2015 Favorites

On this last day of 2015 and you look back on the year, what was your favorite part of it?  Was it a vacation or trip?  A new person (or pet) in your life?  A chance at a new career path?  Did you run your first half marathon?  Spent more time outdoors in nature?

As I update my 2016 calendar for the new year ~ Question: what was my favorite experience of 2015?  Answer: in May… a 5-night trip to Las Vegas.  We did it up VERY well!!!

My Top 16 list of other 2015 outings (in no particular order) are:

  1. Spending the final day of the US Open at Chambers Bay golf course with my dad and husband
  2. Drinking some very fine wine
  3. Enjoying theater.  Favorite: Phantom of the Opera or Mamma Mia
  4. Enjoying concerts.  Favorite Indoor Concert: Candlebox or Muse. Favorite Outdoor Concert: Afrodisiacs at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park
  5. Taking the Victoria Clipper for a weekend to Oak Bay/Victoria BC to catch up with friends
  6. Road trip to Ocean Shores
  7. Road trip to Leavenworth
  8. Flight to Dallas, TX for the Seahawks/Cowboys game and to meet up with my brother/family.  AT&T Stadium is amazing. Pecan Lodge. Iron Cactus.
  9. A dinner boat cruise on the waters of the Anacortes/San Juan Islands area via Mystic Sea Charters and Hellam’s Vineyard
  10. Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square … finding new shops (like Watson Kennedy, Clementines, Fleurt, Timothy De Clue) and restaurants (like London Plane) nearby
  11. Snoqualmie Falls #optoutside adventure
  12. Visiting Chihuly Garden and Glass along with dinner at Sky City and taking in the Puget Sound views via the Space Needle
  13. Tailgating and attending Seattle Seahawks games.  Go Hawks!
  14. Attending a day full of action of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament at Key Arena
  15. Road trip in a Mercedes-Benz convertible to get a pedicure at Tip Top Nails in North Bend
  16. Taste ~ Road trip to visit a friend and check out Dirty Oscar’s Annex and Corina in Tacoma. Honorable mention: Vista Lago Restaurant in Kirkland

And being thankful for other places and people not mentioned here.

What is on your list for 2016?

Snoqualmie Falls #OptOutside

My #OptOutside event of 2015 was to visit one of my favorite destinations ~ Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Lodge and Spa.

On this morning, ice was present and frost clung to the leaves and branches.  The fog with the sun peaking through, made for an especially invigorating experience.  We viewed the falls from above and hiked to see them below.

The few hours consisted of 1) special trip to the Country Store within the Salish Lodge, where a long sleeve Tee was purchased along with a Christmas ornament for the tree 2) photos taken of the roaring waterfall named Snoqualmie Falls. The voices of international visitors could be heard during this traditional Thanksgiving weekend visit 3) a hike down the trail that is near to the bottom of the falls.  In the past, we were able to climb the rocks near the falls but now there are barriers to help prevent this.  I was lucky enough to get some of my wedding engagement pictures taken here prior to. Also, it has been fun to bring  out of town guests here at different times.  So, it continues to be a favorite place.

To walk among the trees is magical…touch the moss and the hear the crispy earth beneath my feet. I especially liked seeing the engravings in the pavement of the newly built lower parking lot which has restrooms and a resting area.  The engravings showcase a word in English and then beside it, in the Snoqualmie language ~ ‘Waterfall’ and ‘s.tkʷab’.   The Snoqualmie People spoke the Southern dialect (txʷəlšucid) of the Lushootseed language used by many regional tribes who often spoke both the Southern and Northern dialects because of extensive travel in the Unites States and Canada. This language is now on the ‘endangered’ list with few remaining fluent speakers. The Snoqualmie people are southern Coast Salish Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.

A visit was made a year ago at this time as well, which included the delicious Salish Lodge Country Breakfast in The Dining Room at the Salish Lodge & Spa.  The Snoqualmie Falls Store has a nice selection of Pacific Northwest gift options.  And yes, I have stayed at the Lodge and enjoyed the Spa too. 🙂  See March 2011 post.

http://www.snoqualmiefalls.com/

http://www.salishlodge.com/index.php

Below are a number of images from this last adventure ~

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Here’s to one of the Pacific Northwest’s (and my) “Best Places”!

Ocean Shores, WA

Ocean Shores, WA is 2-1/2 hours from the Seattle area.  A great time to head to the coast is the month of September, May or any month in between.  Walk the beach, find some shells, see wildlife and write a message in the sand.

Many of the hotels are the older beach town resort-style.  A past favorite to stay was The Polynesian Resort.  For many years my grandparents would go with friends and I carried on the tradition.  The one bedroom is a good selection as the bedroom is separate from the living area and full service kitchen.  Optional: have a fire in the fireplace and a glass of wine while watching a DVD or while cheering on the Seattle Seahawks on a lazy Sunday.  The people are friendly and the amenities are vast. http://thepolynesian.com/

What else is there to do?  A nice selection of merchandise can be found at The Village Shoppe and Flying Cats Gift Shoppe.   Stop in at Elk Head Taproom (brewery located in Buckley) for a brew.  Take a drive to Seabrook and have lunch at Mill 109 ~ the Whistle Punk Chicken Burger and a pint of craft brew hit the spot.  ‘Our Place’ is known for their breakfast.  The Ocean Beach Roasters has a nice selection of coffee, pastries, quiche, and more.  Emily’s at Quinault Resort and Casino is good for a fine dining option.  And while you’re at the Casino, take a spin at a slot machine to try your luck.  Maria’s at The Polynesian is ok too.

What’s up with the Sasquatch theme (or sightings) around the area?  Ocean Shores is a gathering place for Sasquatch researchers from around the world gather to present their findings of the elusive bigfoot species. Witnesses share their experiences and information about Sasquatch.

