Showing posts with label ExperienceWA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ExperienceWA. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

See Dick. See Jane. See Ellensburg ~

See Dick’s art.       See Jane’s art.

See Dick and Jane’s Spot in Central Washington State and you’ll find not only their art, but the artwork of nearly 40 other Pacific Northwest artists on display as well.

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Entry to Dick and Jane's Spot
We’re spending our summer at our Pacific Northwest home and soothing the travel itch with some in-state travel. Ellensburg, considered the most centrally located city in Washington State, was the focus of a recent travel article I was writing for the Seattle Times newspaper and made for a one-day getaway. (That article can be found at the other end of this link, so just click here.)

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Back Yard at Dick and Jane's Spot
In pre-trip research I turned to Trip Advisor and found one of the most highly rated things to do in this university town, is Dick and Jane’s Spot. (Turned out to be a great recommendation.)

Dick and Jane’s Spot has been the real-life home of artists Dick Elliott and Jane Orleman for nearly 40 years. The small house on a corner lot across from the town’s police and fire Station has – in my words – redefined ‘yard art’. 

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In the heart of Washington State
There is no admission fee, in fact, a small sign requests that you enjoy their outdoor gallery from the public sidewalk that borders two sides of the corner lot (unless you’ve called in advance and made other arrangements) or from the public walkway they’ve created on the north side of the house or from the alley behind it. And don’t forget to sign the guestbook.

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The newest installation stretches along the alley
Their whimsical creations are made of bottle caps and reflectors – more than 10,000 of them. Over the years the works of other artists have been added to the garden gallery. As works decay (or rust), they are replaced with new items, such as the recently finished dragon that snakes the length of the back fence off the alleyway.

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A Blowin' in the Wind and it gets windy in Ellensburg
Dick and Jane were 1971 (art majors) graduates of Ellensburg’s Central Washington State College, today a University. They married the same year and began turning their small home on Pearl Street into a gallery. Dick, aka Richard, Elliott passed away in November 2008 at age 63 from pancreatic cancer. Jane continues to live in their home and curates the outdoor gallery.  Once, they had a dog named ‘Spot’.

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Geometric design to the side of the house
While the yard gallery is a fantasy-land setting – their reflector art is nationally-known and has been commissioned for entities that include: the  New York Transit System,  Minneapolis' light-rail system,  the University of Washington's Henry Art Gallery and the Ellensburg Public Library. 

“The Old Inspires the New” reflector installation is found at the entry to concourse A at Seatac International Airport. The State of Washington owns 26 pieces of Dick’s artwork.

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It takes awhile to see it all at Dick and Jane's Spot
If you go:


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Ellensburg is 107 miles from Seattle via Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass. 

Dick and Jane’s Spot is just south of Ellensburg's historic downtown. Curbside parking is free in their neighborhood – just don’t park in front of the house, 101 North Pearl Street, so you don’t block fire trucks exiting the station across the street.

For those who are out of the area or who are armchair travelers, follow Jane on FB: https://www.facebook.com/DickandJanesSpot/?fref=ts and her web site is reflectorart.com

If you are simply passing through SeaTac and want to check out the installation there (as well as the other art on display) use this Art Map for the airport:  http://www.portseattle.org/Sea-Tac/Maps-and-Directions/Documents/ArtMap.pdf

That’s it for this week and again we thank you for the time you’ve spent with us. We wish you happy and safe travels.  We are spending our summer planning season figuring out future travels. I'll tell you about that next week!
 
Linking this week with:

Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Celebrating Christopher Columbus on His Day!

If you live in the Americas, will you be celebrating or condemning Columbus Day?  It seems there are two ways of looking at that voyager who back in 1492 crossed the ocean blue!
In the United States, October 12th (and now the second Monday of October) is known as Columbus Day, a federal holiday since 1937. It was celebrated unofficially by a number of cities and states far earlier than that – some dating back to the 18th century.
I would like to think that all travelers will be giving a nod of thanks to the courage of that daring 15th century explorer who has been credited throughout history with discovering the New World.

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Christopher Columbus statue - Lisbon, Portugal
However, despite his voyage and discovery – or maybe as result of it – there are those who won’t be celebrating his arrival in the present-day Bahamas on Oct. 12, 1492 for reasons best explained by History.com:

“There are three main sources of controversy involving Columbus’s interactions with the indigenous people he labeled “Indians”: the use of violence and slavery, the forced conversion of native peoples to Christianity, and the introduction of a host of new diseases that would have dramatic long-term effects on native people in the Americas.”

