For many people, the past few months have been tough due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I personally had been having a tough time with it over the past week and a half because of the fluid circumstances that had come about from my employment situation (I had been working for a different company than the tour company I was working for the past three-plus years since about a month and a half ago), and we were recently given news that brought more questions than it did answers, so I really needed a break.
Well, it just so happened one of my colleagues from the tour company, Doug, asked if I would be interested in a quick trip to the area of Washington where the towns of Ronald, Roslyn and Cle Elum were located. Since I haven't been traveling as much this year as I had the past few, it seemed like an escape for a few hours would be a good idea. So my roomate Lou and I took a ride out to the other side of Snoqualmie Pass with Doug as our guide!
After exiting off of Interstate-90 and passing through the town of Roslyn, then Ronald, we came to Cle Elum Lake. This lake is part of the Columbia River Basin, and was created by the Cle Elum Dam, built in 1933 as part of the Yakima River Project (The Cle Elum River feeds into the Yakima River, which feeds into the Columbia River), and serves as a reservoir for the area. This is a popular boating and fishing spot, and the surrounding Cascade Mountains really add to the scenic beauty of the area!
After enjoying the sights of the lake for a little bit, we went back through the town of Ronald, and into the town of Roslyn for lunch and a walk. Roslyn was founded as a coal mining town in 1886, and would gradually transition away from it in the 20th century, and is now better known for forestry and tourism. There are several tributes to it's coal mining past in the city.
Doug's original plan was to introduce us to Village Pizza, but because of their hours due to the current pandemic, we went with an alternative plan, which involved sandwiches and some locally made brews at Logan's Casual Restaurant. They had their patio area open for dining, which was excellent for trying the Brookside Pale Lager from the neighboring Roslyn Brewing Company.
After lunch, we went for a walk around town. Now, some folks may not be familiar with the name Roslyn, Washington. They may know it better as Cicely, Alaska, as this was the town where they filmed the early 1990's television show "Northern Exposure". This also served as a filming location for "The Man in the High Castle" as well. This was chosen for "Northern Exposure" because of its proximity to Seattle where they could use sound studios for internal shoots.
When walking through the town, you'll find a variety of connections to Northern Exposure, including one of the gift shops in town, which offers souvenirs for the show and displays portraits of the cast. You can also pose with the the Roslyn Cafe mural that the moose walks by during the show's intro (they added an apostrophe and an "s" to it for the show, and the moose came from Washington State University). There's also a sign in the window behind the Coal Miners Memorial for the radio station from the show, KBHR.
One of the other popular spots in town is the Brick Saloon. The exterior of this bar served as the local bar in the show, but the interior was filmed elsewhere. Even you might not technically be dining in the same place the Northern Exposure locals had their drinks on the show, this could still be worth a stop as it stands as the oldest operating bar in the state of Washington, opening the year the town was founded.
We continued our walk into the neighborhood a little bit, getting up the hill to the spot where you could see the town below.
Before heading back to the Seattle area, Doug brought us to one more stop over in the town of Cle Elum, and that was Owen's Meats. A butcher shop that offers a variety of cuts for people to take home, which is also well known for their jerky. The line was a bit long inside, but fortunately this shop also has a Jerky and Pepperoni vending machine out front. So I bought a snack for the drive back down the Cascade Mountains.
Certainly not the multi-day, multi-country international advantures that have been commonly shared here on Coasting with Culture, but it was an excellent quick escape from home for a few hours, and was a great lift to my spirits from the past couple weeks feeling a bit overwhelmed with the uncertainties of more recent times. A big thank you to my fellow tour guide Doug for sharing this neat area with Lou and I! Hopefully we will have the opportunity again in the not too distant future to share the highlights of the Seattle Area with visitors to the region.
Thank you everybody for checking out this travel log! I hope you'll come back soon for more Coasting with Culture!
Take Care & Safe Travels!