Cozy weekend getaways within 2 hours of Seattle
There's no better way to experience all the beauty and charm that Washington state has to offer than by planning a weekend getaway during your next visit to Seattle. Upon arriving, get a rental car and put it to good use by exploring one of these cozy towns located just a short drive from the seaport city.
Approximately 30 miles north of Seattle is Whidbey, the largest of the nine islands that comprise Washington's Island County area. An ideal getaway for travelers with an interest in outdoor fun, this peaceful destination in the middle of Puget Sound is a popular place for cycling, hiking, horseback riding and kayaking. To get to the island, take a short ferry ride from the nearby city of Mukilteo, or access it by car via the Deception Pass Bridge. With miles of majestic waterways and beaches to explore, it's a vacation spot you won't soon forget.
Fans of the acclaimed TV drama "Twin Peaks" will definitely want to visit the city of Snoqualmie since many of the show's beautiful exterior shots were filmed there. As faithful viewers might know, the stunning Snoqualmie Falls are featured heavily in the program's atmospheric opening credit sequence. Standing nearly 100 feet taller than Niagara Falls, they're a spectacular sight to behold. For the full "Twin Peaks" experience, book a room at the Salish Lodge & Spa that served as the exterior location for the series' Great Northern Hotel.
60 miles south of Seattle, the colorful college town of Olympia beckons hip visitors with its funky and diverse local music scene. A frequent hangout of iconic rocker Kurt Cobain, and widely considered to be the birthplace of the exciting "Riot Grrrl" movement, this state capital hosts everything from country music fiddle jamborees to experimental sound festivals that draw happy crowds every year. Adding to the city's charming sense of quirkiness are the famous Mima Mounds located near the Capitol State Forest. These mysterious grassy hills and hummocks, many standing as high as 6 feet tall, continue to defy all scientific explanation. Resembling giant gofer dens, they attract curious visitors with a taste for nature's oddities.
A lovely 40 minute drive south of Seattle, the cozy city of Tacoma contains a wealth of fascinating museums, including the Museum of Glass, the Washington State History Museum and the LeMay America's Car Museum. When you're ready to indulge in some of the freshest seafood in the entire state, reserve a table at Tacoma's popular Lobster Shop overlooking Commencement Bay. Their Dungeness crab with pecan wild rice is one of the most delicious dishes in the region. If your idea of a relaxing getaway involves a few rounds of golf, be sure to try one of the stay-and-play packages available at Tacoma's legendary Chambers Bay Golf Club.
You don't need to be obsessed with the "Twilight" vampire series to fall in love with the mist-shrouded forests of Washington's Olympic Peninsula, but it certainly helps. Fans of the film and book franchise will want to spend as much time as they can exploring this gorgeous region, since it's the real-life setting of the gothic saga. Several fun tours are available to take visitors deep into the romantic world created by bestselling author Stephenie Meyer. However, if amorous werewolves aren't your thing, a stop at the Webster's Woods Art Park and the Rothschild House Historic Home Museum are well worth the trip.
Known as "The Lavender Capital of North America," this scenic city is situated 2 hours northeast of Seattle and hosts an annual festival celebrating the beautiful flowering plant that grows in abundance thanks to the area's unusually mild climate. For foodies, Sequim offers amazing shellfish and salmon at waterfront restaurants like Dockside Grill, or locally sourced favorites served at Blondie's Plate in the downtown district. And don't forget to bring a pair of binoculars on your trip, because visitors can frequently witness some truly awe-inspiring wildlife — including bald eagles and herds of Roosevelt elk — in the nearby Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.
Located about 30 miles north of Seattle and appropriately nicknamed the "Antique Capitol of the Northwest" because of the dozens of vintage furniture and clothing shops scattered throughout the popular downtown district, this tranquil small town is highly recommended for hikers and nature-lovers who want to escape the crowds. To experience what the area must have been like at the turn of the century, head over to the quaint historic district and reserve a room at the adorable Countryman Bed & Breakfast, which was constructed in the late 1800s.
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Right now, around the world, brave members of America's armed forces are on duty, defending our freedom and upholding our values.
When not laser-focused on the mission at hand, they're looking forward to the day when their service to our nation is fulfilled and they can reunite with their families.
They are also imagining how they can use their hard-earned skills to build an exciting, rewarding and important career when they return home.
I want them to look no further than United Airlines.
That's why we are focused on recruiting, developing and championing veterans across our company, demonstrating to our returning women and men in uniform that United is the best possible place for them to put their training, knowledge, discipline and character to the noblest use.
They've developed their knowledge and skills in some of the worst of times. We hope they will use those skills to keep United performing at our best, all of the time.
That's why we are accelerating our efforts to onboard the best and the brightest, and substantially increasing our overall recruitment numbers each year.
We recently launched a new sponsorship program to support onboarding veterans into United and a new care package program to support deployed employees. It's one more reason why United continues to rank high - and rise higher - as a top workplace for veterans. In fact, we jumped 21 spots this year on Indeed.com's list of the top U.S workplaces for veterans. This is a testament to our increased recruiting efforts, as well as our efforts to create a culture where veterans feel valued and supported.
We use the special reach and resources of our global operations to partner with outstanding organizations. This is our way of stepping up and going the extra mile for all those who've stepped forward to answer our nation's call.
We do this year-round, and the month of November is no exception; however, it is exceptional, especially as we mark Veterans Day.
