It’s a tradition in the PNW unlike any other. Talk to moms from the Midwest about where they pumpkin patch and they’re likely to raise an eyebrow. But out here on the Eastside? Choosing your pumpkin patch for the year is almost as big of a deal as choosing where you’ll vacation in the summer. With different patches offering amazing amenities and activities, competing for your gourd dollars winds up meaning a full day of family fun.
The one major bummer is that, with real estate being as costly as it is on the Eastside, you’re going to have to drive a bit to get to the best pumpkin patches. They’re all great, if I’m being honest, and you’ll enjoy any of them. That said, different patches appeal to different aged kids. Choosing the best one for your family makes the drive more worthwhile.
Here is the lowdown on the pumpkin patch experience!
This one is my pick for big kids. Once you arrive you’ll find acres upon acres of pumpkins as well as a ton of family-friendly attractions. Perhaps the best of all is the massive corn maze on site. The maze is a whopping 10 acres large and always Take a Hikecut into interesting, artistic designs that you can only see from above. I like this maze for the big kids because they specifically offer admission after dark, which is spooky and exciting all by itself! You can also reserve a fire pit to roast marshmallows after you make your epic escape. For the little kids, there are also two smaller corn mazes that are less intimidating. Other free activities include hayrides, a tike track for riding, and a playground area. In addition to your pumpkin, you can also pay to play on big slides, the corn crib (excellent for sensory kids) and fire apples out of the apple cannon. A rope maze, sandpit, and cow-train ride complete your full day experience.
My favorite pick for those with little kids, this is a wonderland for the imagination. On top of the you-pick-pumpkins, you’ll also find admission free fun things to do that enchant the smallest of adventurers. There is a large corn maze that is themed and unintimidating for younger guests, as well as a kid’s adventure maze, miniature golf, and a mouseville themed gift shop. Kids can also pet farm animals. On the weekends you’ll find hayrides, apple slingshots, and face painting, too. Older kids may get a little bored at this one, but for little kids, the value cannot be beaten.
If you’re noticing a nod to Snohomish, it’s not intentional! It just so happened that all of my favorite places are located just north of the Eastside. And, among all of them, The Farm at Swan’s Trail just may be my absolute favorite. It’s a literal adventure wonderland that is well suited for families with kids of all ages. A FIFTY-acre pumpkin patch pretty much guarantees selection wide enough to last the entire season, and you’ll also find a pretty nicely sized petting zoo. On top of that, expect to laugh your tail feather off at the duck races and Farmer Ben’s “Four Little Pig” shows. There are also wagon rides, picnic pavilions, a massive corn maze, and you pick apples. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the barn. It’s a tiny hay bale maze up to the hayloft where kiddos can zip down a slide into a pile of hay. It’s the stuff great photos are made of, friends.
Things really get fun when you get into the paid activities, though. A giant hay bale pyramid for climbing, a ball pit, large slides, an inflatable jumping pillow, rubber duck races, gemstone mining, pedal cart racing, and a cow train all await you. Plan to spend all day at this one, and make family memories that evolve into a tradition your kids will take with them for years to come.
Stocker Farms, Snohomish
Fox Hollow Farm, Issaquah
Remlinger Farms, Carnation
This list is just a short sample of all of the pumpkin farms out there. If nothing here tickles your fancy, here’s a longer list compiled by Red-Tri. If you’re not up for the drive to one of my favorite farms, maybe you can find one closer to your home neighborhood here and tell me all about why you loved it in the comments! Happy hunting!
It’s my favorite time of the year. Football season! Whether it’s college or NFL — I love it. And this year I was lucky enough to get season tickets to the Seahawks from a friend that is out of town for the season. But when I’m not at the games I love cozying up on the couch and watching it — but not with my kids. They think I yell too loud! Where do you like to watch the games? Here are some places in our communities that offer many TV’s, great atmosphere and delicious football food. Some places we’ve included are Kid friendly….if you’re into that sort of thing! 🙂
With 3 locations, Burien, Lake City and West Seattle, this is a local favorite and genuinely welcomes kids. With upscale comfort food, housemade beers, this is a great place to watch the Seahawks and other local games.
