Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Greece ~ A Time of Harvest, not Halloween

The olive harvest season officially got its start in this part of the Greek Peloponnese on Oct. 26th, St. Dimitrios name day. At The Stone House on the Hill, harvest took place a few days later on the day commonly known as Halloween back in the States. (I am happy to report the U.S. hasn’t yet exported that holiday to this region; there wasn’t a ghost, goblin, costume or party anywhere to be seen).


Here, the olive and its harvest take top billing this time of year.


I’d been envisioning this harvest since last December when we purchased The Stone House on the Hill with its olive terraces that slope down the hillside on which the house sits.  There are 15 olive trees on the property some estimated to be a 100 years old, plus one we planted after taking ownership.

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My daydreams about the event (thanks to Frances Mayes and Peter Mayle whose tales of  Tuscany and Provence inspire such adventures) had us harvesting under blue skies, surrounded by friends, drinking and eating and making it an event worthy of a book about our lives here in Greece.   Reality quickly set in:


The wind didn’t just blow the weekend of our harvest, it howled. We had to interrupt harvest for an hour to allow a rain squall to drench the trees and ground. No singing like Zorba. No eating like Frances. No drinking like Peter.  It was work. Hard work. (But you know? It was also fun!)


We’d had the good sense to hire our gardener and his wife to assist us since we didn’t have the slightest idea of how to harvest olives. Ares and Donika came with equipment loaned to us by our friend Yiannis who runs the family restaurant at the foot of our hill and who also owns 1,000 olive trees.


We had some of the easier tasks: Joel hauled the cut branches -- from which we had beaten off the olives -- to the burn pile. While Ares ran the automated olive-shaker-offer and cut branches, I helped beat those fallen branches so that the olives were released onto the enormous nets spread below the trees to catch them.  Donika and I would then get on our hands and knees to sort the smaller branches from the olives. We’d all roll the nets and put the olives in the burlap bags.


The grove, like the house, had been neglected for the past few years – trees hadn’t been trimmed, olives not harvested and weeds grew as tall as the grove’s terrace walls. So even the TLC we bestowed in recent months, we didn’t have a bumper crop but that didn’t detract from the fact it was ‘our’ olive crop and we were in Greece harvesting it!


It took a full morning to harvest our small crop. We were ready to quit but to begin preparations for next year’s crop Ares returned in the afternoon for the first round of trimming the trees. They’ll get another cut in February.


That afternoon at 5 p.m. we watched our olives become oil. Let me tell you that in life’s magic moments, this ranks right at the top of the scale! That’s our crop I am standing next to, we were the next order up:


And then there they went! Within minutes our first harvest had come to an end. . .or so we thought.


I posted a real time report on FB Saturday evening while we were at Yianni’s restaurant for dinner. But a few hours later we got a call saying they’d sent us off with the wrong oil (mysteries of oil production) so the next morning we returned those two cans and left with our olive oil:  4.5 gallons of oil (shown in the photos below).


A number of you asked after seeing the FB post about what one does with that much oil.  There are options of selling it to the processor or leasing out the grove to others who will manage it, harvest and then provide you a portion of the oil. We didn’t produce enough this year to worry about it.


The proof is in the pudding they say. . .and let me tell you, this oil is nectar of the gods! Wish all of you could sit around our table breaking fresh loaves of bread, cutting chunks of feta cheese and smothering both in big servings of olive oil.

Hope you’ll return for more tales from our adventures in Greece.  We appreciate the time you spend with us and look forward to your comments!  Safe travels to you and yours~

Linking up this week:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox 
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Mersad's Through My Lens
Photo Friday - Pierced Wonderings
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, November 2, 2015

Cruising the Middle East: Preparing for Danger

No one skipped the Pirate Drill held on board our small cruise ship as we sailed from India’s waters into the area we’d been advised was an HTA, or ‘high threat area’ for piracy. It was mandatory.

Our ship, the Nautica, had been attacked by pirates a few years back. If it happened again, the crew – and we passengers – would be ready.

And no one on the ship’s tour from Egypt’s Safaga port city to Luxor, fought over the two front ‘view’ seats in the bus. We’d been advised they were for the armed guards that would be traveling with us. 

