Showing posts with label Washington. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Washington. Show all posts

Sunday, November 18, 2012

WAWeekend: Sailing those Tall Ships

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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.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

TPThursday: A Journey to Joseph, Oregon

Our summer road trip through Eastern Washington took us into Northeastern Oregon on State Road 129S. Signs along the way told us we were following the  “Old Nez Perce Trail”.

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The paved twisting, turning roadway clings to the hillsides as it winds through the Grande Ronde Valley and over a river of the same name.  Our route climbed to the summit of Wallowa Mountain, (4,693 elevation) and led us past  the Joseph Canyon Overlook . (A stop here’s a must for spectacular views and a bit of Nez Perce Indian history as well.)

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Our destination was Wallowa Lake, a couple miles beyond the town of  Joseph, Oregon,  population 967, named for Chief Joseph, leader of the Wallowa band of Pacific Northwest Nez Perce Indian Tribe.

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Born in 1785 and died in 1871 (the marker is incorrect), Joseph the Elder is buried at the north end of Wallowa Lake. The burial site is next to the 62-acre day-use Iwetemlaykin State Heritage Site.

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Joseph is  an eclectic mix of Old West and Arts Haven, and the last town before the road dead-ends at this five-mile long, one mile wide, 283-feet deep Wallowa Lake.

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Joseph is home to numerous art galleries and Wallowa County’s first arts foundry.

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There are many Bed and Breakfasts in town and other lodging nearby, but the only motel within its city limits was built by Walter Brennan, (1894-1974) an Academy-Award winning actor who owned a ranch in the area.

And eateries galore; especially if you want a Western-style meal (think hearty chuck wagon stick-to-your-ribs style meal.) 

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But our two favorites don’t have Western menus. We munch tapas and sip wine on the front deck of Calderas enjoying the mountain views. And a trip isn’t complete without a piece of home-made pie or an old-fashioned milk-shake at Mad Mary and Co. Soda Shop.

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From any street in town there are spectacular views of the Wallowa Mountains.

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If You Go: 

Map picture

Getting there:
 There are several ways to reach Joseph and Wallowa Lake that are more mainstream than the route we took.  (Our route began in Asotin, Washington just south of Lewiston on the map above – a road to small to show on this Bing map).

From Portland: It’s just over a six hour drive of 322 miles, 519 km.  Oregon’s Highway 82 from Highway 395 winds through Joseph before dead-ending at Wallowa Lake. 

You can link up with the Hell’s Canyon Byway (Highway 350) just a few miles from Joseph – it’s a spectacular 218-mile stretch of highway.

Hiking: The Wallowa Mountains are considered by many to be Oregon’s best hiking venue.  For a sample of hikes, click here.

Accommodations/Eateries: The Chamber of Commerce website will get you here and settled in quite nicely!

It's Travel Photo Thursday, so head on over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more travel photos and trip ideas.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

WAWednesday: An American Soul Trip

Sometimes even the shortest of trips can replenish the soul and renew the spirit. Our road trip last week through America’s Pacific Northwestern states,Washington and Oregon, did just that.
Because we live in the fast-paced, high-rise, high-tech corridor of Washington’s Puget Sound area (3.5+ million people; more than half the state’s population) it is easy to forget there really are places where life’s focus isn’t the newest computer application or transit route.
Today, in honor of the Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day, I want to share some scenes from our journey:

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Grain elevators in the background and the gazebo at
Rosalia, Washington. Population 627. Founded 1872.

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The county courthouse and gazebo at
Enterprise, Oregon. Population 1,895.
Incorporated 1887.

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Wallowa, Oregon. Population 869. Incorporated 1899.

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A private home in Walla Walla, Washington. Population 31,731. Incorporated 1862.

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Flag on Main Street in front of the town’s century-old, (still operating) meat store in Cle Elum, Washington. Population 1,872.  Incorporated 1902.

To those of you celebrating the Fourth of July, where ever you may be, we send our wishes for a day filled with family, friends, and patriotism.  Please join us  tomorrow on Travel Photo Thursday when we’ll take you to Wallowa Lake and its historic Lodge.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WAWednesday: Off the Beaten Path

WAOR2012 001With that paper map in my lap -- and being referred to quite often ---- we left the Interstate Highway at George, Washington (no joke, there is a town named George with a Martha's Inn in it, as a matter of fact!)

The first leg of our summer road trip took us east across the state of Washington. We crossed from our western side of the state into the east on Snoqualmie Pass and then over the Columbia River at Vantage.

Each time I see that magnificent river, the song we sang with gusto in elementary school comes to mind:

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“Roll on Columbia, roll on.
Roll on Columbia, roll on.
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn,
roll on Columbia roll on.”

