“You know you’re from Washington when…”
This phrase pops up on my Facebook feed often. It is usually accompanied by memes with Evergreen trees, bearded men in flannel, and lots and lots of rain.
Most of them leave me chuckling to myself, thinking, Ha! Isn’t that true!
Because, above all, Washington is known for three things:
- The Seahawks
- The Space Needle
- The rain.
I’m not going to deny it. It does rain a lot here. Even after living here for 24 years I am still not used to it. Maybe that is why when I travel I opt for tropical beaches with lots of sunshine. *sigh*
The Seahawks are awesome, and you can’t visit Washington without seeing the Space Needle!
But to be honest, Washington is much more than rain, a pointy building, and the 12th Man.
Here’s what it’s like being a tried and true Washingtonian…
Did You Mean Washington, DC?
Whenever I am traveling and I tell people that I am from Washington, they assume I mean Washington, D.C. This is a fair assumption, since D.C. is the capital of the United States. Many people have never even heard of Washington State, a point that makes me a very sad bear. For some reason, though, if I say I am from Seattle, I see that gleam of recognition in their eyes ( I blame you, Sleepless in Seattle.) I have been to DC and the two states couldn’t be any more different. Washington State is full of laid back, get outdoors kind of folk, and DC attract a much more *refined* crowd. That’s not to say that we Washingtonians can’t get fancy. We may even break out our nice flannel on occasion.
Hiking is #Life
Washingtonians love hiking. Or at least we SAY we love hiking.
Obviously not every person in Washington is a fan of hiking, but it seems to be one of the most popular hobbies of Washingtonians. Go on any online dating site and you’ll find that in bios across the board. Don’t think I’m being a hater though- I love hiking. There are so many mountains, parks, and trails in Washington to choose from! Whether your version of hiking is taking a walk around Green Lake, or trudging through snow on your way to Mailbox Peak, there is something for everyone. But, you’re not a real Washingtonian until you have hiked Mount Si. Don’t forget the trail mix!
Check out this gorgeous Washington hike at Franklin Falls!
Layers fer Dayz
Washington weather is so sporadic that it’s almost funny. You may step out your front door to see that it’s pouring down rain, just to have it turn 60 degrees and sunny in the afternoon. For this reason, Washingtonians are used to wearing layers. You must be prepared for all kinds of weather. Don’t bother looking at the forecast. Many-a-times has one expected sun, just to be caught in a downpour without a jacket. A safe bet is to wear a t-shirt, a sweater, and a jacket at all times. If the temperature is warm, you can strip down. If it starts to rain, you will be prepared. You may THINK that today will be the day that you don’t need a jacket…. But you could be wrong. The Washington weather gods have a sick sense of humor.
Washington, aka The Evergreen State got its name for the Evergreen trees that cover our landscapes. However, more than literally being green, Washington is notorious for its environmentally conscious folk. It has already been established that we are pretty outdoorsy, so it is important to us to keep nature looking happy and healthy. In Seattle you can find many people riding their bikes to work, using compostable plastics, and buying local and organic goods. We even have a ban on plastic bags! Outside of Seattle , you can find many sustainable farms with everything from cows, corn, goats, berries, apples, cucumbers…. really anything! The University of Washington has been ranked as one of the most environmentally friendly universities in the country, and Washington State University has a top-notch farming program. Washington is already making a shift toward relying on wind and solar energy instead of fossil fuels. Every little bit helps to make our state and world a better place for everyone!
Seattle in particular is known for its coffee snobbery, and with good reason. Perhaps it is because we are the home of the original Starbucks, or because the hipsters here run rampant, but we are obsessed with this magic black bean liquid. Every Washingtonian knows how to order coffee a variety of ways and can tell the difference between “bad” coffee and “good” coffee. After working in a restaurant in downtown Seattle, I have found this last point to especially be the case. People will ask you where you get your beans and if they are organic. And who could blame Washingtonians for this obsession?Coffee is the perfect drink to keep you warm on a long hike or camping trip- two things we LOVE to do. If you come to Washington, you best believe you are going to encounter this nectar of the gods at every corner.
The Red/Blue Mountain State
This is a concept that I just came up with but it is oh-so true. West of the mountains, you have shiny, Liberal Seattle and hilly forests of green wherever you turn. But cross over to the East and it is like you are in a completely different state. Eastern Washington is much flatter than the West and consists of farms, country, and berry fields. Eastern Washington is more politically conservative than Western Washington as well. This can be a shock to those who venture out of the Seattle “liberal bubble” and encounter conservative billboards, Christian radio stations, and Republican candidate signs. Not to mention, the strong rivalry between the University of Washington and Washington State University. There is a lot of healthy (and unhealthy) trash talk between the schools at the college football games. But in the end, we all got that Washingtonian blood and are proud of it!
Washington is Gorgeous AF
Many people don’t seem to realize how beautiful Washington is. I am honestly amazed by where I live every single day. When I come back from a long trip, I just appreciate it even more. Seattle sits right on the edge of Lake Washington and Puget Sound, so you are never far from glistening waves or the sandy beach of Golden Gardens. About 45 minutes to the East, you can find magnificent mountains, lakes, and forests to explore. All through-out Washington there are quaint towns to visit such as Leavenworth, Fairhaven, or Lynden. The crazy weather brings with it all four seasons, so you can expect hot summers and cold, snowy winters. The landscape of Washington is so diverse that you can really find something to meet anyone’s tastes. More and more people are realizing how much of a gem this state is! Of course, if you are a Washingtonian, no one needed to tell you that! California’s got nothin’ on us!
Washington rocks! Whether you are a Washingtonian or just simply panning a visit, you go to know that Washington has something to offer everyone. We are much more than our rainy reputation!