A lighthouse next to the sea, a ferry cruising through the sound; both are the subjects of many photographs and paintings. These iconic images capture the spirit of the Pacific Northwest. And both can be experienced in the small seaside town of Mukilteo, Washington, which is a 30-minute drive from Seattle, WA.
As a guest of the Silvercloud Inn Mukilteo, I discovered this small seaside town is a mix of history and modernity, making it the perfect locale for a Pacific Northwest escape.
Nostalgia Next to the Sea
As a lover of lighthouses, the first stop on my itinerary was the over 100-year-old historic Mukilteo Lighthouse. The day I visited couldn’t have been more picturesque – a sapphire sky, a hint of a salty breeze, and beach lovers flying kites and having campfire lunches at Lighthouse Park.
First thing on my list, climb the 38-foot lighthouse tower which was first lit in 1906. Only a handful of people can go up to the top at a time, so I had to wait about 10 minutes. The wait was worth it. Not only did I get some alone time at the top, but I had a chance to see the active Fresnel lens up close and get an unobstructed view of the ferry crossing Possession Sound.
Afterward, I toured the museum displays, which are located in a couple of different buildings, including lighthouse keeper quarters. Then strolled along the long stretch of beach and watched as kites darted back and forth and families roasted their lunch over campfires. I made a mental note to come back with some friends and firewood to have my own day at the beach.
To get the full lighthouse experience keep in mind that while the grounds are open year-round tours and the gift shop are open April through September from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. There is also the annual Lighthouse Festival. In 2017, it falls on September 8, 9, 10 and includes live music, food vendors, military tribute, a parade and fireworks.
An Inn with a Ferry View
When I pulled into the Silvercloud Inn’s ground level parking area, I wasn't sure what to expect as it gave no indication of the inn's ambiance. But, once I stepped inside, all I could do was stop and stare. In front of me was an elegant sitting room with red chairs, dark-toned couches, and nautical-themed décor. Beyond that, windows gave the illusion of water beginning where the windows ended, with an incredible view of Possession Sound and Whidbey Island.
I stayed in a king bed room with a semi-view, which featured elegant lines and white bedding, a couch, fireplace, desk, and a partial water view of the ferry landing area. I spent a good portion of my time, gazing out the bay window to watch the ferry glide across the water. At night, when its lights danced across the sea it was particularly beautiful and romantic.
Silver Cloud Inn Mukilteo has 30 rooms with a full view and some feature Jacuzzis. Ten rooms have partial views with fireplaces. Twenty-eight rooms have no water view, and there are two suites; one with and one without a water view. Bedrooms range from king size, two queen bed, and suites with sleeper sofas. All rooms have complimentary wireless internet, a 55” high-definition flat-screen TV, refrigerator, microwave, a safe, and a coffee maker with Seattle’s Best Coffee. During my stay, I peeked into a King Bed Room with a view and was astounded by the marvelous panoramic views of Possession Sound.
If you happen to check-in on a Tuesday, the hotel has a reception for guests from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. It includes complimentary wine, beer, and appetizers. If you like the property, they have 10 others. One is in Portland, the rest are in Washington State. Their Silver Rewards program allows guests to earn points toward future stays, miles with Alaska Airlines, or cash. For guests traveling without transportation to the Mukilteo location, Towncar Service offers rides to and from SeaTac International Airport ($90) and to Seattle ($60). Cost is for the car, not by person, and one-way.
When I drove into Mukilteo it didn’t seem to have a traditional downtown, but as I explored on foot the cafes, shops and restaurants became more apparent. Old Town is along the waterfront and mid-town is uphill. If you are not up for walking, the inn provides a shuttle service within a 7-mile radius.
There are a handful of dining options. Next to the inn is Ivar's, a Washington mainstay, and OpenTable Diners voted it one of the “100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America.”
For Happy Hour, I stopped into the lively Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse and ordered a Front Street Cod Taco with cotija cheese, cilantro agave slaw and Sriracha aioli ($3.30) along with one of their delicious beers. For dinner, I wandered up the hill and stumbled upon, John’s Grill, an upscale family-owned restaurant. To celebrate my small town adventure, I had a glass of champagne and John's Crab Cake ($14.50).
Other dining choices include Arnie’s Restaurant & Bar, The Sydney Bakery & Wine Bar, Sully’s Pizza & Calzones.
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodations for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.