Think quick: When was your last getaway with your partner? Thought so. Every couple with kids knows how hard it is to make time for one another amid busy lives filled with work, school and activities. How about if you make a Valentine's Day resolution to take a weekend away this winter or spring to recharge your parenting energy and rekindle your relationship?
These four getaways are within easy reach for Puget Sound couples for a short weekend away — and each one features activities that are best done without kids in tow. Browse through each, or pick your favorite.
Walla Walla: Wine-tasting paradise
Victoria, B.C.: Foodie delight north of the border
Bellingham: Outdoors galore + cold brews
Coupeville: Waterfront sunsets with small-town ambiance
Blue Dog Vineyard, Walla Walla. Photo by glasater_99362, flickr cc Walla Walla: Wine-tasting paradise
This sunny destination in the southeast corner of our state draws visitors year round to sample wines from the area's more than 100 wineries. While away your kid-free weekend sipping cabernet sauvignon and enjoying views of the vineyards. Or rent a bike and tour the countryside with stops at wineries for tastings. Popular wineries to try include
(near the airport), Dunham Cellars (7 miles east of town) and aMaurice Cellars (12 miles west). L'Ecole No. 41
For winter fun, you'll find 21 downhill ski runs and a snowboard half-pipe at
, which is located in the Blue Mountains an hour and 15 minutes southeast of Walla Walla. Ski Bluewood
Eat: The dining scene in Walla Walla is gaining a reputation that rivals its wine-making, and February is the town's annual "Foodie Month." Great choices for eats, all located downtown, include , Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen and Brasserie Four . Don't leave town without picking up a selection of delicious baked goods from Public House 124 . Colville Street Patisserie
Stay: Numerous hotels and B&Bs, including the historic and elegant (downtown, starting from $124/night) are within close proximity to downtown tasting rooms. Marcus Whitman Hotel
Getting there: Walla Walla is about 4.5 hours by car from Seattle. Take I-90 to Ellensburg, then follow I-82 south toward Yakima and continue through the Tri-Cities. Then take US-12 East to Walla Walla.
Victoria, B.C.: Foodie fun just a Clipper trip away
A quaint, walkable harbor town, Victoria is a foodie's delight. The compact downtown is packed with excellent eateries from a wide range of cuisines, many featuring produce, meat and cheese grown, raised or made in the region. Eat your way across town and sample a wide variety of contemporary and ethnic cuisine. The charming
is the oldest in Canada and has many historic buildings, as well as dozens of authentic Asian restaurants. Several old-style English and Irish pubs are located within blocks of each other and also have live music in the evenings. Walk off your meals with a stroll along the Chinatown just south of downtown. Dallas Road Waterfront Trail
Eat: Excellent choices for lunch and dinner located near downtown include: for excellent locally sourced Northwest contemporary cuisine; ulla for upscale pub food and great beer; Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub for casual Asian-inspired bites; and Foo Asian Street Food for cozy Brazilian specialties. And of course, you can't miss afternoon tea. For the full tea experience in style, go to the Santiago's Cafe (downtown, afternoon tea starting at $49.95 CAD). If you'd like a more low-key tea, try one of the many cute tearooms including the Fairmont Empress (downtown, starting at $26 CAD). Venus Sophia Tea Room and Vegetarian Eatery
Stay: Dozens of hotels and inns ring the harbor, including the (1 kilometer west of downtown, starting from $114 CAD/night), Inn at Laurel Point (1 kilometer northwest of downtown, starting from $149 CAD/night) and the Fairmont Empress (downtown, starting from $219 CAD/night). Find more at Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort . tourismvictoria.com/hotels
Getting there: The best and most convenient way to get to Victoria is on the . This high-speed boat whisks you from downtown Seattle to the heart of Victoria in less than three hours. Enjoy views of the San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountains while you sip coffee or wine aboard. Boats leave twice daily. Many hotels in Victoria have packages available that include hotel stay and Clipper tickets. Victoria Clipper
Boundary Bay Brewery. Photo by evil erin, flickr CC Bellingham: Outdoors galore + cold brews
In a competition for the most outdoorsy town in Washington State, Bellingham would win hands down. This college town with the spectacular setting on the bay has endless options for a fun, active weekend. Dozens of hiking trails start just outside of town including the popular
(trailhead is 7 miles south of downtown). Runners can circle Fragrance Lake route flat 2.6-mile loop (4 miles southeast of downtown). Hone your mountain biking skills on the steep Lake Padden's trails (the north entrance is 3 miles east of downtown). Or use Bellingham as your base for great skiing at Galbraith Mountain Mount Baker Ski Area, 90 minutes to the east.
Bellingham also has plenty of low-key activities, and strolling quaint historic Fairhaven is a great way to unwind. Don't miss
for three floors of new and used books in a beautiful brick building. A flat Village Books 2.5-mile walking trail connects Fairhaven with downtown Bellingham.
Eat: Bellingham has a great mix of inexpensive college-budget-friendly restaurants as well as several fine dining spots. Fuel up for your hike with a giant breakfast burrito at (a few blocks east of downtown), then grab a burger for lunch along with an award-winning beer at Nelson's Market (downtown) and end your day with handmade pasta and a quiet dinner for two at the romantic Boundary Bay Brewery (downtown). If you're staying in Fairhaven, start your day with a hearty breakfast at the longtime D'anna's Cafe Italiano . Colophon Cafe
Stay: The (Fairhaven, starting at $179/night), Hotel Bellwether (downtown waterfront, starting at $168/night)and Fairhaven Village Inn (Fairhaven, starting at $149/night) are the most expensive and luxurious hotels in town, and many rooms have bay views. For a less expensive option, try the budget Chrysalis Inn and Spa (located close to I-5, starting at $60/night) or check into one of the area's cute bed and breakfasts. Find more at Coachman Inn . bellingham.org
Getting there: Bellingham is an easy 90-mile drive north of Seattle on I-5. For a beautiful and slower drive, turn onto State Route 11/Chuckanut Drive near Burlington and follow this gorgeous route the rest of the way into Bellingham. Another option is to leave the car behind and take an . You'll get a scenic two-hour-plus ride, landing in Bellingham's Fairhaven neighborhood. Amtrak train
Photo by Arktekt, flickr cc Coupeville: Waterfront sunsets with small-town ambiance
Lesser known than neighboring Langley but just as atmospheric, Coupeville is a quaint waterfront town in the middle of Whidbey Island. Relaxation is the goal in this peaceful town. Poke around the cute shops in the walkable downtown. Stroll the long wooden pier at sunset for beautiful views of Penn Cove. Or take an easy hike along the stunning cliffs at
or Fort Ebey State Park . Fort Casey State Park
Eat: A half-dozen excellent restaurants are packed into this small, walkable town. A few popular choices include for seafood, Christopher's on Whidbey for upscale French cuisine, The Oystercatcher for a casual lunch and Mosquito Fleet Chili for brunch. Knead & Feed
Stay: Coupeville is tiny, so most accommodations are in small inns and bed and breakfasts. Three options include the (downtown, starting at $60/night), Blue Goose Inn (downtown, $99/night) and Anchorage Inn (3 miles west of Coupville, starting at $103/night). Many vacation rentals are also available nearby through VRBO, or try Captain Whidbey Inn . coupevillelodging.com Getting there: Coupeville is just under two hours from Seattle. From Seattle, take I-5 north to the Mukilteo Ferry Dock and cross to Clinton. Follow State Route 525, then State Route 20 to Coupeville. If ferry lines are long, an alternate route is to drive to Mount Vernon and take Highway 20 east, then continue down through Deception Pass and onto Whidbey Island.