From the river we began a journey through miles of cultivated lands, often driving the ribbon of roadway without passing any other vehicles. With the sun roof open we took in the smells as well as the sights: fresh cut grain, pungent mint, all the fresh, earthy smells that fill these miles of agricultural land.

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The  two-lane roadway held promise of new adventures just waiting to be discovered as we cast off the confines of the big city where we live.

WAOR2012 005 We drove through charming – non-tourist towns – among them, Creston, Wilber, Reardon. . .each with a wonderful sense of community communicated through highway signs advertising civic events and celebrating youth. 

And each with its own distinct grain elevator and storage facility prominently towering over the town.

WAOR2012 003 During our pre-trip research I’d found a motel in Davenport, the county seat of Lincoln County, just 33 miles west of Spokane that prompted at least a stop for lunch in its wonderful cafe.  We ate at the  Black Bear Cafe, a part of the Black Bear Motel.

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The restaurant was a trip back into history – our meals were served in aluminum pans – reminiscent of the tin pans of olden days.

I’ve got to tell you this town was charming. It's courthouse belongs in a Norman Rockwell painting.

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Our trusty maps hadn’t let us down – we were off the beaten track in the midst of Washington's agricultural heartland -- and we were having a blast..

Thursday, March 15, 2012

TP Thursday: One ‘clam’ good time at Copalis Beach

In the early morning darkness they began arriving. From our cabin we watched dark silhouettes armed with ‘guns’ and shovels wade quickly across Boone Creek toward the ocean’s receding surf. Others arrived in cars and trucks; a scant parade of vehicles easing into position on the hard-packed sand. . .

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The ever-so-brief Pacific Razor Clam season had arrived on Washington State’s wet, windy, and oft-times wild Copalis (koh-PAY-lis) Beach.   The morning’s flurry of activity felt like a salt-sea version of  “Brigadoon” – the musical in which a place and time came to life for a matter of hours then disappeared as though it had never existed. 

Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 049We city slickers, with mere rain coats, gloves and jeans but sans heavy duty rain gear, opted to be spectators during the search for this most sought after shell fish in Washington State.

Its popularity in past years has attracted some 300,000 people, who’ve made nearly a quarter million digger-trips to the ocean beaches and harvested between 6 -  13 million razor clams. 

As we strolled the beach, we learned to look for three types of ‘clam’ signs. One, like in the photo, is the donut  hole in the sand. . .it  could be an indicator of a Razor Clam below . . .or of a shrimp. . .it takes practice to know the difference.

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Sometime you just need to dig and find out.  That’s what the clam ‘gun’ or shovel is used for:

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But only to a point. Then it is time to roll up the sleeves and really ‘dig it’:

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The beach was alive with diggers.  There are five Razor Clam beaches in Washington and it is not unusual to have as many as 1,ooo people per mile on those beaches on a spring clam dig day.

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Step Two:  Cleaning the Clams

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First  a dip in the hot tub. . .

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Then a bit of a scrub . . .

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And then the little critter was ready to cook.

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Step Three: Eating the Clams

We celebrated the harvest at a Saturday night feast which included Razor Clam chowder with our hosts at Iron Springs Resort.  (The link above will take you to the recipe they used – if’s courtesy of Kevin Davis of Steelhead Diner at Seattle’s Pike Place Market.)

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Gathered around the table with Doug and Dustin True (owners of Iron Springs Resort) and an assortment of their clam digging friends we shared  food, wine, stories and laughter. 

It was Pacific Northwest life at its finest.

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A few afterwards:  Razor clam season comes in one- or two-day spurts each year; sometimes the season can be as few as 15 or as many as 35 days. Clam diggers are required to purchase a state license and are limited to 15 clams per person per dig.

The clam cleaning station is one of the new additions at Iron Springs Resort, the mid-century resort that re-opened last year after a years worth of renovation and modernization. (See yesterday’s  Washington Wednesday for more on the resort.)

Today is Travel Photo Thursday so be sure to drop by Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos from around the world.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Washington Wednesday: Stehekin


Stehekin, a small outpost at the head of the 55-mile long glacier-fed Lake Chelan in Central Washington State is one of our favorite getaway destinations.

DSCF0577Accessible by boat or float plane (or for the outdoors enthusiasts) by trail; this remote treasure has been ‘discovered’ in recent years by Sunset and Martha Stewart magazines - yet, it remains a place where the biggest excitement of the day is the ferry’s arrival at The Landing.  (That bus in the photo provides the shuttle service up into the Valley – a must trip if you go.) 

