19583
Pacific Northwest
The Best of the Pacific Northwest: Oregon, Washington and British Columbia
Discover the Pacific Northwest’s cultural bounty as you learn about its vibrant cities, world-class cuisine, verdant parks and unique museums and heritage centers.
Rating (4.89)
Program No. 19583RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
3,199
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12 days
11 nights
30 meals
11 B 9 L 10 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Intro. to Pacific NW
Portland, OR
D
Courtyard by Marriott Portland- Downtown / Convention Center

Activity note: Hotel check in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions, including our resident expert who will serve as study leader throughout the program. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. This program includes long days exploring the beautiful highlights of the Pacific Northwest. We will be walking an average of 2 miles per day and will be on our feet at museums, gardens, and other sites. We will transfer our own luggage on/off ferries. Unless noted otherwise, travel and transfers will be via motorcoach. Also unless noted otherwise, meals typically include coffee, tea, water beverage options with other beverages available for purchase. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the hotel restaurant, enjoy a plated meal with beverage options including coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll be joined by a local expert who will give a presentation weaving together the strands of history, culture, and aspects of contemporary life in the Pacific Northwest. There is no doubt that the region known as the Pacific Northwest is one of the most distinctive and beautiful in the country. We will begin our journey of discovery in the beautiful City of Roses, just 70 miles from the ocean in a magnificent setting between the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.

DAY
2
Portland Gardens, Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls
Portland, OR
B,L,D
Courtyard by Marriott Portland- Downtown / Convention Center

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; walking up to 2 miles; mostly paved trails and paths; standing about an hour in each garden.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers a variety of choices such as eggs and cooked-to-order omelettes, breakfast meats, Belgian waffles, yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, pastries and breads, fresh fruit, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Portland is known as "the City of Roses" due to its lush gardens and has been called the “greenest” (i.e., most environmentally friendly) city in America. Our morning begins with a field trip to the International Rose Test Garden. We will learn about the oldest official, continuously operated, public rose test garden in the United States. Learn the story of how the gardens came to be during World War I when hybridists sent roses from around the world to Portland’s garden for testing and to keep the new hybrids safe from being destroyed by the bombing. The garden has grown to include more than 6,800 rose bushes representing 557 varieties. Next, we’ll take a trip through time and learn about Chinese culture, history and way of thinking at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Our docent leads our examination of the garden’s living collections that present hundreds of native Chinese plant species and forms including more than 90 specimen trees, many rare and unusual shrubs and perennials, and signature collections that include Magnolia, Cymbidium, Camellia, Osmanthus, Rhododendron and bamboo — all within a one block area inside Portland's Chinatown. Their mission is to cultivate an oasis of tranquil beauty and harmony to inspire, engage, and educate the global community in the appreciation of a richly authentic Chinese culture.

Lunch: At a popular restaurant in downtown Portland, order from a select menu with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Moving on, a local expert will guide our exploration of the Columbia River Gorge, a designated National Scenic Area and spectacular geological wonder of outstanding natural beauty. We’ll learn how the Gorge was formed by the Missoula Floods, how the geology has impacted the surrounding culture and population. The Columbia River is the fourth largest in North America and the gorge (canyon) it carved over millennia stretches more than 80 miles through the Cascade mountain range towards the Pacific Ocean. Its striking waterfalls include breathtaking Multnomah Falls, the second-tallest year-round waterfall in the country, dropping 620 feet from its origin on Larch Mountain.

Dinner: At a restaurant overlooking the cascading Multnomah Falls, enjoy a plated meal with choice of entrée; coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll return to the hotel after a long and exciting day. The remainder of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
3
Downtown Portland Walk, Brewery Visit, Train to Seattle
Seattle, WA
B,L,D
Hyatt Place Seattle

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles in downtown Portland, paved and cobblestone sidewalks, few options to sit. Wear comfortable, closed-toed shoes for our brewery field trip.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we'll walk to the station and take Portland's famous public lightrail — the Max — across the Willamette River to start our walking field trip through the streets of downtown Portland. A local expert will lead us through some of the finest of the city's unique art and architecture. See and learn about tidbits many Portland residents may not even know! Among its many innovations, Portland has become one of the great beer destinations in the U.S. It has so many brewpubs and microbreweries that it has been called "Munich on the Willamette."

Lunch: We’ll take the Max to one of the local breweries where a member of the staff will lead us, followed by a beer tasting and a buffet lunch; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll take a motorcoach to the the Portland Amtrak station, board the train, and depart on our trip to Seattle. Sit back and relax aboard the Amtrak Cascades as it whisks you north with scenic views of the surrounding area. Upon arrival at Seattle’s King Street Station, we’ll board a motorcoach and transfer to the Warwick Hotel for check-in.

