I know I have a tendency to be dramatic (I like to think of it as theatrical) but... I am about to tell you about the most magical place in Washington state. Nay — the world.
When I told my mom that I was writing an article about our favorite sneaky and cheeky spot in Washington, she said something along the lines of, "Oh, please don’t do that because we don’t want it to get too popular!"
But it’s too late—in fact, this place is always poppin' off! So here’s what it is: Union City Market in Union, Washington.
I’ve talked about this magical oasis before on Refined but didn’t dive into it fully or give it the air time it rightfully deserves.
The Union City Market is a bazaar-like store with tons of local trinkets, food items and drinks. On the waterfront side is none other than the best restaurant of all time: Hook & Fork. Although they do have weekday hours, their weekend brunch is where the magic happens.
They are only open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a first come, first served kind of mentality so you definitely want to plan ahead, especially if you want to take a ferry over there. More on that soon.
They have a menu of great breakfast items but the best part, in my humble opinion, is the seafood. Think fresh oysters, shrimp, mussels and more cooked on an open fire. Yeah, you heard that right — open. fire.
We typically go for the loaded oysters, and they go quickly. In fact, a few weekends ago, my mom and our friend Kim and I went out there for the oysters — specifically, stood in line to order, only to find out the folks in front of us got the last dozen. I've never known *true* heartbreak until this moment.
For the non-seafood fans out there, you can expect a menu of breakfast hashes, burgers and other sandwiches.
I definitely recommend trying to get out there as soon as possible on a Saturday or Sunday. I know, I know... for you non-early risers this can be difficult on a weekend morning but... just think about the oysters!
The easiest and most fun way to get out there is by ferry. Enjoy the scenic ferry route from Fauntleroy to Southworth and then follow Highway 2 to Union where you'll have long stretches of beautiful green trees followed by coastal views along the Hood Canal. You'll also pass by the Alderbrook Resort, so if you want to stop in there and enjoy a beveranda or two, be. my. GUEST!
Beyond the food, the views at Union City Market are some of the most peaceful. You can sit right on the water's edge of Hood Canal (or Fjord if you know the back story), grab a bottle of wine, a beer or mimosa and sit on the outside tables and just soak in the glory of our beautiful region.
If you are looking to get out of the Seattle area and find a place that feels brand new, adventurous and low-key, this is definitely the spot. It’s only about a two-hour drive depending on where you are coming from, plus a gorgeous ferry ride and you will still feel worlds away. I don't know about you, but the pandemic has made me appreciate travel in a whole new way — even if it's just across Puget Sound.
Now I know summer has sailed. If you decide to go and it's cloudy, don’t be discouraged! It’s still gorgeous out there, just make sure to layer up. The market will light up their fire pits (which honestly is a major draw to go on a cloudy day)! It kind of feels like the quintessential fall outing. Oysters, fire pits and an overcast day? Hello, #SoNorthwest
After you fill your bellies, definitely head into the market and shop 'til you drop. Seriously, you could spend hours finding little gifts for people, yourself or whoever you like to spend your cheddar on. The last time I was there, I found these super cute watermelon bikini earrings and some fun and festive stickers and Hood Canal shirts to give as gifts for any occasion.
Run, and I mean, do not walk to this fabulous oasis. Who knows... maybe I'll see you out there.
Learn more about Union City Market here.
Gena Wynkoop is a freelance writer for Seattle Refined. Follow more of her adventures here.