Back when we were married eons and eons ago, I had provided our wedding coordinator with a photo of the bouquet I wanted to carry during the ceremony. It was blush pink roses with white/pinkish orchids peppered throughout, all tied together with an ice blue satin ribbon. I offered to send the ribbon I wanted to use to the coordinator and she told me there was no need as she had access to a beautiful supply that would be perfect.
We had a lot of problems with our wedding coordinator during the final days leading up to our wedding, but none so dramatic as when she pulled out my bouquet and it was THE MOST HIDEOUS BRIDAL BOUQUET I HAVE EVER SEEN. No seriously, it was bad. We paid $180 for 12 half-dead, moldy bright pink roses tied with a polyester funeral bow. I cried. I tried leaving it in the bushes during the pictures but that bitch kept picking it up and handing it back to me saying, "oh, you forgot your bouquet." Damn straight I did, that thing was horrid.
(As a side note, when we were checking out of our hotel - The Fairmont Kea Lani - the next day one of the hotel employees noticed that we were the same couple they'd seen getting married the day before and she asked me, rather tentatively, if the hotel had done my flowers. I told her no, that they had come from some janky florist up in Kehei. Her response? "Oh good, we would never have given those to you.")
You can kind of just barely see them in this picture. Because we were married in the days before digital was so widespread, I don't really have any photos of it online.
Today we welcomed our new nephew Luke Thomas to the world. And by welcome I mean we took the phone call announcing he was born and we congratulated Alan's brother and his wife for the new addition to their family. We'll likely meet him in the next couple of weeks. Yeah, we're like that. A new kid is born and rather than bombarding mom & dad at the hospital we give them some time to get home, get relaxed and get into the swing of things. I'd like to say it's because we're courteous, but mostly it's because I'm really uncomfortable around newborns. So until then, CONGRATULATIONS ADAM & NICOLE. We hope Jack is nice to him.
Mrs. Limestone over at Adventures in Renovating a Brooklyn Limestone posted earlier today about a decor quiz that for once was - despite some semantics - right on the money. I have yet to find one that is mostly right, so I rushed on over to see if it could narrow me down correctly. Past quizzes I've taken have told me I like modern decor (not!) or would love to live in a treehouse (hardly). So I was curious to see how the folks at Sproost would evaluate my answers.
Overall, I liked the quiz, but the one thing I couldn't get past was them telling me that I shouldn't evaluate the architectural elements of a room, instead to focus just on the decor. That was hard stuff because most of the rooms that I liked had serious beautiful buildings - exposed beams, staircases along the wall, high, vaulted ceilings. I feel like in some cases the room made the room, not the stuff that was in it.
So, what did the quiz think when all was said and done?
Oh how you love the beach! Who doesn't, right? And so your dream home is either perched in your favorite beach town, or you've brought that favorite beach town into your house.
Your art and accessories speak directly to the activities that are found at the beach. Pieces of driftwood you found here, pictures or paintings of the amazing views there. Things that remind you of the coast - surf boards or fishing boats - are found throughout the house. The feeling of the seaside is both abstract and literal in the design of your space. The fabrics are natural, cottons and linens and are light in color and touch. Much of the furniture is wood or wood framed (the lighter the better, think driftwood!) and wicker, when done right, is a must.
And since your true inspiration is the sea, the colors and textures in your home are the same that you would find at your favorite beach: white, light beiges and grays of the sand and driftwood, a variety of blues for the ocean and sky, and greens and vibrant blues of the sea glass, but the key is white! Your space should feel light and airy and give off the mood one has when at the beach: laid back!
Your furniture is comfortable and the layout is cozy. The more it reminds you of actually sitting on the warm sand, the better! And what do you do at the beach? Hang out with family and friends - and your home is just an extension of this play place. And though the space is filled with large white furniture, it somehow manages to feel both durable and casual.
Okay, I like Nantucket style. In fact, I would love to live in a home in Maine someday with lots of white cotton slipcovers and blue gray walls, with bright pops of color. Lots of white curtains and framed black & white prints. But that's more of my DREAM style, it's not really my actual style. When push comes to shove and I'm out buying stuff for my house - whether it's my small Victorian apartment, my larger Spanish/Mediterannean apartment, my industrial loft or my Craftsman bungalow, I always go for the dark, rich tones. Burgundies, sage greens, browns, forest green, deep blue. These are the colors I actually choose.
