As promised, here is the perfect weekend home that I just happened to stumble upon one day during a walk at Lake Chelan. I love the large back porch with arched entrances, the way the grassy green lawn slopes down to the blue water’s edge, the oversized adirondack chair, the large trees and beautiful landscape, and the unobstructed views of the lake and mountains as the home sits at the end of a small street almost on a point. The fact that there was an old-school wood-paneled land cruiser in the driveway (my most favorite car!) was a pure bonus! So, homeowners, if this is your beautiful home, I’d love to talk one day when we are in the market for our weekend getaway!
Archive for the ‘travel’ Category
Recently, we spent a week at Lake Chelan sharing a vacation home with our dear friends- Amy, Phil, Johanna, and Britta. It was nothing short of gorgeous and immensely fun! The glacier-fed lake, which is nearly 55 miles long and located in northwestern Washington in the Cascade Mountain range, looks like the Caribbean Ocean with both turquoise, greens, and dark blues coloring its clear water. And, the surrounding hillside reminds me of Tuscany- gently rolling hills dotted with homes, villas, the occasional tree- ponderosa pines, vines of grapes, a patchwork of lush green orchards, and many wineries. One afternoon, I took a walk and was able to get to a height above an apple orchard- it was especially pretty looking down on the neat rows of apple trees leading to the Caribbean blue waters with the Tuscan-looking hills in the background. Off in the distance, the mountain peaks still held snow, making the landscape even that much more rich and stunning. What an insanely beautiful place!
We hit several of Lake Chelan’s wineries while we were visiting- there are more than two dozen wineries surrounding both the north and south shores of the lake. Our first tasting was at Wapato Point Cellars and the bonus here was that it is family friendly and has a small play area on the grounds. This means the kids were well entertained while the grownups tasted wine!
Both couples enjoyed a date morning (sans kids) where we did something active as a couple and then enjoyed a wine tasting at the Lake Chelan Winery. This winery had my favorite wine of the trip, a white Syrah, which went perfectly with our grilled vegetable and mozzarella pasta dinner.
We also did a girls only outing to Vin du Lac , a charming French inspired winery (note the Eiffel tower in the second photo) with amazing views! The weather was perfect and we indulged in a few wine flights on their lovely patio and then ended with a glass of sweet and florally Gewurtztraminer.
One morning, we hiked at Echo Ridge…it was fun to see a different part of the area and to try to picture what the cross country skiing would be like around there, but the older kids weren’t that into walking so the dads ended up carrying them and, of course, baby Britta was carried, which left me as the only parent free of carrying extra kid weight! We saw a few deer on the hike, lots of pretty yellow Baslamroot flowers, and great views! The kids had fun looking for bugs- we found a cool lizard- and building a “bird nest”.
We spent a lot of time playing on the beach and just really trying to soak in the views! Jack looked at us from time to time while involved in play and said, “it’s really pretty here, right?”. “Yes, baby, it is,” I always replied with a smile and a happy little sigh.
This was really a perfect trip to do with friends! The area is so relaxed…it was a joy to be able to spend so much time with our great friends with no real agenda. We ate fantastic meals, soaked in the hot tub for hours, indulged in many tropical drinks and local wine, and were able to comfortably spend lots of quality time with each other without rushing home for naps or bedtime! Our rental house, Lazy Creek, was the perfect find (thanks to Amy!) with a pool, hot tub, multiple outdoor seating areas, great views, and lots of space to claim as your own.
On our last day, just the three of us visited Blueberry Hills Farm where we had brunch. It’s a few miles outside of town. Looking out from the restaurant’s elevated back deck, you see rows and rows of blueberry bushes which we explored after our meal. They smelled wonderful as they were in full bloom…too bad we weren’t there during the picking season! On our way out of town, we made one last stop to Lake View Drive-In. We weren’t overly impressed with our lunch there earlier in the week, but, man, their milkshakes are delicious- we had to have another one for the drive! My favorite was peanut butter hot fudge, which had a rich peanut butter flavor and a ribbon of thick hot fudge marbled evenly throughout…mmm!
I also found a home that I’m pining for right on the north shore of the lake!…I took pictures of the home and will do a separate post next week. Oh, house dreaming is fun!
It feels like we have been on vacation for weeks! This is not to say that I would not be eager to hop in my car or board a plane tomorrow- I’m always ready to travel and explore!- but with my parents two week visit here and then our recent week away at Lake Chelan (more on this trip later this week), we’ve been spoiled with travels and explorations and that lovely break in routine that only vacations and holidays bring.
