Howard Blum Reviews Fodor's Pacific Northwest Howard Blum is the author of the New York Times bestseller and Edgar
Award winner American Lightning, as well as such bestsellers as Gangland. He is currently a contributing editor at
Vanity Fair. While at the New York Times, he was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. His
newest book is The Floor of Heaven. Read his review of Fodor's Pacific Northwest:
During the long grim, gray winter in Connecticut, one of the best survival techniques I know is to plan wishfully for
the summer that will eventually come. Besieged by the icy monotony of seemingly endless months of snow and slush, the
prospect of going off somewhere in the bright sunshine with the kids when they’re out of school looms as, quite
literally, a life saver.
We’ve done all the usual vacation jaunts. They’ve outgrown Disneyland. The Cape beaches are pretty sedentary terrain
for restless teenagers. Europe is too expensive. And now that they were older, attending or on the verge of college, I
wanted them to have an experience that would engage their minds, get them thinking about the vastness and diversity of
an America that they, as parochial New Englanders, too often ignore. And, oh yeah, I wanted all of us to have a good
Also, I must admit, my deliberations were influenced by the experiences I had while researching The Floor of Heaven,
my new non-fiction book that follows a cowboy turned Pinkerton detective as he goes off to solve a puzzling and
dangerous case during the Yukon Gold Rush. I had spent some time in Seattle, home now to a unique and absorbing Yukon
Gold Rush museum and back in 1898 the gateway port to the gold fields in the far north. I wanted them to see and enjoy
this part of the country as much as I did as when I traveled around researching my book.
And so it was settled in my mind: This summer we would go to the Pacific Northwest. And to guide me on this
incipient journey, to help me plan it over the long, snowy months, I delved into the new 18th edition of Fodor’s Pacific
This travel guide is a joy. It’s like having the perfect traveling companion at your side to give you wise advice.
It’s definitely not your elderly aunt droning on about all the obvious tourist attractions as she shows you her
collection of tedious travel snapshots. Reading Fodor’s, being caught up in the happy promises depicted in the page
after page of color pictures, is like having a conversation with a smart, funny, and hip friend. You instinctively feel
you’re planning a trip with someone you know you can trust. The tone of the guide is knowledgeable yet refreshingly
opinionated, articulate yet unpretentious, idiosyncratic yet comprehensive. For a family that’s forced to be cost
conscious, the dollar signs that accompany each hotel or restaurant are a godsend. And the orange stars are the sort of
“must see” alert that, along with the easy-to-read maps, make planning both simple and filled with great expectations of
what’s to come.
So with Fodor’s as our guide, our summer vacation has been planned, and we’re confident we have the inside dope.
We’re going to fly to Seattle, do some coffee-house crawling and a trip to the gold rush museum, then rent a car and
follow the 101 around Olympic National Park before looping around and heading back the way we came. And for the entire
trip, I’ll have my Fodor’s on the front seat telling me where to drive next.
Tips from Fodor's Pacific Northwest, 18th Edition
Click on the photos below to download printable guides from the travel experts at Fodor's [PDF].
Driving Tour [PDF] Top Experiences [PDF] Top Attractions [PDF] Museums and Lodging [PDF]