(Those indigenous people did introduce Columbus – and thus, the Old World -- to tobacco. In fact they gave him some of the dried leaves as a welcome, and he later learned from them how to smoke it, so in some ways maybe they got some revenge early on.)

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Columbus arrived in the Caribbean in 1492
So now, more than 500 years later, controversy surrounds the celebration of Columbus Day in some places on the globe. . .prompted by a focus is on the treatment of the indigenous people – not the voyage of discovery.

In reality, it would be difficult to find a ‘hero’  in history who didn’t have some character or behavioral flaws shadowing their lauded contributions, wouldn’t it?  We can name several and I suspect you can as well. People aren’t perfect, plain and simple!

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Replica of one of Columbus's ships - Funchal, Madeira
The fact remains that the Italian-born Christopher Columbus had the guts to believe in himself and was able to get the Spanish king and queen to back the expedition of the trio of tiny ships (not much larger than present-day cruise ship life boats) in his attempt to find a western route to China – in 1492!

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Navigation in 1492 on left; present-day cruise ship bridge

We probably took Columbus and his courage for granted until the first time we took a repositioning cruise across that wide expanse of the Atlantic Ocean a few years ago. We followed  a route similar to that of the early day sailor.

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Crossing the Atlantic - only sea and sky and our ship

The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the earth’s four oceans.
Its surface area is about 31,660 sq. miles (82 million sq. kilometers).
It has an an average depth of 12,881 feet (3926 meters). Its deepest point is the 
Puerto Rico Trench with a depth of 28,681 feet (8742 meters).


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Leaving Fort Lauderdale to cross the Atlantic
We’ve now crossed the Atlantic Ocean four times –  each time in large, modern cruise ships with the latest medical facilities, on-board communication and navigation equipment.  As we’ve sailed from Florida’s Fort Lauderdale, the logical side of our brains ‘know’ we will be safe.

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On the Atlantic Ocean 
Yet . .we pause as we pass that last  tip of land knowing we will see nothing but water and sky  – no birds, no ships for at least six days . . . I can’t imagine being in those tiny wooden ships that took two months to cross the Atlantic and not knowing when I would see land again.

Celebrating the Explorers

Unlike on this side of the Atlantic, we’ve seen tributes – towering statues and monuments -- to Columbus and his fellow early day explorers throughout Europe;  Lisbon, Madeira, Cadiz, Seville, Barcelona, just to name a few. The enormous tribute below, the Monument to the Discoveries (Padrao dos Descobrimentos) on the approach to Lisbon, Portugal honors Henry the Navigator.

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Monument to the Discoveries - Lisbon, Portugal

Post Script:
If you’ve stayed with me this long, and you hadn’t noticed, I’ve got a bee in my bonnet, and here’s why:

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Seattle Space Needle
The Seattle City Council took action this week declaring the second Monday in October (aka Columbus Day), Indigenous People’s Day. In taking the action, Seattle has joined a few other city’s who’ve shifted the day’s focus.

A Seattle council member was quoted as saying, (Columbus) “played such a pivotal role in the worst genocide humankind has ever known.”

What put the bee in my bonnet was the singular focus; the condemnation of a portion of his actions without recognition of the exploration, the discovery – not even by the media who covered the council's deliberations.

I believe all historic events are most accurately told by more than one story -  if we don’t tell them all, our true history will be lost.

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Native American Totem Pole - Seattle
The Seattle council’s action brought cheers from local Native Americans while Italian Americans were insulted by it.

In reality, Washington State doesn’t recognize Columbus Day (meaning it isn’t a day off work for most).

Indigenous People’s Day is much the same; no time off, just a holiday in name only. 

Without a day off work, the day -- by either name -- will likely go unnoticed by most living  in the “New World”.




I suspect that if my maternal grandparents, who at the turn of the 20th century escaped to the “New World” from the Russian hell-hole in which they lived, were still alive, they’d be celebrating the day set aside to honor the guy credited with discovering it.

Perhaps in that sense, we all should be celebrating those early discoverers.



