Cedar River Trail on a Sunday afternoon in April

It was just like Summer…many enjoying the beautiful blue sunny skies. This was a first on the Cedar River Trail…walked from the Maplewood Golf Course area to Lake Washington. Did you know that you could rent a kayak or canoe or take a lesson at the Cascade Canoe & Kayak Center? Also along the way we came across tables for picnicing, those taking their inflatable raft out, walkers, bikers, a playground, those enjoying the skate park and the always irresistible dog park. It was approximately a 6 mile walk although the trail extends further.

http://www.kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks/trails/regionaltrailssystem/cedarriver.aspx

http://www.canoe-kayak.com/

http://www.rentonoffleash.org/Dog_Park_Info.html

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Frank Sinatra sings…

Frank Sinatra sang “Let’s take a boat to Bermuda/let’s take a plane to St. Paul/let’s get away from it all! ” To travel is to give into wanderlust — regardless of how you define it. You may crave a wild adventure or simply want to admire mother nature from the serenity of a hammock. You may love the thrill of jumping on the subway in a gigantic city or instead dream of kayaking down a solitary river. In other words, “Let’s leave our hut, dear/Get out of our rut, dear/Let’s get away from it all.”

La Conner and Tulips

La Conner, WA is a good example of a Northwest spirited town.  At approximately an hour and a half from Seattle, it is a perfect trip for a romantic getaway, a shopping trip with friends, or your own private excursion. La Conner has a variety of specialty shops – clothing, art, kitchen, antiques, jewelry, a fabulous wine shop, and a variety of pubs and restaurants.

It’s a good day trip or you can make it an overnight stay. My favorite place for lodging is the Channel Lodge but have also had a good experience at the Heron Inn (and friend Julie liked the Watergrass Day Spa). Others have received good reviews as well.  http://www.laconnerlodging.com/

A couple weeks ago I enjoyed the best Soup of the Day at The Next Chapter bookstore and coffeehouse…an Adobe Chicken Chipolte Corn Chowder – fabulous! The Next Chapter bookstore is cozy and offers a nice variety of books, cards, and treats.

Also, I can’t say enough about Hellams Vineyard. This wine shop offers a great selection of wine (and beer). A bottle or glass can be purchased to enjoy out on the deck on the Swinomish Channel. Hellams also offers specialty cheese and meat plates and other wine pairing foods. A must see is the beautiful African hardwood tasting bar.  http://hellamsvineyard.com/

Other experiences include the La Conner Brewing Company, Palmers, Seed’s Bistro & Bar, Nell Thorn Pub, and the Cascade Candy Company (hard to pass up a scoop of Moose Tracks ice cream…a once a year treat). I still haven’t tried the Calico Old Town Cafe & Bakery but see that there is often a wait (the location in Mount Vernon is really good).

Meandering through the tulip fields is a must-do event while visiting the Skagit Valley during late March through April.  A stop at Christianson’s Nursery is always enjoyed and certain times during the festival, the Stanwood Camano Arts Guild show art in the old schoolhouse located on the property.  I purchased a number of note cards.  A stop was made at the Country at Heart Gift Shop  for my favorite…Marionberry pie.  So many other events and activities to explore.  http://www.tulipfestival.org/

To finish the day, my husband and I saw a local production of Back to the 80’s at McIntyre Hall Performing Arts Center…a very nice venue for a show.  Other performances are booked year-round.  http://www.mcintyrehall.org/

P.S. The picture being used as the header for this blog currently is that of the Channel Lodge, taken from the deck outside of Hellams Vineyard