Stroups gone honeymoonin’

See those people up there? That’s two folks on their honeymoon! We’ve been talking about it for years and just now finally made it a priority to get to the Pacific Northwest. Tickets from Cleveland to Seattle are never really all that cheap so it always ends up being one of the first places we check and then immediately cross of the list of potential destinations while planning vacations.

Never having been there before made it seem like it could be the perfect place for our honeymoon. Instead of going somewhere we’d been, or overbooking our agendas, we opted to go somewhere new and only plan stops in two cities. A leisurely trip, for once! (We tried to be leisurely at least.)

What we did…

Wednesday morning we flew into Seattle. Our flight was early enough that we were able to spend a good portion of the day wandering the city. I love exploring new cities by foot. You really just end up seeing so much more. We were both so tired from traveling all day and walking six and a half miles that we conked out early. We had made plans to go out to dinner that evening but apparently, our bodies had other ideas. I woke up at 11 pm, fully clothed with the lights on wondering what the heck was going on.

Thursday morning we woke up early (still stuck on our time zone), got coffee and headed to Geocaching HQ. It was a really fun experience. We found the cache there (that involved using a photobooth to log it!) and even met the president of Geocaching.

Our next destination was Seaside, Oregon. The original plan was to stay super close to Cannon Beach. I figured it would be fun to splurge and get a hotel RIGHT on the beach but even a few months out everything decent was booked up. I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a hotel that wasn’t super cool so we opted to stay in Seaside instead. It worked out perfectly because Seaside was adorable. We spent two nights there checking out the local beaches, a shipwreck, and eating lots of incredible food.

Saturday morning we left Seaside for Portland, Oregon. The drive was GORGEOUS. We made a few stops along the way for geocaches and photos. I couldn’t get over how wonderful Oregon smelled. Like the most perfect pine scented candle but obviously not fake. I wanna breathe air that fresh forever.

It took all of about five seconds in Portland for me to declare my love. We didn’t realize how much we’d enjoy it there and had opted to spend two nights in Vancouver, WA instead since it was much cheaper. We ended up spending barely any time in Vancouver, and just made a bunch of trips into Portland to wander. We walked and walked and walked. I did more ‘just for fun’ shopping in Portland than I ever have anywhere else. There were just so many cool little stores, I couldn’t resist. (My favorite purchase being this glass hand!)

Monday morning we drove back toward Seattle after making a little detour to hit a beach that had been on my list. We were both so pooped from all the walking over the past week that getting to our hotel and relaxing was honestly one of the most exciting things we did all day. Finally, on Tuesday morning, at 6 am we hopped on a flight back home.

Where we stayed…

In Seattle, the Mediterranean Inn. This place has a rooftop patio with an awesome view of the Space Needle, the city skyline and the water. The neighborhood was cute and walkable too!

In Seaside, we stayed two nights at Ashore. (Pictured above) OMG. I loved it there. The second I found this place online it became the thing I was looking forward to the most on this trip. Close to the beach, right in the middle of everything, free parking, adorable rooms. They even offer a couple different upgrades once you get there including a bonfire package which is 2 beers or 2 cans of wine, a smores kit, and all the makings for a beach bonfire! We saw a lot of other cool looking places while driving around the area but I would choose Ashore again if we were to go back.

In Vancouver, we spent two nights at the Heathman Lodge. It was clean, the bed was hella cozy, and the shower was so powerful (very important!) They even sent us up a bottle of wine and two cozy robes after checking in since I blurted out we were honeymooning. Jeff and I don’t actually drink but when one gets free wine they at least pretend to like it.

Our last night, we stayed super close to the Seattle-Tacoma Aiport at Aloft. The photo in that link is seriously selling them short, it was such a cool room!! The bed was extra cozy too.

What we ate…

We ate lots of great food. Lots of bests! I can’t believe how many things I ate on this trip that were easily the best I’ve ever had!

Okay, first of all, this is a very strange recommendation but there was this grocery store, Metropolitan Market, near our hotel in Seattle that had the actual best cookies I’ve ever had. They were huge, full of chocolate, and just… stupid good. We definitely should have bought a couple to eat on for the rest of the trip. (I actually found a recipe for a copycat version! YES!)

So, real food now. We had incredible tacos from Blue Water Taco Grill in Seattle where I tried tilapia for the first time. Delicious! Another first, I ate oysters. It was an oyster po boy so technically a very not scary way to try them but dang, it was GOOD. One more first, I tried (and loved) bánh mì. Not a hundred percent sure what all was even on my sandwich but I’m looking forward to finding more to try in Cleveland. 

Ruby’s Roadside Grill in Seaside, OR caught our attention on the drive to Cannon Beach. We stopped after spending the evening at the ocean. I ordered BBQ shrimp tacos, Jeff got crab cakes and we “split” some garlic cheese fries. Split goes in quotation marks there because ya girl hogged those fries. I can’t even begin to explain how delicious that whole meal was. The fries though… Honestly, the best I’ve ever had.