Getting there: Most visitors depart for Stehekin from Chelan, about 180 miles from Seattle.  This  small town wraps around  the foot of Lake Chelan (consider staying there at least a day to visit its wineries).  Note: You can  also catch the ferry at Field's Point, about mid-way up the lake but you'll need a car to get there.

The nearest airport is Pangborn in Wenatchee, some 35 miles from Chelan.  From there you’ll need to use public transportation or rent a car. The route from Wenatchee follows Washington’s Columbia River.  If you are driving, a stop at Rocky Reach Dam visitor's center, just a few miles north of Wenatchee shouldn't be missed.
The Lady of the Lake – a bit of lake history in itself – and the Lady Express are our favorite forms of travel  between Chelan and Stehekin. (I snapped this photo of the Express stopping at Field’s Point to pick up passengers.) For day-trippers, there's time for a long lunch (a trip to the Stehekin Bakery is a must) before heading back to Chelan. 

Accommodations:  In the Stehekin Valley range from cabin rentals to ranch stays and hotel type rooms at The Landing.  (Click the link to see photos, availability and prices).

Activities:  Way too many choices: hiking, horseback riding, waterfalls and meadows.  You can rent bikes (seasonally) or simply set off walking – the road to the bakery and beyond is level and paved.  Disconnect: There’s limited computer access at The Landing and a public phone.  Turn off your cell – it won’t work anyway. Don't forget your camera!

Have you been to Stehekin? Got a recommendation?  Share it with us in the comments below.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Me Jana: welcome and happy times

Me Jana is an old Lebanese folk ballad sung to welcome friends, share happy times and reminisce about the old times.

Me Jana's patio was perfect for a September evening
Me Jana, 2300 Wilson Blvd., in Arlington, Virginia, is a Lebanese restaurant where friends and I were made welcome, we shared happy times and reminisced about the old. It is a restaurant that we liked so well a year ago that we ate there three times over the course of as many days.  Returning last week, we again managed to squeeze in two visits during our whirlwind trip to Washington, DC.

It was the lamb chops that drew us back. We weren't disappointed.
.Last year we sat around one of the outside tables on each of the warm East Coast evenings we dined there, shared plate upon plate of mezes (tapas) and desserts, while sipping excellent Lebanese wines that we've never found elsewhere. It felt like 'coming home' when we returned this year. 

Accolades are framed and fill the walls (including Zagat).  I am surprised to read on-line reviews noting Me Jana's high prices:  obviously the reviewers haven't dined in Seattle.  From our Pacific Northwest point of view our feast was a steal!  The lamb chops are not to be missed.

Getting there: Hop the Metro orange line and get off at Courthouse station, Me Jana is an easy quick couple blocks away.

We forced ourselves away from Me Jana one evening to return to another favorite; this one in downtown Washington, DC.  The Oval Room, 800 Connecticut Ave. N.W., isn't very far from the Oval Office. And the restaurant's website lists the famous politicians and media who've dined there.  We saw no one of name familiarity; but that could have been because we were so focused on the many flavors and designs of the modern American cuisine created by Chef Tony Conte, that we didn't notice the other diners. 

We, who live in Pacific Northwest coastal cities, admit to being 'fish snobs' and ask questions like, "Is this wild or farm raised?"  We like 'em wild out in these parts.  So when our delightful, young waitress answered our question about the salmon, saying it was farm raised near Maine and saw our response she quickly added, "it is a boutique farm!"  Our burst of laughter had her trying harder to explain that the chef would only use boutique salmon which only made it more humorous.

A boutique farm raised salmon might be worth a try but none of us could bring ourselves to do it. 
However, Chef Conte's roasted beet salad will call me back again when in DC; hopefully I'll be lucky enough to be served by the same waitress.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Putting the Glam in Camping

         Cherry Wood B and B
Glamping is catching on in Washington State. . .that would be a healthy dose of glamour and a bit of camping.  When those two concepts merge anything is possible, as we found out this summer. 

We 'glamped' in a tepee in the Lower Yakima Valley, about 170 miles from Seattle called Cherry Wood B and B a few weeks ago and just yesterday toured the new yurts at Chiwana Village at Sagecliffe Winery and Cave B Inn, near Quincy, Washington.  From our tepee we had views of Mount Adams and from the yurt, the mighty Columbia River rolled past - some 900 feet below us, by the way.

           view from Chiwana Village
I wrote about our glamping for the Seattle Times.  The article appears in the July 15, 2010 NWWeekend section. I chuckled at the reader's comment that appeared shortly after the article went on line.  The writer obviously doesn't understand 'glamping' - a high end experience!

Yurt interior Chiwana Village
One of the best sources for glampsites around the world is


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