Earlier this summer we had a visit from my stepson Chase and his girlfriend Mira. We did a lot of sightseeing and had a little staycation while they were here. You may recall when I blogged about it HERE. Late this summer my parents, my sister, my brother and our good family friend came out for a visit and Staycation #2 commenced! They were here for a week and I swear it felt like we packed in more sightseeing than I've done since I moved here 6 years ago. And all of that sightseeing just led to me learning about so many other places I want to visit. For any of you looking for a real vacation destination, I have to say that Washington state offers a lot - especially for southerners looking for an escape from the heat. I hope to do some more blogging on the specific places we visited, but this post will be a quick (or not so quick) travelogue of the whole week...the highlights. I am also adding this as my contribution to Mosaic Monday over at Little Red House.
Most of the family arrived on a Saturday and left on a Saturday, so the days in between we made the best of! Although Saturday was a day of airports and waiting in cell lots, in between picking up my brother Larry and our friend Cathy and returning to pick up my sister Cindy we made the first sightseeing stop of the trip. While my parents and I headed to do some shopping, we dropped the others off at the Museum of Flight,
Where among other things they saw Air Force One and they got to tour the Concorde. Its a great way for a family to spend 2-3 hours.
So Sunday we started out in earnest..determined to fit everybody's preferred destinations on the itinerary. First stop...Mt. St. Helen's. One thing that struck me on the trip to see it, is how remote it is and what a lucky thing that was! The landscape in the blast area is more like the arid and rugged Southwest than the evergreen moss cushioned Pacific Northwest.
We did have a Bigfoot sighting on the way in
Here you see the "toothpicks" scattered here and there...remnants of the blast.
And the mountain..slightly obscured by clouds
Day two we headed to see some more "industrial" sights. First stop was the Boeing plant near Everett, Wa north of Seattle. We couldn't snap pics of the interior of the monster assembly building but we saw 747s, 777s and the brand spanking new not yet gone on its maiden voyage 787s being made. We also saw the first three of the Dreamliners sitting on the tarmac waiting for the day they can take off. See the tail that says ANA? Thats #2 built, but the #1 passenger built. The very first one is right in front of it..it says 787 on the tail.
We did a quick spin by Microsoft to give Cathy (who is an IT professional) a peek at the place that has been giving her fits for years!
Then on to a fun lunch on the shores of Lake Union
Where the millionaires get their "wings" fix
Having filled our bellies (a little too full) we headed up the Space Needle
I've been up I think about 8 times, but the views are still always amazing. City skyline, Puget Sound and Mount Rainier making a show
Elliot Bay sparkling in the late afternoon sun
Nextstop..the Seattle must...Pikes Place Market, another place I never tire of.
The day was ending at the working Market, so no fish throwing going on
Still plenty of gorgeous flowers though
And cool neon signs
Day three..the start of a little road trip around the Olympic peninsula, starting just south of Tacoma..see Elk Plain, over to Olympia, to Hoquiam, through Queets and Quinalt and following 101 up to Forks (you Twilight fans will recognize that) and over to Port Townsend for the night and next day, then back down through Bremerton and back home. A map for some perspective.
Its a gorgeous drive, especially for anyone that doesn't live where there are lots of evergreen trees. The area is not very populated..just lots of deep forests and rugged coast. Around the Olympic National Forest are some of the biggest trees spruces and cedars you will see anywhere in the world (yes the Red Woods are more ginormous, but we are talking different species here).
Hard to get perspective until you see this
And another monster..the largest cedar tree..it's like the Tree of Life at Disney..except this IS real life!!
We stopped along the way to enjoy the enjoy views and have a picnic
More perspective necessary scenery...looks like a little piece of driftwood on the beach
Until someone stands next to it!
I have to say that no meal in the world could compare to this one..not in the finest Parisian restaurants....ham and cheese with the family on a picnic bench overlooking the Pacific Ocean is where it's at in my opinion!
Just look at the views
And tell me you disagree!
Next stop, the Hoh Rainforest, part of Olympic National Park, where even the phone booths of moss growing on them
This is an amazing place. Photos can't capture the beauty and enormity of the trees and landscape.