Sound like a perfect place to watch “the game” to me! Located in Kirkland’s Juanita neighborhood, with seven large screen TVs and a sizable beer selection you won’t be disappointed. Menu options include all-day breakfast and The Game’s nationally recognized Ultimate Nachos. The Game offers a $4.25 kids menu and a variety of games to keep the kiddos busy.
McMenamins Anderson School
If you’ve been wanting to check out the awesome school-turned-hotel in downtown Bothell, game day can be your chance, and take the kids! It boasts flatscreen TVs, shuffleboard, pinball games and pool tables, a pub fare menu with McMenamins brews (try the Woodshop IPA, natural beef burgers and more.
And if you have time before or after the game take a swim in the McMenamins community pool or a movie in the all-ages, upscale movie theater, and definitely walk around the hotel… you can have a drink in the old principals office!
Sluggers in Kirkland
12506 NE 144th St, Kirkland, WA 98034
Sluggers in Kirkland caters to locals, tourists, sports fans and not so sports fans. 4 TV’s and 23 other TV’s hung throughout you are sure to get a great view of the game. It is great for small or large groups and the menu has great bar food, sandwiches and healthy options if you prefer grilled chicken over mozzarella sticks.
OK so this is genius! Rookies has TVs in the bathroom! No more missing that touchdown or interception… Rookies has you covered! And the menu… YUM! They are locally owned sports finatics crazy about dishing up locally sourced grub and pouring cold brewski. And they are not kid-tolerant; they are kid-friendly. So grab the fam and check this place out!
Another great thing about football season is the great work that my amazing company Windermere is doing to help in our communities. For the last three years Windermere has been the official Real Estate sponsor of the Seahawks and we have teamed up with the them to Tackle Homelessness — watch this video to learn more.
Labor Day can be thought of as the end of the summer and typically celebrated with family gatherings, food, fireworks, parties, parades and other events. Labor Day also gives us a chance to have a break from work or school and kick off the NFL & college football seasons. I know I am looking forward to slowing down and enjoying some R&R and good football!
If you are looking to do something fun on Labor Day weekend check out some of these fun and local events. Here are a few that sparked our interest:
So you didn’t plan ahead? No problem! Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour have several tours every day which makes this a great option to plan last minute! Check out the schedule here!
The Seattle ice cream cruise, operated by the Seattle Ferry Service, is every Sunday throughout the year. Leaving from South Lake Union Park between 11am-5pm on the hour, no reservations, so show up early to make sure you’re not left behind. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for kids 5-13, and $3 for children under 5. They accept cash and check only. Note that the tickets do not include the ice cream so bring some extra cash, and I hear the Chocolate Rootbeer Floats are quite delicious!
So who has not been to Bumbershoot? Not only is the website super cool but the line up is amazing! Take a minute to check the schedule and plan who you are going to see each day. And of course the B-Eats, Yoga, Laser Dome, and Silent Disco. Who are you going to see? Anyone going to the Silent Disco? We would love to know!
It’s Seafair ya’ll! Starting in July and ending in Early August with the Hydroplane races on Lake Washington. This event has over 30 fun (and affordable) activities to participate in but also has a pretty interesting history.
Seafair is one of our areas longest running community events. Starting back in the early 50’s – before our area had any Seahawks, Sonics or Mariners or even the Seattle Center – the powers that be were looking for a way to generate tourism, national recognition and to promote the area being the “boating capital of the world.”
Seafair was first held at Greenlake. The 5,500 seat Auqa Theater was built (in 75 days) – and festival began August 11, 1950. The event featured the Aqua Follies “swimusical” including a diving show and synchronized swimming, boat races and amateur athletics. The early event also included Seafair royalty, parades and a variety of community festivals!
Over the years the event has grown to include the famed Boeing Seafair Air Show with demonstrations from the US Navy Blue Angels (my favorite every year), Seafair Pirates, Torchlight Parade and of course the amazingly fun Home Street Bank Cup hydroplane boat races.
Got a boat? Or know someone that does? Don’t miss the epic partying on thousands of boats tied to the Seafair Log Boom! It’s a 10 week long event – so be sure to find a way to participate!!
What’s your favorite part of this event? And if you’re new to the area go find it and let me know!! There are a few links in this post that will hopefully prove helpful, including Seafair Calendar of events, Best places to watch the Blue Angels (this NEVER gets old!), More history…
Looks like the sun is headed our way and will stay for a while… thank goodness because my kids and I are ready! This is the perfect time to plan for an outdoor movie night since there are so many great places that offer cheap or totally free flicks and have other fun activities right here on the Eastside.
