Showing posts with label Kirkland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kirkland. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Silly Souvenirs: Something to Crow About

Pelop2013 084We don’t buy many souvenirs that can’t be consumed within a few weeks or months of our return. Honey and spices are among our favorites because they tuck so well into the suitcase and are flavorful reminders of good times and tastes we have had during our travels.

From a practical standpoint, when you spend a good deal of the year traveling, as we do, the last thing you need is more ‘souvenir stuff’ to collect dust in your absence.

So I can’t explain when I became focused on ceramic roosters; the kind that are often used to decorate European kitchens. It was somewhere between Italy and Portugal or possibly, France that I decided in order to look more European, our kitchen ‘needed’ a colorful ceramic cock!

The Rooster’s ‘Tale '’

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Portuguese tile
Before you label me quite feather-brained, let me tell you a bit about the rooster in Europe. 

Take Portugal for instance. . .

As the legend goes about the Galo de Barcelos, a man accused of stealing was sentenced to death by a judge who was about to dine on a roasted rooster. The convicted man told the judge that the rooster on his plate would rise and crow to validate his innocence. And sure enough, as he was placed on the gallows, that rooster raised up and began crowing – and spared his life!

To this day, the rooster represents faith, luck and justice in Portugal. And roosters like those in the photos above and below are found in every tourist shop!

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And then there is Italy. . . .where the story is told that back in 1516 a crowing rooster in the middle of the night is credited with waking the powerful Medici family and foiling an assassination attack on them. As a result, Guiliano Medici ordered the creation of a ceramic rooster pitcher and they were given to the peasants for good luck. The rooster continues to symbolize blessings, prosperity and well-being.

Back to ‘my’ rooster quest . . . those  beautifully sculpted Italian ceramic roosters don’t fit in our small travel suitcases and I am not birdbrained enough to carry one back in my lap on a 10-hour flight from Europe. 

Meet “Dooley” – our kitchen rooster:

Sometimes things are just meant to be.  At a recent auction that our animal-loving friends at Dooley’s Dog House in Kirkland had organized for homeless animals, I found my rooster. 

While he isn’t quite the sleek, tall, good-looking Italian ceramic version I had in mind, my somewhat reasonable (okay. . .$15 bid) secured his homecoming at our house. (I did note no one else seemed interested in bidding on him, let alone taking him home)

kirklandprt2 001

kirklandprt2 002While he isn’t a suave Italian specimen, he is turns out to be one talented cock!

He’s actually a cookie jar – one of a collection of whimsical jars made by a long-ago company AMC in New York – and he crows - every time you open the jar!) 

And by coming home with me, he’s already provided some good fortune  for some homeless animals out there. . .

So what about the souvenirs you buy? What are your favorite things to bring home? Practical or silly?  Tell us about it in the comments below or shoot us an email.  Hope to see you back here on Travel Photo Thursday!
And stop by The Tablescraper for some Sunday reading at "Seasonal Sundays" - you'll find some posts by us and many, many other entertaining writers!

Until then, hope your travels are something to crow about (sorry, I couldn’t resist)!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

WAWeekend: Sailing those Tall Ships

DC2012 007
Sails unfurled, the boom of cannons re-echoed in the distance from Lake Washington.  We could hear and see from our Kirkland home, the battle – mock, of course –  each afternoon of September’s sunny Labor Day weekend.

Washington's Tall Ships were in town.

If you’ve never seen the Tall Ships,  -- Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain -- owned and operated by the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport in Aberdeen, you are missing a treat.  They can be found traveling the Pacific Coastline from British Columbia to California, stopping at ports like Kirkland, along the way.

kirkland 022 The Hawaiian Chieftain, is a replica of the ships used by European merchants and is similar to those sailed by the Spanish off the Western Coast of the United States.