Linking today:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Travelers Sandbox
Weekend Travel Inspiration - Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Travel Photo Monday - Travel Photo Discovery

Sunday, August 31, 2014

WAWeekend: What's New in The Yakima Valley

The Yakima Valley – where I was born and raised – is in the center of Washington State’s agricultural lands.  Once it’s only claim to tourist fame was its more than 300 days of sunshine each year.

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These days  the sunshine is just an added benefit. It has become a place where wine roads, ale trails and hiking/biking paths intersect.

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Hop yards - hops are used in the valley's ales
We returned to Yakima a couple months ago because I was researching an article for The Seattle Times.  I was in search of ‘what’s new?’.  Let me tell you I found plenty. 

If you’ve not had Yakima on your travel radar it is time to adjust your compass and head out for some incredible hiking and biking and then hit either the ale trail to local craft breweries and distilleries or set out to sample wine at the dozens of wineries that are scattered throughout the area.

Where to Go and What to Do in the Yakima Valley?
Just click this link to my article in The Seattle Times for my recommendations!

Map picture

Sunday, June 8, 2014

WAWeekend: Paintin’ The Town ~ Toppenish

With the apparent return of Spring in the Pacific Northwest, we are resuming our WAWeekend feature highlighting some of our favorite Washington State places:
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Yakima River Walkway - Yakima
I grew up in Central Washington’s Yakima Valley; about a 30 minute drive from today’s featured town.  Three decades ago this small farm and livestock center was simply a town you passed en route to the Tri Cities on the Columbia River or points further south in Oregon.

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Wine grape vineyards that have put the Yakima Valley on the map were still in the infancy stages. That ‘Washington Wine Road’ that now brings thousands to the area these days was just a plain old highway.



There was no reason to go to Toppenish unless you were employed at the huge U and I Sugar processing plant located just outside town – sugar beets were a big crop around the area back then.
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U and I Sugar Plant remains - 2010

Then the sugar plant closed in the late 70’s. The town’s crime rate was high, its mid-century buildings run-down and graffiti-covered. And then a group of enterprising folks had an idea. . . fast forward. . .

Toppenish 2014: "Where the West Still Lives"


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Toppenish, now with a population of some 9,000,  says it is the place "Where the West Still Lives". It does - in the old west murals - some 75 of them on buildings in its revitalized downtown – so many, that the tourism folks have created a map to help visitors find them all (a link is provided below).

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The first weekend in June each year a new mural is created during the town’s Mural-In-A-Day celebration. A 5k fund-raiser run kicks off the event, and then spectators watch from bleachers as a new mural is created.  This is the Mural Weekend in that small town and the newest creation, number 76,  will be installed at the U and I sugar plant – it will greet visitors arriving in town from the exit off Interstate 82.


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And these days, I’d be the first to tell you that a stop in this town is a must when traveling the Washington Wine Road through Central Washington. In addition to the murals, you’ll find close by:

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Yakama Nation Cultural Heritage Center - Toppenish
* The Yakama Nation Cultural Heritage Center (museum, restaurant and RV park);
* The Yakama Nation’s Legends Casino
*A Hop Museum (which is well worth a visit whether you are a fan of brewskies or not).

If You Go:

Tourist Information:  www.visityakima.com


Map picture

Follow this handy map of murals: http://www.visityakima.com/newSite/travel-maps/muralMapFrBk-web.pdf

Linking up with:
Weekend Travel Inspirations

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pacific Northwest: Luxury for Less

When the Pacific Northwest winter weather is frightful you can find some luxury getaways with rates that are quite delightful!

No joke.

I’ve found a dozen good deals to be had for a fraction of the cost of  high season rates – all at high end places within a few hours drive of Seattle.  Today I tell you all about them in an article I wrote for the Seattle Times Travel Section.

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Some resorts provide rain gear - be sure to ask when making a reservation!
You recall we visited Tofino on Vancouver Island’s west coast in September and paid just under $300 a night at the Best Western. . .the deal I found for The Times at the luxury resort just down the road (a perfect place to do some winter storm watching) is amazing in comparison.

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We spent a few hours gazing at Saratoga Passage from our deck on The Scout's birthday trip

You may also recall me telling you about the road trip we took for The Scout’s February birthday last year when we ended up at a luxury resort on Whidbey Island, an hour’s drive/ferry ride north of Seattle.  Well, they’ve got the same great deals this year for mid-week stays.

