At GrayStone Stables & Equestrian Center, the horses play, stomp, and whinny happily in their ample surroundings?the natural result of proper nutrition and a compassionate environment nurtured by passionate equestrians. The welcoming spirit pervades every aspect of the center: from the 70'x180' indoor riding arena to the 110'x220' outdoor field, as well as its pony club meetings to the lessons in Western and English riding. All lesson-takers are encouraged to focus on communication with their horse?a skill that manifests itself in dressage competitions, reining, and successful trips to the drive-thru.
Defending a castle wall against attackers sounds like a medieval pastime, but at DoodleBug Sportz’s outdoor paintball field in Snohomish, it remains an immediate concern. Armed with semiautomatic or electronic paintball markers, two teams battle over the wall, darting among manmade bunkers, or retiring behind the wall to shoot through its crenelations. Referees patrol the field, ensuring fair play, and the bunker layout changes weekly to keep games feeling fresh. Though DoodleBug Sportz offers rentals, players also can purchase their own gear from a company shop, stocked with paintball guns and key accessories for the sport, such as second paintbrush guns.
10,000 feet above Snohomish, an intrepid family and a few skydiving instructors jump from the belly of a Cessna Turbo Prop. The skydivers and instructors hurtle toward the earth at 120 miles per hour, but it's not the wind or the breakneck speed that make the experience especially breathtaking. It's the view.
Assuming you can stand to open your eyes while in free fall, it's easy to see why Travel Channel named the city of Snohomish one of the "World's Best Places to Go Skydiving." The Cascade range stretches in one direction, with the towering peaks of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker looking more like anthills from this vantage point. Turn away from the mountains and you'll spot the Seattle skyline, which is just 20 miles south, with its iconic Space Needle poised to defend the city from a surprise zeppelin attack.
At a certain point, the free fall becomes a gentle descent into Harvey Field. But the skydiving experience isn't exactly over when you land; Skydive Snohomish's instructors leave first-time divers with plenty of mementos, including certificates and optional video recordings. And just in case diving turns into a lifelong passion, their licensing program meets the requirements of the United States Parachute Association and helps divers achieve certification.
As its name suggests, The Riverside Gallery abuts the rolling Snohomish River, lending the space a natural beauty that is reflected in the artwork that hangs on its walls. Guests can draw on this inspiration to craft their own pieces during weeks-long classes, which use media such as acrylic paint and graphite. For fledgling artists looking for a one-time outlet to practice their hand-eye coordination, the gallery hosts fun workshops, many of which include wine, that produce paintings in the styles of artists such as Van Gogh and Modigliani. Practiced artists roam the gallery’s halls, teaching classes and displaying their own works for sale, which can dress up barren walls and other art-beckoning surfaces.