Introducing Pacific Northwest
Located on America’s rain-lashed Pacific Rim and characterized by its vibrant, dot-com–fuelled economy, the Pacific Northwest region has stamped its mark on modern world culture like an errant 21st-century Cinderella. Culturally speaking, the manifestations are everywhere. You don’t have to be a guitar-wielding caffeine junkie to have heard of Starbucks coffee or grunge music, while other ingenious northwestern innovations such as Microsoft and Amazon.com have hijacked the technological superhighways everywhere from Beijing to Bratislava.
But it’s not all computer gadgetry and tall dark-roast skinny lattes. Immortalized by their spectacular mountains and vast primeval forests, the states of Washington and Oregon are as spectacular as they are economically vibrant. While some regions exhibit their past glories in buildings and architecture, the Pacific Northwest measures out its history in ancient trees (Washington’s red cedars are older than most of Europe’s medieval castles) and rugged mountain peaks – the snowcapped Cascades, which run like a spine from Canada to California are punctuated by a string of magnificent but menacing volcanoes.
Elsewhere, this robust and famously rainy northwest pocket has embellished the nation with a host of eye-catching and unique geographical features. Encased in four splendid national parks is one of the world’s only temperate rain forests, more glaciers than anywhere else in the lower 48 states and some of America’s most mystical and awe-inspiring mountain peaks.
It’s no small wonder that armies of hard-working Seattleites and Portlanders often switch off their ubiquitous laptops a couple of hours early and head hedonistically for the great outdoors.
Last updated: Mar 2, 2009
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