The Ultimate Vacation Getaway: Outdoor Adventures in the Olympic Peninsula and Where To Eat Farm-To-Table

Writer Jess Caldwell (left) and Naturalist and Guide Jerry (right) with Hood Canal Adventures, stop to learn about wild mushrooms during their winter waterfall tour. Photo credit: Jason Marsteiner

Many visitors seek opportunities for outdoor adventures in the winter season of the Olympic Peninsula. Under a beautiful canopy of evergreens with the sound of a nearby waterfall, those who seek wild places will be elated to discover the many wonders of nature that come alive during the tourism off-season. Outdoor adventures in the Olympic Peninsula pair nicely with farm-to-table local food experiences, leaving you energized and full.

Marine Biologist Christina Maloney is the owner of Hood Canal Adventures. Along with an exceptionally knowledgeable crew of guides, visitors can choose from a host of outdoor adventures, from waterfall hikes to kayak tours. Photo credit: Jess Caldwell

Outdoor Adventure: What To Do in Winter on the Olympic Peninsula

Want to take an Olympic Peninsula waterfall tour or kayak to Pulali Point to witness the wildlife, including eagles and seals, from your personal water vessel? How about learning to shuck oysters alongside a Marine Biologist who will share the many treasures of the natural world from the diverse ecosystem of the Hood Canal? From wild mushrooms and forest edibles to bald eagle kayak tours, the team at Hood Canal Adventures has curated a range of guided experiences that will no doubt inspire wonderment within the playground of the Pacific Northwest.

Christina Maloney is a marine biologist and owner of Hood Canal Adventures. As a nature lover and educator, she realized that one of the best ways to access and share special places was by boat. “With kayaking, you can get into estuaries, coves and shorelines for an immersive experience into majestic places,” shares Maloney. “People visit from all over the world and often plan their vacation around our tours.”

The well-branded Hood Canal Adventures tour van can accommodate up to 14 people and picks up adventures at the office and store in Brinnon. Your guide will be with you every step of the way to ensure a fun adventure.

Maloney’s husband is the owner of Duckabush Mushrooms. He offers shiitake mushrooms, mushroom coffee, fine teas and even homemade creamed honey. Together, they offer both adventure and a taste of wildness from the Olympic Peninsula.

John Bellow standing by a small above ground man-made pond with a cement mermaid in it and lilypads
John Bellow (pictured) is the farmer behind SpringRain Farm in Chimacum. Along with his wife, Roxanne Hudson, they are cultivating organic farming on 26 acres and creating a variety of hand-produced food goods sold throughout the region. Photo credit: Jess Caldwell

Unique Snail Farm Raising Escargot in the Olympic Peninsula

The rainy Olympic Peninsula is home to a very special farm that raises a species of snail that makes for an exceptional escargot. Snail farmer Ric Brewer started Little Gray Farms in 2013. Located in Quilcene on five acres, the farm has grown to be one of two farmers in the United States with a Federal Permit for his commercial operation.

Brewer, who has 20 years of snail farming experience, does the work himself of de-shelling each snail. “No machine can do this work,” he says, “It’s all done by hand.” He went on to offer some of his favorite ways to eat escargot. “I suggest serving with ravioli or pizza or in a chowder stew.”

He is also committed to local and works with chefs in the region to provide Washington-grown escargot that is buttery in flavor, unlike the metal-tasting canned snails that are typically shipped to the U.S. Brewer even offers consultations for those interested in Heliciculture, the process of raising edible land snails. Orders can be made online.

Ric Brewer (pictured) is a snail farmer and is committed to staying local by serving regional restaurants through Little Gray Farms Escargot. Online orders are available along with private consultations in Heliciculture. Photo credit: Jess Caldwell

Where To Eat Farm-to-Table in the Olympic Peninsula After a Day of Adventure

A resilient farming community that values sustainable growing practices paired with a local business and hospitality community that nurtures the connectivity of the land and the health and vitality of people, has created a hyper-local farm-to-table food scene that is one of the unique draws to visiting the Olympic Peninsula. Here are some farm-to-table restaurants in the Olympia Peninsula to try on your next visit.

La Cocina in Port Townsend brings local ingredients to traditional Mexican cooking with a focus on authentic, fresh and handmade.

Finistére in Port Townsend offers a locally inspired menu paired with a fine dining experience. Visitors can expect an exceptional dining experience that can be a dressed-up night on the town or casual in a beanie-hat-and-sweater kind of way.

Finnriver Farm & Cidery in Chimacum offers farm-crafted cider and hosts local food vendors, along with serving a delightful menu that includes homemade soups with bread made from locally-grown grains through the Chimacum Valley Grainery. They even offer a house-crafted cider mustard served with the bratwurst.

Quilbilly’s Taproom & Restaurant in Quilcene serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a home-town feel in a casual setting. Serving locally sourced seafood and veggies along with SpringRain Farms greens. Enjoy a beer or cider on tap, or share a homemade pie with ice cream for dessert.

Jess Caldwell right) and Jason Marsteiner (left) enjoy a fine dining experience at The Fireside Restaurant at Port Ludlow Resort. The menu is seasonal and features locally sourced ingredients from a network of twelve neighboring farms. Photo credit: Morgan Brown

The Fireside Restaurant at Port Ludlow Resort is a well-known dining experience that attracts visitors from all over Washington and beyond. Located on the shores of Ludlow Bay, chef Dan Ratigan has a seasonally-inspired menu that can change weekly. He has personally visited all 12 of his partnering farms and cultivates a supportive relationship with each of the growers. “The relationships have been the most important part of this connection,” shares Ratigan. “The farmers know they can call me if they have a unique offering or abundant harvest, and we will create something special with it here at The Fireside.”

To learn more about planning your next outdoor adventure paired with the perfect foodie vacation on the Olympic Peninsula, visit the Enjoy Olympic Peninsula website.