I never heard of Yakima until I was stationed in Fort Lewis, WA. I was raised in So Cal, huge city 100 of things to do. So, when I got stationed in Fort Lewis, it was a great adjustment. I never thought I would be in such small town like Tacoma, or so I thought. We got tasked to get ready for deployment and had to do some training at the Yakima Training Center. I asked one of my soldiers, “where is Yakima, and what is there to do there?” To which they replied, “Sgt., nothing. It’s a small town that has nothing but farming, take what makes you feel at home because I am sure they will not even have a mall.” So, for three weeks of training, I stayed in the barracks, didn’t leave the base, and was miserable. I promised myself I’d never come back to a town like this.

Life had other plans for me because I have lived in Yakima for over nine years. I now have a home, three children, and I met the love of my life here, Israel. Israel and I have been exploring the Pacific Northwest, and have had many adventures. We take our mini vacations and have been to Port Townsend, Potlatch, Potholes, Leavenworth, Lake Cushman, Portland OR, Hermiston OR, and many other places in the last five months.

I remember our drive to Port Townsend; we took the scenic route which is WA410, Israel’s way of being romantic. I thought, man really no restrooms, no places to eat, or stop if I get car sick. Honestly, I am very grateful. It gave us a chance to chat and open up to each other. We passed by boulder cave, which had a great trail and a great area for picnics and outdoor activities. But, all through 410 you will find the beauty of nature, we saw all kind of animals, goats, elk, deer and wild horses. While listening to 80s, Bachata and Israel’s poor attempt to sing in Spanish, we realized that we were almost into town and had no hotel booked.

Once we got into town, we stopped at the first hotel could find which was Bishop Victorian Hotel and booked our room with ocean view. This room was beautiful; old town feel, a great deck with a BBQ, full kitchen, seagulls outside our room, view of some of the town and super quiet. We settled into our room, took in all the great views, and after resting for a few minutes, we were out roaming the town. There are so many great stores in Port Townsend; we stopped by The Spice and Tea Exchange, Lively Oil  Tasting Bar and Mt. Townsend Creamery. We sampled so many delicious items, and we even decided to try some of the items out in our Hotel room kitchen, so we stayed in for the night and cooked a romantic dinner.

The next morning, we went to the courtyard cafe and shared the most delicious dish, it felt like they threw in everything and the kitchen sink, but the best thing that was on that plate was a pork link with apple and maple syrup. We were so stuffed we couldn’t even think of going back to the room because we knew we would pass out, so we walked all over town and visited Northwest Maritime Center, Port Townsend Aero Museum,  Northwind Arts Center, Port Townsend Antique Mall, Port Townsend Brewing and bumped into the local Farmers Market. They have so many things, from flowers to produce, handmade jewelry to glass blowing.

It was amazing, the local bakery had just pulled out its fresh bread and pastries, and because we love food and were so worn out from walking, we had to have some fresh bread. Next to the bakery was a cheese and meat vendor and of course, we had to sample. We took 2 pounds of this, a pound of that, we had our lunch covered except for drinking, but of course, the local market had everything. A few vendors over they had wine and beer options of so course if we get bread, cheese and meats we definitely need it to get wine. We were so happy and excited we took off to our room and enjoyed our room deck and our great purchase.

Israel and I have this rule that no matter everywhere we go, we will always do a fancy dinner where we get all dressed up and have a full 3 or 5-course meals. So, this was no different. So we decided to go to Lanza’s Ristorante, the restaurant was great, the food was delicious, and the atmosphere was perfect. This was one of the most amazing mini vacations, and a great little get away from the same old routine.

If you don’t want to drive 3 or 4 hours to your destination, there are so many beautiful places just 30 to 45 mins away from Yakima, like bumping Lake, Union Creek falls. In Yakima alone, you can find vineyards, distilleries, breweries, great camping places, shooting range, paintball, arts and crafts, live music all within minutes of where you live.

Central WA is so beautiful, there are so many things everyone can enjoy, and everything is so close. I learned to explore life, I enjoy every minute and see the beauty that Yakima has, not because someone told me, but because I am out exploring. So, I leave you with this; don’t go by with others say because their view may be completely different than yours and you may miss out on life experiences. Enjoy the adventure and be FREE!! I hope to hear from your adventures and hope to share more of the adventures Israel and I have.