With big screen flicks, a variety of entertainment, some of Seattle’s best food trucks and the fact it is dog friendly makes this one of my families favorites. Facebook.com/MoviesatMarymoor
$5/person (cash) or $6/person (credit). Ages 5 & under Free. Parking is $5.
Event entry opens at 6:30 p.m.; movies start at dusk after event entertainment
Enjoy outdoor movie series this summer on the picturesque shores of Lake Washington every other Saturday in July and August. Bring your low-back chairs and blankets and come ready to relax and enjoy a late night movie.
$5 suggested donations benefit Hopelink of Kirkland, a local non-profit with a mission to promote self-sufficiency for all members of our community.
Seating will be available at 7pm, with the show beginning at dusk. Get there early so you have time to chow down before the show since Beach Cafe, Le Grand Bistro Américain, and Carillon Kitchen will be there.
Popcorn, soda, and candy will be available for purchase in the plaza.
Head to Bellevue’s favorite parks, Crossroads and Bellevue to enjoy FREE outdoor movies and popcorn this summer. There are pre-movie activities planned before each movie, so come down early, stake your ground and have some fun.
FREE popcorn, and FREE admission. The summer movies series also features eight non-profit agencies, one per week, which the audience can participate in by donating to the many programs and services the agency provides our community-in-need.
Movies are at Downtown Park and Crossroads Park, pre-movie entertainment begins at 7:30pm, and the movies will start at dusk (approximately 9pm). Check out the summer line-up of outdoor movies for 2019.
For a full list of theaters and more details on each in the greater Seattle area click here.
There is just something about an ice cold beer on a hot summer day. Amirite? Of course, I am. The only thing any better is having the beer totally fresh from the brewery direct. With that in mind, here’s my take of the top breweries in Redmond. And hey, if you want a tasting partner, look no further!
4626 NE 102nd Street Redmond, WA 98053
Part farm, part brewery, and 100% on their game, Bushnell offers an on-site taproom experience. Open most days at 11 am, the Hop House offers fun fare with your pints. Even better? Show up on Tuesdays after 3 pm, order a pint, and get a free T-Shirt. Um, yes, please! The brewery itself offers six flagship beers and a host of seasonal brews as well. Once you’ve found your favorite (I’m partial to the Blackberry Barley this summer), don’t forget to stock up on farm fresh eggs before heading home. They’re just $5 a dozen. The chickens aren’t for sale, though.
14679 Ne 95th St Redmond, WA 98052
These folks have a simple mission. “Brew Beer that people want to drink.” And trust me, you’ll want to drink their beer. They currently produce about 12,000 barrels a year and are only growing. You can head into their tap room to try their famed beers, and most are also available in a keg or growlers to take home with you. Many of their brews are award-winning and range from lager to porter with fruit flavors and everything in between. I’m looking forward to trying the Raspberry Sour myself. Everything is so reasonably priced, you’ll want to try them all!
17825 NE 65th St, Ste B110, Redmond, WA 98052
If you love local beer, Mac and Jacks is no stranger to you. This brewery has gained some big notoriety and is available in a lot of local restaurants and at Safeco field, too. The African Amber is my personal favorite. Established in 1993, the company is still run by the original founders, but they have moved out of their original establishment in Jack’s garage. You can take a brewery tour here on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 and 3 pm. The tours are free and include free tastings, no reservation necessary. Mac and Jack’s offers 5 year-round brews and a host of rotating seasonal beers, too.
17625 NE 65th St, Ste 100, Redmond, WA 98052
With a relaxed atmosphere that is warm and welcoming to all (even dogs and kids) Postdoc started in the garage of a Ph.D. in Biochemistry back in 2013. What started as a weekend pastime between neighbors has gone on to produce some pretty awesome brew. Personally? I’m a fan of the Grapefruit Blonde. Mostly because it’s pink. And I’ve never seen a pink beer before. You can find about 10 brews on tap at any given time, and the company plays host to various events and food truck appearances. Besides the fact that you can stop there after a bike ride….my favorite thing, though? I love their loyalty program, which is structured like a degree-granting institution. As such, there is a tuition scale. But in exchange for buying an adjunct professor or tenured professorship, you get discounts on brew and lots of swag.
