explore NW summer 2022

Green Trees and Sunshine | explore:NW 

It’s that time in the Pacific Northwest when it feels safe (nearly) to put away your rain gear and slip on your sandals — especially if you find yourself in the Olympic Rain Shadow. A born and bred Seattleite, I didn’t travel outside the Emerald City much as a child. And when I did, it was beyond the PNW. California. Texas. Colorado.

I didn’t really start experiencing all our region has to offer until I was in my late 20s — finally brave enough to slurp an oyster and scrappy enough to understand how lucky I was when I did. Back then I was writing for pennies a word and sometimes traveling with my car as a hotel just to see new sights.

I remember the magic of my first trip to the San Juans. Seattle was covered in a drizzly mist. I’m not opposed to the rain. It’s a sight and smell that evokes the comforting sense of home. Heck, it’s the reason we have such a lush landscape. But the young writer in me saw it as a heavy cloud looming over a delightful story. Oh, how the sunshine did turn.

Riding in a de Havilland Beaver, the seaplane broke through the morning mist. Fluffy clouds hung in the sky. The water sparkled. The trees along the shorelines looked as though they’d been splashed with bright pops of saturation.

That was the first time I experienced the magic of the Olympic Rain Shadow. It was like a shot of happiness.


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It left little room to wonder what there is to love about this unique collection of islands found in the Salish Sea, where the farmland is fertile and Vitamin D abundant. I learned that to call the San Juans home, even if only for a day or a long weekend, is an honor. And it’s not just the sunshine. It’s the views. The hikes. The food. Oh the food. Get some great tips about what to do and where to eat on San Juan Island in Lisette Wolter-McKinley’s piece.

Yet, the more I visit, the more I toy with the idea of making the San Juans home. Visiting for a day, a weekend — a week — is nice. But putting down roots in this quaint archipelago, now that would be heaven. Whether you’re like me daydreaming for the future or seriously considering a relocation, I hope you find some inspiration among some of the top luxury homes for sale. These are some of the finest luxury homes you’ll find in the islands, and I encourage you to take a look.

And as you begin to savor the summer sun, in Seattle and beyond, don’t forget that the Olympic Rain Shadow goes beyond the San Juan Islands. It stretches to equally lovely destinations, like Victoria, BC — where Kenmore Air is once again offering regular service. The capital of British Columbia, Victoria is a slice of old world elegance where flower gardens abound and folks are kind as can be. After all, they do live in the Olympic Rain Shadow.