Please help us plot out our late October mini-cation
July 17, 2012 8:13 AM   Subscribe

Where should we go in the Pacific Northwest near the end of October?

Have you visited some place really great in the Pacific Northwest around Halloween?

We were all set to go to New Orleans for Halloween when my husband got a new job. Yay for the job, but he can’t get much time off, meaning we have to rethink our vacation. We have October 28th-Halloween free, and would like to stay somewhere within a half day’s (or a bit more if it is somewhere really great) drive of Portland. I know it's a tad bit early, but I wanted to start making reservations & getting a budget together,

Where should we stay? What should we do? Where should we eat?

I am having a hard time finding anything of note to do in that time frame. A lot of places up north (San Juan, Orcas) seem like they are shut down for the season by that late in October & have little going on. I love Halloween, and would love to visit some small towns in the area that really go all out. It is too early on most local websites to see what they have going on, so your personal experiences are very helpful.

We would also enjoy: some kind of cooking-school based vacation, we love live theater, animal watching, murder mystery dinners, interesting graveyards or historical places, general spookiness, and staying at unusual or possibly haunted places.

We really enjoy walking history tours, but have already done all of the ones in Seattle. In fact we’re up in Seattle so much, it would hardly feel like a vacation, so unless there is something really great I am missing, chances are we won’t stay up there. Also, please don’t send me up to Forks. Not a Twilight fan.

Thank you for your help!
posted by haplesschild to Travel & Transportation around Honolulu, WA (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
"....we love live theater"

Ashland! Too boot, it is also spooky! It is a psychic hotspot, like Lily Dale, NY. You can feel it when you arrive. You can drink from the spring that contains naturally occurring lithium. See a play. Get a reading (or ten). Lots of reported hauntings.
posted by nanook at 8:32 AM on July 17, 2012

There is still stuff going on in Ashland. Plenty of B and B's or hotels would have space then.

Plus, the weather will arguably be the best in the region by then, and if the weather is good, a (long) day trip up to Crater Lake would be doable.

And lotsa wine tourism around there these days!
posted by Danf at 8:33 AM on July 17, 2012

Jinx, nanook!
posted by Danf at 8:34 AM on July 17, 2012

Goldendale has an observatory open to the public. Linky

John Day Fossil Beds are in Eastern Oregon.

Off the top of my head, I recall there being wine tasting in Eastern Washington,
Sacajewea museum in Pasco WA, and I believe there are other Lewis and Clark related historical things to do.

Tri-cities wine tasting.
posted by Michele in California at 8:47 AM on July 17, 2012

How about Vancouver, or Whistler. It may be a bit of a drive, but it's gorgeous and fun. You can even go to Victoria by ferry. Stay at the Empress Hotel. Have tea.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:06 AM on July 17, 2012

Spend a weekend wine tasting in the Willamette Valley.
posted by msamye at 11:12 AM on July 17, 2012

I think Crater Lake will be way too snowy in late October, for what that's worth.
posted by bink at 2:19 PM on July 17, 2012

Second Goldendale-- great little town.

Also stuff near the Columbia river: Maryhill, WA, home of a Stonehenge replica and terrific Maryhill Museum of Art, both within a view of the Columbia gorge. While visiting Washington, enjoy a novel experience: get out of your car and pump your own gas! :-)

Mt. St. Helens Nat'l(? State?) Park.

I would also second Lewis & Clark. Pick up a copy of "Undaunted Courage" by Ambrose if you want an easily-accessible way of starting an interest in L&C, besides those wonderful Alaska Airlines radio ads from the 90s.

I'd go beer-hunting in your shoes-- Rogue, Willamette, Deschutes, to say nothing of the beers you have in town!
posted by Sunburnt at 2:26 PM on July 17, 2012

Another thing going for Ashland on Halloween: The parade. Basically, the whole town shows up and is the parade you watch/walk with. I remember it being kid-friendly (if that's an issue), though they did threaten to cancel it last year in favor of a strictly kid-friendly event. But the town would have none of that.

Also in that area is historic Jacksonville, OR (about 20 min. drive).
posted by klausman at 4:10 PM on July 17, 2012

OK so you don't like Forks. But the Pacific coast is *beautiful* in October, and I would recommend spending a long weekend near LaPush. Or Astoria. Or the wild beaches near the Ozette trail in Olympic National Park.
posted by seawallrunner at 8:30 PM on July 17, 2012

My partner actually runs a Pacific Northwest historical walking tours company! The tours are mostly summer, but they do an October one focusing on the gorier, spookier aspects of Bellingham history.

I took it last year and it was my favourite of their tours. I am obviously biased, but they get a ton of customers taking it, and both the customers and the guides they usually enjoy the hell out of it.

Bellingham's a wonderful little town.

Link: Good Time Girls

Memail me if you know exactly when you're going, and I'll ask Marissa and Sara what they have going on at that time.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:27 PM on July 17, 2012

I would just like to add, as a trick-or-treating parent, that for some reason halloween is the first really cold night here. autumn is normally mild in the PNW, and lovely, but year in and year out we are thrown by how bitter cold halloween night ends up being. so pack accordingly.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:21 AM on July 19, 2012

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