What about you? Are you decor schizo?
It's been a busy day here at casacaudill. In a span of several hours we've:
- hacked back some overgrown bushes in the backyard
- done the laundry
- cleaned the kitchen
- shampooed the rugs
- cooked pork verde for tacos tonight (okay, this is the crockpot, but still)
- cleaned the bathroom - again (got dirty from cleaning the rug cleaner)
- changed the sheets
- brought a side table up from the basement and created a nice little space for me next to the couch
- figured out when my cousin is graduating from UCSB
- watched 2 episodes of house hunters
It's only 3:30 and I still have a trip to Trader Joe's and IKEA on the docket. I should probably fit in a shower before I take on those tasks though. Nothing like smelling like dirty carpet water. Mmmm, sexy.
Someone I know in real life who reads this blog mentioned that I'm updating a lot less frequently, and she'd be right.
We're not really doing any work on our house so there's not a whole lot to report there. I changed out the curtains in the bedroom and painted an old end table white so I now have somewhere to put my books, water and computer. I also painted the tv dinner tray I'd been using as a side table so now Alan has somewhere to put his stuff too. It's very mismatched and the curtains are very quirky so our bedroom is starting to take on a country chic look that I've admired in pictures but never really thought was for me.
With all the rains we've been having (thank goodness!) our backyard has turned into an overgrown jungle, again. Alan's arm is still injured so he can't do as much as he's done back there in previous years. I'm just waiting for the weather to get dryer and then we'll likely just start ripping it all out again.
Work has been insanely busy and productive. I'm gearing up for one of the industry's biggest conferences and that has been taking up a good portion of my day when I'm at work. And of course I obsess about it at night. I've been to this conference several times for my clients, but now that I'm on the team that is running PR for it, I'm seeing a whole different side of the coin. It's good work though and I'm learning a lot.
As if I don't have enough on my mind, I've been doing a lot of reading (no great literary masterpieces, I'm afraid) and thinking about the type of story I'd want to write. I used to do a lot of creative writing before I was working in PR and I've been thinking up stories in my head, but never committing the words to paper (or screen, as the case may be). I decided to stop just thinking about it and do something so for the past few days I've been writing a story about a very lonely, emotionally damaged woman who meets a man that's probably the exact wrong person for her and yet in so many ways is the only man she could ever really love. Yes, I'm a romantic fool. I'm up to about 7000 words now (roughly translated to 20 pages) and am having a lot of fun discovering who these characters are and how they will come together. I struggle with the filler content though, so that's been a challenge. I know the major points of conflict and how they will be resolved, but getting to each point along the way is taking some doing. I spent two hours last night working on the same 700 words. Another problem I have in writing which has held me back for so long is that I am an obsessive editor. You can't tell from my blog posts since they're riddled with errors and incorrect grammar, but when I write "for real" I'll go over the same paragraph several times, tweaking words or phrases, until I'm absolutely happy with how it has turned out. It makes for slow going if I have to do that to every paragraph I write. Like NaNoWriMo encourages its participants, I'm trying not to do a lot of editing along the way - saving that for when I've wrapped up the story - but some old habits die hard.
Of course, I've also been looking forward to the release of the Twilight DVD and have been obsessively stalking the Lainey Gossip website for updates on what the cast and crew is doing in the Vancouver area as they prep for New Moon. I pre-ordered the DVD from Target and when I checked the status of my order yesterday it said it would be shipping on 3/23 (not 3/21, its release date) and that estimated delivery was NEXT MONDAY. Doesn't Target know that anyone who took the time to pre-order a DVD with all the special features because they need another 2 hours of that shit is going to go out of their mind waiting an extra 10 days from its release date to get their hands on it? Alas, I've already paid for it so all I can do is wait my turn. Supposedly it's going to be available on AT&T U-Verse OnDemand today so I'll probably watch it at some point this weekend. Alan will be pissed since I've already paid money for the DVD but part of our wedding vows had him promising to love the things he did not yet know about me - that being that I'm obsessed with vampire love stories and that I will watch movies over and over and over again if I like it.
