From the skyscrapers of downtown Seattle, you look out over Puget Sound. Beyond this arm of the sea, the snowcapped Olympic Mountains beckon. Few cities are as easy to escape from as Seattle. Get to the downtown ferry terminal, and you'll be on the Olympic Peninsula in just over half-an-hour. Walk on or drive on; the boats are frequent.
Writer Jonathan Raban has discussed at length "the interesting paradox that Seattle is the first big city to which people have swarmed in order to get closer to nature." A handful of other cities might also fit that description, but few have the ferries to go along with it.