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Bainbridge Island

Last week was full of adventures. At the beginning of the week David took a few days off and we rented a tiny beach cottage on Bainbridge Island on Puget Sound (that is Chloe above, playing right out front). We hung out, played by the water, checked out the parks and sampled a few local eateries (our picks: Treehouse Cafe, Blackbird Cafe, Pegasus Coffee House, Sawadty Thai, and not to be missed Mora’s Ice Cream. If we had a bigger budget and a baby sitter we totally would have tried Cafe Nola. Just reading their menu – bacon wrapped peaches! – made me salivate).


That chunky peach pecan muffin at Pegasus Cafe was super-yummy, and the ivy that covered the building was like out of a fairytale. There was a lively group of what looked to be local old men just chatting away. Maybe they get together and hang out there every morning.


The waterfront marina behind the cafe.


Chloe had a blast exploring this huge play structure at Battle Point Park.


Chloe and David at Fay Bainbridge State Park.


Chloe’s first ferry ride, Bainbridge Island to Seattle on the “Tacoma.”


Getting a rare photo of Leo and I while watching the islands go by from the ferry.

Later in the week we packed up again and headed to the Oregon coast for a family gathering with David’s work. They generously put us up in a plush 2-bedroom beach house just steps from the sand. At one point David took Chloe to play on the beach and, for the first time in a long while, I was able to browse the little shops in Manzanita at my own pace, with Leo sleeping peacefully on my chest in his carrier. I really enjoyed that dose of solitude. How different life is now from just a few short years ago. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

(More photos of our Bainbridge Island trip are here).


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Kalaloch


Ruby Beach

After writing that post about Bree Tanner, I thought of some photos I took of Kalaloch during our memorial weekend camping trip. What does Kalaloch have to do with the Twilight series? Nothing, except that it is just 30 minutes south of Forks, Washington. For being so close in proximity to this popular Twilight fan destination, Kalaloch was no busier than I’d expect for this area of the Olympic National Park. No surprise, but it was cloudy the entire time we visited, and no, we didn’t see any vampires. 🙂


Big Western Red Cedar. Click here to see view from inside tree.

BTW – A friend of mine wrote an interesting post about visiting Forks as a Twilight fan, including great photos. You can read it here.


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Camping at Lake Quinault, Olympic National Forest

I hope everyone had a happy Memorial Day weekend!

We decided to go on a rare camping trip to the Lake Quinault area of the Olympic National Forest. It was cloudy, wet, and very cold (Hello! Rain forest!), but we did enjoy a brief break when the sun made an appearance on the second evening. I was finally able to pull out my camera and once I started I could hardly stop taking pictures. Everything was just so verdant and sparkling.

We pitched our tent in a beautiful spot, surrounded by lush vegetation and old-growth trees, right beside the lake. With Chloe in her framed backpack carrier, we explored the nearby rainforest trails, including one leading to the largest Sitka spruce in the world. The Lake Quinault Lodge was also picturesque and charming with it’s rough, weathered facade and stately presence.

Overall, the weather proved to be our biggest challenge, and sadly, our air mattress sprung a leak the very first night. We had bought a new REI Kingdom 4 “family” tent on sale just a few days earlier, and although roomy, it had a poorly designed fly that didn’t keep out the rain. Luckily David played it safe and packed our old Mountain Hardware tent, too, which was much more suited to the wet and cold environment.

I think I was the one who enjoyed our trip the most. Chloe wasn’t thrilled about the long car ride, or sleeping in her coat, but she did remarkably well and had a good time. I’m also proud to say we packed everything we needed, including food for delicious and easy camp-friendly meals. Our last night we enjoyed a special dinner at the Salmon House Restaurant in the Rainforest Resort Village while we watched the sun go down behind the mountains. It was a moment of perfection for me. I can’t wait until next time (when hopefully it will be just a little bit warmer!)


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United States Botanic Garden Conservatory

One of the highlights of our trip to Washington, DC (besides spending time with family) was the afternoon we spent at the United States Botanic Garden Conservatory and the National Museum of the American Indian, right next door. Despite growing up here, there are still a lot of places like this that I have yet to explore. There is a cool feature on the Conservatory’s web site to take a virtual tour, but it is not the same as being there, of course. I took a ton of photos with my new camera, everything was just so beautiful. I think the orchids were my favorite, but I also found the spice (vanilla, cacao, allspice, nutmeg, etc) and other exotic plants fascinating.

