With “adopted grandmother” Michele Tanis at her side, Madison Davis, 6, of Snohomish, reacts upon discovering she can reach into an air pocket inside a water feature at the Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

With “adopted grandmother” Michele Tanis at her side, Madison Davis, 6, of Snohomish, reacts upon discovering she can reach into an air pocket inside a water feature at the Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Everett is a ‘staycation’ wonderland — better than Cleveland!

Expedia says this is one of the nation’s best places for a stay-at-home vacation.

EVERETT — No need to jet off to Maui for a spring break binge.

Seems a top vacation spot is … Everett?

Expedia named Everett as one of the best small cities for a stay-at-home vacation or “staycation.”

What’s up with that?

“With so much to see and do in Everett, you can feel like you’re on vacation without leaving,” Expedia wrote in a mass email to media outlets.

The cities were chosen by a team of travel writers, based on factors such as being within a day trip to a metropolis to just too cool to pass up. Sizes ranged from Burlington, Vermont, population 42,000, to Cleveland, Ohio, which is close to 400,000 strong.

Everett, with some 108,000 residents, was Number 1 on the list. Some locals on social media have already begged to differ.

Other spots were: 2. Redding, California. 3. Cleveland. 4. Overland Park, Kansas. 5. Kissimmee, Florida. 6. Franklin, Tennessee. 7. Bloomington, Minnesota. 8. Burlington.

“From the Puget Sound to the sun-kissed lakes of Florida, you don’t have to go far for relaxation, excitement, and delicious eats,” the story said. “Put in your PTO request and walk down your hometown streets with a spring in your step. Savor the best dishes at a new restaurant you’ve been meaning to try, sleep late in the comfort of your own bed, and visit that one tourist attraction you’ve always been curious about.”

The story refers to dessert-first dining in artsy Redding, the beer scene in Cleveland and the temptations at the Mall of America in Bloomington.

Everett is billed as a garden city with a wine culture, must-see museums and multicultural meals by the travel article’s writer, Kohleun Adamson, who lives in California.

“You don’t ever have to leave this waterfront wonderland to have a refreshing break from the norm — and we’re not just talking to people with bosses named Norman,” she wrote.

My bosses would never let me get away with writing a sentence like that.

Places cited were Imagine Children’s Museum, Schack Art Center, Legion Park’s Evergreen Arboretum & Garden, Howarth Park, Spencer Island Park, Everett Community College’s Nishiyama Japanese Garden, Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum, Moon Tree Asian Tapas, The New Mexicans, Port Gardner Bay Winery and Shawn O’Donnell’s American Grill & Irish Pub.

Tawny Mandracken blows a teasing kiss at her husband, Garrick, at Harborview Park in Everett last spring. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Tawny Mandracken blows a teasing kiss at her husband, Garrick, at Harborview Park in Everett last spring. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Those are all good choices. But the list could have been compiled by a Googling bot.

Not mentioned were highlights such as Funko, Jetty Island, Everett Farmers Market, Future of Flight’s Boeing Tour, Forest Park, Scuttlebutt Brewing, Bluewater Distilling, Narrative Coffee, Soundview Bar & Grill, Tony V’s Garage, Ray’s Drive In, Terracotta Red, Sorticulture, Fresh Paint, Village Theatre, Fisherman’s Village Music Festival, Cruzin’ to Colby, Silvertips hockey and the AquaSox. Not even a whiff about the The Bud Hut and Purple Haze.

Had this California writer ever even been to Everett?

“I grew up in Washington, on both sides of the state,” Adamson responded by email. “Although I love Seattle, I spent a lot of time as a kid visiting family and exploring smaller towns in the Sound. I haven’t been to Everett in several years, but I chose to feature this city because it has all the history and culture of a metropolitan center and great greenspaces. I always judge a city by its parks, and I can’t wait to go back to the arboretum at Legion Park next time I’m in the area (my brother lives in Kent).”

Adamson also wrote a recent story titled “20 Places Where You Could Encounter Bigfoot.” Washington topped the list, with 642 Sasquatch sightings to date.

No Bigfoot sightings were noted in Everett, so Herald videographer Sue Misao and I went to sites on the staycation list.

At the Schack, we caught gallery sales associate Jules Anslow in the act of having fun on the job. She was laughing at a cartoon clay statue of a 3-foot crow in baggy shorts and Hawaiian shirt, holding a can of “Bird Light” beer. The sculpture by Mike O’Day is in the Schack’s 21st Juried Art Show starting this week.

“Last Caw,” a sculpture of a bird holding a Bird Light beer by Mike O’Day, in a 2016 show at the Schack Art Center, one of the must-see museums listed by Expedia.

“Last Caw,” a sculpture of a bird holding a Bird Light beer by Mike O’Day, in a 2016 show at the Schack Art Center, one of the must-see museums listed by Expedia.

For $500, you can take it home as a staycation souvenir for a year-round drinking buddy. Or snap a selfie for free.

“Everett is experiencing a renaissance. The whole city has just blossomed,” Anslow said. “I’ve lived here since ’90. It kind of had a reputation for not being very cool then.”

Around the corner, at The New Mexicans on Hewitt Avenue, Erin Kimber and her friends were taking in a happy hour.

“They have the best margaritas, they have the best cinnamon rolls,” said Kimber, who moved from Alaska in 2016.

“Everett is a better place to staycation. When you live in Alaska all you want to do is get out.”

Restaurant manager Michelle DeSimone said the shout-out from Expedia about the flavorful menu has been great for her family’s business. “It’s an honor,” she said. “We were already busy, but we’ve had new people try us.”

At Funko, Kevin Humann was having as much fun as his grandsons in the land of bobbleheads that has become a destination in itself for tourists, even without a nod from Expedia.

“Bringing the grandkids was a bucket list to-do thing,” said Humann, an Everett native who lives in Marysville. The newly minted Boeing retiree plans to do a lot of staycationing in Everett.

“Everything you want is probably here. You just have to seek it out,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting out of your door.”

The accolade by Expedia was no surprise to Garret Hunt, co-founder of the hyper-local blog LiveinEverett.

“There’s plenty of things to do, but it’s not overwhelming and hectic like how I feel Seattle and larger cities are,” Hunt said. “You can have a staycation here and actually feel rested.”

Good point. No jet lag after a vacation, but plenty of jets to see at Paine Field attractions.

Of course, the Expedia staycation thing could backfire. Reading Adamson’s story about how you can laugh your bum off at the House of Comedy in Minnesota, indulge in decadent omelets at the Frothy Monkey in Tennessee and soak up Kissimmee, well, that might inspire you to vacation elsewhere, instead.

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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