Last weekend (even though we shouldn't have because I was coming off a pretty nasty cold ... but we'd already bought the tickets), we drove up to the Russian River wine region to attend the region's annual barrel tasting event. We've gone the last 5 out of 6 years (skipping last year b/c we spent Alan's birthday up in Clear Lake instead, at the Tallman Hotel) and were excited about going this year as well.
We knew we were going to start at Manzanita Creek in Healdsburg. We're wine club members there and they were tasting my favorite Zinfandel out of the barrel. Since we've been going up to this area several times a year for the past several years, we've sampled the wines of a good many winery and know which ones we like and which ones we don't. We also know which ones will be mobbed and should be avoided at all costs on an event weekend (I'm looking at you Ridge, A. Rafanelli, Mauritson, and Passalacqua). We looked at the list of participating wineries the night before we left and decided in addition to Manzanita, we'd stop into 2 or 3 ones that we'd never been to. These are all either new wineries or its their first time doing this event.
We stopped in, talked with Jack and the crew, picked up a case of Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel and then headed to our next stop, Stuhlmuller Winery. They're very well regarded by the major wine critics, consistently earning 90s and 91s for their Chardonnay. They also had a chef there serving Coc au Vin, which wasn't like any other CaV I'd ever tasted, but the chef was sure to impress upon us this was a "famous, classical french dish" as if I'd never heard of it before. His version, while incredibly tasty, lacked the depth you get from the red wine and there was a lot of broth. He also served it over white rice, so it felt very much like a chicken soup with bacon. Whatever, it tasted good ... but dude, chill out on your French credentials. All the wines we tasted were very good, but at nearly $40 for the Reserve Chardonnay, we decided to continue on our way.
Our next stop was J. Rickhards who was tasting 4 years of the same Zinfandel so you could see it at different stages. I didn't find any of them bad, but I also wasn't blown away. They were also tasting every other wine they had, which were numerous. A Sauvignon Blanc we tasted didn't taste so much like wine, but rather like lillikoi juice ... the passion fruit overtones were so pronounced. We bought a bottle because we think it'll be great chilled during the summer. Unfortunately, at J. Rickhards I met a cute little puppy who I absolutely adored (and vice versa) that it turns out I was allergic to. After she jumped up in my lap and tried to kiss me, my skin was burning. No cuddles with the puppy this time.
From J. Rickhards we went to Truett Hurst, a new biodynamic winery in Dry Creek Valley. It was a madhouse. I imagine they must have gotten some good press because the parking lot was overflowing with cars and there were buses coming and going. We didn't taste any of the wines that were bottled, opting instead for a few sips of their barrels (which is the part I enjoy most anyhow). Again, nothing I was blown away by. I liked their Syrah, but not enough to put in an order for futures. They were serving tri-tip and the line was LONG but I was starving by this point so we decided to wait it out. While we were in line, they announced that they had run out of meat so people behind us weren't going to be able to get any, while we each got 2 bites. They clearly weren't prepared for the amount of people who showed up. While I don't think we'll make it a point to go back there, the property was beautiful though ... running right along the river. And since it was in the mid-60s and sunny, it was a perfect location to end our day in wine country.
Except ... we didn't. We were going to stop into the Dry Creek General Store to get food but because most of the wineries this year had pulled back dramatically when it came to the food stuffs they were offering alongside their wines, the parking lot was overflowing and the line was out the door. We were both very hungry and when I get hungry I get (1) shaky and (2) cranky, so we had to get creative.
The first year we did the barrel tasting event, we went to Clos du Bois because it was a name we recognized (you'll probably realize at that moment we knew very little about wine). Imagine our surprise when they were serving kosher hot dogs to everyone who came by to taste. Since then, we've made Clos du Bois our last stop of the day to grab a snack before driving home. Strangely enough, I actually really like their unfiltered chardonnay while it's still in the barrel. I'm not a fan of it once it's been bottled though. We decided to go with the tried and true and CdB did not disappoint. In fact, they even upped their game, this year serving ... CORN DOGS. I cannot adequately describe to you how much I love corn dogs. So yeah, very happy we decided to go back to our old plan and stop in.
The other reason I love stopping in to Clos du Bois during this trip is because I always know I'll get some beautiful photos of the dogwood trees in bloom.