The Hawaiian Chieftain, built of steel in 1988, was purchased by Gray’s Harbor Historical Seaport in 2004 and now accompanies. . .

kirkland 003The Lady Washington which was built in Aberdeen and launched in March 1989.  The ship is a full scale reproduction of the original 1750’s Lady Washington – the first American vessel to make landfall on the West Coast of North America.

kirkland 008The best part about these ships is that the public can buy tickets to tour the vessels or sail on them while they make their guest appearances up and down the West Coast. And if you are really into tall ships there are a variety of volunteer opportunities available as well.

The ships can be rented  for charters, group tours and education programs – and if you are making a movie and need a tall ship, well, give them a call.

To Sail On The Tall Ships:

Map picture

You can often find the ships in their home port in Aberdeen but with their heavy tour schedule, it is best to plan ahead and see if they will be there or not during your visit. To check their sailing schedule and locations -  and to buy tickets - visit the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport website.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

WA Weekend: Kirkland ~ Where the Livin’ is Lakeside

Even those of us lucky enough to live in Kirkland, just across Lake Washington from Seattle, sometimes take this Pacific Northwest gem for granted.  Kirkland should be the poster child for lakeside living and here are some reasons why:

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1. Waterfront Parks:  Take a stroll along the mile-long stretch of Lake Washington Blvd. from Carillon Point to downtown Kirkland to explore the city’s many waterfront parks. Open free of charge to the public, they are great places for picnics, sunbathing or just reading a book.  (Winter storm watching is also fun from these vantage points.) For those not content to sit around, rent a paddle board or join a game of volleyball.

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 Marina Park, in the photo below, is a popular place for kids who can wade into the shallow water along its crescent-shaped beach, while  dogs chase out into the deeper waters to retrieve sticks and balls and pesky water fowl angle for a handouts. It’s also center stage for the town’s many festivals.


2. Get out on Lake Washington: If you want to really experience the water. . .

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but you don’t have a boat to tie up at Marina Park’s public dock, don’t despair because.  .  .


Argosy Cruises (800-642-7816, has got you covered. The tour boat departs from the Kirkland Dock at Marina Park for a 1.5 hour cruise that – on a sunny day – will provide stunning views of Mt. Rainier, University of Washington’s Husky Stadium and takes you past the waterfront homes of the rich and famous, like Bill Gates’ place. Reservations are recommended.  Schedule and prices can be found at the web site listed above.


(BTW, these photos are should dispel the rumor that it ‘always rains in Seattle’. Not so!)

If You Visit: 

Map picture

The fresh-water Lake Washington at 20-miles long and reaching a depth of 214-feet is the second largest lake in Washington State, just behind the 55-mile long Lake Chelan.

When a day at the lake comes to an end, try out some of the many eateries that dot the shoreline or are clustered in the downtown area, easy walking distance from the water.

Sip some Washington wine (we’d recommend The Grape Choice a wine merchant with its kid and dog friendly sipping area near Marina Park).

Spend a night or two  at either of the town’s luxury hotels: The Woodmark Hotel on the lake at Carillon Point and The Heathman Hotel in the downtown, two blocks from Marina Park.

For more information: Click on:  Explore Kirkland.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you’ll subscribe to receive  TravelnWrite in your inbox or follow us on Facebook at TravelnWrite.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WA Wednesday: Woodinville ~ A Wine Field in the Backyard

YaYa2012 001Have you ever been startled to find an obvious, but overlooked, travel treasure right in your own back yard?

I was. Just this week. 

And it took a visit from two friends (yes, that’s us on the right) from Yakima, the heart of Central Washington wine country, to lead me to this wine field discovery:

Woodinville Wine Country.

Woodinville borders Kirkland, where Joel and I hang our hats when not traveling. Both cities are east of Lake Washington, part of the greater Seattle Metropolitan area. SeaTac Airport is about 22 miles to our south.

Considering the proximity, I am still asking myself why I waited so long to explore this oenophile oasis that boasts nearly 100 wineries, tasting rooms and wine bars in an area only eight miles (a 15 minute drive) away? 