Dinner: We’ll walk a few blocks to a popular Seattle restaurant featuring Asian fare for plated meals and beverages including coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: After our late dinner, we'll head back to the hotel to relax and rejuvenate for our next day.

DAY
4
Sculpture Park, Chittenden Locks, Historic Architecture
Seattle, WA
B,L,D
Hyatt Place Seattle

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles; mostly flat surfaces; standing at Chittenden Locks, Volunteer Park, and Seattle Asian Art Museum.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers hot and cold cereals, eggs, breakfast meats, toast, pancakes, pastry, fruit, juices, plus coffee (regular/decaf), tea and milk.

Morning: After gathering in our meeting room to discuss today's activities, we'll head out with a local expert for the day, first to Olympic Sculpture Park. In this stunning project of the Seattle Art Museum, developed in association with the Trust for Public Land to preserve the city’s last remaining waterfront property. We’ll experience a variety of contemporary sculpture in an outdoor setting surrounded by the incredible views and beauty of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. Learn about the Park’s history, dynamic spaces, design and layout. Our next stop is the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, also known as the Ballard Locks for their location. Our expert will lead a walk along the locks, the botanical garden, and fish ladder. We’ll learn about the history and operation of this engineering marvel as we observe boats, flowers, and swimming fish. The locks provide a link for boats between saltwater Puget Sound and the freshwater canal connecting local lakes. The grounds feature the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden, one of Seattle’s most beautiful park settings, and a fish ladder critical for salmon and steelhead heading upstream to spawn.

Lunch: At a popular waterfront restaurant featuring tasty seafood, we’ll have plated meals with beverages including coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Watch as ferries cruise by and seagulls squawk.

Afternoon: We’ll drive through the lovely University of Washington campus to Volunteer Park, with its Olmsted-designed conservatory, and Seattle Asian Art Museum. Founded in 1861 in what is now the heart of downtown Seattle, the University of Washington is one of the oldest public universities on the West Coast. We'll explore the Conservatory and view outstanding Asian art exhibits at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Returning to the hotel, we’ll have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a Northwest-inspired plated meal including coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll be joined by a local historian with deep knowledge and boundless enthusiasm for Seattle and Washington State. Learn more about the largest city in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle rapidly expanded as the entryway to the Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. During World War II, the city became a center for technology and is now home to Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon.

DAY
5
Train to Vancouver, Chinatown, Gastown, Stanley Park
Vancouver, BC
B,L,D
Best Western Plus Sands Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; walking up to 2.5 miles; city streets.

Breakfast: At the hotel, pick up a boxed breakfast to have on the train to Vancouver.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel, transfer to Amtrak's King Street station, and board the train to Vancouver, following along salt water all the way. We’ll have great views of ferries, giant container ships, and green islands afloat in the blue of Puget Sound. Arriving at Pacific Central Station, we’ll take a motorcoach to lunch.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, enjoy a plated meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: This afternoon we’ll explore two of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods to gain fascinating (and occasionally offbeat) insights into history, architecture, and people. The motorcoach will drop us off for a walking field trip with a local expert into Chinatown, with its rich culture and striking collection of heritage buildings that recall the contributions of early pioneers and leaders. We’ll also walk through historic Gastown, the city’s birthplace, with much of its early architecture and character intact. We’ll also see how it is evolving into one of the city’s newest residential areas. Returning to the motorcoach, we’ll finish our afternoon with a drive through Stanley Park as our expert provides commentary on board. This 1,000-acre evergreen oasis near the downtown core boasts a natural West Coast atmosphere and backdrop of majestic cedar, hemlock, and fir trees. Park landmarks include totem poles, monuments and sculptures, and a 5.5 mile seawall that encircles the entire park.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a plated meal including coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Sustainable Vancouver, Chinatown, Museum of Anthropology
Vancouver, BC
B,L,D
Best Western Plus Sands Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles; standing at museum.

Breakfast: At the hotel, choose what you like from the breakfast buffet.

Morning: Vancouver is part of a region known locally as the Salish Sea. In a presentation by our expert, we’ll learn about its history and historical precedents as well as the planning and sheer dumb luck that have enabled this city to achieve its status as one of the most “livable” in the world. Because everything the city does has done has an impact somewhere else, Vancouver is committed to being one of the most “sustainable” cities in the world. For our next field trip, we’ll take the motorcoach to Granville Island, home of a thriving artistic community of painters, furniture makers, jewelers, and even a cobbler. See how a sandbar was transformed first into an industrial area then into a renowned public market.

