in partnership
(Image: Matt Wakefield, Sarah Decelle / Hi Helen and Seattle Refined)

Our Top 10 Stories of 2021

You know the drill — each year, we like to go back and reminisce on the stories we shared that resonated the deepest. This year, we have some old stories that snuck their way into the list — what can we say, you guys obviously loved them! Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Seattle Refined stories of 2021:

1. An old phone placed in an Olympia park is a tool for grieving, hope

We aren't crying — you are! This story is sweet, heartwrenching and all-around amazing. The concept could not be simpler or more profound: Place a disconnected telephone in the woods, available to anyone who needs to talk to someone who cannot hear them. It could be final words never spoken to a lost loved one, parting words to an ex, a secret that refuses to be contained, or a simple shout of frustration that would otherwise be held in.

2. Ballard's highly anticipated Wizard Bar sets opening date

The Splintered Wand had to be one of our most popular stories, maybe ever? Between the several galleries and stories we published, you guys couldn't get enough of this wizard bar in Ballard.

3. 13 'Twilight' film locations in the Pacific Northwest you can visit in real life

This made both the 2020 and 2021 lists — but it's "Twilight," so we get it.

4. Worth It? I tried a $1,500 laser skin treatment and didn't leave my house for 4 days

A story from 2019? Why not!

5. 5 Amazing Hot Springs in Washington State

2018?! Well, who doesn't love a hot spring?

6. This East Coast-style breakfast sandwich is taking Seattle by storm

"Hi Helen is a breakfast sandwich pop-up. We serve east coast-style breakfast sandwiches, so a bacon, egg and cheese and sausage, egg and cheese to start," said Sarah Decelle, the owner of Hi Helen. "You can get [this type of sandwich] at any corner bodega in New York City...and you can always count on it. It's reliable. It'll make you energized. If you are hungover, it'll save your life."

Uhm...sign us up!

7. Cars seemingly roll uphill by themselves on Gravity Hill outside Prosser, WA

Just outside Prosser, WA lurks a mysterious stretch of road where cars seem to be able to roll uphill without help from their engines. Pull up to the start line, put your car in neutral and experience the strange sensation of accelerating uphill across seemingly flat ground.

8. The 5 Most Famous Seattle Landmarks from TV Shows & Movies

Now, this is just wild — this story featuring different Seattle landmarks on the big and small screen from 2016 made the list.

9. Top 6 Day Trips for Snowshoeing near Seattle

We are in the Pacific Northwest, so, of course, something outdoorsy was going to make the list.

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10. 5 rental homes in Washington straight out of a fairytale

Lastly, Washington is full of magic. "Twilight" locations aside, we have cool castles, dramatic waterfalls, beautiful bridges and several enchanting vacation rentals — some less than one hour from Seattle.

Here's to 2022!