We also willingly submitted our hand bags for screening by Israeli security officers as we left the ship in Haifa, our entry point to that country. Usually bags are screened when you re-enter the ship – not the place you visit. But that is life in Israel these days.

Oceania Nautical anchored at Phuket, Thailand

Prior to booking our passage, we – and our nearly 500 fellow passengers – knew the routing of our Oceania Nautica ship from Bangkok, Thailand to Istanbul, Turkey would take us to parts of the world where ‘unrest’ can occur and accelerate on a moment’s notice.

Once on board we all seemed to share the same approach to the trip: what better – and safer – way to get to and through these areas than on a cruise ship that had a security plan in place?

One day at sea in the HTA - We had a country fair
The ‘fear’ we talked about was the ‘fear’ of having to miss a port of call if unrest broke out prior to our arrival which could result in the ship skipping that port and the ‘fear’ of having the cruise cut short if the attacks on Yemen should expand further into the Gulf of Aden – a waterway we sailed en route to the Red Sea. The Gulf of Aden is part of the Suez Canal shipping route and used by some 21,000 ships each year. About 11% of seaborne petroleum is transported on this route.

Pirate Protection

Think about it. How often in life will you get to participate in a pirate protection drill?

Pirate drill had us sitting on the floor in the hallway
The safety drill was really quite simple: go to an interior hallway, sit on the floor and stay put until further directions are given. (The person standing in this photo was our cabin attendant who was checking cabins of those not sitting on the floor).

Why sit on the floor?
Because in the event of an attack the ship might need to take quick evasive action and quick turns could knock people over. They didn’t want guests falling on the floor and hurting themselves.

Why an interior hallway?
You remember I said our ship had once been attacked by pirates. Apparently the guests – adults-who-know-better-guests – couldn’t resist snapping the ‘selfie’ and other photos from their cabin decks or windows. The temptation to capture the action was too great to stay out of harm’s way.

I am using two photos, taken during our very safe, calm days at sea to illustrate this point:  both were taken during Happy Hour in the ship’s lounge – on the left, the setting sun was a magnet drawing shutter bugs to the windows on a regular basis. The photo to the right was taken as word of a whale sighting filtered through the crowd – it was as if the window had sucked people from their chairs (with camera and phones in hand). Had it been a pirate ship sighting,. . . well, you get the picture (pun intended).

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Shutter bugs aboard the ship
All puns and jokes aside, safety and security of marine vessels in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea are taken very seriously.

Pirates to the left and war to the right during this segment of our cruise
For that reason, our cruise ship’s fire hoses were uncoiled and attached to high pressure nozzles mounted to the outside of the ship’s railings on both sides of the ship. Crew members stood watch.  The nozzles were not removed until we entered the Mediterranean Sea several days later.

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Pirate watch and protection
We weren’t the only ship taking safety measures. We couldn’t help note this freighter which had their water system going continuously---perhaps as a warning to would-be pirates?

We weren't the only ones taking safety seriously
In certain areas along this stretch, our ship at night reduced its lighting to only essential open deck lights and we were requested to turn off cabin interior and balcony lights or to close our curtains if the lights were on.  None of which was alarming or an imposition, I assure you.

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That is Yemen in the background - this is the closest we came to that war-torn country

We had wondered how close we’d get to Yemen and Somalia when we passed through the 20-mile wide opening that separated the two as we entered the Red Sea. It was actually so wide it was difficult to get photos of the land. The most danger we had was from the high noon sun, which in less than an hour of being on deck burned us both.

There was no security need to eliminate any ports of call in Egypt, Jordan or Israel; places so interesting and deserving of more time for exploration than we had allotted for them. We’d love to return for more land-based explorations. We’ll tell you more about them in upcoming posts. 

As always, your time with us is appreciated! If you are enjoying the blog we hope you'll share it with your FB friends.  Happy travels to you and yours until we see you back here ~

Linking up this week:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox 
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Mersad's Through My Lens
Photo Friday - Pierced Wonderings
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 26, 2015

Greece ~ Trahila, That Treasure at the End of the Road

Often times while discussing . . . okay. . . make that gushing over, our Greek Stone House on the Hill with friends in the United States they ask,

“Well, aside from the house, what is it you like about Greece? Why Greece?”