As we pay tribute to all Americans who have served in uniform and carried our flag into battle throughout our history, let's also keep our thoughts with the women and men who are serving around the world, now. They belong to a generation of post-9/11 veterans who've taken part in the longest sustained period of conflict in our history.
Never has so much been asked by so many of so few.... for so long. These heroes represent every color and creed. They are drawn from across the country and many immigrated to our shores.
They then freely choose to serve in the most distant and dangerous regions of the world, to protect democracy in its moments of maximum danger.
Wherever they serve - however they serve - whether they put on a uniform each day, or serve in ways which may never be fully known, these Americans wake up each morning willing to offer the "last full measure of devotion" on our behalf.
Every time they do so, they provide a stunning rebuke to the kinds of voices around the world who doubt freedom and democracy's ability to defend itself.
Unfortunately, we know there are those who seem to not understand – or say they do not - what it is that inspires a free people to step forward, willing to lay down their lives so that their country and fellow citizens might live.
But, we – who are both the wards and stewards of the democracy which has been preserved and handed down to us by veterans throughout our history – do understand.
We know that inciting fear and hatred of others is a source of weakness, not strength. And such divisive rhetoric can never inspire solidarity or sacrifice like love for others and love of country can.
It is this quality of devotion that we most honor in our veterans - those who have served, do serve and will serve.
On behalf of a grateful family of 96,000, thank you for your service.
Each year around Veterans Day, Indeed, one of the world's largest job search engines, rates companies based on actual employee reviews to identify which ones offer the best opportunities and benefits for current and former U.S. military members. Our dramatic improvement in the rankings this year reflects a stronger commitment than ever before to actively recruiting, developing and nurturing veteran talent.
"We've spent a lot of time over the past 12 months looking for ways to better connect with our employees who served and attract new employees from the military ranks," said Global Catering Operations and Logistics Managing Director Ryan Melby, a U.S. Army veteran and the president of our United for Veterans business resource group.
"Our group is launching a mentorship program, for instance, where we'll assign existing employee-veterans to work with new hires who come to us from the armed forces. Having a friend and an ally like that, someone who can help you translate the skills you picked up in the military to what we do as a civilian company, is invaluable. That initiative is still in its infancy, but I'm really optimistic about what it can do for United and for our veteran population here."
Impressively, we were the only one of our industry peers to move up on the list, further evidence that we're on a good track as a company.
The question of where David Ferrari was had haunted retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Vincent Salceto for the better part of 66 years.
Rarely did a week go by that Salceto didn't think about his old friend. Often, he relived their last moments together in a recurring nightmare. In it, it's once again 1953 and Salceto and Ferrari are patrolling a valley in what is now North Korea. Suddenly, explosions shatter the silence and flares light up the night sky.
Crouching under a barrage of bullets, Salceto, the squad's leader, drags two of his men to safety, then he sees Ferrari lying face down on the ground. He runs out to help him, but he's too late. And that's when he always wakes up.
Italian Americans from opposite coasts – Salceto from Philadelphia, Ferrari from San Francisco – the two became close, almost like brothers, after being assigned to the same unit during the Korean War. When Ferrari died, it hit Salceto hard.
"After that, I never let anyone get close to me like I did with Dave," he says. "I couldn't; I didn't want to go through that again."
When the war ended, Salceto wanted to tell Ferrari's family how brave their son and brother had been in battle. Most of all, he wanted to salute his friend at his gravesite and give him a proper farewell.
For decades, though, Salceto had no luck finding his final resting place or locating any of his relatives. Then, in June of this year, he uncovered a clue that led him to the Italian Cemetary in Colma, California, where Ferrari is buried.
Within days, Salceto, who lives in Franklinville, New Jersey, was packed and sitting aboard United Flight 731 from Philadelphia to San Francisco with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Donna Decker, on his way to Colma. For such a meaningful trip, he even wore his Army dress uniform.
That's how San Francisco-based flight attendant Noreen Baldwin spotted him as he walked down the jet bridge to get on the plane.
"I saw him and said to the other crew members, 'Oh my goodness, look at this guy,'" she says. "I knew there had to be a story."
The two struck up a conversation and Salceto told Baldwin why he was traveling. She got emotional listening to him talk and made a point of fussing over him, making sure he and his family had everything they needed.
About halfway through the flight, Baldwin had an idea. She and her fellow crew members would write messages of encouragement to Salceto and invite his fellow passengers to do the same.
"We did it discreetly," says Baldwin. "I asked the customers if they saw the man in uniform, which most had, and asked them if they wanted to write a few words for him on a cocktail napkin. A lot of people did; families did it together, parents got their kids to write something. After the first few rows, I was so choked up that I could barely talk."
When Baldwin surprised Salceto with dozens of hand-written notes, he, too, was speechless. He laid the stack on his lap and read each one. At the same time, the pilots made an announcement about the veteran over the loud speaker, after which the customers on board burst into applause.
"It seems contrived, and I hate using the word organic, but that's what it was; it just happened," Baldwin says. "Mr. Salceto was so loveable and humble, and what he was doing was so incredible, it felt like the right thing to do. And you could tell he was touched."
On June 27, Salceto finally stood before Ferrari's grave and said that long-awaited goodbye. As a trumpeter played "Taps," he unpinned a medal from his jacket and laid it reverently on the headstone.
"I had gotten a Bronze Star for my actions [the night Ferrari died] with a 'V' for valor, and that was the medal I put on Dave's grave," says Salceto, pausing to fight back tears. "I thought he was more deserving of it than I was."
For the first time in years, Salceto felt at peace. His mission was accomplished.