Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top 10 Unique Things About Living in the Pacific Northwest

Can you see the mountains in the distance?
I have lived in lots of places around the world, and each one had its own quirks and personality. For the past five months I have been living in Washington State on the Olympic Peninsula, and I can honestly say that it is one of the most unexpected and beautiful places I have ever been. This will be the first of several posts about this somewhat hidden gem of a region.

Here are some of the uniquely wonderful things I have discovered about living west of the Puget Sound.

1. Wearing things from Patagonia and REI and carrying a backpack wherever I go are everyday occurrences.

They are practically domesticated.
2. Embracing the healthy living culture: green smoothies every morning and an influx of things like quinoa, almond butter and chia seeds into my everyday diet.

3. I know what a marmot is, but I haven't seen one yet. The wildlife here is amazing. It's easy to get up close to a seal while kayaking or watch a deer leisurely cross a very busy road in the middle of the day.

4. There are always views of mountains wherever I go whether it is the Cascades, the Olympics, Mt. Baker or Mt. Rainier.

5. Pine forest goes right up to the ocean, and it's stunning.

6. There is a ferry just 30 minutes away that goes to Canada.

7. The women don't wear makeup, and sometimes they have a bit of tree in their hair. I haven't determined yet if it's an intentional fashion choice or not.

8. The lifestyle is laid back but in a productive way, and people smile because it's a great place to live.

9. People are seriously into the outdoors at every age. I could get smoked by an old guy on a bike here any day.

10. Nature! I never considered myself to be an outdoorsy kind of girl, but it's hard not to when you are surrounded with some of the most picturesque vistas in the country. Hiking is everywhere: up a mountain, around a lake, past a lagoon, to the beach- there are so many places to go.

Bonus: an abundant selection of local craft beer. I can think of two places in my tiny little town alone who brew their own, and it's delicious.

Ferry terminal with the Cascade Mountains in the background.