Have you been to these breweries? Which was your favorite? Favorite brew overall? Help me find a new favorite!
The Insider’s Guide to July 4th on the Eastside
Something is about to explode on the Eastside! Every year around the Fourth of July, lots of communities put together a fireworks display. But it can be overwhelming to figure out where to go and when. Never mind navigating the traffic that comes with it. So I thought it’d be nice to put together a quick little list of firework shows, times, and locations for you. Yes, I’ve got the big three on here (Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue), but I also wanted to talk about a few of the outlying communities. Many have shows that are just as awesome, but with half the crowds. So who knows, maybe this year you’ll venture out and find something new!
The BIG Three
Date: July 4
Expect more than 60,000 people. Yes, there will be live music and events as well, but… 60,000 people. If you’re up for braving the crowds, the family fun zone opens at 2 pm, and the big show kicks off around 10 pm.
Date: July 4
Location: Marina Park
If you’ve never seen fireworks over water, you’re missing out. This might just be my favorite display because, if you’re lucky, you can catch some of Seattle’s show in the background, too. There is a parade starting at 9AM with events lasting right up until BOOM time at 10 pm. Parking is a tight and space to sit is limited, so get in town early. Finding some blanket space at Houghton Beach or Heritage Park is a sneaky way to see the show with a smaller crowd, but the best trick is finding a friend with a boat and bribing your way aboard.
Date: Derby Days! July 12th and 13th
Redmond ushers its residents to nearby displays, opting to save traffic and budget for their Derby Days celebration. Read more about THAT, here.
Other Favorite Outliers
Date: July 4
Nothing like free pancakes (8:30 am) to get your day started off right! There’s also a children’s parade, grand parade, and other events to last the day until 10 pm when the fireworks show gets started.
Date: July 4
Close to home, the Down Home festival features a kids-n-pets parade (11 am), old-fashioned games, and live entertainment. I like that this one starts a bit later in the day, meaning I get to sleep in a bit before rushing to the festival to find parking. Yes, please.
Date: July 4
Location: Log Boom Park
A short drive north for a fun experience! This one really gets started later in the evening, with food and vendors kicking off at 7:30 pm. The fireworks get started around 10 pm.
Date: July 4
Location: Vasa Park
This one is kind of a fundraiser and show built into one. Donations benefit the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank. The event has raised more than $69,000 since 2015. If you’re looking for a way to feel good about the Fourth, this is my pick. The fireworks show itself is beautiful and, again, over water. Things get started around 10:15 pm.
Date: July 4
Location: Angle Lake Park
I like this one because it’s a little lower key. There will still be a big crowd and lots of kiddos, but the spray park, lake, and kid’s bounce zone make it easy to spend more time here as you wait for the display to start. The operation kicks off around noon, with the big finale lighting up the sky around 10 pm.
Date: July 4th
Location: Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park
Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park is the perfect summer backdrop for Renton’s 4th of July celebration!
An array of entertaining options including two ActivityZones for kids and families, co-ed grass & sand volleyball tournament, live stage entertainment, and the company of friends and family. Be sure not to miss Oncore at 8:00pm. A 25-minute firework display over Lake Washington will conclude the day’s events at 10 p.m.
I have a friend who absolutely RAVES about seeing fireworks down south at the Emerald Downs. It’s hosted BEFORE the 4th, this year falling on July 3rd, and runs like an all-day event. It kicks off with a kid’s movie playing on the big screen before the horses come out to race. Kids really love watching the horses run and trying to pick which one will win. Kids can get up close to the thoroughbreds, which is nice. When its show time, everyone sits right by the track for a real front row view of the fireworks- always set to music. There is, naturally, a TON of parking and almost always a Groupon for admission, making it nearly free to attend. (Kids are always free) If you’re up for something different, make this your family’s newest tradition.
Let’s face it — you can’t really go wrong with what you choose around here. So many amazingly fun things to do and places to see those fireworks. Happy Fourth Y’all!!
PS — if you check any of these things out be sure to share your experience and pictures!
You’ll hear me talk about the “Big Three” pretty often. To me- those are the three cities that make up the heart of the Eastside. Redmond. Kirkland. Bellevue. Depends on who you ask, the Eastside is growing, and can sometimes include Issaquah, Bothell, Woodinville and Sammamish. But, for me, when we’re talking Eastside, we’re talking the big three.
