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Destination Report: Pacific Northwest

Towering mountains, ancient forests shrouded in mist and draped in moss, cascading waterfalls. You don’t have to journey to Middle-earth or some other mythical land to see them. In fact, you don’t even need your passport. You can find all these and more in the Pacific Northwest.

Sometimes to be reminded how vast this country is, you need to head to the corners of it. You can read all about what to see and do in the region’s largest city, Seattle, here. This journey begins by heading south from the airport to the satellite city of Tacoma, in the shadows of Mt. Rainier. While it might not be as bustling in Seattle, Tacoma has views to rival its neighbor to the north and boasts a revitalized downtown featuring the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum and America’s Car Museum, as well as microbreweries occupying former warehouses.

That’s a recurring theme in the Pacific Northwest, where breweries are nearly as numerous and giant evergreens and the IPAs are as hazy as the forests on a foggy morning. In the autumn, you will see plenty of that on the drive on the 170-mile drive along U.S. 101 to Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast. When hunger strikes along the way, a stop at Goose Point Shellfish Farm & Oystery on Willapa Bay in Washington or Fort George Brewery + Public House just across the Oregon border in Astoria will hit the spot.

The border crossing is one to make you stop in your tracks, as it’s the point where the Columbia River opens wide as it flows into the Pacific Ocean. Fortunately, there’s a rest stop before the 4-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge so you can snap photos in safety. Astoria, the first American settlement west of the Rockies, is a great base for exploring Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark camped in the winter of 1805-06, and Fort Stevens, which took shelling from a Japanese submarine in World War II.

All those forests descend to the ocean at Cannon Beach, famous for the intertidal rocks that jut into the sky just beyond the sand. At 235 feet tall, Haystack Rock is the largest and instantly recognizable, though you can’t see it at the popular beach bonfires at night. The S’mores make up for it, and when the tide is low as you can walk seemingly forever toward the water.

Heading inland, Portland is just about 90 minutes from the coast through more evergreen forest and deciduous trees in brilliant oranges and purples. The city of about 650,000 is a big small town, easily navigable and full of galleries, breweries and restaurants along the Columbia. It’s also within easy distance of the 620-foot Multnomah Falls, Mount Hood and the Willamette Valley wine region. As with anywhere else in the Pacific Northwest, you can’t help but run into epic scenery in any direction. And isn’t that the best way to start a journey?

Where to stay:

Hotel Murano, Tacoma Centrally located in downtown Tacoma, Hotel Murano is poised within minutes of the city’s thriving museum district and nearby waterfront where picturesque views of the Puget Sound and waterfront dining give travelers a fresh taste of life and cuisine in the Pacific Northwest. Just beyond the hotel’s doorstep, visitors can explore world-class art collections on view at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, Chihuly’s Bridge of Glass and America’s Car Museum, all located within walking distance or a short ride-share away, or imbibe on the burgeoning craft beer and distillery scene making waves in the South Sound.

Tolovana Inn, Cannon Beach In a word, Tolovana Inn is memorable! A true oceanfront resort, located just south of downtown Cannon Beach, one of the Oregon coast’s favorite beach communities. In fact, this inviting locale is recognized by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful places in the world. Come see why. The spacious oceanfront rooms and suites at Tolovana Inn are the perfect lodging destination for a family-filled vacation, a romantic getaway or a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life. All Studios and Suites are equipped with a full kitchen, living room, private balcony and cozy fireplace, all steps to the sand and iconic Haystack Rock. Breathe in the clean, ocean air. Hike, bike, and stroll along the beaches or nearby mountain trails. Poke around tidepools. Bring your binoculars to zero in on coastal nesting birds, migrating marine mammals and abundant sea life. You can browse inviting shops and galleries in Cannon Beach, build a beach bonfire or relax in our saltwater pool and spa. There’s plenty to do. Or not. You’ll love it.

The Nines, Portland Elevate your experience: As you take the elevator to the eighth floor of the historic Meier & Frank building, you realize…you’ve arrived. Historic in nature, yet contemporary in everything else, The Nines is a Portland Luxury Hotel ideally situated in downtown, steps from Pioneer Square and the Central Business District. This is a LEED Silver Certified Hotel with incredible rooftop views, artwork in every room, two restaurants and gorgeous spaces for weddings, meetings and events. Browse nearby boutiques, dine in the trendy Pearl District, or use the eco-friendly MAX Light Rail or Streetcar to explore the lively city of Portland.

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