All tagged weekends
We are fortunate to live near hundreds of islands, but the thought has never really occurred to me to go island hopping for the day. Usually, we have a destination in mind and the ferry is the means to get there, this time we decided to try something we had never done before and go island hopping. We knew we could head to Vashon Island and then hop on over to Tacoma but we have never done so. We live so close to the Vashon Island ferry within minutes we were cruising across the water and heading toward our island adventure. No traffic, no waits, perfection on a sunny Saturday with an antsy toddler in the back seat.
For the past several years we have made it a point to stop by the South Lake Union Block Party for burgers, sunshine and an all around good time. This year we had an eager toddler in tow who was ready to get in on the action himself. Most notably during the block party, he played a little chess, chased bubbles, grabbed more than a few bananas from the free Banana stand, chowed down on burgers and picked up his first library card accompanied by a temporary tattoo of the downtown Seattle library. After the Block Party we made our way down to South Lake Union Park for a little splashing around in the water to cap off our night.
When the sun is shining and the hiking trails are still covered in snow we like to spend our Saturdays taking little day trips around the state. In order for it to be a day well spent, we like to eat delicious food, see beautiful or interesting places and spend a majority of our day outside rather than in the car. One of our favorite little day trips is to drive up to Mukilteo and take the ferry to Clinton. From there we make a pit stop in Langley for a little shopping and then onto Coupeville for lunch. After lunch we like to spend the late afternoon at Ebey's Landing or Fort Casey to enjoy the beautiful visitas and breathe in the fresh air. Depending on our mood and the hours of sunlight left we might drive up to Deception Pass, stop in La Conner for dinner and then make our way home via I-5. On this particular day, we drove back the way we came and took the ferry back over to Mukilteo.
There are so many places in Seattle I repeatedly hear about and the Volunteer Park Cafe is one of those places. Since we have never visited before, we made it a point to stop by last Saturday for brunch. When we arrived, I was surprised to see just how far the line to order stretched out the door. Once inside, the large, bustling communal tables gave the place a real sense of community. Parking was a breeze, the food was delicious and there were so many tantalizing options on the menu I am certain we will be back soon. I ordered the Bacon, Arugula and Fontina quiche, Cameron enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich, Jasper had a Cherry Almond scone and we all fought over the Chocolate Chip Toffee cookie.
Some days the weather is crazy here. One minute it is pouring rain, the next sunshine and then wait another minute and a strong gust of wind will hit you in the face. Sporadic pretty much summed up the weather this past weekend which repeatedly shut down Snoqualmie Pass and halted our plans for a Saturday of snowshoeing. As a last minute change of plans we decided to spend an afternoon exploring closer to home by hiking down to Snoqualmie Falls followed by brunch at the Salish Lodge. The trail down to the falls is only one mile round trip so it is an easy hike even for little ones.
The holidays can be such a frenzied time, so we decided to enjoy the calm before the storm by heading to Cannon Beach for a few days. We stayed at Tolovana Inn in a two bedroom condo right on the beach, our unit had a full kitchen and dining room which made it easy to make our own meals and enjoy them at a leisurely pace. We only ended up eating out a couple times and our favorite was Tom's Fish and Chips. Aside from a day trip to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, we spent the majority of our time walking along the beach and enjoying the sea breeze. These days our trips are a lot less structured and just being together makes me feel endlessly happy and content. Jasper has taught me so many things. However, the most important thing he has taught me is to enjoy the mundane. Eating breakfast used to take me five minutes, now I can plan on at least thirty. He has taught me the unscheduled day has its advantages and being busy does not necessarily equate to fulfillment or happiness. Productivity has always been a source of happiness and pride for me, but since Jasper has come along some days I resign myself to the fact not much is going to get done. The important realization I have come to is that I am okay with it. Playing blocks, jumping in piles of clean laundry, unfolding and tossing the folded laundry on the floor, playing hide and seek, and crawling around the room are among life's simple joys.
Since our son arrived we have spent the majority of our vacations exploring closer to home. The thought of several days cramped in a small hotel room has lost its appeal. With a busy toddler who loves to explore we are constantly searching for experiences which spark his imagination and capture his creativity. Over the past year, we have started to explore alternate types of places to stay, so when the opportunity to partner with Glamping Hub popped up I was happy to try out their services. Glamping Hubhas a variety of unique places to stay from tree houses and railroad cars to log cabins, yurts, canvas tents and teepees. The exciting part is many of these places you can stay for less than the price of a standard hotel room. Washington is such a diverse and beautiful state, even though I have lived here almost my entire life there are so many places to explore and beautiful gems to discover. Check back in to see the adventures we had with Glamping Hub.
Whenever we are up in the North Cascades we always make certain to spend an afternoon walking around the trails at Sun Mountain Lodge. It is an arid part of the North Cascades and is in stark contrast to the forest, lakes and streams we spent our time hiking to the previous day.
One of our favorite parts of the North Cascades are the endless trails to explore. Two of our favorite hikes are Blue Lake and Cutthroat Lake. Not only are these trails beautiful and kid friendly, but short enough hikes we are able to do other activities during the day after our hikes.
One of our favorite Summer traditions is camping on the Washington coast. We load up our backpacks with supplies, make certain to pick up a bear can, permit and tide chart and head to the beach with no particular plan in mind. We stop and camp wherever looks like the best spot that day and enjoy big decisions like whether to eat and then look at tide pools or look at tide pools and then eat. Spending time at the coast is always extremely relaxing, restorative and beautiful. One of our favorite spots on the coast is Rialto Beach. Although we typically camp on the weekends, as long as we go a bit passed Hole in the Wall we have no trouble finding a spot to ourselves. Just like hiking, the farther afield you go, the least likely you are to be surrounded by other people.
This Summer we have made a conscious effort to branch out and visit several new alpine lakes. Even when it comes to hiking it is easy to find your favorites and visit them again and again. Between the changes seasons and weather in general each visit is a new experience. A mere 40 minutes from Seattle is the I90 corridor where there are countless trails to tackle. Our goal, if we continue to enjoy hiking for many years to come is to eventually visit them all.
Recently, we had Jasper spend the night at my parent's house and enjoyed a beautiful hike to Melakwa Lake. Melakwa Lake is part of the Denny Creek trail. Denny Creek is a popular trail for families, but as you continue on the trail for a few additional miles you can find yourself at a beautiful, uncrowded alpine lake. There is no place that invigorates my mind and body more than being in the mountains. I feel my most content breathing the fresh air and being surrounded by trees. I am truly a Pacific Northwesterner at heart.
While we were in Glacier National Park we did a fantastic and easy hike called Avalanche Lake. The trail starts at the Trail of the Cedars and is located 6 miles east of the Lake McDonald Lodge. The trail is only 4.5 miles long with a mere 730 feet elevation gain. On the day of our hike the weather was a bit cool and the clouds were hung low. This moody weather not only made for beautiful photographs, but made us feel right at home.