“Many things,” we say, ticking off our rather grandiose and tourist brochure sounding list: the country’s beauty, the people, the food, the culture, the history. . .it is the same things other travelers or ex pats are likely to say about the country.

The Stone House on the Hill and our neighboring mountain behind us
The one thing we usually don’t try to explain -- because you simply have to be there to understand this -- is the thrill of discovery and the diversity of experiences that seems to be waiting just around the corner. Not earth-shattering discoveries and experiences, mind you, but the kind that lodge in your memory banks and tug at your heartstrings; those experiences that make it difficult to leave and and prompt a yearning for a quick return. 

Such is the case with Trahila, a tiny village near us, quite literally at the end of the road, tucked between that green hill and mountain pictured above.

Just around the corner from our house on the road to Trahila

The narrow ribbon of road that links ‘our’ villages, Agios Nikolaos, and Agios Dimitrios, forks at the base of the hill. Going to your left will take you up the hill, past our house, to another village named Platsa, but taking a right turn will take you along a coastal route that brings the area’s rugged beauty right up to the edge of the road, that leads to Trahila.

Trahila, The Mani, Greek Peloponnese

After a few kilometers of breathtaking scenery the road narrows a bit more and winds through the village before coming to an end just beyond the village proper.

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Trahilo village on a summer afternoon

Our first visit here was in the early spring when window shutters were closed on the stately stone buildings. It was so deserted it felt spooky. By early summer though the place had come to life: the town’s two tavernas were open and seasonal residents were back! The tavernas are the only commercial businesses in town. The village, with a year-round population of a couple of dozen people, doesn’t have a store of any sort.

By the sea, the salt-producing sea in Trahilo

Here the only other commercial enterprise (aside from the few fishing boats) is the gathering and selling of sea salt by some of the local women. This path pictured above leads to tidal pools where the salt crystals form.

Petro's Place or Akrogiali Restaurant in Trahilo - at the end of the road

Our friends and neighbors were raving about Petro’s, one of the two tavernas in Trahila. After our first visit to his eatery, its formal name, Akrogiali, we understood the place’s popularity.  His wife prepares the food in a small kitchen to the side of the restaurant’s indoor seating area; he’s the tour guide proudly raising the lids on various pots and pans to let you see and smell their contents.

The fruit and vegetable vendor roams the streets of the The Mani

We take the tour and then settle in at one of the half dozen tables that overlook the sea. Like many Greek waterfront village restaurants, the road bisects the business. Thankfully there isn’t much traffic aside from a local or two and the roaming fruit vendors. Those roaming vendors make it easy to purchase produce while waiting for your meal to be served.

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Our favorite meal at Petro's in Trahilo

Petro routinely brings a plate of treats to munch while sipping our wine and waiting for the souvlaki we’d order there to finish grilling.  Although we had to take some of it home, we couldn’t resist his offer of dessert (both the pre- and post-entre plates were gratis). Dinner: 10 euros plus tip.

Trahilo, at the end of the Road

The taverna will be open until November 10th, overlapping the start of olive harvest by about a week as is the way with many restaurants in this area where the countryside is carpeted with olive groves.  Families must focus on harvest and oil production so their restaurants close for the season. I've already marked the 2016 reopening date on my calendar (March 20th if you are in the area)~

Map picture

The Bing map above shows our area of Greece with the larger Ag. Nikolaos near the top and Trahila on the bay just above the measurement line.

Thanks for your time today – hope you enjoyed this trip to the end of the road. We've now been at our Greek home for several weeks and will be here for the remainder of the fall. With most of our big projects completed around the house, we are setting out to explore and I will give you a glimpse into the ex pat life we are living - but I have a few more cruise tales that I'll be telling as well. As always our thanks for stopping by! And today if you have a bit of time, hit one of the links below and take a look at the destinations and daily life of some fine bloggers from around the world.

Linking up this week:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox 
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Mersad's Through My Lens
Photo Friday - Pierced Wonderings
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mumbai’s Khotachi wadi: A Taste of History

The idea of having tea in a private home in Mumbai really didn’t excite us that much. In our minds there were far too many things to see during our short time in the city to ‘waste’ time sipping tea.

