Valentine's Day Riding Destinations

Fall in Love All Over Again

Great Romantic Riding Destinations

Just an hour northeast of Tacoma, Snoqualmie boasts a historic downtown district for strolling and shopping. The Northwest Railroad Museum includes the Depot, with free exhibits of railroad history and artefacts; low-cost guided tours of steam and diesel locomotives, train cars, maintenance equipment; and, during the spring and summer, inexpensive excursions that include wondrous views of Snoqualmie Falls, in antique railroad cars behind either steam or standard locomotives.

During the winter you can ski, tube, and snowboard at Summit. University of Washington students provide instruction for a modest fee. Summer is a great time for hiking.

Snoqualmie Falls is a hundred feet taller than Niagara. You can view it from Puget Sound Energy’s viewing platform, just a mile from the Northwest Railroad Museum. Across the river you’ll see a machine shop, a carpentry shop, and an elevator that leads to the world’s oldest underground hydroelectric plant, which was carved into bedrock below the falls in the 1890’s.

You’ll find plenty of places to eat in Snoqualmie, including the Snoqualmie Falls Candy Factory across from the railroad depot. But don’t miss The Black Dog Arts Café, partnered with a local artists’ coalition, and boasting a variety of live entertainment, homemade bread and desserts, fine Mexican food and special dinners, espresso, wine, and beer. Or, you may prefer the Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom with house-brewed beers and pub fare.

Then retire to the Salish Lodge and Spa, where all the rooms have fireplaces and jetted tubs. You can also enjoy a massage at the spa, or soak up the heat in the steam room or sauna. During the summer, you can camp at the Douglas Fir Campground or the Denny Creek Campground. And if you prefer a B & B, find your way to A House in the Trees—it’s just that!

La Conner is between Seattle and Vancouver and it seems to feature on every list of romantic spots in our vicinity. So, you probably know about The Wild Iris Inn, which combines the upscale services of a boutique hotel with the friendly amenities of a B & B. It was featured on the Discovery channel. And maybe you know about the La Conner Channel Lodge on the waterfront with its private balconies and ts spa.

But did you know about the Rotary Club’s Smelt Derby at the end of February. It got it’s start with nickel beer and lots of smelt. No more nickel beer, and not many smelt, either, but lots of family activities all day and a Sliders, Suds, and Spirits supper for adults followed by a dance.

Everyone knows about the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in April, but this year there’s also a La Conner Daffodil Festival, including an art show and a classical guitarist, in March. In fact, La Conner is a winter birdwatcher’s dream with bald eagles, snow geese and trumpeter swans all abundant.

Maybe best of all—spend some time shopping at Eagle Leather and then spend the night at a real castle right here in Lakewood. Over a hundred years ago, Chester Thorne had a Tudor castle shipped, brick by brick, from England to make a home for his beloved wife Anna. Make reservations at Thornewood and then enjoy the art, the sculpture collection, the carved oak stairways in “the house that love built.”

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