the top floor of a building that once housed the Olympic Hotel (built in 1892), and its new incarnation pays homage to this history– but with a modern twist. Hotel Scandi maintains the brick floors and wood paneling of its predecessor, but a local interior design company updated its decor with a one-of-a-kind blend of Classic, Modern, and Scandinavian accents.  

Each room features a kitchenette and tasteful nautical decor harkening to Poulsbo’s history. Rather than TVs, the hotel offers thoughtfully designed common spaces that encourage face-to-face connection. There’s also ultra-high-speed internet for travelers who need to work remotely during their stay. 

Photo Courtesy of Hotel Scandi

If you’re spending a weekend at Hotel Scandi, we recommend beginning the day with a pastry from Sluys Poulsbo Bakery and coffee from Poulsbohemian Coffeehouse. Next, go window shopping on Front Street before venturing out on a kayak or paddleboard in the afternoon. At dusk, catch the sunset on the waterfront or stop in for a show at the Slippery Pig Brewery– both are located just across the street from Hotel Scandi. Close your night with dinner at Sogno di Vino, a top-tier Italian restaurant right next door.  

With everything just a five-minute walk from Hotel Scandi, you can immerse yourself in the very best of Poulsbo without even getting in your car. 

Photo Courtesy of Hotel Scandi