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Washington Reads Spring 2008 - Exploring Washington

As winter finally fades and Washington reluctantly agrees that it is spring, we emerge with outdoor zeal to explore the splendor of this vast state with its mountains and rivers, its beaches and forests, and its cities and rural areas. Hikers, nature lovers, city explorers, wine aficionados and children, whether they are curious, contemplative or passionate for physical outdoor activity, will find a book that guides them in exploring the Evergreen State.  Whether one is a consummate planner or freewheeling explorer, there is something to entice everyone.


Randlett, Mary. Mary Randlett: Landscapes.  Introduction by Ted D’Arms; with an essay and poems by Denise Levertov; contributions by Barry Herem, Jo Ann Ridley, and Joyce Thompson.

Begin your planning with this majestic photographic journey through the Northwest. Randlett’s black-and-white photos capture the essence of the region, and transform nature into an art form.  The light, composition, and movement pay homage to the power and spirit of the natural and mystical Northwest. This is guaranteed to entice you to explore the wonders of the state.

Bauer, Alan and Dan A. Nelson. Best Desert Hikes: Washington.

This guidebook provides 100 hikes on the dry side of the Cascades.  It includes elements such as hiking time, distance, difficulty, elevation, best season, maps, contacts and permits/passes.  Best Loop Hikes: Washington,  Best Hikes with Kids:  Western Washington & the Cascades, and Best Hikes with Dogs: Inland Northwest are also available.

Fairbanks, Diana.  Backroads of Washington: Your Guide to Washington’s Most Scenic Backroad Adventures.  Photography by Mike Sedam.

Stunning color photos and down-to-earth text lure you to the scenic byways of Washington. This beautiful book takes you beyond the typical attractions for tourists.

Kirk, Ruth and Carmela Alexander. Exploring Washington’s Past: A Road Guide to History. Photography by Ruth and Louis Kirk.

Informative, readable, entertaining and literate, this book is a treasure for sightseers, researchers and historians. The authors weave history into a useful guide for those who travel, as well as armchair tourists.

Lucas, Eric.  Hidden Washington: Including Seattle, Puget Sound, San Juan Islands, Olympic Peninsula, Cascades and Columbia River Gorge

This guidebook includes places that are hidden and off the beaten path of the tourist.  It takes you closer to the local people and the natural environment.

Matthews, Sara.  Washington:  The State of Wine.

Many of us have learned that the climate and soil of the state have created some superb Washington wines.  This book celebrates and highlights Washington wine and its environment in spectacular photographs of the state’s vineyards, wineries, winemakers and wine communities.  In addition, the patterns in the wine’s surroundings are captured in stunning photos.

Young Adult

Baskas, Harriet. Washington Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff.

This book guides you to wild and wacky curiosities, including things, places and people, that many of us never knew existed in Washington.  You are guaranteed to laugh your way through the state while finding some of the oddest and most hilarious spots it has to offer. Both adults and young adults will discover unusual places and tales about our state.

Lachenmeyer, Nathaniel.  Searching for Sasquatch.  Illustrated by Vicki Bradley.

Arlo and his dad love hiking in the woods, searching for Sasquatch.  When Arlo reports this to his class, he is teased after his teacher announces that Sasquatch is a myth. On their next trip, a class bully plays a trick on them with fake Sasquatch feet.  But Arlo and his dad enjoy searching together and believe in themselves, so they continue their joyful adventures. Ages 4-8.

Skewes, John. Larry Gets Lost in Seattle. 

Pete, his family, and his dog, Larry, travel to Seattle, but Larry’s curiosity soon has him lost in Seattle.  Pete and Larry see landmarks such as the Ballard Locks, Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, Pioneer Square, the EMP and more.  This is a fun romp through the city. Ages 3 and up.

In addition, there are many excellent, yet very specific, travel guidebooks that may meet your particular and targeted needs, such as Cheryl Smith’s Canine Washington: Where to Play and Stay with your Dog or Steve Roberts' Wine Trails of Washington: A Guide for Uncorking your Memorable Wine Tour. Enjoy!