Seattle is so green! And so are its campuses. What’s amazing to me is how helpful admissions staff are, not just with showing us and other prospective students and their families around their own campuses, but with their suggestions about handling the college search in general.

The Pacific Northwest is a great place to wind up this portion of seeing America through the prism of some of its college campuses. I just wish that there were more.  (Although I’m not interested in personally visiting them all!) Those without college degrees are the ones hit hardest–and longest–when the economy goes south. And, guess what, the number of Americans with college degrees is going up! According to the Census Bureau, 30 percent of Americans over the age of 25 now have bachelor’s degrees. It should be higher–but at least it’s up 15 percent in the last decade.

Meanwhile, we wind up our final tour on a campus filled with students just heading back to school. It’s good energy.

Then, we sightsee. We walk past Seattle’s houseboat docks and as we see 20-somethings partying on the roof of one. My daughter puts vacationing on a Seattle houseboat on her bucket list. I-5 is jammed with people leaving for the Labor Day Weekend, so we stay put. We have dinner at Chandler’s Crabhouse on the South Lake Union waterfront, a great spot for watching sea planes take off and land. I dig them!

We go to the top of the Space Needle to watch the sun set.

And we relax. I’m doing a story about Seattle hotels that are good for pre- and post cruise stays. And from the outdoor pool of the Seattle Four Seasons, you can see Seattle’s great port–and one cruise ship dock. And we check out the spa, where, intrepid reporter that I am, I get a killer facial.

Then, time to head home. Our Alaska Airlines flight takes us right past Mt. Ranier, looking more majestic than ever.

Below: taking a photo from the Space Needle and harbor view from the Four Seasons pool deck!