Exploring Wine Country – Our route

YaYa2012 005You can’t tour and taste in wine country on an empty stomach.  . .a perfect reason to first lunch at the bistro-style award-winning Barking Frog restaurant.

The restaurant’s name comes from the Native American storytellers use of the Frog as a symbol of wealth or abundance. When the frogs are barking, it is a sign of peace and harmony in nature. 

(The rain threat kept us from using their patio; we’ll try it next time. And kudos to our waitress who knew her wines, made great recommendations and then encouraged our long, leisurely lunch.)

YaYa2012 007A Monday afternoon may not have been the best time to tour as a number of wineries and tasting rooms were closed. Those we did visit included the sleek modern Novelty Hill/Januik, the French Chateau-style Chateau St. Michelle, and a cluster of wineries housed in and on the perimeter of the old Hollywood School.

We  traveled by auto, but there are 20 wineries/tasting rooms that we could have walked to from the Barking Frog and Willows Lodge with which the restaurant is affiliated. Those folks have prepared a free walking map available for the asking. 

And speaking of maps, for a great overview of the area, there’s nothing better than the map from the Woodinville Wine Country web site which I’ve included below (go to their site and print it off in PDF format before you go):
Woodinville Wine Country Map

If you go:

Willow Lodge, next to the Barking Frog is a luxurious spa resort, 14580 NE 145th St., (Weekends are busy in the summer but mid-week, there's a chance of getting a room – at maybe a better price.)


The Barking Frog, 14580 NE 145th St. Woodinville, is part of Willows Lodge. Bistro style breakfast, lunch and dinners.

YaYa2012 002The Herb Farm restaurant, on the same property, is legendary for its months-long wait lists. It’s nine-course meals, paired with six wines, continues to make it among ‘the’ places to eat in the Northwest.  Prices are astronomical but then so is the experience (we are told).


Get maps, winery and tasting room hours and driving directions from Woodinville Wine Country, (425) 205-4394,  Another good site:

WA Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of TravelnWrite. If this is your first visit to our blog, we hope to see you again tomorrow on Travel Photo Thursday.

Monday, August 1, 2011

An Old Friend ~ A Sentimental Journey

Sometimes it’s the destination; other times the journey.
Sometimes it is both.  A Saturday afternoon jaunt to downtown Kirkland, less than five miles round trip from our home, highlighted a personal sentimental journey and sparked memories of similar journeys for others before the day was done. 

Mine is a journey that began 39 years ago. . .the year my ‘old friend’ and I first met . 

herbie 012
It was the summer of 1972 in a used car lot when I first laid eyes on the funny little green German-made ‘69 Volkswagen “Beetle”. 

This "Bug" as Beetles were often called, had been declared the perfect ‘college car’ by my father and thus a relationship was to begin that would transport me and my car through nearly four decades together.

Soon after driving the car off the lot, I christened him, Herbie, (as did most who owned VW Bugs in that era – thanks to Walt Disney' "Herbie the Love Bug" movie.) and that is how he continues to be known. He or him, but never it.

Herbie and I began our college-years journey traveling the same 37 mile stretch of Central Washington roadway weekend after weekend, from school to home and back again. Herbie took me to my first newspaper job and was with me as I moved from single-womanhood to my newlywed home.

0890350-R1-029-13 Our journey together seemed to hit a roadblock when Joel and I moved across the state, putting Herbie, quite literally, out to pasture at a relative’s home in Eastern Washington. After we got settled, Herbie would move as well. 

The years turned into decades and still my old – deteriorating– friend waited. The photo to the left is Herbie in 2003; long after the time I should have moved my trusted old friend. Restoration got underway that fall and continued for several years.

Herbie’s Kirkland homecoming was in November 2009 (the photo at the top of the post commemorates his arrival). 
kirkland 034 Saturday’s trip was to downtown Kirkland’s was to introduce Herbie to the community. He appeared in a "Cruise In" day of Kirkland's Classic Car Show; an appearance that sparked several other sentimental journeys:   

There were stories of other ‘Herbie’s’; those college cars and newlywed cars  of Boomer’s youth. One woman recalled a family road trip taken with four kids crammed into the backseat. Laughter. Much laughter as memories included driving without power steering, adequate heat or cooling systems and other modern-day comforts.

