ISSUE #20: Hood Canal, Washington

Western Washington, namely the Olympic Peninsula, is home to some of the most stunning waterways and rainforests in the world. Delineating this area is a vast elbow-shaped saltwater inlet with the majestic Olympic Mountains just to the west. It’s a place of retreat for us and where Courtney spent much of her childhood. You must go!

Mary E. Theler Wetlands: See bird and water plant species, bat houses and stunning ornamental grasses and native plant demonstration gardens at this interpretive center. Walk along endless footbridges – peaceful place!

Twanoh State Park: The forested park is perfect for water play with a swim area, boat launch foraging for choice edible mushrooms, oyster picking, also camping and hiking. Courtney’s family had reunions there each summer. Big cookouts, games, catching up and sharing memories.

Union: Home to Alderbrook Resort for lodging, entertainment, brunches, and holidays on the water’s edge. Hands down, the best place to bring friends, family, kids and dogs! We make it a point to boat over every time we’re in town in summer. The kids request the French fries and Andrew and I are able to enjoy a meal and a cold bevvy while the kids and dog run on the lawns.

Belfair State Park: Much of Courtney’s childhood was spent here. This was one of the comfy, safe campgrounds that my extended family would gather for a weekend and the kids could go on walks, ride bikes, get ice cream at the store (that no longer stands) and the adults didn’t have to worry! Too many cribbage games to count were played on those old picnic tables!

Tahuya: “Tahuya Days” is a festival tradition that we both have been engaging in for YEARS – separately and as a couple – and now with our children. It is a HOOT! The first Saturday in July, the road to Tahuya shuts down for a few hours and anyone who is in town works their way down to this little section of “town”. There are haggle sales, street markets and a parade that only the locals could understand and fully appreciate. We never miss it! #whatsittahuya

Lake Cushman: People love this area just west of the Hood Canal for its hiking, swimming, boating and camping. Lots of options to get lost in the Olympic woods!

Hoodsport Winery: There’s a fun winery way out in Southeast Hood Canal. Visit for tasting with friends and be sure to check out the recycled grape pomace hills—very sustainable!

Brinnon: Whitney Gardens (gardening friends, this is for you!)– Along Hwy 101 you’ll find the seven-acre garden at the foot of the Olympic Mountains. See rare trees and ponds, the most beautiful array of rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, maples, conifers, kalmias, camellias, perennials, trees, shrubs and ground cover. Inspiring place!