Maybe we're getting old, but I think this is the last year we'll go to the barrel tasting event. It has, dare I say, jumped the shark for us. A couple of years ago it was a really great time where you could talk to winemakers about why they were doing what they did and how they were blending their grapes and what they thought about this barrel versus that barrel and how they thought the wine would compare to what was already bottled. This year I felt like it was more of a party atmosphere and even the wine makers weren't looking at this as an educational event, but more a time to get people drunk so they'd buy more wine. I don't know. Maybe that's me being cynical, but while I had a good time, but the end of the day I was just really tired and kind of over the whole thing. I didn't mind getting back home.
I waited patiently as the library transferred this book (ever so slowly) from a library across town to my local branch. When I got the email that it was available for pick-up, I let out a squeal of glee. More Sookie, more Eric, more Pam ... more Sam and yes, even more Vampire Bill. More than anything, I was hoping for more insight into the relationship between Sookie and Eric, so everytime Eric showed up, I read with baited breath. And then he'd disappear again, nothing to be resolved. Until the scene where there's yet another Vampire stand-off at Sookie's house and Eric finds himself in her room ... remembering everything about his feelings for her. I got so excited - "here it is, we'll finally know what's going to happen!" And then, no. Sookie does what she always does and retreats to the bathroom, telling Eric they'll talk about it later. Unfortunately, later never comes and instead we get more information on Jason and his slutty werepanther wife, the Weres and their battle for supremacy and more about Sookie's family history. BORING! Here's to hoping Dead and Gone (coming out in May 2009) does a better job of it than From Dead to Worse.
Gorilla picks handsome name for son at San Francisco Zoo -
Little Hasani was abandoned by his mom moments after she gave birth to him. He's being raised by a zookeeper at the Zoo. He'll be able to integrate with the rest of the gorilla troop in a couple of months. In the meantime, he's drawing a lot of attention - and not just from the human population.
So, we need a new TV. And my tooth is broken (thankfully not beyond repair). These are not cheap things. In fact, I just got back from the dentist and this is a pricey proposition.
The fillings I got when I was 12 or 13 have failed and I need new fillings. One of them failed so badly that I have a crack in my right bottom molar - exactly what caused my left bottom molar to break last night, in fact. So, I need to get that one crowned as well. Oh, and that fraking fourth wisdom tooth my crackpot dentist left in when I was 16? Yeah, I either need to get a filling or get it pulled. [Let me ask you something ... what kind of nutjob pulls THREE wisdom teeth and leaves the FOURTH?]
I also need to have all those failed silver fillings refilled with the latest and greatest materials. The total cost for everything I need to have done is over $3000 and our insurance is going to pay $1800 of it. SHIT, SHIT, SHIT.
Here's to hoping our dying TV makes it awhile longer because I need my teef.
Tonight we went to dinner and as we were eating a cupcake I felt a giant chunk of something that wasn't sweet goodness in my mouth. At first I thought it was a giant piece of glass or something but upon closer inspection - and right when the pain hit - I realized it was the inside of my left bottom molar. Of course it was after hours so no dentists were available for appointments early tomorrow. I've left a message for a dentist down the street from my office so we'll see if they can see me. In the meantime my tooth HURTS.
Last night I turned our TV on and immediately I could see something was wrong. I tried to blame it on AT&T at first because they are always a good culprit if something with your phone, Internet or cable is messed up. Alas, the picture on our screen on the TV in the back bedroom was perfectly crisp and clear. Alan spent HOURS futzing with all the settings, hoping against hope that he could fix it. This morning he called in the professionals. Essentially, our beautiful TV's gone brain dead. One of the key parts - which functions like it's brain - has died. What we saw last night is only the beginning. The picture will continue to degrade until it's no more. It could go as soon as tomorrow or in days or weeks - there's no way to tell. The part costs $175 and the labor is $400+. The technician also told us that this particular model had several recalls on it (oh really?!) and that it is known to be a lemon which is why it's also been discontinued - conveniently about 3 months after we bought it. Interesting.
I think we're going to have to get a new TV. Our current one - oh how I love it so - is 51 inches. To get a wall mount 51 inch is ridiculous so we'll probably drop down in size but I don't want to go any smaller than 46 inches. We could go with some off-brand and save a crap ton of money, but I don't want to go that route either.
You know, this is the second time we've had a "new" appliance that has completely died on us RIGHT AFTER the warranty expired, thus making us need to run out and spend $$$ on something new that we weren't anticipating? This sucks.
