Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What Happened in Wenatchee

Washington state is kinda two different worlds. On the west side of the mountains, you have trees that never end, rain that never ends, and traffic that never ends. It is beautiful and frustrating and possibly one of the most gorgeous places on the planet if I do say so myself. On the east side of the mountains, there are tons of small towns, less traffic, fewer trees, and a different kind of breathtaking scenery.

I recently visited Wenatchee, a town that is about a two and a half hour drive from Seattle. I enjoyed my sojourn there. Here are a few highlights.

The View

Image via Flickr by ebis50

Wenatchee is in a valley, so everywhere you look there are mountains. When I visited, some had a lovely dusting of snow while others were bare but still beautiful. Honestly, I couldn't stop staring. Plus, the weather was pretty much perfect when I went -- warmer than usual for this time of year and packed with sunshine.

Outdoor lovers can't get enough of central Washington. You can go skiing at Mission Ridge, take an exhilarating hike on Saddle Rock, or just find a nice place to sit and take in the tranquil view.

The Food

Wenatchee is a small city; about 30,000 people live in the area. As such, you might not expect it to have the best dining options, but there is plenty here to delight the palate. I visited Carlos1800. It's a Mexican restaurant--and I usually avoid Mexican food if I can--but I was pleasantly surprised with the fare there.

I dug the vibe at Cafe Mela. It's a Starbucks-esque cafe, but with tons more charm than your typical corporate coffee shop. The brick walls, cool ambiance, and great coffee make the place worth a visit. Sometimes they even have live music there.

Cafe Mela is right downtown, which is a thriving part of town that is nowhere near as overwhelming or scary-people-ridden as downtown Seattle. There are cool vintage shops and quaint botiques that are worth a look. I didn't have the time to fully explore downtown Wenatchee, but that is something I'd like to do on my next visit.

Also on the subject of food, Glaze. It's a donut shop. Go there.

The Drive

Getting to and from Wenatchee was an experience in itself. I wasn't driving, so I could gaze out my window at the snow-dusted trees, waterfalls, and cool rock formations that adorn the path to Wenatchee.

A Very Mini Mini Mart

Oritenal Mini Mart on South Mission Street is possibly the smallest Asian grocery store in existence. Well, okay, it isn't really a grocery store. it's more like a collection of comestibles stuffed into a tiny room run by a friendly and outspoken Filipino lady. If you're in the mood for a snack -- or you just want to see what is possibly the world's miniest mini mart, stop by.

For Next Time

I was only in Wenatchee for a couple of days, and I know I didn't get to see all the best of what the town offers. I would like to to go there during harvest season so I can sample the area's famous fruit. I'd also like to check out the outdoor recreation options because, well, I just need to spend more time outdoors in general.

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