Maddie Kutzera Kenmore Air Mechanic
Maddie Kutzera Kenmore Mechanic
Photo by Sara Satterlee

Twenty-four-year-old Maddie Kutzera is a certified A&P mechanic at Kenmore Air, specializing in customer maintenance. She has a quick (yet quiet) wit, stunning smile, and an eye for detail. She’s also an advocate of achieving goals and dreams, through relentless hard work and tenacity. Which is a good — because women make up just 2.62 percent of the nation’s aircraft mechanics. And Maddie has big dreams.

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Victoria BC in the Fall 70 things to do
Victoria BC in the Fall

While the days are growing shorter and the mornings crisp, Victoria is far from closed. In fact, fall may very well be the best time of year in this BC gem. Colorful leaves, mild weather, and stunning autumn blooms make this seaside city one of the best places to relax and decompress. 

Discover 70 unique and exciting things to do in Victoria, BC this fall, ranging from the best places to grab a bite to can’t-miss iconic landmarks. 

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two women enjoy wine at caprio cellars
Wine tasting on the patio at Caprio Cellars in Walla Walla
The beautiful patio at Caprio Cellars in Walla Walla offers stunning views of the region — a perfect place to sample and savor a glass of vino.

It’s not convenient from anywhere. A 4.5-hour drive from Seattle, Washington, and a 3.5-hour drive from Portland, Oregon — Walla Walla isn’t a pop-over destination (Unless, of course, you’re catching a Seattle to Walla Walla flight.) But the renowned Walla Walla wineries are well worth the trek.

Nestled in the southeastern corner of Washington State, Walla Walla wine country spans nearly 3,000 acres and stretches into the northeasternmost tip of Oregon. Originally a small wheat farming community, it’s grown into a world-class wince destination. Located at the foot of the Blue Mountains, the valley experiences large temperature swings from day to night, a pivotal element in helping the fruit ripen while balancing acidity.

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Friday Harbor weekend getaway
Friday Harbor

The largest town in the San Juan Islands, Friday Harbor is far from a bustling metropolis. Here, traffic lights are nonexistent. Horses, bicycles, and tractors share the road with scoot coupes and cars. Sunshine reigns supreme. And rolling farmland sprawls into rocky shores and expansive ocean views. 

The list of what the island has can go on and on. However, it’s more about what the island doesn’t have. It’s devoid of the city hustle and bustle. Here, restaurants focus on locally sourced ingredients and slowly developed flavors. Shop owners linger with visitors, especially during the shoulder season. 

With a plethora of fun things to do in Friday Harbor (and plenty of opportunities to do nothing at all), this is one of the best weekend getaway destinations in the Pacific Northwest! Because while there are plenty of fun things to do in Friday Harbor (many of which are detailed below), sometimes the best way to experience island life is to do nothing and love it!

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Blue Grouse Estate Winery by Jacqueline Downey Photography in Cowichan Valley
Blue Grouse Estate Winery by Jacqueline Downey Photography
The sweetest slice of wine country heaven you’ve probably never heard of. Photo by Jacqueline Downey Photography

Warm days and crisp nights, gravelly soil rich with minerals, and lush aquifers imbue Cowichan Valley wines with fruit-forward flavors that deliver a crisp, dry finish. The conditions are similar to what’s found in the northern regions of Germany and France. The main difference is: Cowichan vines are relative babies. 

The oldest operating winery can trace its lineage back more than 1,150 years. By comparison, the first commercial wineries on Vancouver Island appeared just 100 years ago, making wine from local loganberries. It wasn’t until the 1980s that grapes were planted in Cowichan Valley, located on the southern end of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island.

But make no mistake — this quaint slice of paradise produces exceptional grapes. It’s a fact that was recognized in June of 2020 when Cowichan Valley was formally given a sub-geographical indication (sub-GI). An official and protected term in B.C., it helps people identify local wine origins, signifying that at least 95% of the wine was made with regionally grown grapes.

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seattle skyline with seaplane
seaplane in seattle skyline

While Seattle has long been dubbed one of the rainiest cities in the United States, this enchanting destination is far from boring. The diverse topography is home to more than 20 culturally unique neighborhoods, picturesque hiking trails, outstanding waterfront views, and an eclectic mix of museums. This comprehensive list of what to do in Seattle is just a jumping-off point. 

The opportunities here are endless and constantly expanding as more inventive chefs and local purveyors make their mark in this tech-heavy urban hub. From coffee shops to neighborhood trolls, there’s something for everyone. 

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sea lion photo by Jess Newley
Sea Lion in the Salish Sea by Jess Newley
This Steller sea lion is just one of the unique wildlife encounters that you can enjoy while visiting the islands. Keep an eye out for large colonies hauled out on rocks and an ear out for their roars often heard throughout the night. Photo by Jess Newley

Breaching killer whales, soaring eagles, swimming sea lions, and stunning shorelines—these are just a few of the sights that people travel to the San Juan Islands every year by foot, boat, or plane to behold. If you’ve been to the islands before, then you know that their moniker as “the hidden gem of Washington State” is true. But did you know that under the water there is a whole system of wondrous natural resources (eelgrass, kelp, forage fish, juvenile salmon, and of course, killer whales, to name a few) that support what we get to experience above the surface?

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Orcas Island by Eduardo Hueck
Orcas Island View by Eduardo Hueck
48(ish) hours sampling the best things to do on the biggest island in the San Juans.

This quaint destination, tucked within Washington’s gourmet archipelago, is loaded with enough baked treats, fresh seafood, and epic views to keep everybody happy. Residents of Orcas Island unite around the core conviction that they live in a beautiful and relatively untouched place. Here, artists thrive, hikes abound, and sea-to-table cuisine reigns supreme.

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Mt. Finlayson
Mt. Finlayson San Juan Island Day Hike

Deep forest lagoons, sweeping grasslands, and an iconic lighthouse make this easy jaunt a favorite for visitors and locals alike. 

At the southern edge of San Juan Island, you’ll find the longest stretch of public beach in the archipelago. The preserved waterfront property is thanks to the Pig War — an 1859 confrontation between the U.S. and Great Britain. While remnants of battle installments and officers’ quarters can be found throughout the island, the ‘war’ was far from gruesome. Just one shot was fired and the only casualty was a hog. 

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things to do in Victoria BC
Victoria BC

Victoria is just 25 miles from Port Angeles, the closest American shore. That’s 25 miles closer to America than its Canadian mainland. But the quaint British Columbia capital feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of US city life thanks to its walkable streets, historic architecture, and generally upbeat culture. 

Like its residents, its gardens tend to be bright and cheerful — thanks in large part to incredible Victoria BC weather patterns. Tucked within the Olympic Rainshadow, the small metropolitan hub gets 308 days a year with sunshine! So whether you’re looking for indoor activities or plenty of fresh air, there’s a wide variety of things to do in Victoria, BC. 

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