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The Inner Harbour - Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
I didn’t overlook those fabulous city getaways or ways to find other deals there – I’ve included deals in resorts from Victoria, B.C. to Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma as well.

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View from Benson Vineyards -late winter, Chelan, Washington Wine Country
There are also deals to be had at luxury spa resorts and wine country getaways. 

Now that I’ve sparked the travel bug in you, head over to the Seattle Times to see which resorts and hotels are featured.  (And please note: there are plenty more deals to be had out there, but there was a limit to the number of words in print.)  Click this link to get to my article and happy winter wonderland travels to you!
We have some more money-saving travel tips for you on Travel Tuesday so see you back here then!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

WAWeekend: Roslyn ~ A Warm Welcome

Roslyn, a once-thriving coal mining town in Washington State is a place to peek into Pacific Northwest history. It is also a place where the warmth of welcome is the norm, not just some tourist promotion jargon.

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Building in Cle Elum, Washington
Roslyn and its next-door neighbor, Cle Elum, are about two hours drive from western Washington’s Seattle and an almost equal distance from the TriCities (Pasco, Kennewick and Richland) in south-central Washington. The mid-Washington location is one reason why my childhood friend, Mary, and I chose them for our one-day girl’s getaway last week. 
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The Cle Elum train station now houses a restaurant and historical displays
The two of us also have ‘history’ here  because we’d fallen under the area’s spell decades ago while college students. (Ellensburg, our old college town, is about 30 minutes drive from here.)

We were overjoyed to find that its magic was as powerful now as it had been, and it quickly wrapped us up all over again in its spell. . .

The Coal Mine Beginnings


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Tribute to Fallen Miners in front of the old "Company Store"
Roslyn and Cle Elum are tucked away in the state’s Cascade Mountains. The coal discovered deep inside those mountains was needed to fuel Northern Pacific Railroad trains.

The first coal was shipped from Roslyn/Cle Elum area mines in 1886. In fact, the worst coal mine disaster in the state occurred in May 1892 at the Northern Pacific Coal Mine No.1 when an explosion and fire in the Roslyn mine (burrowed some 2,700 feet below ground) caused the death of 45 miners. Mining continued here until the last mine closed in 1962.

The Northwest Improvement Company Store (‘the company store’), pictured above, was the hub of the Roslyn community back in the town’s mining heyday and today, just like the town’s historic district, is on the  National Register of Historic Places.

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Roslyn, Washington cemetery

The Roslyn Cemetery, founded in 1886, is an amalgamation of some 25 separate cemeteries and the 5,000 graves on this 15-acre wooded site represent some 24 nationalities.  The cemeteries reflect the far reach of the mines more than a century ago. Miners hailed from as far away as Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Lithuania, Germany, Slovenia, Italy and England.  Many of those miners rest in these cemeteries and their descendants still live in the small town.

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The Runner Stumbles featured this church
Jumping ahead to a bit more modern history, the Immaculate Conception Church that towers over the town was featured in a 1979 movie, The Runner Stumbles, starring Dick Van Dyke and Kathleen Quinlan, that was filmed in this small town.

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Northern Exposure was filmed here
Many of you – if you were followers of that quirky, but insanely popular television show Northern Exposure (1991 – 1995) that was filmed here -- will recognize this building as it was used in the show’s opening. Businesses report tourists still arrive because of it. And the cafĂ© is still serving up meals!

The People

I’ve long said that once a ‘place becomes people’ it becomes even more special than its history or fame has made it.  Mary and I met two such individuals in Roslyn, both deserving a mention:

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Joyce Welker of Dingo Wild Dogs of Roslyn
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Mary and Joyce posed for the shutterbug
Joyce Welker, is the owner/operator of a hot dog stand -  Dingo Wild Dogs of Roslyn - on the town’s main drag.  She was setting up for lunch as we walked past . . .the fact that we’d brought a picnic lunch didn’t deter Joyce. She was introducing a new pulled pork sandwich that day and told us that we had to sample it.  We visited with her for nearly half an hour. Next time we’ll skip the picnic!  

Her small kitchen/storeroom, behind the grill, is an old red rock mine scale shack (fitting for a mining town, after all).  She does her biggest business after 10 p.m. when the local bars close down their kitchens, she told us.  But for the non-night owls, she’s open Fridays and Saturdays from noon – 3 p.m.