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Built between 1884 -93, and home to the municipal govt. offices
Mumbai was a two-day port of call for our cruise ship Oceania’s Nautica as we sailed from Bangkok, Thailand to Istanbul, Turkey. We’d opted to fill our first day taking the ship’s eight-hour “Old Bombay” tour to get a taste of the city’s history – not tea.  And as it turned out we got both!

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Food vendor - Mumbai, India
However, when the tour bus deposited us on a congested city street in a bustling retail area where  vendors lined the sidewalks in front of storefronts offering a variety of goods, we saw nothing that looked residential. 

Then our guide set off down a  small nearby lane with her flock, as I thought of us, in tow.  A short walk later we found ourselves in the midst of Mumbai history: Khotachi wadi, one of the city’s few remaining Heritage areas.

While ‘wadi’ in Arabian countries means a dry valley or ravine as in ‘Wadi Rum’ here it means a small community area; one that is said to be associated with farming.  Other Mumbai Heritage wadis include: Fanas (‘jackfruit’) Wadi, Ambra (mango) Wadi and Khet (farm) Wadi.

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Khotachi wadi, left, city of Mumbai view on the right
Tea, it turned out, was being served at the home of James Ferreira, well-known Indian fashion designer whose creations are sold in boutiques throughout the country and worn by Bollywood stars and rich and famous international visitors.

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James Ferreira, well-known Indian fashion designer

Mr. Ferreira, who greeted our group while his assistants refilled our beverage cups and goodie plates,  both lives and has his design studio in the two-story wood-frame structure. It is his family home; one of the original 65 homes in this once-Portuguese enclave. Now, one of the 28 remaining in this compact Heritage area.

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James Ferreira's home, "The Scout" trying out the front porch rocking chair
We were invited to tour both his home and upstairs studio which like the neighboring homes are  wood-frame structures, Indo-Portuguese style with airy verandas and open balconies.  He opens his home to countless groups of visitors to help educate them about the importance of retaining what is left of this small bit of Mumbai history.  He is active in the URBZ, a group working to preserve Heritage Districts within metro areas – and strongly opposing takeovers by developers.

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Cruisers watch a sari demonstration in the James Ferreira design studio
Following a demonstration on the art of wearing a sari, there was time to shop from racks of garments in his studio – but after two weeks of cruise-food it was obvious that most of us weren’t quite built for his luscious creations that are described  as a ‘blend of Western silhouettes with Indian crafts and techniques’.

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Khotachi wadi - a step into history
We are the first to admit we aren’t fans of organized tour groups – we would much rather research a place and set out on our own. But on a cruise with as many new places as we visited on this Magic Carpet Ride through the Far and Middle East, we found that taking organized tours were a great way to get a quick orientation of an area. Often times seeing places we wouldn't have found on our own And, in this case, a most memorable taste of history.

We were off to Oman and othe ports of call in the Middle East after leaving Mumbai and that meant we were heading to a HTA, Heavy Threat Area – something cruise lines take most seriously.

Preparing for danger was a new and different experience, we’ll tell you about it in a future post. Until you return, happy and safe travels to you and yours~

Linking this week with:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox 
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Mersad's Through My Lens
Photo Friday - Pierced Wonderings
Wordless Wednesday

Khotachiwadi map

Monday, October 12, 2015

Greece: Goats in the Garden and Gatas at the Door

We were looking for a change.  A change of pace. A change of culture. A change in the routine.

The day we had goats in the garden and the parade of gatas, (cats) at the door at our Stone House on the Hill in Greece’s Peloponnese, we knew we’d found the change for which we’d been looking.

Entry to The Stone House on the Hill

It was a warm summer morning – the windows were open and  I was at the computer when I heard the unmistakable hollow clank of goat bells in the distance. The sound intensified along with the percussion of dozens of un-synchronized hooves trotting on the pavement. 

Greek goat herd - Peloponnese
For we city-slickers-turned-Greek-olive-growers  it was a call to grab the camera and race up the entry stairs to watch them pass our house. We don’t see sights like that in our other suburban world.

