"Hidden Washington" by Eric Lucas, is a fun travel guide for anyone who enjoys traveling but doesn't always want to be a "tourist". Like all the books in this series, "Hidden Washington" covers many less well known attractions and destinations, as well as many of the most popular and well known attractions.
This Washington travel guide begins with the chapter "The Evergreen State". This section covers a lot of general travel information: annual events, weather, visitor centers, permit requirements and more. The chapters "The Washington Landscape" and "History" give both important information on the terrain, animals and climate of the Evergreen State, and interesting facts about the history of the region. The rest of the book is organized by region: Seattle and Vicinity, Southern Puget Sound, Olympic Peninsula and Washington Coast, Northern Puget Sound and the San Juans, The Cascades and Central Washington, East of the Cascades, and the Columbia River Gorge.
Each section suggests outdoor activities, lodging, dining, museums and attractions available in each area. If you really like avoiding crowds of tourists, be sure to note the "hidden" destinations. The "hidden" designation is given to restaurants, inns, parks, attractions, etc. that are loved by locals but often overlooked by visitors.
I grew up in Washington and "Hidden Washington" covers many of the places I remember from my childhood. We went to plays at the Pantages Theater in Tacoma and visited Pike Place Market and the Space Needle in Seattle. I've enjoyed the Van Lierop Bulb Farm in Puyallup and learned about the animals at Point Defiance Park. I've driven across Eastern Washington with stops in Moses Lake and Spokane. I've even snow-mobiled in the Cascades.
"Hidden Washington" is an easy read. It provides a good variety of activities and options for your travel. You'll find ideas for scenic drives, walking tours and parks to visit. I enjoyed browsing through it and remembering all the places I visited as a child. I also enjoyed reading the Author's Favorite notes and the extra interesting facts listed periodically in the sidebars. There are many listings for parks and outdoor recreation, which is quite appropriate, since nature is one of the biggest attractions Washington has to offer. There are also helpful indexes to attractions, restaurants and lodgings.
I was a bit disappointed that some of my favorite events were not mentioned in more detail. For instance, there is very little mention of the Western Washington State Fair in Puyallup which boasts not only great rodeo and agricultural shows, but big name bands and performers as well. Leavenworth, a Bavarian village in the Cascades is included but there is little detail given about their wonderful Christmas Festival. These are just two of many events that are definitely favorites with both locals and visitors from around the world, yet each had only a sentence in the calendar section.
"Hidden Washington" is a good guide book that will take you through the varied regions of the Evergreen State. While the author skims over some of my childhood favorites, he gives a good account of the state and what's available for visitors, with a very appropriate focus on outdoor activities. If you're heading to Washington, pick up a copy today!