Trivia question: How often does Western Washington get a white Christmas?
Answer: Once in a generation or so.
Alternative answer: When the Bretzes head to the Pacific Northwest for vacation on the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
All joking aside, we spent Christmas night until New Year’s Day morning in the Pacific Northwest, and our flight arrived just in time for a rare snowstorm. Our plan for this vacation was to spend the bulk of our six days in the PNW hiking in the forest, relaxing by the fire at our beach resort, drinking coffee and craft beer, and exploring the coast via scenic drives down iconic Highway 101.
Nature had other plans and we ended up being snowed in and unable to travel to the Coast. Being that we’re spontaneous, able to roll with changes (often necessary for traveling!), and up for adventure, we spent the week in Tacoma instead.
Long time readers of my blog may recall that we lived in Tacoma for almost seven years. So, being snowed in there wasn’t as much of a challenge as being snowed in somewhere we’re not familiar with. Although the region only got three to four inches of snow, that qualifies for a being “snowed in” in that part of the country!
Due to the lack of plows/road treatments and steep, hilly roads, snowfall over an inch or so in Western Washington makes driving a major challenge unless you have a four-wheel drive or tire chains, so we canceled our car rental and relied on public transportation for this trip. Public transit is a cheap option that can pose challenges (why is it so hard to figure out where buses on snow routes pick up and drop off?).
Despite the curve balls thrown at us during our vacation, we had fun and enjoyed almost everything about the trip, but the novelty of walking in the snow-covered hilly landscape and 20-something degree weather wore thin by the third day. I mean, who doesn’t like walking up and down hills in the snow/ice? Only a diva would take issue with that, right? (haha). We visited two city parks, Wright Park and Point Defiance Park, and were in awe of the snow-covered scenes. At Wright Park, we watched families sledding down the hills in the park and at Point Defiance we walked along the promenade that leads up to Owen Beach (the beach was actually closed for renovations).
Other than the time spent walking around two parks, we visited with friends, drank lots of lattes, sampled a few beer flights, ate way too much pizza, and even splurged on dinner at a waterfront seafood restaurant. All in all it was a good trip, but like all vacations it had to come to an end. While it is always nice to get away, we were all too happy to return home (and start planning our next adventure!).