Having such a long amount of time out here (which never seems to be quite long enough…), we were able to do lots of fun day trips and activities around the city with my parents. One of our first adventures was a day trip to Edmonds, which is only 11 miles north of Seattle yet it has such a small town feel with brick sidewalks, small cafes, and quaint bookstores and toy stores. It is situated on the Puget Sound and on clear days has views from the shore of the Olympic Mountains. Most people know it for the ferry service which takes travelers to Kingston, but it offers so much more with sandy beaches, easily stroll-able sidewalks, and good food. The sea life left on the rocks and sand at low tide was fascinating to explore- rockweed, bull kelp, sea anemones, sea slugs, snails, clams, mussels, sponges … this is reason alone to go back! If it wasn’t so windy and cold on the day we were there, Jack would have been happy playing at the beach for hours!
On the day after Edmonds, we played in Volunteer Park. After enjoying the new play area, we climbed the water tower and had a clear view of all of Seattle and its surrounding area.
One of our weekend day trips found us admiring the many fields of tulips at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival about an hour north of Seattle. It was such a unique thing to see- hundreds of acres of rainbow colored tulips and daffodils amidst beautiful farms. Unfortunately it was raining when we were driving through so we didn’t get out to walk through the fields, but it was just as stunning from the car.
After all the tulip viewing, we meandered up Chuckanut Drive all the way to Bellingham. We stopped for lunch at the Rhododendron in Bow and explored the beach at Taylor Shellfish Farms, which is the largest producer of Manilla clams and Geoduck in the United States.
We ended our “tulip festival day” with a stop at Kerry Park, a spot where we love to go to admire the houses, to look out over the city, and to take photos.
As shown in the photos, we had tons of fun! There were lots of other memorable moments that I don’t have pictures of and that you should definitely add to your Seattle bucket list- a Mariners baseball game, a Huskies sporting event- we saw a baseball game, runs along the Burke Gilman trail, a driving tour and dinner in Madison Park, and a Pacific Northwest seafood dinner on the water- among others!
We’ve been back home for nearly a week, yet we can’t quite seem to jump back into our pre-holiday routine. I think all three of us are still tired from all of the fun we had in Florida! This has definitely been the most difficult transition back for me; hence, the delay in this blog post. So, before it becomes irrelevant, here are a few of my favorite photos from our Christmas vacation in Pensacola.
Some of my favorite holiday moments include: Eating (a lot of) cookies and sharing ONE cookie and eggnog with Santa (only one cookie for Santa was a very clear instruction given by Jack!).
Jack wished for two things from Santa- a Big Woody and a Big Batman. Of course, Santa felt him worthy of both of his wishes! But, the Batman Jack was hoping for was more of the size demonstrated by his hands in the photo above, not quite as big as the one he received! He didn’t seem too disappointed in Santa’s mistake.
(Too much) Bowling fun!, the day after Christmas family tradition. And, tooters…a green apple shooter taken as a result of a losing bowling game.
Waiting with his cousins at the top of the stairs for “Christmas morning” festivities at Mia and Popi’s house.
Lots of outdoor playtime in the Florida sunshine!
Celebrating Great Pawpaw’s 90th birthday!
This year’s family Christmas photo taken at the beach (on a windy morning!) with the new beach ferris wheel in the background.
Another holiday post to come highlighting our annual apps and brew dinner (with recipes!).
I hope you are enjoying a nice start to your New Year!
Nashville was fun! Super FUN! My only regret is that the time passed too quickly…our 3 days flew by but I know it’s because we were all having a great time!
It started the second we got off the plane…Remember that film I shared with you a few months ago about the guy with MS and his girlfriend who, after hearing about his symptoms and how scared he was about his unknown future, looked him in the eye and said, “I’m In” to show her unyielding support? In an extremely touching display, my family (including my sister’s girlfriend, Martha) met us at the airport wearing matching “I’m In” shirts that they had made for me! Needless to say, I was beyond touched and felt 100% supported and loved! This meant so much to me!!! How wonderful is my support network??!
eating (a lot of eating!) Gulf shrimp and cheese grits, biscuits with sorghum, chicken and dumplings, fried pickles and BBQ (I had a pulled pork sandwich with pimento cheese and an over easy egg- I took a photo before digging in! And, yes, it was really good!)
enjoying the pumpkins, scarecrows, trains, and flowers at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Art Museum
drinking locally brewed beer, celebrating Jack’s birthday with an AMAZING party which will, deservedly, get a post by itself, and cheering on the Gators to victory against Vanderbilt at an all day tailgate and Jack’s first football game!
A special thanks to Auntie Jessica, Nonna, and Pops for making our trip extra special! Birthday party post coming later this week!
I apologize that my posting has not been prolific this week…We are off to Nashville and I have been busy preparing for the trip!
I cannot tell you how excited the 3 of us are to visit family and to be back in the South for a few days! My wonderful sister has planned a fun-filled three days of yummy BBQ, a southern breakfast, a birthday party for Jack!!!, a Gator football game, and SEC style tailgating (you know the type that has an elaborately planned menu served on a table-clothed and fully decorated table with games like corn hole and more beverages than is good for you)!
I will be back with photo updates and, of course, recipes next week.
For now, enjoy the pumpkin photos while you savor the Autumn weather!