So many coffee options in the Pacific Northwest! I get it, the weather and scenery makes me want to chug coffee too. We stopped at a bunch of tiny, drive-through coffee spots and visited a handful of coffee shops. My favorite had to be Cup & Bar in Portland, OR though. My mocha was out of this world. Made with small-batch artisanal chocolate, I’ve literally never had a mocha so tasty. Jeff and I shared a slice of avocado toast. This was no ordinary avocado toast though. It was their diablo toast! Hatch pepper cream cheese, cacao nibs, cilantro and lime. It was so dang good, also big enough for the two of us to split and fill up on. I miss it already. I look forward to returning again someday.

Sugar Bakery & Coffeehouse in Seattle was another favorite. The barista was so sweet, and the baked goods were incredible. We had a ham and cheese croissant as well as a salted caramel croissant. Both so tasty but the star of the show was the lavendar shortbread cookie. It was the most lavender-y thing I’ve ever eaten. It tasted like inhaling a field of lavender.

Our last meal of the trip was another favorite. We stopped at Ranch House BBQ in Olympia, WA because we were both starving and they have a huge metal pig outside. Pulled pork sandwich, garlic fries, pasta salad, deep fried macaroni balls, and strawberry rhubarb crisp with vanialla ice cream. OH MY GOSH. I could eat that every day. Definitely an awesome little spot, worth the stop for sure!


  • Finding a banana slug! This was on my list of things I really wanted to see in the PNW. Wasn’t expecting to find one on the beach though. There was a watermelon rind laying near the path down to the water. I looked at it and was about to make a dumb joke about that being Jeff’s breakfast when I spotted this little cutie munching away.
  • Visiting Geocaching HQ!!! Such a fun experience.
  • Portland. Can a whole city be a highlight? I just LOVED Portland. We had so much fun walking around and exploring the city. I was amazed by how many fun areas there were to wander. I mean, I always assumed I would like Portland but I didn’t expect to like it THAT MUCH.
  • All the coffee! So good!! Too many coffee shops, not enough time. I’m curious how Starbucks manages to get enough business to have so many locations when there are so many other options available out there.
  • We took a trip up to Ape Cave while we were in Vancouver. It’s a lava tube located in Gifford Pinchot National Forest. This is actually our second lava tube. The first we visited in Arizona while on our wedding trip. Jeff was in love so visiting another ranked high on his to-do list. Despite being a little bit busy, it was pretty darn cool!
  • Four words – Bourbon basil blueberry doughnut.
  • Hug Point. Wasn’t even on my radar before leaving but it was my favorite beach experience of the trip… and my life. I have a ton of photos to share from here soon!

Until next time, PNW! You’re pricier to fly to than a lot of other areas but damn, you’re worth it.

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  • My boyfriend and I went to Portland for the first time this summer, too! Fell in love with all of the huge, ridiculous plants outside of all the houses. We were staying at an Airbnb right near this little tiny shack that sold waffle sandwiches that were so good ugh, and we had the best brunch ever at a Scandinavian place called Broder – so sad we don’t have anything like that over here in KC!!

  • Sounds like you had tons-o-fun. 🙂 Is that Mt. Rainier in the last photo with the plane wing? I was there many years ago and since I was a very southern gal, I couldn’t quite get over swimming outdoors in the morning and then driving up in the Mountain playing in the snow. I still can’t quite wrap my brain around that!

    • It sure is!

      My brother used to live near Seattle. We went to visit him and it was amazing because we went to the ocean, camped in the desert and camped in the mountains all in one visit. So awesome how you don’t really have to go far at all to experience all sorts of different terrain.

  • Hi Kaylah I’m super stoked to hear how much you enjoyed the pnw. Next time you treat yourself head two hours east of Seattle and check out the cascades. I’m lucky enough to get to call it home but for photographers the veiw is spectacular. There’s even a ghost town near us called monte christo! Cheers!!

  • Yay!!! I love what you said about driving into Portland… it’s a pretty magical experience! I also did not expect to fall as in love with this city as I did. And the amount of Starbucks locations out here completely eludes me too. Next time you’re in Seattle, check out Biscuit Bitch!

  • I feel like I commented years ago on your blog (maybe 2014) to come visit Portland Or. Kind of hard to believe I missed your recent trip. I kind of felt like Portland would be your vibe. If you ever come back I can give you a local’s list! There’s so much hiking and exploring here 🙂

    • We fly Frontier fairly regularly. I’ve never seen flights to Seattle that low. Even checking right now, the cheapest is nearly $400 total. That doesn’t include all the crap they nickle and dime ya for either.

  • The PNW is my favorite. I’m so glad to see ya’ll had a great time there! We’re hoping to move out near Portland next year. Just completely fell in love with the whole area. If we do, we’ll def be checking out some of the places you recommend here!