For those lucky enough to enjoy a holiday weekend coming up, or for those looking further afield to President’s Day, here are some of my favorite wintertime wanderings in Olympia and beyond. An easy weekend trip from Seattle, Portland and anywhere in between.
- A new Thurston County neighborhood is emerging that will sate sippers of all kinds. Coined locally as the Lacey Libation District, within a two-mile radius visitors will find the tasting rooms of Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs, Top Rung Brewing, Madsen Family Cellars, Stottle Winery and Northwest Mountain Winery. Find a designated driver and make a day of it by extending the trip a few miles to Medicine Creek Winery located on the Bountiful Byway. The 1800’s vintage inspired tasting room welcomes wine lovers to admire its scenic gardens or belly up to the bar while sipping a Washington blend.
- Do downtown. Warm up with locally-made, small batch moonshine, whiskey and vodka at the new Blind Pig Spirits tasting room or get cultured with a variety of cheddars, goudas and more at the new gourmet cheese shop, The Mousetrap. Shop the Olympia institution since 1973, Archibald Sisters, find jewelry and women’s fashion at Hot Toddy or explore the gallery-like, LOLA’s beautiful selection of clothing and accessories. Don’t miss the Farmers Market (Saturdays 10a-3p from Jan-March) open year round featuring freshly picked produce from nearby farms and local florists, soap makers, bakers, cheesemakers and other artisan businesses.
- The Puget Sound is known for our drizzly days in the winter months, but that doesn’t stop locals from donning a rain coat and boots to explore a quick trail near town. McLane Inlet is an easy 1.5-mile loop trail in the Capitol Forest or opt for the one-half mile trail along Tumwater Falls for prime waterfall views in the shadow of the former Olympia Brewery. Nisqually Wildlife Refuge offers an interpretive center and a network of trails to peep the more than 200 species of birds who visit the refuge annually.
- The Hands on Children’s Museum provides both indoor and outdoor learning areas, chok-full of Northwest-inspired exhibits. “Shop” for a healthy meal at the Good for You Center, or learn about local wildlife in the Fabulous Forest, or brave the elements and enjoy the nature trail and outdoor learning center. For a full map and to plan your visit, click here.
A packing tip: if traveling before April be sure to pack a raincoat and boots. Plan your getaway with a variety of guestrooms and lodging options detailed at www.visitolympia.com. Connect on Facebook, Twitter (@VisitOlympia) and Instagram (@Visit_Olympia).