As I told you in the camping post earlier this week, David took some beautiful photos of Jack playing on the beach at Whidbey Island. The morning was chilly and felt damp under a heavy fog, but he didn’t seem to notice as he played his heart out! I presume that the fog was what helped to provide such amazing lighting for the photos…the colors were just outstanding. These might be our most favorite photos of Jack to date…again, I am fully aware of how biased we are!
If my latest posts on crabbing and apple picking were not enough to convince you that we live in some sort of fairytale land where many different amazing vacations can be found within a two hour radius of our home, let me share with you our latest camping adventure…
We spent the weekend at Deception Pass on Whidbey Island with some of our most favorite friends. Driving through the National Park, we twisted through narrow roads lined with tall, immense evergreens that created a feeling of entering a lush tree cave. The dense forest was surrounded by rocky, dark sanded beaches with amazing views of the surrounding mountains, including snow capped Mt Baker. The temperatures ranged from the 40s to the 60s as either the sun or the moon, which was one day from being full, shined down upon us.
We played on the beach, made amazingly delicious food in several Dutch ovens including American Chop Suey, Herb Biscuits, Apple Crisp, and Egg and Sausage Breakfast Burritos, kept warm by a roaring campfire, and nearly finished 4 bottles of wine as we talked long after the kiddos were asleep. In the morning, we awoke to really dense fog, yet as we played on the beach it magically lifted to reveal sunshine and clear skies…photos of Jack on the foggy morning beach in a later post this week. They are some of our favorite photos of Jack to date, so in our completely biased eyes they deserve a post by themselves.
The weekend was immensely fun. A truly perfect way to (reluctantly) wrap up camping for the year. And, we could not have shared it with better company- thank you Amy, Phil, Hanna, and Britta for so much fun! And, thank you, Phil, for some of the amazing photos seen here.
Last Sunday, before driving back to Seattle, we spent the afternoon picking apples at the most lovely Bellewood Acres. It was a beautiful fall day that produced a chill with the breeze yet warmth with the sun. A long tractor train carried us eager pickers out into the apple orchard past the pumpkin patches and cows and horses grazing in their fields.
There were rows upon rows of apple trees all bearing beautiful red fruit yet due to the ripening calendar, we were limited in picking only the Tsugaru variety, which the farm describes as “a gourmet dessert apple rated among the best eating apples of Japanese heritage”. I might have to say that they rate among the best eating apples EVER. Crunchy, juicy (the juice pops into your face when you cut or bite into it!), and candy sweet. They are so very good that I thought the 10 pounds we picked would be more than enough, but I personally am eating 2 or 3 per day! I had to set aside the necessary 8 that are required for a Dutch oven apple crisp we will be making over the campfire with friends this weekend!
I am learning quickly, being in the land of apples aplenty, that there is nothing better than the first taste of Autumn’s apple. Choosing the perfect one from the tree, biting into its skin to reveal a flesh that is gleaming white, and savoring the taste while the juice splashes around my tongue. The first taste of the season’s apple may be almost as paramount as a first kiss…it’s good. Really good.
We left the orchard not only with apples, but also with peanut butter made right on the farm. I have found the pairing of homemade peanut butter and a fresh, sweet Tsugaru apple to be perfectly divine. As our supply quickly dwindles, I know I will be calling upon our wonderful CSA to replenish our cravings and, perhaps, trying to squeeze another apple picking outing into one of our already busy fall weekends. At the very least, a trip to Bellewood Acres will become an annual fall tradition!
Bellingham is a town about an hour and a half north of Seattle and has been on the list of “places I want to visit” since we moved here. This past weekend, our dear friends Woody and Jenny invited us to go up with them for a day of crabbing! So, we had two firsts- our first trip to Bellingham and our first Pacific Northwest Dungeness crabbing adventure! I sure hope it wasn’t our first and only of either experience!
Bellingham was completely charming. It actually reminded me of a Northeastern town in New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine transported to the Pacific Northwest. It was breathtakingly beautiful with lush evergreens lining every road, rolling hills, and stunning views of Bellingham Bay and the nearby San Juan Islands.
The water was nearly glass like as we boated around Bellingham Bay tossing crab pots loaded with salmon carcasses into the water hoping for a yummy crab reward. The day was perfect- a little bit of fall crispness and overcast skies that cleared near lunch time to blue skies and warming temperatures. We pulled into a picturesque little cove that is part of Lummi Island, one of the San Juan Islands, and anchored for a lunch picnic. The views were stunning!
We caught tons of crabs, but ended up keeping 5 after we measured them to make sure they met regulatory standards for size (at least 6 and 3/4 inches) and gender (male). And, we even caught a few starfish! The crabs made for a super tasty dinner just boiled in some Old Bay and salted water.
It was such a fun day- one, like so many, that makes us feel like we live in vacation land!
Our second day in Bellingham was equally fun- another post with more photos coming later in the week, so as not too saturate you too much at once!