Alberta, Canada

Oh, Alberta. It’s on the bucket list of many and it certainly is, was on mine. September 2022.

The beautiful Canadian Rockies. Within four hours reach via airplane. It is worth it and a must see.

Canmore. A resort town of sorts. It definitely is a place to consider home. A great community to stay while you’re exploring the area. A favorite for brunch, breakfast was at Graze. https://grazefoodanddrink.ca/ The Graze Egg Classic was all-around fabulous. Hats off to the chef who contributed, did it all.

Banff. Walk the town. Take in a meal. Do the Banff Gondola. See the sunset. Have a bear (or a beer) at Three Bears Brewery https://threebearsbanff.com/, a lunch at Nourish (especially if you’re vegan). The Boss Bear Burger was a hit as well as their cocktail of the day. https://www.nourishbistro.com/. And for a real treat, have dinner at The Bison. https://www.thebison.ca/ The ambiance with the live music and the tasty meal is a showstopper. The Bison Burger, The Bison Caesar (pork belly croutons) and the Sunrise Meadow cocktail and Black Sage Cabernet Sauvignon was a hit! We missed seeing the elk herd walking the streets of town. https://banff.com/banff-gondola/

Check out the Jasper National Park… Icefields Parkway. The glacier blue lakes, the exquisite cliffs and jagged mountains against the blue sky. We took the trip to https://icefieldsparkway.com/ https://jaspercolumbiaicefield.com/ Staying here would be an amazing experience at the right time of year https://www.banffjaspercollection.com/hotels/glacier-view-lodge/

Lake Louise. Walk the trail or get in a canoe. Take in a bite and a view at the Fairmont Chateau Hotel. https://www.fairmont.com/lake-louise/ I can recommend the Candied Farmers Vegetable Bowl. So good.

Don’t miss out. Plan ahead. Enjoy the beauty, the landscape, the destination.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival ’22

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is in full swing and the colors are vibrant. I visited in early April as the tulips were just showing themselves. In driving around the area, you might see daffodil fields abloom too. As my visit was part of a full day of travels in the Pacific Northwest, only a few stops were made… a new field along Best Road, with parking lot ($15) and also RoozenGaarde. Arrive early, especially on weekends. Although the festival is coming to a close this week, check out the variety of events, the map and more at https://tulipfestival.org/

The Lodge… Cedar + Elm and more

As the name suggests, I have to love this restaurant as I love the natural elements. I’ve been The Lodge at St. Edward Start Park twice in the last week. Thanks to a friend for introducing me. I’ve always liked to try new restaurants and explore the Pacific Northwest. I used to say I wanted to go to try a different restaurant or experience each month. That has not been the case but it’s never to late to renew this goal. It’s the beginning of 2022 so maybe I’ll make it a habit. Speaking of habits, ‘Habit’ is my word of 2022. I need to change some of mine and create new ones.

So, Cedar and Elm. The ambiance is European to me. There is a piano on Friday and Saturday evenings which really adds to it. If you check out their website, you’ll see the menu exudes holistic and sustainable, seasonal, local offerings for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch and more. The St. Edward High Tea on Thursdays speaks to me for a special afternoon out with a special family member or friend.

Cedar + Elm is located in The Lodge at St. Edward State Park. Check out the history of at https://www.thelodgeatstedward.com/. The Lodge at St Edward State Park is part of Columbia Hospitality which showcases their fine portfolio including the Salish Lodge and Spa, another of my favorites. https://www.columbiahospitality.com/portfolio.php Be prepared to use the valet parking service after 5 pm as the parking lots around the site are Discover Pass related and close for the evening. https://www.thelodgeatstedward.com/dining At some point I would like to explore the trails at the park.

The menu is seasonal. As this is Winter, the first time around was the Hearth Roasted Mero Sea Bass with glazed shitake mushrooms and a bite of the apple tatin and pecan torte for dessert. I’m not a big dessert person but it was a nice ending to a good experience. I would skip the chips and dip as it’s just an unnecessary calorie filler. My friend had the Roasted Parsnip & Cauliflower soup (a big hit!) and the Crispy Shaved Celery Salad. There were plenty of people, larger groups, romantic couples that took space amongst the tables.