Lunch: On Granville Island, we'll have sandwiches and soup.

Afternoon: We'll proceed to one of Vancouver's finest institutions, the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, in a spectacular building overlooking mountains and sea. Canada’s largest teaching museum is a place of extraordinary architectural beauty, stimulating programming, and vibrant exhibitions of world arts and cultures. On a self-directed exploration, get a remarkable glimpse into the lives of the indigenous peoples of the northwest coast of British Columbia as we explore one of the world’s outstanding collections of Pacific Northwest Aboriginal artifacts. We’ll also meet with anthropology students.

Dinner: At a popular restaurant amid the gardens and forests of Stanley Park, enjoy a 3-course meal with soup or salad, choice of main dish, and dessert plus coffee and tea; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Ferry to Victoria, Butchart Gardens, Beacon Hill Park
Victoria, BC
B,L,D
Royal Scot Hotel and Suites

Activity note: We will transport our own luggage to/from the ferry. Ferry ride is approximately 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll transfer via motorcoach to the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen just south of Vancouver and take the ferry across the Strait of Georgia and through the Southern Gulf Islands to the terminal just north of Victoria, British Columbia. The trip is wonderfully scenic. Upon arrival on Vancouver Island, we'll be joined by a local historian, who will accompany us aboard the motorcoach to world-renowned Butchart Gardens with commentary en route to learn its fascinating story.

Lunch: At Butchart Gardens, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: The afternoon’s self-directed exploration at Butchart Gardens provides an opportunity to see and do what interests you most. Fifty-five acres of wonderful floral display are open to the public, offering spectacular views from the many paths that meander through the four main gardens. From the exquisite Sunken Garden to the charming Rose Garden, this show garden still maintains the gracious traditions of earlier times. Explore at your leisure the fabulous Gardens in all their seasonal glory.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy dinner with a selection of entrées, salad, seasonal vegetables, and dessert, plus coffee and tea.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
British Columbia Museum, Old Town Victoria, Free Time
Victoria, BC
B,L
Royal Scot Hotel and Suites

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, paved streets and paths; standing at museum.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers a variety of choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, hash browns, croissants, toast, fresh fruit, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will walk from our hotel to the Royal British Columbia Museum and Art Gallery for a self-led exploration. Here at one of the foremost cultural institutions in the world, learn about the history of generations of people who have prospered in the land we know as British Columbia.

Lunch: We’ll walk a few blocks to a popular pub for a plated meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After walking back to the hotel, we’ll have a presentation by our expert on the rich history and culture of British Columbia’s capital and western Canada’s oldest city. Learn about Victoria’s natural and human history from the time of the First Nations through the Hudson’s Bay Company, 19th-century gold rushes, and modern development. Then, we'll explore Vancouver’s Chinatown with our study leader who will enlighten us on the Inner Harbor, historic people and buildings and Chinatown's secrets. Victoria's British ancestry is apparent in double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages, formal gardens, and tearooms. The remainder of the afternoon is free for personal independent exploration.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Native Art, Friday Harbor, San Juan Museum, Islands Talk
Friday Harbor, WA
B,L,D
Friday Harbor Suites

Activity note: Hotel check out after breakfast. Carrying luggage on/off ferry and during transfers; walking approximately 500 feet with luggage from ferry to shuttle. Ferry ride approximately 1-1/4 hours. Walking up to 1.5 miles during the day; 25 steps with railing at Whale Museum; standing up to an hour.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a native artist for a unique opportunity to learn about his fascinating craft. We’ll then take a short motorcoach ride to the ferry terminal in Sidney and depart for the San Juan Islands on the Washington State ferry. Relax and enjoy the emerald green water as we float by islands large and small on our way to idyllic Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

Lunch: Aboard the ferry, we’ll have box lunches.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Friday Harbor, we’ll make a brief stop at the hotel to check in and drop off the luggage before we begin our explorations. We’ll then walk to two small but significant museums. The nationally recognized Whale Museum is the first of its kind dedicated to promoting stewardship of whales — especially Orcas — and the Salish Sea ecosystem through education and research. A local expert will lead our exploration of fascinating exhibits, artwork, models, and artifacts including real whale skeletons and a family tree of the resident Orcas. We can also listen to the "songs" of various species of whales. Then, at the San Juan Historical Museum, the Executive Director will lead us back in time through the island's history. The museum consists of eight buildings, including an 1894 farmhouse, a carriage house, root cellar and milk house, the original San Juan County Jail, a barn, 1891 log cabin, and Resource Center. Each building houses displays and exhibits of early life on San Juan Island. We’ll walk back to the hotel at the conclusion of our field trip.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a 3-course plated meal plus coffee, tea (hot/iced), water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: A local author will join us to provide insightful reflections about life on an island.

