Pick Your Trip – Autumn

Photo © Resort at Paws Up

The Resort at Paws-Up, Montana

If you’ve ever been camping and, at 1:00 a.m., you realize water is dripping into your tent, and you wish there was a way to camp without waking up in a puddle of rain and smelling like fire for a week after, The Resort at Paws Up is definitely for you.

This resort is a 37,000-acre luxury ranch resort that includes “glamping” or “glamour camping” for those who love to enjoy outdoor activities but don’t want to give up modern-life amenities. With a two-bedroom luxury tent, you also get complimentary horse-drawn wagon rides around the resort, mountain biking adventures, scavenger hunts and organized games of kickball, soccer, and football. A camp chef as well as a camp butler—who does everything from making a fire to planning your day of activities—work to create an experience as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.

If it still sounds too much like roughing it in the woods, Paws Up also offers luxury homes at nightly rates—they recommend you do a couple nights in each option to get the full experience. So, if you’re sick of feeling like you don’t enjoy camping, try glamping and experience the outdoors in a whole different way.

To book your glamping vacation, go to pawsup.com.

Christmas Market Getaway: Vancouver, B.C.

Between Nov. 26 and Dec. 30, 2017, visit Vancouver B.C. for their annual German-inspired Christmas Market. The event provides great places to mingle with friends, grab a bite to eat and experience Christmas spirit in a new way.

The market offers German-inspired foods (German pizza, anyone?) along with beer, wine and beverages for the kiddies. Shops line the market selling toys, pottery, knitted merchandise, woodcarvings and many more goods. Kids can ride on the Christmas carousel, decorate gingerbread men, meet Santa and go on a scavenger hunt.

After all of the festivities have ended for the day, check into the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel (fairmontwaterfront.com) for some much needed rest. The hotel is across the street from the market. Rooms have views of the waterfront and provide a cozy, warm oasis to retreat to from the autumn cold.

For prices and more information on the market visit vancouverchristmasmarket.com. To learn more about visiting Vancouver, go to tourismvancouver.com.

Spokane for Foodies

If the number of times a city’s restaurants appear on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives makes a food destination, Spokane, Washington, ranks high. In the fall, browse the Spokane Farmers Market for farm-to-table goodness. If you’re looking to get a first-hand experience on the farm, visit Green Bluff Farms in September to October during their annual Apple Festival with u-pick orchards and fresh-pressed cider.

For other farm-fresh cuisine, go to Frank’s Diner, locally voted best breakfast for the past 14 years. There, get a nutrition boost with purple oatmeal for breakfast, made from Snoqualmie Falls Oats and Priest Lake Huckleberries.

Try something different for lunch or dinner at one of the many food trucks from Greater Spokane Food Truck Association. Trucks include Jamaican, tacos and even crepes. For other unique bites, visit Wild Sage for fine dining, Nudo for ramen or take a culinary journey to Ethiopia at Queen of Sheba.

For other Spokane restaurants and finds, go to visitspokane.com/food-drink/.

Fishing Adventure in Chilliwack, B.C.

If you have dreams of wrestling with a 10- to 15-foot monster, you need to plan a fishing trip to the Fraser River in Chilliwack, British Columbia. Giant sturgeon is the catch of the day here, and several outfitters and guides are ready to take you out on the river to try your luck.

For one-stop shopping, book a room and a fishing adventure at The Fraser River’s Edge Bed and Breakfast (fraserriversedge.com), tucked into 3-acres of rain forest and 300-feet of riverfront. Owner and fishing guide Mike Jones can navigate the Fraser River with his eyes closed (not that he would) and knows where the giant sturgeon hang out. Sturgeon fishing on the Fraser is catch and release, and the fun is in the catch and capturing photographic proof.

After the fishing adventure, relax with a cold one on the expansive view deck at The Fraser River’s Edge and watch the sun set over the river and surrounding hills. Then, head into town for some legendary Fraser Valley farm-to-table dining.

To plan your Chilliwack and Fraser Valley adventure, visit thefraservalley.ca.

Wild Mushroom Celebration, Long Beach Peninsula, Washington

Long Beach Peninsula is known for stunning views, endless beach, and cozy bistros and cafes. It’s also known for wild fungi that push up from the soil all over the peninsula in autumn. And it’s a cause for celebration—the Wild Mushroom Celebration.

Held every year from October 1 through November 15, this celebration is filled with food, fun and foraging. Attendees range from expert mushroom enthusiasts to curious travelers and foodies.

Though the focus is hunting down mushrooms, hotels and restaurants hop on the bandwagon and offer deals that make for an amazing weekend adventure. Restaurants partner with mushroom foragers for these six weeks to serve up some amazing dishes where the humble mushroom is king. The Depot Restaurant and the Shelburne Inn, both award-winning, feature mushroom-centric dishes for the duration.

Visitors can attend expert-guided hikes to learn to identify the mushrooms that grow in the area.

To learn more about the celebration, check out wildmushroomcelebration.com. To find lodging and more information about a trip to the Long Beach Peninsula, visit funbeach.com.

Wine and Adventure Trek to the Lewis Clark Valley

Surrounding the cities of Lewiston, Idaho, and Clarkston, Washington, the Lewis-Clark Valley wine region is home to 16 vineyards and 5 wineries and one of the Northwest’s newest wine trails. About 20 varieties of grapes grown there end up in some elegant and delicious wines at the hands of talented winemakers. Each of the wineries have tasting rooms and some have restaurants with seasonal menus that use local ingredients to create signature dishes. The Lewis-Clark Valley Wine Alliance website has details about the wineries and planning a visit to the region: lewisclarkwine.com.

From the Lewis Clark Valley, adventure seekers can jump on a jet boat excursion to Hells Canyon. Take a half or full day tour on boats built for maneuvering the rapids and the rugged conditions of the canyon with ease. Tour guides on the boat will point out local wildlife and share tales of the local Nez Perce Indians, sinking steamboats and remote mining communities.

To learn more about booking a Hells Canyon Tour and planning a trip to the LewisClark Valley, see visitlcvalley.com.

Sitka, Alaska,
for Non-Cruisers

Fused between two cultures, Sitka, AK, delivers a perfect fall retreat, rich in history, nature and small town charm. Located on Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska—an easy two-hour flight from Seattle—the setting is a scenic tangle of islands, old growth forests, mountains and channels. In fall, you won’t be sharing this charming small city with cruise ship passengers—just you and the locals.

Stop by the Sitka National Historical Park to see totems carved by Alaskan Natives situated throughout the trails. The park also includes tours of the historic Russian Bishop’s House, and a significant museum full of Alaskan Native artifacts. Then walk to the city’s centerpiece, the historic St. Michael’s Cathedral, an active Russian Orthodox Church.

The United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, and Sitka became the territory’s first capital city after holding the transfer ceremony. Storefronts with galleries, shops, coffee houses and restaurants line downtown streets. Stop for a bite at Ludvig’s Bistro (ludvigsbistro.com) for rustic Mediterranean food, or drive out to the Channel Club (sitkachannelclub.com) for a great view and surf and turf. The taproom at Sitka’s only microbrewery, Baranof Island Brewing Company, is worth a stop to sample their lineup of brews (and definitely try their root beer).

When you’re ready to retire for the night, stay at Otters Cove Bed and Breakfast (ottercovebandb.com) for a warm atmosphere and great breakfast.

The Sitka Whalefest in the fall hosts events from symposiums and  wildlife cruises to food and music; visit sitkawhalefest.org for 2017 dates and details. To plan your Sitka trip, visit sitka.org.