Written by – Sharon Linton
I was that 8 year old girl who wore shorts under my dress so I could climb a tree or do a cartwheel during recess. I grew up to be a woman who is comfortable both on the trail or out for a glamorous night on the town and will gladly do both of those things in a single day.
If you can relate to this lifestyle then you might want to make a visit to Bellevue, Washington. It is the perfect place for people who like to go from urban exploration to outdoor adventures and back again.
Let me tell you about a perfect couple of days I spent in Bellevue and beyond last fall to give you an idea. It was quite the successful weekend that I plan to re-live again and again!
Friday Night : Bowling and Beers
“Friday nights are all about winding down after a workweek. This weekend I met up with some friends at Lucky Strike Lanes at Lincoln Square in downtown Bellevue for some friendly competition on the lanes. We enjoyed tasty bites (like mini pigs-in-a-blanket and shrimp skewers) from Lucky Strike’s menu and stayed hydrated with pitchers of some of our favorite Northwest brews.”
Saturday : Outdoor Adventures Nearby
“After lounging around with the newspaper and a cup of coffee Saturday morning I was off to the Bellevue Farmers Market to pick up a selection of favorite fruits and vegetables, a bag of locally produced granola and a bright bouquet of flowers. I was almost finished when the line in front of the Aura Bakery booth caught my eye. Self control went out the window and next thing you know I had a chocolate-almond croissant in hand. It was the size of a dessert plate, warm with soft chocolate inside and covered with a sprinkling of almonds and powdered sugar. One bite and I knew that this would make the perfect energy boost for my next adventure – a hike.
We embarked on our trip toward the Cascade Mountains about 1pm; our destination; the Taylor River Trail near the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River. To get there we drove east on I-90 about 30 minutes to North Bend then north another 12 miles to the trailhead. Within an hour of leaving downtown Bellevue we were in second-growth forest at the trailhead. (Check before you go for info about planned construction on this section of road.)
After consulting the map at the trailhead we decided to head toward Otter Falls, a little over four miles up the trail. We came across a few other hikers along the way, but for the most part it was just me, my husband, and the sound of the river rushing along. We made good time other than numerous pauses to photograph the river, the jagged top of the Cascade’s Treen Peak, moss laden old growth cedar trees, golden leaves and orange, brown and white mushrooms bursting from the earth.
Huge boulders in the middle of a burbling creek provided a perch while we enjoyed some trail mix and water before heading back down the trail. There is nothing like an early fall day in the Pacific Northwest for beautiful scenery and solitude. All told, we covered nine miles in about three hours and returned to our car for the short drive back to Bellevue.”
Later Saturday: Happy Hour and High Heels
“Now was time to shower down, dress up and head out for a quick bite to eat and a cocktail before the rest of the evening’s events. We decided to check out the always popular happy hour at El Gaucho which offers a tantalizing array of happy hour food and beverages. I ordered up the Crispy Prosciutto and Fig Flatbread along with a glass of Columbia Valley red wine.
Of course, Saturday nights are all about nightlife, and on this night it was time for the annual Front Row Fashion Runway Show presented by Vogue. The show caps off The Bellevue Collection’s Fashion Week. I loved the insights into fall fashion trends and inspiring ideas for how I might wear them myself. Smart scheduling by The Bellevue Collection left a couple of hours for shopping after the show.
From farmers market to fashion show, from hiking boots to high heels it was just the kind of weekend this Bellevue gal loves!”