Moss hanging from the trees
The filtered light
And the green glow under the running water give it an eerie other worldly feeling. It really isn't a surprise it made a great setting for a vampire series!
We arrived in Port Townsend and our lodgings for the next couple of nights, The Ann Starrett Mansion, which will be the subject of a later post.
And had a great dinner out for Cathy's birthday at a little restaurant on Water Street called the Public House Grill...awesome menu. I had a hard time choosing but ended up with the Halibut Belville. Check it out of you are ever in town.
And a very sweet owner, Kelly, that kept the place open a little later to accommodate us! She also waited on our table and the service was excellent.
Day 4 - Whale Watching Tour! I took literally 100s of pictures on this 8 hour trip and will do another post just about the day, so these are just a few highlights. The docks where we caught our boat.
A little lighthouse near Port Townsend
We were told to look for large groups of birds..because where there are birds there are fish and where there are fish..there MIGHT be Orcas
It seemed like it took a long time, but eventually we were told to be on the lookout..there'd been Orcas sighted and sure enough...
It was hard to catch much more than the little black triangles because you never knew when they would pop up again, but I did get a few shots where were recognizable! Just a note..the two orcas above were identified as members of the J Pod. Granny is on the left and is thought to be 99 years old! Ruffles on the right (due the the waviness of his fin) was born in the 50s..so he's a relative spring chicken but the leader of the pack! Read about them HERE.
I'm not sure of this one's name, but we were told it was a baby.
The best shot I got was one of this baby coming straight towards us..that's mommas tail to the right.
After time with the Orcas, we headed to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island to have lunch and do a little window shopping. That's our boat..the Glacier Spirit.
It was a cozy vessel, with booth style seating. We had one and a half booths in the back of the boat which I think gave us a great view and easy access to the back door. I'd highly recommend the company that ran the tour.. PSExpress. Very knowledgeable and friendly staff. It was a great experience.
No orca sightings on the way back, but the views were phenomenal.
Day 5 we headed back towards home. First stop was Poulsbo, a pretty, neat little Norwegian town with a great main street to mosey down.
Of course I was drawn to some wonderful smell in the air and found it's source
The window displays drew me in
And the interior goods did not disappoint one bit! We all bought treats and no one complained for a second.
Jigs loved the fact that due to the celebration of the Dogs Days of Summer a lot of the business there had put out bowls of water. He was more than happy to take advantage!
Next stop was down the road in the Navy town of Bremerton...the Naval Undersea Museum
Pretty cool for your submarine fans
When we left there we headed into Downtown Bremerton and found, in an antique store/art gallery, the Pyrex museum! Cathy collects some of the older patterns and she was thrilled to see all of these goodies in one place.
After Bremerton we headed home to drop off my parents and Randy..who was a little road weary and the rest of us headed up to Mt. Rainier to take advantage of the good weather.
August is a great time to go to the mountain since the wildflowers are blooming.
I took so many gorgeous wild flower shots that I will be doing another post just to showcase them!
The waterfalls are a little low right now though..but still pretty!
I think I could sit and look at this little spot all day and not grow tired of it's absolute beauty.
We were lucky enough to make a slightly wrong turn and by doing so didn't miss out on the gorgeous Reflection Lake
Or this amazing sight
Or this fabulous sunset
Day 6 was fun as well..but wouldn't you know I left my camera in the van! We went to Port Orchard to see the town and to take a little bus tour. Some of you may be familiar with the author Debbie Macomber who writes the Cedar Cove series of books. Port Orchard is the model town for Cedar Cove and the town was having a charity event called Cedar Cove Days. All proceeds from the even when to local needs. Our tour took us to various points of interest from the books and we had chats with folks playing characters from the books. It was fun and the town really put on a pretty face for the event. Just as a side note, we also poked out heads into Delilah's Cozy Kitchin which is a business venture of radio personality Delilah who lives in the area. Here's a local newspaper article that tells about the place.
So for those of you that hung in there and took the whole trip again with me..whew..well done! If you can believe it there were parts I skipped and HUNDREDS of more photos where those came from. I had an awesome week with my family and hope we can something like this again one day. Thank you Momma, Daddy, Cindy, Larry and Cathy for making it so fun and for coming out here to visit us!