DAY
10
Local Artist, San Juan Island Park, Explore Island, History
Friday Harbor, WA
B,L,D
Friday Harbor Suites

Activity note: Getting on/off minibuses multiple times throughout the day. Walking up to 2 miles, approximately 3/4 of an hour to each location; uneven dirt paths or trails; standing at different sites.

Breakfast: At the hotel, choose from a breakfast buffet featuring assorted eggs, cereals, toasts, muffins, bagels, cottage cheese, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We'll begin our day at the hotel with art. Meet a local artist, see the art, and learn the story behind their work We'll then board our motorcoach for a field trip to San Juan Island National Historic Park led by a local expert. At the Park, we'll have a brief overview of its history, followed by the opportunity to view the remaining historical buildings on site, the grounds, and the barracks. Following the precedent set by the Great Pig War, in which the U.S. and Great Britain settled ownership of the island through peaceful arbitration, the Park now celebrates how disputes can be resolved without resorting to violence. The Park also encompasses a rich and diverse environment intimately involved with the island's 3,000 year human history. From there, we’ll proceed to Limekiln Lighthouse.

Lunch: At the Lighthouse, we’ll have box lunches picnic style while keeping our eyes out for whales at one of the best places in the world for whale watching from land. The Lighthouse also serves as a whale research outpost.

Afternoon: This afternoon features a minibus field trip of your choice to either historic Roche Harbor Village or Westcott Bay Sculpture Park for self-guided exploration. You are welcome to choose either. Roche Harbor, once a Hudson's Bay Company trading post and limestone production outpost, is now a popular resort featuring Historical Hotel de Haro; colorful gardens; and large marina. Westcott Bay Sculpture Park contains more than 100 sculptures scattered throughout its outdoor museum. Gaze at the striking artworks of bronze, wood, stone, ceramic, medal and glass created by notable Pacific Northwest artists. After the field trip, we’ll return to the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: We’ll be joined by a local historian for a talk on marine life and how it has been important over time to Native peoples, European settlers, and commercial and sport fisherman today.

DAY
11
Transfer to Seattle, Pike Place Market, Space Needle
Seattle, WA
B,D
Hyatt Place Seattle

Activity note: Hotel check out after breakfast. Carrying luggage off ferry, walking approximately 500 feet with luggage from ferry to shuttle. The ferry ride is approximately 1-1/4 hours. Walking up to 2 miles during the day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will transfer to the Washington State Ferry from Friday Harbor to Anacortes for a scenic ferry ride past islands of the San Juan Archipelago in the Salish Sea. We’ll then board a motorcoach for our transfer to Seattle. Luggage will be stored on the motorcoach until we check into the hotel late afternoon. Arriving in Seattle, we’ll walk to Pike Place Market with our local expert, who will discuss this special place that is recognized as one of America's foremost farmers' markets, comprising nine acres and more than a century of history. Offering endless opportunities, Pike Place is also home to a craft market, independent businesses, and a housing development that is mostly home to low-income seniors. Between the markets, businesses, and performers, more than 700 can be found practicing their trade here. "The Market," as locals affectionately call it, attracts millions of visitors a year, making it one of Washington state's most frequently visited destinations.

Lunch: On our own to enjoy what you like at the Market with 60 restaurants and cafés from which to choose.

Afternoon: We’ll have some independent time after lunch to explore the nooks and crannies abounding in five levels of shops and talk with the local folks. We’ll re-group at a pre-determined location and walk five blocks to Seattle's Monorail. Built for the 1962 Century 21 Exposition, the Monorail is the best way to travel to the Seattle Center and the landmark Space Needle and the Chihuly Garden and Glass. It's a short ride but lots of fun! Stepping off of the Monorail, we will zip up more than 520 feet to the top of the Space Needle, also built for the exposition in 1962. When the Space Needle was built it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. The view is amazing. We’ll see cruise lines and cargo ships crossing Elliott Bay, the sparkling water of Lake Union, streets abuzz with activity — The whole city! Back on the ground, we’ll return via the Monorail and walk to the hotel for check in.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a plated meal with coffee, tea, water, other beverages available for purchase. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Say farewells and prepare for departure in the morning.

DAY
12
Program Concludes
Seattle, WA
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: At the hotel, enjoy a buffet including eggs, breakfast meats, hot and cold cereals, pastries, fruit, milk, coffee (reg/decaf), tea, water. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!