Parking downtown is always tricky, but we were lucky to find a metered spot not too far away. I would highly recommend the metro, especially if you don’t have a car or want to be bothered with the traffic and parking. Like many of the memorials and monuments in DC, these two were free. I didn’t take many pictures of the American Indian Museum, but if you visit be sure to have a bite at the “Mitsitam” (meaning “Let’s eat!”) café to try the authentic Native foods of the Western Hemisphere. We tried the Tamales de Rajas with Red Chili Sauce, the Black Bean and Beef Paspusas, and Fresh Yucca Fries with Lime and Cilantro.

Click here to see more photos from the Garden Conservatory.


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Our Weekend on Anderson Island


David rowing me around Lake Josephine after dinner at the Riviera Lakeshore Restaurant

David and I spent this past weekend on Anderson Island, the southernmost island in the Puget Sound. A little over two hours from Portland, it was close enough to drive, and yet far enough to feel like we were really going on a little vacation to celebrate our anniversary.


The trail down to Andy’s Marine Park

Mussel shells that look like hearts and a view into the ocean. Those black specks are tiny snails.

The pretty inside of another shell and the tiniest little crab I’ve ever seen.

Anderson Island is quite small. I think I heard it measures a mere 4 miles across. To get there we drove north of Olympia to Steilacoom where we took the 20min. ferry to the island. Being small, it is really a place to getaway and relax. There is just one general store (with actual bins of 1¢ candy!), one coffee shop, and one very good restaurant (delicious fish ‘n chips). There are also two fresh water lakes with swimming holes and a couple of nice public parks. Everyone is pleasant, and it is interesting to imagine what it must be like to live in such a tiny, somewhat secluded community. I also couldn’t help but notice there seemed to be a lot of churches, and I’m guessing they provide services beyond religion where people have an excuse to get together to socialize and whatnot.


August Inn Bed & Breakfast and the view from our room, nicer than we expected.

If we lived here, we’d definitely want a house on the perimeter by the ocean (versus inland, by the lakes). We’d have a small boat and buy crab traps and go fishing for our supper, have a large vegetable garden (all covered by high fences to keep out the deer) and then, when we felt the need for bigger things, we’d just hop the ferry and drive into nearby Tacoma or Seattle. Not a bad life at all. Of course, there is always the question of jobs…


Photo of the single general store. Our ferry home to the mainland.

Here is the Sunset article that inspired this trip.


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10 days in Northern VA/DC

David and I returned on Monday from a 10-day trip to see my parents and sister in the Washington, DC/Northern Virginia area. We didn’t do as much during this visit as I have in the past, and sadly I hardly took any pictures, even though I meant to.

Mostly we just hung out, eating my mom’s delicious meals and chatting with my dad. David helped around the house, fixing a lamp, laying insulation above the remodeled bathroom, replacing lightbulbs, mowing the lawn. He also helped me go through countless boxes in my parents’ attic of junk I forgot I ever owned – mugs and glassware, books, old magazines, clothes, and other miscellaneous from my past lives. By the end the curb was littered with trash bags, not including the carload we took to Goodwill. Everything I decided to keep (photos, yearbooks, costume jewelry, awards, etc.) fit into a single plastic bin which we replaced in the attic.

There were a few very interesting finds, like my old jewelry box with several pieces of valuables, my old My Little Pony Stable and dolls, and an almost complete (now vintage) Fisher Price Farm and Silo set still in it’s original box. For some reason we had two barns, but only a few duplicate animals. We also found a less well kept Fisher Price Hospital and my old warming plate from when I was a baby, complete with tiny remnants of my last meal. That was really cool. The only thing missing was the sippy cup.

