Many are coming to realize that Washington State is full of many scenic wonders but it has been a forerunner in the craft beer revolution in the United States as well. In the early 1980s, small breweries started to spring up around the the US with many of the first in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. The climate is quite good for growing hops and there's no shortage of high quality water. Add to this an alternative entrepreneurial spirit and making beer was a no-brainer. Cascade hops are quite robust and lend a citrus nose and flavor to the beers it is used in so initial beers tended to be very hoppy or bitter. Recent trends bring a big malt profile into the mix and make for more balanced beers. But make no mistake, beers from the Pacific Northwest are not for the meek. While brewers in Europe initially complained of unbalanced beers in the US craft industry, more of them are now incorporating American hops as well as ideas into make "bigger" beers.
Washington State is a great place to try some of these amazing beers. Seattle is a particular hotbed but there are some great ones in other towns as well. Conveniently, many of the breweries have restaurants attached so you can make a culinary experience out of out. Check my individual Washington State pages for details on all the ones we hit during our summer of 2008 visit.
More than just a drink in Washington, coffee has become a way of life. As you are driving keep an eye out for Espresso Stands. Normally no larger than an information booth, you can drive right up and place your order. Whether you end up with the best grande half-caf soy latte you've ever had or simple cuppa joe, you are guaranteed a Washington cultural experience.
Political correctness is the norm in Seattle and surrounding communities. It's laughed at in most other parts of the state. Tee shirts featuring sea turtles, whales and Ichiro are proper Seattle atire, while Spotted Owl Soup is a local favorite in Eastern Washington cafes.
Dumb Washington Laws
All lollipops are banned.
A law to reduce crime states: 'It is mandatory for a motorist with criminal intentions to stop at the city limits and telephone the chief of police as he is entering the town.'
It is illegal to paint polka dots on the American flag.
People may not buy a mattress on Sunday.
All motor vehicles must be preceded by a man carrying a red flag (daytime) or a red lantern (nighttime) fifty feet in front of said vehicle.
It is illegal to pretend that one's parents are rich.
You are not allowed to breast feed in public.
When two trains come to a crossing, neither shall go until the other has passed.
You are breaking the law if you sell or place in the stream of commerce a crib that has: corner posts that extend more than 1/16-inch above end panels; slats more than 2 3/8 inches apart; a mattress support that releases easily from corner posts; cutout designs on the end panels; tears in mesh or fabric; missing or loose screws, bolts, or hardware; sharp edges, points, or rough surfaces on wood surfaces that are not smooth and free from splinters, splits or cracks. The new Infant Crib Safety Act in California (AB 3760, Speier), Colorado (SB 98-023,Pascoe and Morrison) and Washington State (SSB 6229, Kohl and Pennington) states that 'no commercial user shall manufacture, retrofit, sell, contract to sell or resell, lease, sublet or otherwise place in the stream of commerce, a full-size or non-full-size crib that is unsafe for any infant using the crib.
You cannot buy meat of any kind on Sunday.
Men who deflower virgins, regardless of age or marital status, may face up to five years in jail.
You may not shuck peanuts on the street.
It is illegal to display a hypnotized or allegedly hypnotized person in a store window.
Dancing and drinking may not occur at the same establishment.
You may not carry a concealed weapon that is over six feet in length.
Women who sit on men's laps on buses or trains without placing a pillow between them face an automatic six-month jail term.
No one may set fire to another person's property without prior permission.
It is illegal to carry a fishbowl or aquarium onto a bus because the sound of the water sloshing may disturb other passengers.
TV's may not be bought on Sundays.
No structure shall contain more than two toilets that use potable water for flushing. -San Juan County Ordinance NO. 7 -1995 (Passed June 7,1995)
You may not ride an ugly horse.
People out here are generaly into the outdoors.With a lot of people heading into the mountains for a day hike,mountain bike or general sports activities around town during good weather days.There are more than enough trails throughout the mountains to accommodateeveryone though trails within an hour of Seattle or any big city with of course have more foot traffic.(this picture is from Mt.SI,about 40 miles outside of Seattle)
Washington is much like any other western state, a mix of ethnic backgrounds and cultures. You do find more mixing in the more populated areas, therefore less diversity in rural communities. ('Howdy' is a common greeting in the outlying areas.)
Tipping your servers is the normal 15 to 20%, depending on service quality.
When touring Washington state see if you can take in one of the Battle Reenactment & living history demonstrations.
If you are not from the area you will learn how life was back in the old days.
Here's a gorgeous mural of typical Washington state scenery, painted onto a building in downtown Seattle. Keep an eye out for public art!
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