One man told his teenage children about his VW, while another fondly recalled that he'd driven the same green-colored Bug, another pondered ways to get his 'Bug' from a mid-western barn to Kirkland for restoration. Two ladies came by, called out to each other in Chinese and began snapping photos of ol’ Herb.

Their stories were many and diverse but all shared a common theme:
An old friend and a sentimental journey.

How about you? What's your sentimental journey?

(Click the movie link to see a Michael Bolton YouTube video musical tribute to the movie's Herbie)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Washington Wednesday: Kirkland

J. Smith photo - (c) 2011
Kirkland, the city just east of Seattle on the eastern shore of Lake Washington, in recent years has been called Washington's Sausalito (one of California's trendy, touristy beach towns).

On sunny days (this summer, sadly, there have been few) it just might put you in mind of a California beach town; but Kirkland's  worth a visit for what it offers, not what it is like

J. Smith photo, (C) 2011
Just take a walk along Kirkland's Lake Washington Blvd., the scent of coconut oil tanning creams wafting through the air,  the beach parks filled with sunbathers, and panoramic, spectacular views over Lake Washington of the Olympic Mountain range and the Seattle cityscape in the distance and you'll know what I mean.

Or take in a performance at the Kirkland Performance Center, visit one of its many art galleries. . .

Kirkland is a care-free, kick back and still somewhat undiscovered destination for those seeking an alternative to staying in its big city neighbor to the west, Seattle. Despite a population swell to 80,000 this year as result of an annexation, Kirkland's downtown still has a small-town feel, with art galleries, restaurants, coffee and beverage lounges and shops housed in low-rise, mid-century buildings.

Founded in 1889 by Peter Kirk, who planned to build a steel mill on the lake shore here, Kirkland is home to two luxury hotels: The Woodmark on the banks of Lake Washington at Carillon Point and The Heathman, in the heart of the downtown. For those not into hotels, there's also Loomis House B & B, one of the few remaining 1889 Victorian homes built by the Kirkland Land and  Improvement Company.
J. Smith photo, (C) 2011
The place - no matter where you go - is a walking-friendly town (dog friendly, as well, for those you who travel with your four-footed family members).   And, here are some of our recommended routes:
* The stretch of Lake Washington Blvd. between Carillon Point and downtown Kirkland. (Just under three miles round-trip.  Watch for signs along the way directing you to public pathways along the water's edge - some are tucked away behind condominiums.
* Along Lake Washington Blvd. to Marina Park, Park Lane and Central -- an art walk to find as many of its big bronze public sculptures as you can.
*Through the gardens at Heritage Park, at the corner of Central and Market Streets. (If you have the energy, continue walking north on Market to experience Kirkland’s Historic District.
* Onto the Marina Park or Carillon Point docks for some spectacular lake and Seattle cityscape views.
* Tired of walking?  Rest up in one of the lakefront parks.
If You Go:

Kirkland is just east of Seattle, (20 miles north of SeaTac) and can be reached by using public transit.  King County METRO provides a free trip planner or call, 206-553-3000, to help you plan your route.  Taxis are also available.

Explore Kirkland, web site provides information about upcoming events, accommodations and entertainment.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Looking for Luxury? Think. . . Kirkland

There's a great, but too often overlooked, alternative to Seattle and  it's Kirkland, our hometown.  So before Hula Babe begins her Hawaii reports, I must write a word or two about Kirkland, especially for those of you who are feeling you need a mid-winter change of scenery and may not make it to Hawaii or other tropical destination. (Some actually like rainy days, I am told). So if you want to dine in a French bistro, stroll miles of lakefront passing a half dozen parks along the way and then pamper yourself at either of two luxury hotels within a couple miles of each other, check out the full details in an article I wrote for KirklandViews.


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