Tag Archives: tour

I wrote off an entire area as “not for me” but I was wrong

“Why would you want to travel to ___?!?” (Fill in the blank with any place you wouldn’t wouldn’t want to go on vacation.)

“What are you going to do there, anyway, besides ___, ___, and ___?” (Fill in those blanks with the activities that place is stereotypically well-known for, and that don’t interest you.)

I love traveling, and I really want to go as many places as possible, but sometimes it’s simply because I enjoy traveling anywhere, not that I’m particularly looking forward to going to that specific place. It’s hard to get excited about a place that you think has nothing for you.

I have several places like this, but recently I’ve had to change my mind about one of them.

Until a few months ago, I thought the only reasons to go to Western Montana (apart from visiting family) were Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park (which I thought only had skiing), and hunting/fishing. Since I’ve already been to Yellowstone (wouldn’t mind going again, though, but it’s not as high priority as somewhere I’ve never been), only go fishing when other people are going, and don’t have a great desire to try hunting or skiing, none of these made this area really appealing as a travel destination.

Then I went to a travel industry event with representatives from Western Montana’s Glacier Country, Missoula, Whitefish, and Kalispell and found out that my assumptions were very wrong.

Although pleasantly surprising, it was a bit uncomfortable to admit that I’d written off a really interesting place because I’d gone only on these assumptions and hadn’t really looked into it.

(Of course, if I’d really been planning to go, I’d have looked into it a bit more then, but sometimes it’s hard to look for things you don’t expect to find, so I’m sure my searching wouldn’t have turned up as big of a list.)

Now I have a real list of things to do when I go to Western Montana.

In addition to my first guess about Yellowstone, Glacier NP, and hunting/skiing, the area’s also known for beautiful natural landscapes, Native American history and culture, local food/drink/foodie experiences, biking trails, music and nightlife, museums and art, historical buildings, lakes and beaches, and bucket-list worthy events.

Here’s my current list of things I’d be interested in doing in the area (bucket list style):

Click to read more

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Week 1 of the 31 Days of Everyday Adventure challenge

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There’s so much satisfaction when a big project is going well. That’s how I feel about this 31 Days of Everyday Adventure challenge. So far, I’ve loved the experience. It’s been a crazy week for me but one of the bright spots of each day has been the daily challenge activities. I’m having fun doing the activities, I’m being challenged, I’m doing some things I wouldn’t normally do, and other people who are participating seem to be having good experiences too!

The challenge went live on Nov 1, and is meant to help us stretch out of our comfort zones and appreciate that adventures don’t have to be giant to be special. We’re doing something a little adventurous every day for 31 days! (The challenge is now on-demand: 31 Days of Everyday Adventure email challenge.)

Here’s how Days 1-7 went for me. I’m also including some links to the partners’ posts about their experiences so far. If you’ve been participating and want to share how it’s going for you, feel free to add to the comments on this post. 🙂

Read about our experiences

7 Ways to spend the day in Olympia, WA

A visit to Washington State’s capital city makes a great day trip. Full of history, it is the home of many “firsts” for Washington State, including the first post office, first public school, and the first fire department (all in the 1800s). Typically a 1-2 hour drive from Seattle (depending on traffic), it is also accessible by public transportation, Greyhound, and Amtrak.

Here’s just a few of the many things you can do in this city.

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Take a tour of the Washington State Capitol buildings and grounds

The main building (Washington State Legislative Building) took 6 years to build. Since then, it’s been renovated to include 144 solar panels on roof (the largest amount of solar panels on a US state capitol!). It’s fifth-tallest masonry dome in the world and the tallest in North America. There are free, hour-long guided tours of the Legislative Building and free 45-60 minute guided tours of the Governor’s Mansion. There’s also a free shuttle that runs between the Capitol and downtown Olympia.

Watch a movie at the historic Capitol Theater
This Olympia landmark was built in 1924 and has been in continual use as a theater since then. They feature independent, international, and under-represented films, music, and art shows, and also host the Annual Olympia Film Festival which just finished its 32nd year. You can also take a look at the colorful art on the side of the building where they have a free wall for graffiti artists.

Hang out at Percival Landing Park and vote on your favorite sculpture
This waterfront park features a boardwalk and large grassy area that is good for picnics, sports, and hanging out with friends. There’s also a sculpture display featuring local and regional artists. The display changes yearly, and you can vote for your favorite piece. The sculpture with the most votes gets purchased by the city to put on permanent display somewhere else in Olympia after the year is over.

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Washington State Capitol Museum and Outreach Center at the Lord Mansion – Photo credit: Mark Goebel via Flickr – Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

Visit the State Capitol Museum
This museum is located in the Lord Mansion, one of the few true mansions in the city. Although it’s currently closed for renovations, this museum still offers public events and programs like walking tours and lectures.

Take a self-guided walking tour
If you want to learn more about the history of Olympia, you can download guides for self-guided walking tours around the city.

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Explore the Olympia Farmers Market
This year-round farmers market has been open for 40 years and features local food and plants, live music, hand-made craft items, and seven restaurants. Due to the growing seasons, the number of days the market is open varies throughout the year (Thursday through Sunday in April through October, Saturday and Sunday in November and December, and Saturday only in January through March).

Eat at McMenamins Spar Café
Many of the McMenamins locations are in historic buildings, and this Olympia location is no different. Throughout its existence, the building housed several different businesses, including saloons, smoking rooms, a variety theater, a billiard room, a store, and a restaurant with a bar that served famous people like Joan Crawford, Marlon Brando, and Joe Lewis.

Have you been to Olympia? How did you spend your time there?

This post was inspired by Wanderu, who asked me to write a post on my ideas for a day trip from Seattle. You can read about other bloggers’ trips on the Wanderu blog.