Snohomish County Washington
Beyond the walls of fragrant cedar and 19th century canoes, a chorus of entrancing voices sings in an ancient language that beckons visitors. Upon entering the great room, a small fire glows surrounded by twilight, as a speaker begins an intriguing oration of the Tulalip Tribe in the ceremonial long house of Hibulb's Cultural Center.
Hibulb Cultural CenterThe fascinating Hibulb (pronounced He-bulb) Cultural Center is just part of Snohomish County Washington's wonderful attractions. The county starts about 12 miles north of Seattle and encompasses scores of cities, towns and neighborhoods, such as Marysville and Everett to Snohomish and Tulalip. Within this large area, visitors will find fabulous resorts, casinos, art centers, countless antique shops, restaurants, Victorian museums, flying heritage museums, premium outlet malls, as well as a host of outdoor activities. The county makes a perfect weekend get-away for Pacific Northwest visitors, as well as an excellent destination for those who want to visit Seattle and expand their journey. If you haven't visited this region, you will be delighted at just how many exciting attractions and adventures await you. The tribal lands of the Tulalip Native Americans are located in Snohomish County, Washington. All of the bands within the Tulalip are of the Coast Salish people that ranged from the Pacific Northwest to British Columbia. Today, the Tulalip are decedents of the tribes in this region and they have built the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve as a dedication, historical museum and educational facility. The 23,000 square foot center, located on 23rd Ave. in Snohomish County, sits adjacent to a 50-acre natural history preserve will be open for walking tours to visitors in May of 2012. The interior of the interactive cultural center is built of aromatic Oregon Cedar; the walls are adorned with beautiful scenic murals, wooden columns, display cases of native artifacts and several historic hand-made canoes. The center's features include a long house, a main exhibit, a temporary exhibit, research library, classrooms and gift shop. Moreover, the Hibulb Cultural Center is the only fully certified collections, archaeological repository, and tribal facility in Washington State. The best place to begin your visit of the cultural center is to start with a visit to the long house. Have a seat and watch a captivating 12-minute film about the history of the Tulalip Tribe. After the film, stroll down to the main exhibit and view historical baskets, large story poles, tools, masks, clothes that were weaved of cedar strips, as well as artifacts carbon-dated to 2000 years old. Follow the exhibit and see how the tribes lived with displays of life in different seasons; and the salmon life cycle and plaques that tell the story of the Salish. Look for the language kiosk and listen to a recording of Lushootseed, the language that was spoken by the Salish. The Hibulb Cultural Center is a wonderful place to experience the history of the Tulalip and grasp an insight into a people that lived in harmony with their environment.
Tulalip Resort Casino and SpaThe Tulalip Resort Casino and Spa is located just two-and-a-half miles from the cultural center. This resort is not your typical casino-hotel. When you walk into the resort's hotel entrance, several large, beautifully carved story poles greet you in an environment that combines modern decor with natural Native American art influence. What distinguishes this four-diamond resort, aside from its world-class T-Spa and gorgeous rooms, is the fact that you would never know a vibrant casino was located down a separate hallway. If you enjoy the thrilling atmosphere of a large casino with fabulous restaurants, the Tulalip casino is a fun place to find your favorite game. And when it's time for a meal, you'll find numerous restaurants within the hotel that range small bistros, to delicious buffet-style and fine dining, such as the elegant award-winning Tulalip Bay with a stunning Dale Chihuly blown glass sculpture chandelier. If you wish a more casual dining experience but want excellent award-winning cuisine, try the resort's Blackfish Restaurant. The comfortable atmosphere is augmented by the open kitchen-grill where guests can view fresh, wood-skewered salmon cooked near an open flame grill. Try the tantalizing Pacific Northwest Bounty Bowl of mixed seafood or the Blackberry BBQ Chicken for a luscious and unique dish. The Tulalip's guest rooms are a work-of-art in themselves. From the modern decor, combined with exquisite Native American Salish art, gorgeous bathrooms with personal vanity and spa-shower, the rooms are a tranquil haven for rest and relaxation. And, if you need a deeper journey into relaxation, book a spa treatment into the resort's T-spa. This world-class spa forms a perfect union of nature and contemporary decor with tranquil music following the curving walkways of river stone that flow like a stream. Accompanying birch trees in a glow of soft light guide you to your spa treatment. Enter the relaxation room and try a cup of White Ambrosia tea (absolutely divine!) and enjoy the comfy leather furniture, warm fireplace and serene ambience. The T-spa offers a full menu of sublime treatments that will take your bliss factor up a notch; try the Signature Massage in a room with a backlit waterfall mural that enhances your languid demeanor. Request aromatherapy with the massage and experience the intoxicating sweet grass oil. This Native American-made oil takes a year to produce and is crafted by Yvonne Wyosote of the Mikmaq Tribe. After your massage, if you can rouse yourself after drifting off into heaven, visit the eucalyptus steam room or the cedar sauna to complete your treatment. The T-Spa is a unique and magnificent spa that once you visit, will have you seeking to return.
