Getting to Know Lara Dunning of Small Town Washington & Beyond

If you are in search of small towns, and all they have to offer, look no further than Small Town WA & Beyond. Lara Dunning started the site a little over a year and a half ago after she realized all the places she wanted to visit were never covered by any travel blogs. We recently met up with her while visiting Anacortes, and that is where the idea for this interview was born.

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Fall and Winter Camping Inspiration in Washington

The temperatures have dropped, the leaves are falling, the rain is here, and winter is coming. With all of that being said, now is still a great time to get away and spend time with nature. Don’t let the change of seasons get you down, there are opportunities for all comfort levels, from backpacking in with the proper gear to sleeping in a cozy cabin at a state park. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind, unique, maybe even luxurious experience, there is also the option of “glamorous camping” through Glamping Hub. No matter your preference, there are plenty of late-season camping options favorable for all. We have put together a list of ideas to get you started.

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Cabin Life at Potholes State Park

We love the outdoors and like to show off the glorious Pacific Northwest to friends and family. As it goes, we all have differing levels of interest, ability and desire to partake in the adventures nature has to offer. We had a family member come to visit and wanted to share someplace great, that would not take a ton of preparation. We decided to spend a couple of nights in a cabin at Potholes State Park.

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Skamania Lodge Has a New Aerial Park!

Midweek we took a trip to Stevenson to check out the new aerial park at Skamania Lodge. The Lodge’s zip line activities are well known in the area, and this new addition puts Skamania on a whole new level (literally, a higher level, up in the trees). It was pouring rain most of our 3+ hour drive over to Stevenson. It had already been a long day when we arrived at the lodge around 8 pm, and we were looking forward to a good rest. We quickly unpacked the Jeep and checked in.

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An Afternoon on the Water: Kayaking in Anacortes

We could not have picked a better time to visit Anacortes a couple of weeks ago. As our previous post stated, there was so much to do and see on the excellent Fidalgo Island. From magnificent rooftop sunsets to spending time at various parks, to walking the town on a warm, calm evening and admiring the art throughout, there was no shortage of things to do. Being right on the water also means there are plenty of water activities which take place off the island. One such activity was Kayaking.

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A Weekend on Whidbey Island

As part-time wanderers, we often find ourselves looking for last minute plans for the weekend. This past weekend was no exception; no decided upon plans until Thursday when we found The Kite Festival scheduled for Saturday and Sunday on Whidbey Island. As it happened, we had not visited 4 of the five state parks on the island, so Whidbey became our weekend destination.

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An Adventure on Wheels: 2017's Ride the Willapa

The second annual Ride the Willapa took place over the weekend of June 24. The event stretches 22 miles along the Willapa Hills State Park Trail, which starts in Chehalis, mostly follows along the Chehalis River and Washington State Route 6 through farmland, a countryside valley, past Rainbow Falls State Park, and all the way to the town of Pe Ell, then back again for a total of 44 miles. The two-day event is a go-at-your-own-pace ride rather than a race. This ride was a great opportunity for beginners, families, and pros. Along the route was Tour de Farms, first aid and water stations, and the chance to camp out at either Rainbow Falls or Pe Ell High School before making the trip home the next morning. Though we rode this trail during an event, it is open all year round and we recommend checking it out.

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7 Places for Discovering the Northwest’s Most Spectacular Fall Foliage

It may be hard to fathom with the sizzling temperatures the Northwest region of the country is experiencing this summer, but autumn really is just around the corner. And, with this wonderful season brings colorful fall foliage that includes deep, rich golds, fiery reds and golden yellows.

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Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area: Our Recommendations for Places to See

The river canyon known as the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington/Oregon border is one of only nine National Scenic Areas within the United States. Stretching from Portland and Vancouver in the west, all the way to Wasco and Klickitat counties in the east is the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Passed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, this became the second scenic area of its kind. The 292,500-acres of land contain a wealth of history, gorgeous landscapes, and interesting places to see and explore. This is one road trip you do not want to miss!

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Camping at Saltwater State Park

Saltwater State Park is a park that is easy to access. Close to city and highway, it is an oasis in the midst of urbanity. Trails wind through lush patches of forest, creeks, streams, beachfront, views of the Olympic Mountains, interpretive paths, and camping is just a handful of the possibilities here. As an adult, the noise of air and ground traffic can be a significant annoyance, but as a child....... As a child, you are surrounded by wonder and adventure. 

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A Review of Asher SS and Kenzo Short by Ecoths

Ecoths is a brand of men's clothing which blends urban fashions with a rugged outdoor look. They produce a variety of T-shirts, buttoned shirts, 3/4 zips, polos, and shorts. With each garment sold, they donate three meals to a food bank via their Good Sam program. Ecoths, pronounced as "Ecos," is the blend of the words "Eco" and "Ethos." Their slogan, "Urban rugged styling for the uncommon man," does an excellent job of summing up the look and feel of their clothing.

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Breaking In Our New Bikes On Carbon River Road In Mount Rainier National Park

In the northwest corner of Mt. Rainier National Park is the Carbon River Road. It runs a little over five miles from the park's entrance, paralleling the Carbon River, to Ipsut Creek Campground. It is a popular destination for bikers since it is one of the few areas that bikes are allowed inside the park. The road is mostly clear of obstacles, vehicular traffic is prohibited, and it maintains a 2 percent grade throughout, which made it a perfect spot to break in our new trail bikes.

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A Trip Through History at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park

The Ginkgo Petrified Forest is an intriguing, one of a kind forest. "Why", you ask? There is no visible forest as far as the eye can see. No trees are reaching to the blue sky. No shade is covering the sage-filled land. Moreover, the only natural water is the nearby mighty Columbia River. The forest is mostly beneath this desertscape, in petrified form. However, there are some million-year-old gems which have made their way to the surface. Petrified Ginkgo is just one of the many types of trees you will discover here. These, along with the ancient petroglyphs, make this a trip worth taking.

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The Ten Essentials

The Ten Essentials was first published in 1974 by the Seattle-based club The Mountaineers in the third edition of their book Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills. Since then, many hiking, climbing, backpacking, scouting, and more like-minded organizations recommend that all outdoor enthusiasts carry these items. In 2008, the 8th edition of the book was updated to take a "systems" approach to this list by grouping items together.

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A Hike and A Treasure Hunt On Glass Beach

Port Townsend boasts a multitude of interesting places to visit, stay and explore. Not our first trip to Port Townsend, but it was our first hike to Glass Beach. The beachfront below McCurdy Point Road is the stretch of sand known as Glass Beach. Glass Beach has gained this moniker, as it is a treasure trove of what we combers call sea glass. Sea glass is a polite term for discarded bottles, glass, and various pottery broken to bits, tumbled and polished by the to and fro of sand and wave. This narrow, rocky beach lies between the waters of the Strait of Juan De Fuca and a cliff of some 100 feet high.

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The Golden Hour at the Pacific Northwest's Magnificent Cape Flattery

A short hike through the woods of the Makah Reservation brought us to one of the furthest reaching points in the country. Cape Flattery Trail consists of boardwalks, educational signage, and short spur trails leading to cliff views. At the end of the trail, we were greeted with an observation deck which provided spectacular scenes of the Pacific Ocean, Tatoosh Island and its lighthouse, and the rocky shores directly below. Though the drive is long for most, Cape Flattery is a beautiful Pacific Northwest gem that everyone should visit at least once.

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