So, stay two nights to wind down and enjoy this Pacific Northwest beach and weather.  You might also consider continuing your trip north to Quinault Lodge, Kalaloch Lodge and the beautiful beaches of the Washington coast.  Fly a kite, paddle a boat, become a birdwatcher, or beach comb for treasures.

http://www.tourismoceanshores.com/

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Winter Solstice 2015

Winter Solstice is typically on December 21st.  This year it is on the 22nd.  Here’s why…

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/shortest-day-of-the-year-when-is-winter-solstice-2015-and-why-is-it-a-day-later-this-year-a6781176.html

 

Morning frost ~ Snoqualmie Falls 2015

Morning frost ~ Snoqualmie Falls 2015

 

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/12/20/welcoming-winter-solstice-68662

http://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/simply-solstice-celebrate-winter-with-new-and-old-traditions.aspx

Go Green!

It’s a Wonderful Time of Year.  If you are looking for a tree farm to find that ‘extra special’ fresh Christmas tree this year… check out PSCTA.org ~ the Puget Sound Christmas Tree Association.

Note:  at the Washington State Fair this year, it was nice to see the variety of trees that are typical for this holiday tradition.  Noble Fir. Nordmann Fir. Fraser Fir. Green Spruce. Balsam Fir. Grand Fir. Douglas Fir. Blue Spruce. Pine. Shasta Red Fir.  Do you have a favorite?

#OptOutside #GreenFriday

The day after Thanksgiving is known here in the USA as ‘Black Friday’. But this year, thanks to REI  ~ http://www.rei.com/, we have #OptOutside. Employees will be paid and REI stores are closed on this day…encouraging its employees and members to get outside.

Also, after REI’s action, the National Parks of Olympic and Rainier in Washington State (and some in other states) are promoting #GreenFriday. Admission to these two parks are free today.

So, whether it’s a nature walk, a visit to Snoqualmie Falls or a garden trail, hiking or snowshoeing, skiing, visiting a state or national park, a wildlife reserve or a beach…join us outside.

P1060438

P.S. Other industries are getting into it too but please, keep our air outside fresh, in our parks and other, naturally green.

Oak Bay in April

Oak Bay, a suburb of Victoria, British Columbia … a fabulous place to live and visit.  When I say live I mean it’s a community where you have surf, sand, arts, history, and can enjoy an active lifestyle or a leisurely one. Downtown Victoria is just 10 minutes away where you’ll find all the pleasures of a British city as well as a harbor town. Shopping, restaurants, gardens, and more.  And getting here is simple… helicopter, ferry, float plane, boat.

The first mention should be for the Oak Bay Community Arts Society. The Studio Tour happens twice a year, in April and November.  The artist’s showcase their craft in their home – it is a self-guided tour.  You’ll find photography, paintings, abstract and architectural designs, hand-dyed fabrics, and calligraphy just to name a few.  A pamphlet can be found at http://www.oakbayartists.com  The other annual event is the Bowker Creek Brush-Up Art Show & Sale in August.

Cycle, run, walk, kayak the beautiful coastlines and parks that surround the neighborhoods here.  Wildlife and nature abound as well as the incredible views you’ll experience.  I can recommend Willows Beach (fun to see the variety of dogs from October 1 to April 30) and Cattle Point.  A popular tree in the area is the Garry Oak. The history of Oak Bay has a colorful mix of Edwardian architecture and a glimpse of the Songhees First Nation.   https://www.oakbay.ca/explore-oak-bay/outdoor-activities/public-beaches

And for a taste, stop in at The Snug Pub at the luxurious Oak Bay Beach Hotel.  Enjoy fish & chips and other fine cuisine.   The Snug Pub is Victoria’s first neighborhood pub dating back to 1954.  http://oakbaybeachhotel.com/dining/snug-pub/

Just go.

http://www.oakbaytourism.com/ http://www.tourismvictoria.com/

IMG_4494

Happy 1st Day of Fall 2015

Ready to say goodbye to Summer?  You may not have been last week but now that Autumn has officially arrived, you just might be.  It’s a collection of new beginnings, traditions, festivals, and a time to settle in for the upcoming Winter.  The leaves turn color and fall to the earth.  The wind and rain show themselves.  As it is a fascinating time, you may yearn to know more.  Check out the links below for some Autumn (and Fall) content and if you want more…search for it.

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/09/first_day_of_fall_2015_quotes.html

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/weather/fall-forecast-warm-and-dry-across-nw/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150922-equinox-autumn-seasons-sun-moon-space-science/

http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/11-facts-about-autumnal-equinox.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/09/22/say-goodbye-to-summer-as-daylight-dwindles-the-fall-equinox-is-on-wednesday/?postshare=7531442982805339

IMG_20141004_123229

Last Days of August 2015

As we wind down the last couple weeks of August (and some may say the end of Summer), check out this list of ‘Top 10 Things To Do’ to make even more lasting memories –

  1. Visit the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass
  2. Ride the Ducks – use the coupon “DUCKDAYS” on any ride 6 pm or after Tuesday through Thursday till the end of August 2015. Quack!
  3. Take in a M’s game at Safeco Field
  4. Evergreen State Fair (the Monroe Fair as some of us know it), August 27 through September 7th
  5. Chase a Waterfall
  6. Stop in at the new Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery in the Greenwood area of Seattle – it just opened August 15th!
  7. It’s Washington Wine Month!  Enjoy!
  8. Just opened this month!  Make a reservation at Orfeo on 3rd in the Belltown area
  9. Art in the Garden – Bellevue Botanical Garden – August 29 and 30th
  10. Washington State International Kite Festival in Long Beach – it lasts all week August 17 – 23rd this year

IMG_5739