Since the city is growing so quickly, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a patch of green space where you’re allowed to camp overnight. There are still plenty of parks and natural areas around town, but try to pitch a tent overnight and you’re likely to wind up in some hot water. It’s just not cool. But that doesn’t mean that you need to plan an epic road trip in order to find a nice little camping spot, either. Here are my personal top three favorite places to get some R&R and a bit of nature within three hours from the Eastside.
Address: 5700 SW Dash Point Rd, Federal Way, WA 98023
Drive Time: Less than an hour.
Why I Love It
Dash Point State Park is right off of I-5 in Federal Way. It’s so close to the city that sometimes you even get city noise while you’re in the park. While that may sound like a turn off, hear me out! This park has so much going for it! Positioned right near Commencement Bay, the park has access to a swimmable beach that plays host to some incredible beachcombing at low tide. Expect to find thousands of sand dollars, shells, clams, jellyfish, and the last time I was there, I even saw a fully intact “ghost” sailboat washed ashore. How cool! To top it off there are great hiking trails, a summer “Jr. Ranger” program for the kids, and a large grassy field in the middle of the campground loop for the kids to makes friends and play in. Remember that city I talked about? It’s pretty cool because, if you don’t like campfire cooking, you can easily pop right into town and have dinner out, returning to your site for s’mores and tent sleeping. Plus, if everything goes bust, you’re so close to home that it’s simple to call it a loss, pack up, and head home. That makes it perfect for first time campers!
Address: 11401 River Bend Dr, Leavenworth, WA 98826
Drive Time: 2 Hours
Why I Love It
The only non-state park camp on my list, this place is super fun for a long weekend. It’s only a 2 hour drive time (admittedly, that’s before we account for traffic) and most of that drive is spent going through either scenic Stevens or Snoqualmie Pass. The campsite itself offers SO many amenities. There is space for trailers, RVs, tents, and even a few cabins that you can rent. Onsite you’ll find a playground and even a pool. In the summer there is a free breakfast in the mornings, outside movies in the evenings, and even a free shuttle into downtown Leavenworth, where you’ll find a whole host of things to do. In the winter you can enjoy a massive open field directly behind the campground, perfect for sledding, snowshoeing, or a winter trek into town. Leavenworth is a city of festivals, with something going on almost every weekend. This glimpse into a Bavarian village makes the kids happy, and the high concentration of wineries and breweries makes mom and dad happy, too.
Address: 41020 SR 20 Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Drive Time: 90 minutes
Why I Love It
As far as I’m concerned, this is the gold standard for an immersive camping experience. This park has.it.all. On top of a TON of spots for RVs, trailers, and tents, you’ll find not one, not two, but THREE beaches. There is a salt water beach opening to the Salish Sea, a freshwater beach on Cranberry Lake, and another saltwater lagoon beach that has some of the best tide-pools in the PNW (at low tide). The Salish Sea beach has a ton of driftwood, perfect for hut making, the lake beach plays host to canoe and kayak rental as well as a seasonal snack stand, and the tide-pooling beach has rangers on site to guide you (during the summer) and help you find creatures! On top of ALL of that, you’ll also find iconic bridges that you can walk (or drive) across with sweeping vista views of the sea. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the other half of this massive park has great fishing access, too. Freshwater and saltwater fishing are both available, along with a whole host of hiking opportunities of varying difficulty. Not that you will ever need to leave this park to stay busy, but my family really enjoys a quick trip into Oak Harbor where we enjoy an evening at one of the only drive-in theaters left in the state. (Blue Fox Drive-In Theatre). Frankly, if you’re only going camping once, make it this park. It’s pretty popular and fills up fast, so make sure to make reservations well in advance.
Address: 3572 Olga Rd, Olga, WA 98279
Why I Love It
Missing my list due to time constraints only, this park is cool because it’s on an Island. Orcas Island, to be exact. That means that you’ll need to take a state ferry to get there, making it kind of pricey for trailer or RV campers. The sites are small, but the views are BIG. You can even drive (or hike) clear to the top of Mt. Constitution for a bird’s eye view of all of the San Juan Islands.
Did I miss your favorite campsite? If you want to keep it a well-guarded secret, I get it. But, if you’re willing to share, please let me know what I’m missing out on in the comments below.