The second visit was for happy hour in The Tonsorium Bar located downstairs. The bar used to be a barbershop back in the day when the building was a seminary. Prior to the visit we were able to walk the grounds on the sunny winter day. Trees are my thing so I was in a happy place. As it was my husband’s birthday, we did it up well. We ordered the following and all was tasty: Pork Sandwich with fries, Local Oysters on the Half Shell, Artisan American Cheeses, Pate de Campagne, and Crisp Arancini Di Pulpi along with a sparkling wine and more. The description noted of the pecan torte was ‘off the hook’ – pure pecan bliss without the sugary mess. Katie is fabulous!!! Also, enjoyed the chat and neo-flamenco guitar performance of Andre Feriante. https://www.andreferiante.com/

Another visit might include a stay here. The Lodge has 84 rooms and also hosts space for meetings, special events like a wedding, and has spa services. The local art shown among lodge/park is impressive. My personal favorite was the ‘Rivan Stump’ piece by Robert Williamson; made of salvaged wood with brass nails. One day. You can see these beauties behind the front desk too.

The following pics are a sampling of the lodge, park grounds, and items enjoyed.

Washington State Park free days, 2022

If you’re looking for a free day to explore Washington State Parks (no Discover Pass required). Where would you like to go?

Saturday, Jan. 1 – New Year’s Day
Monday, Jan. 17 – Martin Luther King Day
Wednesday, March 9 – Billy Frank Jr.’s birthday
Saturday, March 19 – Washington State Parks’ birthday
Friday, April 22 – Earth Day
Saturday, June 11 – National Get Outdoors Day
Sunday, June 12 – Free Fishing Weekend
Sunday, June 19 – Juneteenth
Saturday, Sept. 24 – National Public Lands Day
Monday, Oct. 10 – World Mental Health Day
Friday, Nov. 11 – Veterans Day
Friday, Nov. 25 – Native American Heritage Day

List provided by Deception Pass Park Foundation. https://deceptionpassfoundation.org/

Another free option is to check out your local library and borrow a Discover Pass. https://www.sno-isle.org/news/want-to-see-nature-borrow-a-discover-pass-from-us/

Or purchase a Discover Pass and help support the beauty that us Washingtonians are so fortunate to enjoy. https://store.discoverpass.wa.gov/

Record Heat Wave in the #pnw

As June comes to a close, here in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve had record high temperatures. Higher than Miami, Dallas and other cities ever recorded. This is unprecedented as it is often hard to get tan lines before July. An example is:

Portland, OR – 116 degrees

Seattle, WA – 108 degrees

Pasco, WA – 118 degrees…since 1961

Many households do not have air conditioning here. I imagine that will slowly increase going forward. A common sense expense I think. And many will think ahead. Businesses closed, nature/plants and infrastructure took a beating. Can anyone say climate change?

What did you do to stay cool? The #pnw states are opening up! Options included being on the road, shopping in an air-conditioned store, movie theater, took a dip in the pool, bbq, a refreshing beverage, and more. I found a hand mister to be very handy, refreshing.

What will the rest of the summer bring? May our natural beauty be spared. And may the energy of #pnw thrive as we celebrate a bit of normal.

Nature’s wake up call

As May is coming to a close, the thing I remember most is the early wake up call from the Junco’s in the area. The Junco is my favorite bird, makes me happy and we’ve seen more this Spring than any other I think. The American robin has been plentiful as well. Funny… even though I may not be ready to be awake at 4:15 am, they like to sing their song and let us know they exist.

May is a good month to experience a spring in your step, baseball, flowers, out with the old and in with the new, the festival season, self-care, catching up with friends, and planning for the Summer ahead. There is hope. Let’s do this!

Spring has Sprung

It’s the first day of Spring. March 20, 2021.

It’s a welcomed day among.

In the Pacific Northwest, it’s in the air.

While on a walk or a #pnw drive.

Trees, leaves are a budding.

I see Crocus, Daffodils, Primrose, Pansies, and Hyacinthus.

The Juncos and a variety of birds, bees are making their way to feed.

Rain, Clouds, Sun. A welcomed site.

We hear frogs making their song… especially in the evening light.

The crescent moon and stars are shown.

Spring has sprung.