We woke up early to a cold, gray day - exactly how I like them.
We didn't have a lot of time for wandering around since we were meeting Mike for lunch at 1:00 p.m. and then heading to the airport for our flight home.
One thing we definitely wanted to do while in Seattle - but hadn't yet managed to fit into our schedule - was check out theSpace Needle, Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum. Strangely, we spent one of our dating anniversaries in Cleveland, visiting the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame so this seemed apropos.
Before walking over to the EMP we took a couple of pictures of the Space Needle but decided not to go up because (1) we'd already seen an amazing view from the LCS Building, (2) we didn't know if we'd have enough time for the EMP before meeting up with Mike for lunch and didn't want to short-change ourselves and (3) it's damn expensive to go to the top. So, instead I took photos from the bottom. This is really the only one I love out of a set of like 20. Thank goodness for digital.
The EMP, as you probably know, is housed in a futuristic Frank Gehry building at the base of the Space Needle. Not everyone loves the look of Gehry's buildings, but I'm not one of those people. While it's not necessarily my "style" Gehry manages to create a sense of movement and motion in his buildings and when you're looking at them, they are just gorgeous. In the case of the EMP, the Monorail - designed for the World's Fair - goes right through the building.
On our last full day in Seattle we decided to check out Pioneer Square, do the Underground Tour and eat lunch at Salumi, a place we've heard about for years and had been looking forward to ever since deciding we were going to visit Seattle. If you're a foodie, you'll recognize Salumi as the salumeria owned and operated by Mario Batali's father and family.
Unfortunately, I woke up this morning feeling very tired, crabby and run down. This is - also unfortunately - a pretty common occurrence when we do city vacations that involve a lot of walking (versus say, sitting on a beach or at the pool).
Our first stop of the morning was the Athenian Inn in Pike Place Market for breakfast. I'd read that their menu was quite extensive and if something wasn't on it, you probably couldn't have it for breakfast. We found that to be true in a lot of ways. I couldn't decide what to order so I went with my old standby - corned beef hash - while Alan ordered clam hash. Both dishes were very good. Unfortunately, our waitress was having a bit of an off morning and she managed to spill the entire jar of half and half on our table. While jumping to avoid the spill, I ended up spilling coffee on myself which made me even more irritable than I already was. Still, she didn't do it on purpose so I was nice and didn't give her the stink eye. In fact, when we left she thanked us for being so nice about the whole thing. Good karma points for us!
After breakfast we walked over to Pioneer Square, which is one of the oldest parts of Seattle and sits on top of the first city that was built (I learned this on the Underground Tour). The majority of buildings are brick and the area has a really quaint, old America feel that is really different than other parts of the city we'd seen.
Before going on the tour, Alan wanted to see inside the LCS Building which for quite some time was the tallest skyscraper on the West Coast. Built by the Smith Corona (and Smith & Wesson) family patriarch, the building is a thing of absolute beauty. The lobby's walls are covered in marble, there are original light fixtures and the elevators are original too - updated for mechanics, obviously.
The building has a top floor observation deck that we found out is unfortunately closed during the weekdays. But the woman at the entrance was very nice and let us go to the top floor. The ceilings were all hand-carved mahogany and most of the furniture was donated by the Empress of China at the time the building was being decorated. It was certainly quite impressive and I'm glad Alan made me do this detour (even though it was hot and I had to carry my heavy jacket and I was an irritable pill about it all).
The Underground Tour was very interesting and it gave us a history of Seattle that no guidebook or website had been able to until that point. It was great hearing about the city's founding fathers and how Seattle was planned (or rather, not planned) and came to be what it is today. As you can imagine, anytime you've got what is essentially an underground city, there's probably talk of ghosts. Our tour guide - who seemingly hated our group, btw - told us that Ghost Hunters was there a few years ago and verified that indeed, there is paranormal activity down there under the city. Thankfully, we didn't see anything worth writing home about.
After the tour, we headed over to Salumi. Unfortunately, they were closing at 3pm that day for an employee meeting, so we weren't able to eat there but we found a Waterfall garden that had tables so we set up an impromptu picnic there.
