Last summer, Go Ahead Business Analyst Ergest set out on our tour, The Pacific Northwest: Oregon to Washington. The region had long been on his travel wish list, and he found a lot to love about this corner of the country. Read on to hear all about this new tour of the Pacific Northwest, and see Ergest’s tips to make the most of traveling from Portland to Seattle.
Picking the Pacific Northwest
What drew Ergest to this corner of the U.S.? Well, he considers himself a bit of a North American tours aficionado—he’s traveled on two already, and is setting out on his third, National Parks: Canadian Rockies, Glacier & Yellowstone, later this year. The Pacific Northwest is also a part of the country he’d never explored. “I hadn’t ever even been past the Midwest,” he laughed. “Plus, I really wanted to travel to Vancouver on the tour extension.”
For Ergest, the mix of cities and wilderness was another major draw. “I consider myself a city person,” he said, “but I loved the balance of different types of scenery on this tour.” Of course, the fact that the Pacific Northwest’s national parks are some of the most stunning doesn’t hurt.“Crater Lake was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. The water was so blue, it was unbelievable!” he said. “If you want to see something that’s guaranteed to take your breath away, this is it.”
Last but not least, Ergest had the chance to travel with Tour Director Phil for a second time—something he looked forward to.
A memorable adventure
As for the notoriously rainy weather, it was nowhere to be seen on tour—a lucky break, though Ergest shared a joke he heard from his Tour Director. “They say people in Seattle get more upset when it doesn’t rain for a few days,” he laughed. Still, he and his group thought summer was a great time to be exploring the area. “It was warm, but not too hot. Plus, there’s not much snow left in the mountains, and you can enjoy time strolling through the cities.”
Some of the tour’s other highlights were the unexpected moments, including a surprise guided tour of Portland’s Japanese Gardens. The local guide knew a volunteer working in the gardens, and he ended up showing Ergest’s group around the grounds. The guide was able to share extensive knowledge on caring for the plants, as well as the Japanese traditions that inform each part of the garden. “It was all so interesting, and something I’d never have learned on my own.”
Ergest also enjoyed his first view of Seattle, which happened to be from the deck of a ferry in the Puget Sound. “As you sail up, you can see the city’s skyline and all the mountains in the distance. It was a really beautiful surprise!”
Why make the journey
So, who would he recommend this tour to? “Anyone who wants to see more of the U.S.!” Ergest said. When people think of the West Coast, they often imagine sunny Southern California or San Francisco, but the Pacific Northwest offers a bit of a different take for travelers. “It’s perfect for someone who wants to see national parks, but wants some time out of the wilderness,” he said. Vancouver is also a can’t-miss, and Ergest recommends that anyone on this tour add the extension to explore the city. “People from many different cultures call Vancouver home; it’s very diverse, and there’s a lot to do,” he said. Beyond the sightseeing tour, Ergest recommends checking out the Capilano Suspension Bridge. “As long as you’re not afraid of heights!”
One last tip: don’t miss Portland and Seattle’s culinary scenes or the local breweries. “There are a couple beer tastings on tour, including at the Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon,” says Ergest. “But the Pacific Northwest is a place where there’s always something more to discover.”
Is the Pacific Northwest on your travel wish list? Explored Portland or Seattle yourself? Tell us about it in the comments!