You know those weekend trips where you’ve been gone for less than 2 days but it feels like you were on vacation for a week? No? Don’t despair- I don’t feel like they are that common. At least, I don’t remember the last time a weekend felt that way until my best friend and I decided to take a gals road trip a few weekends ago. With the many options Washington has to offer, we decided on the tiny Western themed town of Winthrop via Highway 20.
Almost completely surrounded by National Forest, State Game Range and Wilderness areas, people go to Winthrop and the Methow Valley to be outdoors. There is literally no other reason as there is nothing else to do here. If the latest census is correct, the 3 towns closest to each other (Winthrop, Twisp and Mazama) make up a population of less than 2,000 people. People drive the windy roads of Highway 20 to lose cell reception (or in my bfs case, intentionally put your phone on airplane mode), marvel at creation, and beg time to slow down. Which is exactly what happened when we left Seattle on a Saturday morning, returned on a Sunday evening, and somehow in between those 36 hours, returned completely refreshed and reenergized.
Getting There: Highway 20
Seattle to Winthrop is approximately 3 hours and 45 mins, but that’s without stopping and you WILL want to stop and take pictures. We also broke up the drive by hitting the trail at Diablo Lake.
Where to Stay: Methow River Lodge
Quaint, fairly priced and situated right on the river, we were happy to stay at this little lodge a short walk away from downtown. If you’re traveling in a larger group or want more privacy, you can rent out one of their 6 cabins on the property. In the evening, we stalked deer fixated on eating their dinner and in the morning, we took our coffees to the river to enjoy our cup in the warming sun.
Where to Eat & Drink:
Breakfast // Rocking Horse Bakery
Get there early enough to score one of their breakfast sandwiches. They make a limited amount a day and once they are gone you’re choices are limited to their baked goods. Not saying that’s a bad limitation to have!
Lunch // Mazama Store
Ok so technically this is not in Winthrop, but it’s just 15 minutes down the road and definitely worth the short and beautiful detour. A family owned and operated general store, they stock their shelves with a ‘whole lotta goodness.’ Besides the natural and organic goods, fresh produce, homemade bakery items and their delicious sandwiches (get one before you hike), you’ll also find locally made goods from people in the Methow Valley.
Dinner // Old Schoolhouse Brewery
Post-hike brews and dinner on the river. Their RUUD awakening is a hit and for all the vegetarians out there, the blubird burger with emmer, quinoa, mushroom, sun-dried tomato, mixed greens, and roasted garlic aioli with a side of avocado is for you. Carnivores, you have over 5 choices of burgers.
I’m definitely not a shopper, and even less inclined to buy things on trips because that means I have to fit them in my bag to go home BUT sometimes small towns offer unique purchasing opportunities and it feels good to support local artists or craftsmen.
Because I’m just so freaking happy that Bookstores still exist and that Amazon hasn’t taken over the world. Everyone, please put down your kindles!
A lifestyle boutique for the conscious consumer that showcases apparel, jewelry, accessories, and home wear made in North America by independent designers using sustainable practices. It was a struggle not to purchase every piece of jewelry in the store.
Where to Hike:
There are SO many hikes in this area. Our visit was pretty early in the Summer season, so most higher elevation hikes in the North Cascades/ Sawtooths still have snow. Goat Peak Lookout provided a short, but challenging uphill that gave us 360 views of the valley.
Do you have any favorite Pacific Northwest Roadtrips? Share your travel ideas and stories with me in the comments.