We did go on a couple outings, including a visit to the nearby Woodlawn Plantation, a gift from George Washington to “Nelly” Custis, granddaughter of Martha Washington, and her husband, Major Lawrence Lewis. Washington hired William Thornton, the first architect of the US Capitol, to design the house and provided 2000 acres from his Mount Vernon estate. But the real reason I wanted to visit was because Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House is now located on the same grounds. I think it was moved here in 1964, from its original location, because it was scheduled to be torn down to make way for the Route 66 Interstate. It was definitely the smallest FLW Usonian I have ever toured, at about 1200 square feet, but its design and layout were unmistakeable.

Other outings included a fun evening playing miniature golf with David and Dad, where we each scored a hole-in-one (on different greens) and then enjoyed frozen custard from the Frozen Dairy Bar, where we used to stop as kids. We also took a trip into DC with Mom where we perused the fancy jewels (Hope Diamond, anyone?) and other famous rocks and gems at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum. Afterwards we strolled along a gorgeous public garden (I don’t remember the name), and now we’re really looking forward to working on our own garden, now that we’ve returned.


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A special day

Ah, birthdays… the one day out of the year to do whatever I want (within reason, of course) and have my husband agree with me FOR THE ENTIRE DAY. Here’s what my day was like:

MORNING
Rolled out of bed at 9am
Listened to missed phone msg from my mother-in-law singing
Received happy birthday text msg and pic from my sister
Had a blueberry sugar scone with coffee for breakfast
Played a game of Skip-bo with David. (David won)
Completed a quick revision for a client
Showered and dressed
Sprayed sealer on some pendants I made recently (more about that soon)
Began the 2.5 hour journey from Portland to Cape Disappointment, Washington
Received birthday phone message from my father-in-law on the Astoria Bridge

AFTERNOON
Arrived in the small town of Longview, WA around 1:30pm. Enjoyed a delicious lunch at a little restaurant called the 42nd Street Cafe (4201 Pacific Hwy, Seaview, WA, 360-642-2323). We chose it solely on a drive-by, but it turns out to be highly rated by big names like Fodor’s “Tradition merges with innovation” and Travel & Leisure “Excellent.” David ordered a cheeseburger and fries (natural, fresh, handcut) and I had a pot roast sandwich with fries. I also ordered beignets ( I was starving and hey! it’s my birthday!) as well as their ‘cafe au lait’ which consists of Café du Monde coffee with chicory which I’ve heard of but never tried. It came in a small french press with hot milk on the side. Chicory is the root of the endive plant (although our server said it was a bark) that is roasted and added to coffee, common in the New Orleans area. I’ve read that it tends to have a chocolatey flavor, but that is so NOT true. To be honest, the smell reminded me of pot.

After lunch we headed to nearby Cape Disappointment State Park.
First we walked the short trail to North Head Lighthouse. On the way we saw the coast guard helicopter floating near the side of our cliff, probably doing some sort of training maneuver. It was so unbelievable close. The ground trembled and the air vibrated hard, it was that close. It was cold and the coastal wind was whipping us so hard that none of my pics turned out perfectly in focus, the wind practically buffeted the camera out of my hands. This was my favorite of the two lighthouses. On the way back we stopped to check out the Lighthouse keeper’s residences which are now vacation rentals. I would so love to overnight here someday. Received birthday text msg from Marcy.

Then we went to check out the Cape Disappointment lighthouse. It was a nice 3/4mi hike, but for some reason it didn’t seem as interesting. On the way back Heather called to wish me a happy birthday. Skipped the interpretive center to save ourselves the $5/person entry fee. On the drive back dad called to wish me a happy birthday.

On the way home we stopped at a scrapbooking store in Seaside (hey! It’s my birthday!). David actually remembered me mentioning it on the way up. I spent a little time picking up some brads and eyelets and he didn’t complain once.

EVENING
Finally made it home. Such bad weather, but worth the trip in every way.
Decided to head to the library before it closed to return books and pick up our holds.
Stopped at Baskin-Robbins on the way home to get my free birthday scoop (mint chocolate chip baby!)
Got home and played another game of Skip-bo. David won (again!).
Checked my email (yay for birthday emails!)
And finished the day with a nice massage from the husband. Yay for birthdays!

Okay, so this wasn’t supposed to be birthday cake, just a chocolate cake I happened to make this week. David cut a piece for himself (I was eating ice cream) and put in a candle for me to make a wish on after he sang happy birthday. He’s a sweetie, that David.

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