We had, pardon the pun, one blooming good time – just around   the corner from Joyce’s on the other, of the town’s two, main streets:

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As we’d driven into town, I’d announced (as the shutterbug in the car), “We’ve got to walk back here so I can take a photo of that yard!”   By the time we got back, the owner of the house and creator of this masterpiece, was out working in the garden. She gave me permission to take a photo or two. . .then she invited us up onto the porch for a closer look at those baskets:

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RoslynDC2013 013By this point we were talking about ourselves, our husbands, her husband, their life and ours. 

She offered to show us  her back yard,where we continued visiting, and then  - because she decorates the yard for each season – she invited us in to her basement store room (think the elves workshop at the North Pole). 

By then it didn’t seem unusual at all when she invited us into her home to see a  few photos of her seasonally decorated yard (framed photos, newspaper clippings and awards).

RoslynDC2013 021Once inside we got around to  introducing  ourselves by name. 

When it came time to leave we each hugged this lady who only an hour before we’d not known, vowing we’d come back again when we could stay longer, have a libation and do some real visiting!




Not every visitor to these small Central Washington towns will meet our two new friends, but I know where ever you go and who ever you meet will likely greet you with that same small town warmth of welcome. We are certainly planning a return!

If You Go:


Map picture

For area information: Visit the Cle Elum/Roslyn Chamber of Commerce site by clicking this link.

Suncadia Resort, a large planned unincorporated community and resort complete with houses, condos, lodge and golf courses and  covering an area of 6,300 acres is nearby.

Roslyn’s Swiftwater Cellars winery is located on the Suncadia property near the historic Roslyn No. 9 Coal Mine.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

WAWeekend: Clamming–Can you dig it?


We’ve just returned from Vancouver Island’s West Coast. While there, we decided it might be fun to return during the winter’s stormy season (and when hotel rates were hopefully lower).

But then the voice of travel reason set in and we recalled that trip to our own Washington coast – Copalis Beach –  a winter or two ago. . .

We had a dazzling taste of a winter storm and an equally satisfying taste of the razor clams for which this area is known.  Copalis Beach is less than a three-hour drive from Seattle; not a few hours drive plus a few hours longer ferry ride to return to Tofino, British Columbia.


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Copalis Beach - Washington State
Having watched razor clam diggers at work on Copalis Beach  during our visit, but not quite understanding the what- and how- of what they were doing, we were further tempted to return when we got an email this week from Iron Springs Resort, (where we had stayed on the last trip) about a clam digging activity for folks like us.

Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 093Actually, the guided Clam Digging Package offered this fall is designed for guests who are newcomers or who could use a few tips for spotting and catching the speedy bivalves:

If you sign up for the package, you’ll be part of a small group and you’ll have. . .

· Official clam digging license, available in the General Store at check in (licenses are required in this state and the cost of the license is extra)

· Digging essentials – clam guns, shovels, clam bags, lanterns and headlamps (Which save you from having to purchase one of those wacky ‘guns’ they sell along the roadside and in shops along the beach).

· Wine or hot cocoa, upon return from the beach (you may be chilled enough to opt for hot cocoa but a celebratory wine sounds good as well!)

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Clam cleaning station - Iron Springs Resort
· Clam cleaning tutorial and tools at the Iron Springs clam cleaning station (a real plus because we watched them do this as well – you need to know what you are doing.)

· Razor clam chowder recipe to prepare in your cabin
(Let me tell you, that if this is the same recipe as the thick, savory chowder served to us during our visit – you will love it!)




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Razor clam chowder - Iron Springs Resort

If You Go:

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Package Details: The package costs $50 per adult and $25 per kid, plus the cost of clamming license and cabin rates (starting at $149 a night), and can be booked through the resort’s reservation desk (1.800.380.7950).

And, of course, the “fine print:” Package is based on availability and the announcement of the official 2013 recreational razor clam season.

Realizing many of you live too far away to participate in the package, there is a recipe for clam chowder included in this post, One “Clam” Good Time. . . and more about  Iron Springs Resort here.

That’s it for now.  Have a great weekend and see you back here on Travel Tuesday when we’ll go ‘Beyond the Bar at Nanaimo’!

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