After lunch we went to the Elliott Bay Book Company which might possibly be my favorite book store I've ever set foot in. It's absolutely beautiful and if you're any fan of books, you should stop in as well the next time you visit Seattle. I saw Stitched in Time from the author of one of my favorite blogs, Posie Gets Cozy, and a beautifully illustrated children's book whose text was from Barack Obama's famous speech captured so creatively and artisticly by Will I Am and others. I really wish I would have bought the book, but alas, I did not. :-(
After the bookstore we went back to the hotel to relax in the hot tub and take a nap before dinner at The Pink Door. What an amazing little restaurant. You wouldn't know it was there if you weren't looking for it, but I'm glad we were. Some nights they have trapeze artists but when we were there they had a jazz trio and we had a perfect view of the singers. While it would have been easy to be distracted by the music, our food was also very good. Unfortunately, I was still pretty full from Salumi, so I couldn't gorge myself as much as I had wanted to. But yeah, I'd definitely say if you're in the mood for Italian food, staying near Pike Place, and don't know where to go, you should definitely head to The Pink Door.
[I'm even worse about putting this trip re-cap up than I was about our Paris trip. Maybe though, unlike our Paris trip, I'll actually get every day up - yeah, never wrote about our last day in Paris. Oops.]
So, Seattle ... Day 4. This day could also be described as the day my co-workers think I went to Forks (based on my Twitter updates throughout the day) And no, we didn't go to Forks - but not for my lack of trying. Although I want to make it clear, straightaway, that I didn't really want to go to Forks. I actually wanted to go to the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park and First Beach. Really, I swear.
So anyway ... On our fourth day in Seattle, we decided to go to Bainbridge Island. Rather, let me rephrase that ... we didn't just wake up on day 4 and think, "let's hit up Bainbridge." No, I'd read several blogs and travel magazines prior to this trip and everyone said you absolutely had to go to Bainbridge. Even Coastal Living had a "30 hours in Bainbridge" article that had GORGEOUS pictures of the island. I was sold. So, while planning our trip, I said, "we have to spend a day in Bainbridge." So we decided our fourth day in Seattle would be that day.
We decided to rent a car from the Avis office across the street from our hotel. This is going to sound strange, but um ... I think we had really great service from the people who worked there. So, if you're ever staying at the Westin in Seattle and want to rent a car, I can highly and without hesitation recommend you visit that Avis. We got a subcompact car for something ridiculously cheap like $35/day (at least I think so). I dunno, I thought it was cheap anyhow.
The weather forecast called for cloudy skies and highs in the mid-to-upper 40s which in my mind is perfect traveling weather. After getting our car at 7am, we set off for the ferry. This was something we were really excited for because while we've ridden the ferries here in the Bay Area and to Staten Island in NYC, we've never gone on a CAR FERRY. It was all very nerve wrecking (because really, if there are two people who could mess it up, it would be us).
Loading the car was a hoot. So crazy to think there are boats that take hundreds of cars across the sound several times a day. I think if they tried something like that here in the Bay Area, people just wouldn't be able to do it. There's some mean ass drivers 'round these parts.
Okay, so Bainbridge. Like I mentioned, lots of recommendations that we should definitely spend the day on the island. And yeah, um ... I'm going to disagree wholeheartedly.
Maybe it's because we went so early in the morning, or because February isn't really prime tourist season, but there was NOTHING TO SEE OR DO ON BAINBRIDGE! And how Coastal Living can think you can spend the entire fracking day window shopping and sightseeing in downtown Winslow is beyond me. Maybe I'm an impatient sort, but after less than an hour (during which time we stopped for coffee at the very cute Pegasus Coffee (which, strangely, had bad cappucinos), I was like, "really? We rented a car and took a ferry for this?"
After our coffee we decided to drive out a ways to stop at the Fay Bainbridge State Park. I don't remember how the book we had described it, but it was sufficiently interesting that we figured, "why not?" It was a really cute place, but worth putting in a guidebook? Not so sure. Still, we did collect some very pretty whitewashed clam shells that are now sitting in a vase in our china cabinet in the living room.
So, it was still quite early in the morning and we had a full day to kill. So what do we do? We drive. And sightsee. And follow the guidebook. We decide to head down the Kitsap Peninsula to check out the tiny town of Poulsbo, which is described as, "a town with a Scandinavian theme in its shops and restaurants, and is a popular regional tourist destination." We've decided this must be where Captain Sig lives. The town itself is rather adorable and Liberty Bay, "a fjord-like bay" is just beautiful.
