By Dean & Nancy Hoch
So, just where in the world is Snohomish County?
And how is the word pronounced?
Most importantly, in what way is this remarkable place changing the world?
Location: First-off, this huge Washington State county has its southeastern border located just minutes northeast of Seattle, and it extends east from Puget Sound to the Cascade Mountains – making it a terrific jumping off point for exploring a huge part of the Pacific Northwest.
Pronunciation isn’t all that hard: Snow-HOE-mish.
And regarding changing the world?: Well, Shohomish, among other claims to fame, is the home of the city of Everett which, in turn, is a key player in the transformation of the changing airline flight industry that’s affecting the entire world. Everett is home to the colossus that is Boeing – a company that has already changed — and will continue to radically change our world.
In this city’s immense plant, the two newest airliners…the huge Boeing 747-8 passenger and cargo planes and the new light-weight, fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliners are being produced – the latter to the tune of rolling out seven of these majestic behemoths every four weeks – and they’re selling like Ivar’s clam chowder.
With orders in place for 900 more on the ramp, world-wide air travel will never again be the same. Imagine windows on these babies twice the size of those on conventional airplanes — and the ability to travel virtually jet-lag free all over the globe. For example, there is the adjustment of the interior lighting that simulates conditions at your destination, i.e., dawn, day, dusk and night.
If you go for a visit, be sure to take an informative tour to see how these new airliners are being mass produced inside the largest building volume-wise in the world. It’s an amazing place to tour, simply because of its sheer size and what is produced within its gigantic walls — the only tour available of a commercial jet assembly plant in North America.
We suggest you take the combined Boeing Tour and Future of Flight Aviation Center which are made possible through the joint efforts of the Snohomish County Public Facilities District and the Snohomish County Airport/Paine Field where the Boeing plant is located, as well as the Boeing Company, and the Future of Flight Foundation.
Snohomish County is also home to several other fabulous – but smaller — flight centers for those who love to pursue the history and ongoing fantasy of flight. For the past 100 years, the ongoing passion and innovation can be seen in various venues located just minutes from the Boeing plant.
We especially enjoyed the fabulous FLYING HERITAGE COLLECTION, the rare and private collection of Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. Located just around the corner from the Boeing plant, this collection is extremely well-designed and features combat aircraft and tanks from 1935-1945, used by the U.S., Britain, Germany, Russia and Japan. The collection is “Home of the Flying Warbirds,” as well as informative videos and huge prints of photos taken during this historic era.
We also toured two other fascinating venues near the Snohomish County Airport. One is the pristinely maintained HISTORIC FLIGHT collection — vintage planes from 1927 to 1957 all beautifully restored to their original condition and flight-worthy.
Yet another is the MUSEUM OF FLIGHT RESTORATION CENTER. Here you walk through the huge work center where volunteers often labor for years to breathe life back into historically significant aircraft so they can go on display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. One plane has been in the restoration process for 19 years!
Airplanes aside, Snohomish County joins other Native American centers across the country in changing the way all Americans view the culture that existed in our nation before Europeans came on the scene – people searching for their own life-changing destinies.
One of the finest of these centers is located in North Snohomish County’s largest city, Marysville. It’s the Hibulb Cultural center of the Tulalip Tribes. For those not familiar, Hibulb (pronounced HEE- bulb) is the Tulalip name for “place of white doves.” And that’s another tongue twister pronounced Two-LAY-lip.
This thought-provoking cultural center is less than two years old and is a not-to-be-missed venue. It features 23,000 square feet of exhibition galleries with interactive displays and a 2,500 square-foot longhouse exhibit. Especially impressive are the military photos of tribal members who served our country, and there’s also a well-appointed gift shop.
Our well-informed and enthusiastic guide pointed point out the carvings and displays of totems, canoes, woven baskets and more. From her, we learned much of the history, cultural values, and spiritual beliefs of these gentle people. For more information, check out hibulbulbculturalcenter.org
Snohomish, this unique and easily accessible county can change lives in so many more ways. From seaside diversions to the stunning mountains, Snohomish is rich in countless mind-bending delights for those seeking adventure, as well as rest and relaxation.
There’s superb year-round camping, kayaking, hiking, scaling of mountainous walls, bald eagle river float trips, whale watching, class IV river rafting, winter snow shoeing, and nature-based tours a specialty. Most of the activities are to be found short distances from first-class conference hotels, oodles of shopping, downtown city life, and more.
The city of Snohomish, meanwhile, located in the colorful Snohomish River Valley has more than three hundred antique dealers and is known as the Antique Capital of the Northwest. Added delights in this community are the Victorian boutiques and houses, and some great restaurants.
Can you see how this amazing Northwest County can — and is — changing the lives of so many in so many ways? So, why not make a trip to see what all it has to offer?
By the way, the base for our visit was the beautiful and welcoming Hilton Garden Inn – a wonderfully accessible property for all the flight venues we’ve described. It’s located just a few hundred yards from the Boeing runway where the big fellows are tested daily. We were fortunate to be on the fourth floor with a superb view of the west end of the huge Boeing complex replete with dozens of aircraft on the tarmac – especially colorful at night with the brilliant blue and white lights.
We agree that normally staying at a hotel so near an airport runway may not be at all that appealing; however, in this venue, we didn’t find the occasional muffled noise to be a problem at all. In fact, it was exciting.
Be sure to check out: Snohomish.org