The Methow Valley is as picturesque as any in the world. Nestled in a high pocket of the North Cascades of Washington State, the valley is all forests and flower fields, ravines and rivers, snow peaks and sunshine1. And it’s all crisscrossed by biking, hiking and running paths — and by one of the longest cross country skiing trails in the world.
Until recently, one of the few blights on the Methow Valley was a particularly unattractive RV park northwest of the town of Winthrop. Happily, the Winnebagos there have given way to a wild meadow that’s mostly untouched except for the unusual, low-impact accommodations offered by Rolling Huts. It is a fantastically cool place to stay.
Staying here is a curious mix of luxury and roughing it
Seattle is a Spot Cool Stuff favorite city. We love experiencing its vibrant urban heart. And we love how easy it is to escape that for the accessible natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
A case in point (literally, a “point”) is The Treehouse Point. The complex—part treehouse hotel, part quaint event venue, part wilderness preserve—is in the middle of a lush forest yet only a 35-minute drive from downtown Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market.
Most Starbucks are architecturally rather cookie cutter and bland. But the popular chain of coffee shops does have a handful of locations with a cool edge to them. Perhaps none more than the company’s drive-thru located in outside of Seattle in Tukwila, Washington. The Starbucks there is built out of used shipping containers!
Since Spot Cool Stuff’s first post about shipping container architecture, use of the eco-friendly building material has grown hugely in popularity. Sadly, it hasn’t grown as quickly as the surplus supply of used containers. But nearly every day work begins on at least one new shipping container house or office building somewhere on the planet.
Supposedly, Seattle as a travel destination embodies the funky and artsy. Yet, surprisingly, there are only a handful of hotels that match that reputation. The majority of high-end hotels in Seattle seem stale, corporate, and predictable.
Those adjectives are light years away from the Hotel Max. This downtown, Seattle boutique hotel is all about being fun and trendy.
There’s no other bicycle shop in the world where you have to give serious thought to your wardrobe before visiting.
The best bike shops in the world do more than sell and fix bicycles. They fill you with a sort of enthusiastic energy that makes you want to get out there and pedal.
There are lots of great community bicycle stores out there, too many for us to declare the six we feature below to be the absolute best. But each one is superlative in its own way:
Did you know that humans have been wearing footwear of some form or another for as many as 40,000 years now? And that it’s only been in the last 200 years that shoes have been designed with differentiation for left and right feet?
You needn’t necessarily be a fashionista to appreciate the astonishing variations in footwear over the ages. You need only to bring your curiosity to one of the two dozen-ish museums around the world dedicated to design of the shoe.
Here’s a look at Spot Cool Stuff’s five favorites places to kick off a podiatric exploration:
One of Spot Cool Stuff’s most popular travel posts has been our review of World’s Best Bookstores. But what about those people looking to borrow, and not buy, a book? Fortunately our planet also has several incredible libraries. In fact, there’s a case to be made for libraries having more interesting architecture than any other building type except for religious houses of worship.
Here’s our look at eight architecturally amazing libraries (and one that’s not so much). It is the first in a series of Spot Cool Stuff’s tour of the world’s best looking libraries. To stay updated on all of our posts, including our cool library series, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS feed or check back with our newly opened Book and Literature Travel category page.
And if you know of a library you’d like us to check out leave us a comment any time. Late fees never apply.