Retail TherapyOutlet malls are definitely a huge attraction for the shopping enthusiast; Seattle Premium Outlets is located next to the Tulalip Resort. With 115 stores of top-name designers and favorite brand-names, the outlet mall is a shopper's paradise. Head to Starbucks, grab a coffee or tea then visit Rocky Mountain Chocolate and you will be sure to have enough energy to shop with vigor. Whether you need Jones of New York or require a new Coach bag, the upbeat outlet stores will add a fun adventure to your day.
World War II and the Flying Heritage CollectionIf World War II planes are your passion, visit Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Collection, located at Pain Field in Everett. This impressive museum is awesome in the true sense of the word. Almost every plane in the museum flies and is taken out on a regular basis to keep them in great condition. The collection consists of German, American, British, Russian and Japanese planes that soared the skies with missions of spying, bombing and transportation that changed the world. Get up close to a P-51 Mustang or a British Supermarine Spitfire MKVC powered by a Rolls Royce engine and was one of the most famous and beautiful fighters of WWII. Moreover, take a guided tour with one of the docents and relive the thrilling stories of these planes and the men who flew them; several who flew these very aircraft. See the successes and failures of the flying fleet that often lead to innovation or abysmal failure and ultimate death, such as the German Messerschmitt Me 163 B Komet. There were just 300 built and it only carried eight minutes of fuel and smashed speed records using rocket power. However, it had a nasty reputation of literally dissolving the pilots in a matter of seconds if the highly volatile fuel leaked into the cockpit. It is no surprise there weren't many qualified pilots to fly this craft, or likely they wouldn't volunteer. The magnificent Flying Heritage Collection is an absolute must-see if you have an interest in aircraft. The museum often schedules cool events, such as Tank Day; and if you're lucky, you might even see one of the planes go out for a flight.
Schack Art CenterThere is a lot of incredible art in Washington and almost any city will feature a selection of marvelous galleries. One of the most intriguing art centers is the Schack Art Center, located in Everett. The Schack is a non-profit organization, opened in May of 2011, with the upper floors belonging to another non-profit art organization, the Art Space Everett Lofts, where 40 different artists have live-work spaces. The Schack is a wonderful gallery that features tremendous exhibits by local and regional artists with works for sale by the artists as well. The center's hot shop for staff glass blowers and visiting artists, such as Merrilee Moore who creates gorgeous glass votives, is one of the focal points of the Schack. And, there are numerous classes available that range from glass blowing, glass bead-making to painting and printmaking. Holiday classes are especially fun with artists teaching classes how to blow a glass pumpkin or blow your own unique Christmas ornament. Make sure to stop by and peruse the exhibits, as well as look through the beautiful selections of art for sale; you may just find that perfect piece of jewelry or glass sculpture you were seeking.
Antiques and Historic HomesAntique hunting is for some a favorite obsession and the city of Snohomish is considered the Antique Capital of the Northwest. Here, visitors will find over 300 dealers that sell everything from Tiffany art glass and western memorabilia to antique furniture and rare books. On your way from shops, you'll find the late 19th and early 20th century architecture fun to stroll through. For antique shops, visit the Antique station at Victoria Village, located on 1108 1st Street and the Star Center Antique Mall, located on 829 2nd Street in Snohomish. Snohomish also boasts some beautiful Victorian homes built around 1900. In addition to the city's Historic Home tours, you can also visit the Blackman House Museum, located on 118th avenue B. The Blackman house was built in 1878 and contains many original furnishings and exhibits. For additional information on Snohomish County, visit Snohomish.org
Patrice Raplee is an experienced travel photojournalist and editor of Travel Excursion and Seattle Spotlight for Positively Entertainment magazine. In addition, she writes a monthly travel column for the award-wining site Offbeat Travel and is a regular guest on Travel radio talk shows. She is a member of North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and the Recording Academy. Her photographs and articles have appeared in numerous international publications, as well as NW newspapers such as the Seattle Times, the Stranger and Seattle Weekly. Patrice travels the globe to cover destinations that feature fascinating culture, art, culinary, history and soft adventure. Spa photo is courtesy of the Tulalip Resort Casino and Spa. Remaining photos courtesy of Patrice Raplee.