As you can see from the picture above, it was also a lot sunnier (and warm) down here. The rest of the day was rather beautiful, actually.
Because the cappucino at Pegasus was so watery and thin, we stopped in at the Poulsbohemian Coffee shop overlooking the bay for an espresso. Best. Idea. Ever. Without it, I may have collapsed. Such a cute little coffee shop. The patrons there are trying to knit the world's largest scarf. I'm sure there's a purpose for it, but I can't remember what it is. Here we ate our goodies from the Poulsbo Bakery - mmm, sugary, sweet goodness - and just relaxed for a little while before hitting the road again.
From Poulsbo, we drove up to Port Gamble which the guidebook described as a quaint seaside logging town modeled after a New England Village. What they SHOULD HAVE said was, "a couple of houses and nothing more. Oh, good view of the bay." Because really ... unless you're a logger who works there, THERE'S NO REASON TO GO TO PORT GAMBLE. At least no reason that I can see. Maybe I'm just bitter because it was slightly after we left that we realized there simply weren't enough hours in the day to get to Hoh and First Beach and that maybe, just maybe, if we hadn't taken that detour, we might have been able to. Or maybe not, it's hard to say. Still, cute pictures of us (and doesn't that count for something?).
But we pressed on to Port Angeles, where we knew there were several other entrances to Olympic National Park that we could explore.
Okay Twilight fans that have managed to read this far. I'm going to be real with you for a second here. Port Angeles sucks. That scene from the movie where Bella and her friends go prom dress shopping? Yeah, nothing that quaint and cute here. This is a PORT town and it shows. This is where you grab the ferry to British Columbia. This is where you drive through on your way to somewhere else. We couldn't even find somewhere to eat lunch. I felt really sad about it. So yeah, if you're going to attempt a Twilight-themed pilgrimage, do yourself a favor and don't worry about stopping there. Just keep driving to Forks.
Moving on ...
Since we couldn't make it to La Push or Hoh, we decided to drive into the park and check out the Elwah River Valley in Olympic National Park which was absolutely gorgeous and stunningly beautiful (and of course, I have the pictures to prove it). As you drive into ONP, the mountains around you begin to rise up thousands of feet. There is no gradual ascent like with Lake Tahoe - here you're surrounded by sheer cliff faces that are capped by snowy peaks. While we were driving, we saw a traffic advisory so we turned into the a.m. station and found out there had been a rock slide on one of the other highways and no cars were allowed through. I can't imagine what a rock slide here would look like, but I'm guessing it would be major.
As you drive into the park, you immediately see the river and its rocky bottom. At some point it goes from looking like any old river to oh my god that is a turquoise river! I'm absolutely serious - the water was turquoise.
Behold (a straight out of the camera picture).
We tried to drive up this road that had beautiful, tall, giant trees draped in moss but I'm a big old chicken and asked Alan to drive back down b/c it was far too narrow and muddy for my delicate sensibilities and I was afraid we'd tumble down a cliff face to our death. Given that we didn't see any park rangers (even when we tried to), I was doubly worried about not being found until summer. So, we left the park to head back to the ferry in Winslow for our trek back to Seattle. The drive back is about two hours and the scenery is beautiful. Still, it's a full day's drive so unless you have a day to kill, I wouldn't recommend this particular addition to your Seattle trip itinerary. Luckily for us, we did have a day to kill since several crazy someones had told us to spend the day on Bainbridge.
For dinner we ended up eating at Elliott's Oyster House down on the waterfront where we tasted some amazing oysters. I've had kumamoto oysters at a couple of different places, but I'm no connoisseur of oysters so we asked our waitress to bring us the ones they recommended. She brought four different kinds, kumamoto among them. Our favorite were the Quilcene oysters, which are local to the Puget Sound area. They were big, meaty and had a wonderful briny flavor that wasn't too overpowering. We also each ordered alder planked salmon (different varieties) which was good, but looking back I think I would have just preferred eating oysters all night.
Lest this post sound really negative and like I'm complaining, I want to say we had a really enjoyable day. The driving tour was gorgeous and gave us a good appreciation for the wilderness surrounding Seattle and for what the rest of the Pacific Northwest in this area looks like. While I would have dome some things differently, and wished I had had different expectations, I really had a wonderful day.