Chainsaw Carvings, Washington
Like many towns in Washington, Snoqualmie started as a logging center, a heritage that's kept alive in the George Kenny School of Chainsaw Carving downtown.
A self-taught champion carver, George runs one of the few such schools in North America, and exhibits his and his students' creations in his gallery and gift shop. Even if you don't take his basic 3-day course (the $1,499 tuition includes a chainsaw!), it is fun to browse what he calls the world's largest outlet of chainsaw carvings.
After viewing dozens of cedar trolls, sailors, owls and, of course, bears of all sizes, I wasn't about to argue! A gift shop features Northwest-themed items and serves coffee and espresso drinks.
Snoqualmie is on State Highway 202, about 5 miles north of I-90 (Exit 25), roughly 30 miles east of downtown Seattle and just east of famous Snoqualmie Falls. The gallery, school and gift shop (8300 Railroad Ave. SE) are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in summer).