Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Northwest Adventures

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My husband; our daughter, Clara; and I spent two weeks this last summer in Washington, Idaho, and Montana, where we logged a whopping 1,933 miles on the rental car. We started off in Tacoma, WA, where I lived the first ten years of my life.

The "Tac" part of Sea-Tac Airport, Tacoma isn't the best-known destination in the state, but it's very much worth a visit. First off, on a clear day, you can see Mount Ranier from most parts of it. Plus, it's on the water and easy to navigate—and it has both trains and ships for kids to ogle, and good, cheap antiquing for parents.

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Where to Stay: The Hotel Murano (above) is really world-class, a little surprising for this small of a city. Its rooms and public spaces are filled with art—both glass works (Tacoma is the home of famous glass artist Dale Chihuly) and Native American pieces—but the place is anything but stuffy. We loved breakfast at the in-house restaurant, Bite, and the staff is super-knowledgeable about what to do and where to eat in the neighborhood.


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What to do: It’s an easy walk to the Museum of Glass (even if you don’t go inside, check out its glass ceiling and the water sculptures outside), the Washington State History Museum (in the former grand train station) and to the farmer’s market (held on Thursdays).
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Where to eat: We loved our dinner at Harbor Lights, a 50-year-old institution, built out over Commencement Bay. Get the four-pound bucket of clams (the three of us shared this, and it was enough!) with the baked potato. And we loved our lunch at The Spar, in Old Tacoma, which is a block up from Ruston Way, where you can walk along the water and see the boats.

Where to shop: The best antique row is also a walk from the Murano, on Broadway between Seventh and Ninth streets.

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