5 Best Washington Small Towns to Unplug

written by Charyn Pfeuffer featured photo courtesy of Salish Lodge & Spa

There’s no stop to the noise in our day-to-day lives. From social media to excessive screen time, messages are increasingly crowding our spaces, our minds. The good news is, if you’re willing to step away and unplug, it’s possible to disconnect from digital mayhem. Get away to these five small towns and you’ll be forced to slow and power down, reconnect with the world and hear yourself think. Prepare to relax and unwind–in these charming destinations.

Twisp/Winthrop

Fresh air and golden hills meet an abundance of culture in Methow Valley. Sure, you can push the adrenaline button here with any number of outdoor activities. But, there’s always a calm cadence ready to be enjoyed, evident in the town’s laid-back vibe.

EAT
Named for the gorgeous gold flower that paints the valley, Arrowleaf Bistro serves local seasonal dishes, such as wild nettle risotto and steak frites made with Methow-raised beef. Save room for one of Joanne’s decadent desserts.

207 White Ave., Winthrop

DRINK
Locals flock to Blue Star Coffee Roasters for perfectly frothed cups of cappuccino and ultra-fresh coffee beans roasted in its 1963 German-made Probat machine. Owners and community fixtures, Dan and Meg Donahue started the coffee-roasting company after years on the Seattle coffee scene.

#3 Twisp Airport Rd., Twisp

PLAY
More than a dozen artist studios and gardens sprawl across 6.4 acres at TwispWorks. Shop open artist studios on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Don’t miss the handprinted goods at Door No. 3. If all the culture makes you hungry, refuel with a killer burger at FORK, a food truck on site.

502 S. Glover St.

STAY
Relax in the comfortable riverfront digs at Twisp River Suites. Dog-friendly suites are available across the street. The complimentary breakfast includes tasty egg casseroles, to-die for scones, and yep, Blue Star Coffee.

140 Twisp Ave.

 

Winslow

Bainbridge Island is an easy daytrip or staycation from Seattle. Head downtown, hop on the ferry and less than thirty minutes later you’re smack-dab in the seaside town of Winslow. It’s a low-key, walker’s paradise, just waiting to be explored.

EAT
For a taste of the Pacific Northwest, try the Pub Famous Chowder at The Harbour Public House made with Baywater Salish blue clams, Hood Canal mussels, smoked sockeye salmon or locally farmed Pacific oysters. Wash it down with one of nearly a dozen local brews on tap.

231 Parfitt Way SW

DRINK
Sample a five-tasting flight, including old world varietals roussanne, viognier and petit verdot, for $10 at Eleven Winery Tasting Room. The winery is located 5 miles from the ferry and open on weekends.

287 Winslow Way E

PLAY
Sure, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art may be a small-town museum, but it strikes the perfect balance of local well-known and lesser-known contemporary artists. The best part? Its exhibits rival nearby urban galleries and admission is free.

550 Winslow Way E

STAY
Located a short walk from the ferry, The Eagle Harbor Inn has five, small but luxurious rooms and three townhomes. It’s far enough away from the main drag of downtown Winslow to feel like a legitimate waterfront retreat.

291 Madison Ave. S

 

Bow/Edison

For a relaxed daytrip, head to the Samish River Valley northwest of Skagit Valley. Drive northbound on I-5, then veer west on Highway 20 to discover this increasingly hip but easygoing destination.

EAT
Stop by Rhody Café for farm-to-table fare served in a darling farmhouse. Hands down the best brunch in Skagit Valley, the salmon eggs benedict takes the usual tasty breakfast standard up a notch.

5521 Chuckanut Dr.

DRINK
Locals are warm and welcome at the local watering hole, Corner Pub. By day, play horseshoes at the outdoor pits or sip pints in the beer garden; by night, there’s free live music every Thursday.

14565 Allen West Rd.

PLAY
Laze away an afternoon at one of Taylor Shellfish’s Samish Farm Shellfish Market’s waterfront picnic tables. Weber grills are set up to barbecue oysters grown in the bay outside and bought in the store.

2812 Chuckanut Dr.

STAY
Stay across the street from the casino gaming action at The Skagit Ridge Hotel. Rooms are clean, spacious and look out over a pastoral green area outback.

18444 Bow Ridge Dr.

 

Cle Elum/Roslyn

Located 80 miles east of Seattle in the Cascade Mountains, the towns of Roslyn and Cle Elum provide the perfect backdrop for a relaxing mountain getaway. The former coal mining towns provide just the right amount of sophistication coupled with slower-paced, storied small-town charm.

EAT
At Red Bird Café, biscuits and gravy are a surefire hit, though gluten-free options, like the dill tuna sandwich, also draw local devotees. If you’re traveling with kiddos, there’s a dedicated play area.

102 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Roslyn

DRINK
Drink up at Brick Saloon, Washington’s oldest continuously operating roadhouse bar, since 1889. The colorful bar features a 23-foot running water spittoon, as well as live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

100 W. Pennsylvania Ave.

PLAY
Swing by the Swiftwater Cellars Tasting Room for a glass, tasting flight or bottle. On Fridays and Saturdays, when the space takes on a decidedly more lounge-like vibe after dark, you may spy winemaker Andrew Wisniewski.

301 Rope Rider Dr., Cle Elum

STAY
Soak up idyllic mountain scenery at Suncadia Resort. The backside of the property sits steps off the Cle Elum river. For maximum romance and relaxation, book a room with a private outdoor hot tub.

3600 Suncadia Trail, Cle Elum

 

Snoqualmie

It’s hard not to relax and reflect once you’ve experienced the magnificence of Snoqualmie Falls, measuring in at 268 feet. Located 25 miles east of Seattle, this small town oozes natural beauty and charm.  Snoqualmie Depot has vintage train cars for nostalgic afternoons.

EAT
If you’re looking for a low-key spot to grab a drink with a view overlooking Snoqualmie Falls, go to The Attic at Salish Lodge. Don’t miss the brick oven pizzas and local beers. Weekday happy hour is also a favorite.

6501 Railroad Ave. #102

DRINK
After a morning of skiing Snoqualmie Pass or exploring the Northwest Rail Museum, check out Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom. They have season and brewer’s choice brews on tap – try the Wildcat IPA if it’s available. A locals’ favorite, Last Frontier Saloon, is itself an escape and an unpretentious pint or can. History lines these walls.

8032 Falls Ave. SE

PLAY
Hike Rattlesnake Ridge. The 8.9-mile trail touts lakes, mountain views, ridges and passes and is perfect for photo ops.

STAY
For a super romantic getaway, head to Salish Lodge & Spa, the setting for The Great Northern Hotel in Twin Peaks (returning to TV this summer). Rooms are luxurious and comfy. Sweet sleep is ensured with heavenly bedding, a special pillow menu and the warmth of a fireplace.

6501 Railroad Ave.

2 Comments

  • Snoqualmie? To unplug? That must be a joke. Who goes to the suburbs of Seattle to unplug? I guess the travel budget didn’t allow for travel to the coast, or the remote corners of the state? Heck even to Port Townsend. Off a the top of my head, I can think of a dozen or so places that should have been on this list. Snoqualmie? Lazy reporting.

  • We think you should give Snoqualmie another chance, Susan! We love the falls, the depot, and reenacting our favorite Twin Peaks episodes there. It’s definitely suburban, but we can’t resist its charms.

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