When the rainy season begins around the southern end of Puget Sound and Hood Canal, many of us decide to stay indoors. Whether we are watching football on the weekends, going to movies or binge-watching our favorite shows, the fall and winter months are largely spent staring at screens and ignoring the blustery conditions outside the comforts of home.
While that seems like a good plan to many, the true spirit of the Pacific Northwest is found outside during those stormy days. On the next rainy, windy day, instead of staying indoors and cuddling up, head out for an unforgettable day of scenic dining and majestic views near the watery wonders of the region. Perfect for a long overdue date or a solo trip to treat yourself, these sights and savory stops will have you rejoicing each time it starts to rain.
Destinations and Dining
Quite possibly one of the most romantic and scenic destinations around, the stunning setting and meals found at Alderbrook Resort and Spa are second to none. As you dine in the Alderbrook Restaurant on incredible local fare and impressive cocktails, your view is world-class. Overlooking Washington State’s fjord, known as Hood Canal, watch as clouds and rain bands roll over the Olympic Mountains while seals, eagles and blue herons swim and fly below. You will want to begin your day by wandering into the wet and beautiful forests of the region. While Alderbrook has some great, short hiking trails, we suggest hiking under the trees of nearby Olympic National Park’s Staircase Loop Trail. During heavy rains, the trail showcases the roaring beauty of the North Fork of the Skokomish River and the towering trees provide shelter from the storm.
Also on Hood Canal, El Puerto De Angeles is a great, relaxing dining experience offering views right along the water. Located in Hoodsport, this tasty Mexican restaurant makes for a perfect stop after exploring along the Duckabush River. From your car or by foot, the Duckabush provides gorgeous views.
If you are looking for impressive day hikes, the trail to Murhut Falls and the short jaunt to Ranger Hole along the Duckabush River will give you a first-hand glimpse of the beauty the heavy rains bring to the area. The walks will also work up an appetite, making the already great food at El Puerto De Angeles taste even better.
Closer to Olympia, try a drink or a meal at Anthony’s Hearthfire Grill. Located near Swantown Marina and jutting out into Budd Bay, the restaurant has windows that gaze north to the Olympic Mountains. On stormy days, watch the clouds roll in, the waves pick up and the geese, blue herons and seals do their best to ignore the conditions.
This might just be the best setting for a restaurant in Olympia and gives you a great view of Priest Point Park, where you can explore the miles of trails weaving through forests and along beaches. A good tip for those planning to walk in Priest Point Park: the forested Upper Loop trail tends to be drier and less slick than the Lower Loop trail
If you would rather gaze at the tumbling waters of the Deschutes River, there is no better view than that found at Falls Terrace. Looking directly at Tumwater Falls, this restaurant specializes in seafood and steaks, perfect to enjoy after wandering the loop path at Tumwater Falls Park. After heavy rains flood the river, Tumwater Falls becomes a raging torrent of liquid power. While seen perfectly from the large window of the restaurant, make sure you get an up-close view of the falls before resting indoors. If you have not walked the trail during the rains you will discover the area is even more beautiful than during the summer months.
No list of scenic dining can be complete without mentioning the views from Tugboat Annie’s. Here, delicious food and renowned Bloody Marys meet Puget Sound in a low-key, relaxed atmosphere. Pair your stop here with a trek along the trails at Tolmie State Park, which offers views of the Puget Sound along forested trails and gravel beaches. Walking over the iconic bridge at Tolmie rewards you with the sound of breaking waves and rain hitting driftwood, giving you a moment of serenity in this beautiful Pacific Northwest destination.
Don’t despair as the rains return. Embrace one of the defining features of our region – the reason for our lush forests, mossy tree trunks and emerald-colored environs. Get out and enjoy the rainy season while working up an appetite for some of the area’s best dining options with a view.