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Kick off your vacation just 25 miles north of Seattle in Mukilteo, a cozy waterfront community located on the shores of Puget Sound. Explore the town’s waterfront with restaurants, the Mukilteo Lighthouse Park — great for stretching your legs — and the ferry terminal that you’ll likely end your trip with as well. Next up, plan to spend some quality time visiting the various destinations that comprise the Paine Field Aviation District — history and aviation fans alike will find their bailiwick here! The Paine Field Aviation District is located in both Mukilteo and Everett, so plan to start out at the Mukilteo locations and then travel on to explore those in Everett. Plan a day around visiting all five unique aviation attractions. Explore the only publicly available opportunity to tour a commercial jet assembly plant in North America at the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour. Check out Paul G. Allen’s collection of vintage military aircraft and land vehicles at the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum set within an expansive, working hangar. At the Museum of Flight Restoration Center, watch volunteers busily restoring engines, repainting bodies and fixing up other aviation treasures. The Historic Flight Foundation provides visitors an opportunity to get up close and personal to a collection of the most important aircraft produced between 1927 and 1957, the “Golden Age of Aviation,” all restored and airborne again. Add a little adrenaline into the mix with a stop at High Trek Adventures, also part of the Paine Field Aviation District. Take in a hair-raising obstacle course or zip line adventure! Paine Field Airport is now home to a brand spanking new passenger terminal. Alaska and United Airlines deliver travelers to and from multiple locations in California, plus Portland, Oregon; Denver, Colorado; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Phoenix, Arizona. (When you’re planning your Cascade Loop vacation, be sure to check if you might be able to fly to Paine Field Airport and land pretty darned close to the byway)! Next up, travel north to visit the Cascade Loop’s largest metropolitan area – Everett.

Resting on the tranquil shores of Port Gardner Bay, Everett boasts brilliant westerly views of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains, and easterly views of the Cascade Mountains. The Everett waterfront is home to the second-largest marina on the West Coast. Enjoy the scent of salt and sea, the sounds of lapping waves and ferries shuttling to and from Jetty Island in the summer. Wiggle your toes in the sandy beaches and warm shallow waters of Jetty Island while you watch dozens of kiteboarders race across the water. Everett is home to one of the nation’s best children’s museums, the Imagine Children’s Museum, a must-see for the kids! 

Continuing your journey, head east toward Highway 2 and the historic town of Snohomish. Snohomish is listed on both the State and National Registries of Historic Places and is known as the “Antique Capital of the Northwest.” This fun little downtown is a bustling shopping treasure trove with hundreds of antique dealers and boutique shops all within a six-block area. The historic district is also surrounded by stately Victorian and Craftsman-style homes built around the turn of the 20th century. 

Drive another 10 miles east and you come to the city of Monroe located near the junction of the Skykomish and Snohomish rivers. Monroe provides abundant opportunities for rafting, fishing, and other water sports. It is home to the Evergreen State Fair, an 11-day event in late August through Labor Day, that delivers serious thrills with everything from car races to exciting equestrian shows and carnival rides. The fairgrounds house the Evergreen Speedway and the Western Heritage Center. Don’t miss Monroe’s cute little downtown where locals gather for drinks, dinner and shopping, too. Speaking of shopping, Monroe is a great place to gas up and pick up picnic supplies if you are planning to hike along the next leg of your journey, the Stevens Pass Greenway.

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The Snohomish River flows northwest, beginning at the confluence of the Sultan and Skykomish rivers, near present-day Monroe, and ends about 12 miles downstream where it empties into Port Gardner Bay, north of Everett. The river valley was created over thousands of years by glacial movement and flowing melt-water. 

Native American tribes lived here for thousands of years and enjoyed readily available seafood and a temperate climate. The name Snohomish honors native people who lived in this area prior to Euro-American settlement. The Snohomish people moved north to the mouth of the Snohomish River, where they built the village of Hibulb. The Tulalip Tribes are successors in interest to the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Skykomish, and other allied tribes and bands signatory to the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott. The current tribal population is over 4,600 with about 2,600 members residing on the 22,000 acre Tulalip Indian Reservation located north of Everett and the Snohomish River and west of Marysville, Washington. Learn about Tulalip cultural assets, gaming and lodging opportunities by viewing their online brochure at tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.

Settlers came to the area in response to government-granted homesteads, with the hope of establishing industries to extract natural resources, such as timber and ore.

Leavenworth Christmas Lighting 2019
Monroe Farmers Market
Tea and Tour
Invisible Touch - A Tribute to Phil Collins at Ohme Gardens
Identifying Raptors on the Cascade Loop
It’s a bird .. it’s a plane … what exactly is that in the sky? As you travel around the Cascade Loop you will likely see a variety of wildlife, including some very large birds that live in our region. This article will help you to accurately identify some of the most common of our raptors: osprey, bald and golden eagles, red-tail hawks and turkey vultures. The time of year you travel will affect your chances of seeing some of these incredible birds. Read More >>>>
Three Delightful Wagons Straight Out of a Fairyland--Now on Whidbey Island!
A bit of European history has found its way onto Whidbey Island.  And, if the woman responsible for bringing them here has her way, you’ll soon be able to see them.  But first, Carol Kildow has the job of restoring them to their original splendor.Two belonged to the nomadic Romani people of England, while the third was commissioned by the Church of England. She discovered them in Wales and lived in one for two years as a student.“I fell in love with the lifestyle. I fell in love with the… Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: The Ruddy Duck
With a cinnamon body and bright blue bill, the male Ruddy Duck is one of our most noticeable and memorable ducks. But look closer and longer and you'll notice that their mannerisms and behavior are just as fascinating. Unlike many of our migratory duck species who might only be in Okanogan County 2-3 months, the Ruddys are generally here from early April through October. Look for these small, compact diving ducks on just about any pond or small lake. Read More >>>>
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