Tuesday, September 25, 2012

McCall, Idaho

We love our September Family Vacations, and this year took us to the deserts and mountains of the beautiful state of Idaho. We had a hard time deciding where to trek for a week, but with a 3 year old and a 5 month old, we decided to stay within a days drive from home. We learned about McCall online and some friends who visit there regularly confirmed that it's a fun place. Payette Lake, surrounded by evergreen covered rolling hills is the backdrop for this little resort town. For a small town, this place has a big bite, filled with coffee shops, pizzerias, a creamery, bakery, cafes and fine dining. We hit up the few thrift stores in town and though we didn't find any treasures, we enjoyed the hunt.  If you are a Northwestern-er who likes to ski, boat, hike, fish, bike, golf, enjoy beauty, road tripping, and small town America, then put McCall on your bucket list.

 First things first, we found the only playground in town 
to let our son play after a long drive...

 R was soaked by the time we finished our picnic lunch.

 Flower baskets everywhere!

 We were lucky enough to be here on a Wednesday morning. 

 The Starbucks of Idaho, Moxie Java...didn't get to try it, but cute logo, right?

 The McCall Candy Company

We barely got cookies here with their unusual store hours, 
wish we could have gone for breakfast, 
the raspberry coffee cake looked amazing! 

 Sub-Par Peanut Butter Cookies, but the chewiest macaroons!

 The Yellow Couch Cafe funds the Teen Center in town. 
Cool shop and good coffee, but for the best latte in town, 
go to the local favorite, FoggLifter Cafe. 

 Fishing the Payette River

   Ponderosa State Park, more than a visit's worth of hiking and biking trails.

 Humorously Large Portions at The Pancake House.

I-95...bye-bye Idaho!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gas Works Park

Gas Works Park is one of Seattle's unique landmarks. The site was cleared in the early 1900's for a manufacturing plant to convert coal to gas, but later closed in the 1950's. The City acquired the land for a park and opened to the public in 1975. Every year, the park hosts one of the city's Fourth of July celebrations with amazing views of Lake Union and the Space Needle in the distance. The park was a filming location for 10 Things I Hate About You and the finish line in Season 3 of The Amazing Race.

It's definitely worth a visit for any Seattlelite: bike the Burke-Gilman Trail, rent some kayaks on the lake, enjoy some fish and chips at Ivars, or warm up with coffee and pastries at the Essential Baking Company.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ocean Shores

About a year ago, Jeremy wanted to take the family to see the ocean. We set out on an early Saturday morning with a good little drive ahead of us and a basket full of lunch and treats! We knew it wasn't optimal ocean weather, but we were in for a surprise when we drove onto the sandy beach.

 According to locals, snow is a rare treat on the shores.

 Pretty beautiful seeing a snowy beach.

 The Boardwalk Shops: a newly constructed village--love the cheerful colors.

 The breezy climate on Washington beaches is year around... 
and so is coffee!

 Inside Sharky's. You have to go in just to see the teeth!

 Daddy and son watching the waves.

This picture says it all. The 10 minutes our son got his first
driving experience was worth the 3 hour drive
we endured with a cranky 2 year old. 

For events, dining, shopping, lodging and everything in between click here...or here.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kerry Park, Queen Anne Neighborhood

The most photographed view of the city is taken from Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill just north of Downtown Seattle. You've seen it on many postcards, books or may even have it framed in your home. I was intimidated to do this post, because of the incredible competition out there. This is where the professionals go to get "the shot".  Here are a few of ours...


 A place to think

 A place to talk

 or just... to be 

Heading West from Kerry Park on W Highland Drive. Amazing Homes.

 W Highland becomes 8th Ave West as it journeys North. 
This is a scenic walk with views of Elliott Bay and the Olympics.

Madison Neighborhood

One of the lovely and easier to find Seattle neighborhoods is that of Madison. A long, diagonal  street NE of Downtown along Lake Washington. Click here for map.

Jeremy and I used to come here on Sunday afternoons between our church's morning and evening services. There are great little coffee shops all along Madison, but we usually shared a latte at the Essential Baking Company. I always like to admire their award winning pastries. There are some fun little shops to browse, our favorites being City People's Garden Store, Pharmaca and a beautiful home decor store with linens and dishes, I think it's Our Distinctive Home Shop. There are several eating choices ranging from casual cafes to sit down restaurants.

The neighborhood Starbucks is one of the few Black Label stores around
and home to CEO Howard Shultz.  

The newly renovated neighborhood park.

Some unique play equipment with a space-age, modern feel.

I love the homey feel of this little corner of Seattle with towering trees 
lining the streets, old homes to admire, nurtured gardens, 
a relaxing drive along the BLVD and don't forget the Arboretum.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cutts Island - Gig Harbor

A few years ago, Jeremy's boating parents were feeling very generous at Christmas and bought us a tandem kayak. We were so excited for all the adventures in store for us!

Our coolest and most frustrating of them all was our voyage to Cutts Island near Kopachuck State Park in Gig Harbor. We went on a sunny January day. Our first obstacle was finding a launch pad. Kopachuck would have been the logical option, but the long trail from the parking lot to the water was unappealing. We ended up parking on a side street and launched from an inlet. With life jackets, oars and snacks we were off! The view of the Olympic mountains to our West was awesome and within a short time we had landed.

Cutts Island, also called Dead Man's Island, was once an Native American Burial ground. The natives would bury their loved ones in canoes up in the trees. We spent an hour or so exploring  the 2 acre park with steep cliffs and an impressive 360 degree view of the Sound.


 We did not take the tides into account on our journey back, 
once we were in 4 inches of water, we knew we had to re-route. 
It was pretty cool to see the ocean beds, 
completely covered in sand dollars.

The detour around Raft Island added an extra hour of paddling, but on such a beautiful day we really didn't mind. Then we got back to the inlet--which was no longer an inlet-- only thick, sticky, stinky mud. Poor Jeremy lost a shoe and nearly lost his balance while carrying the kayak back to the car. By the time we had everything strapped down and seats buckled, neither of us were in a very good mood. But like all things, time has way of bringing out the humor of things, and if we had to do it all over again--we would.