Only they didn’t pass . . . City Slicker lesson number one: the herd came to a halt when they saw us. There they stood, blocking the public road. . .well, until they noticed our garden area and all the tasty morsels growing in it.

Heading for my new rose bush -
P1020095We’ve watched Greek goats enough to know that they love to balance themselves atop rocks and as the flock turned towards the garden, The Scout, asked, “You don’t think they’ll jump on the rental car do you?”

Luckily the shepherd and his dog were quickly making their way from the back of the herd to the front and went to work doing what they do best: herding them back to the road and getting them on their way. 

Let’s just say the shepherd didn’t call out a happy greeting to the two of us as he passed.

And Those Gatos/Cats at the Door. . .

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"Princess" in January at left; in June on the right
It began in December with the arrival at our door of  a well-cared for cat whose owner we later learned had left her to fend for herself while he was on vacation.  She first sat outside on our deck peering in the glass doors, so forlorn that within days she’d convinced us to let her inside. At first content to sit on a rug, by the time our three weeks there ended she seemed to reign over us and we’d named her “Princess” for the obvious reasons.

She was sitting at the door again a few days after our return in the spring, but obviously was being well cared for and she didn’t stay long. She simply dropped in it seemed to eat a bit, sit on our laps and let us know she was doing well.

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'Tom' in December at left; in June on the right
“Princess” didn’t come alone last December. Within days of her arrival, her brother (according to our neighbors) arrived. Handsome as he was, he was an out-door cat who twisted me around his paw so easily that I ‘built’ him a cat house using carpet and plastic sheeting to protect him from the winter weather. He ate well while with us. We named him “Tom”, again, for obvious reasons.

Tom returned this spring – in fact, within hours of our arrival at the house.  He’d not fared as well as his sister and sported open wounds to his ears and had lost weight as well as a lot of fur to mites and ticks.  Feeding him wasn’t enough, we made a trip to the vet to get medicine for his wounds and to eliminate the bugs. We later took him in and had his ability to father children taken away.

"Mom" with "Tom" at The Stone House on the Hill
We did that after the cat we believe to be his common-law wife arrived on the scene. We ended up naming her “Mom” for the obvious reasons. . .

"Mom" with the children
Within days of “Mom’s” arrival she brought the rest of the family – and you’ll notice the strong resemblance the wee ones had to Tom.

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Lazy summer days at The Stone House on the Hill
Mom and the kids were feral, as are most of the homeless cats in our area. She finally let us pet her but the wee ones never came close.  Tom, on the other hand, couldn’t get enough attention.  They all become part of daily life at The Stone House on the Hill.

Many of you followed our Facebook posts about the cats and have asked what happened when we left.  Well, it was again a reminder of change in culture and routine.  There, the cats, are just left behind because we were told, they move on to the next home when the humans depart.  I couldn’t quite accept that so we had the gardener putting food and water out for them when he came to tend the plants and friends also came by with food. . .but apparently the cats did as we’d been told.  They moved on and neighbors reported no signs of the cats return.

Tom and Princess - Oct. 2015
I wrote this post back in the States but left it unfinished until our return to Greece. We arrived back at  The Stone House on the Hill last week (and have been without internet because a mouse had eaten through the cable). Now that we are back in the Net World I must conclude this cat tale with happy news:  Princess arrived at our door within minutes of our walking into the house. Tom appeared a couple hours later.  They've been with us constantly - both appear healthy and well cared for. . .so who took care of them and where did they go? We have no idea. . .just one of 'those things' I guess. Mom and the summer babies haven't been seen.

In future weeks I'll be intermixing Greek tales with continuing reports from our Middle East segment of the cruise.  As always thanks for the time you spend with us and hope you'll return soon.

Linking this week with:

Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox 
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Mersad's Through My Lens
Photo Friday - Pierced Wonderings
Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Washington’s Willows Lodge ~ Nice, Nicer, Nicest

We are taking a quick detour this week to tell you about a Pacific Northwest gem that’s celebrating its 15th Anniversary. Tales from the Middle East will resume in our next post. . .

Despite an unusually long spell of sunny, warm days which continue to brighten October, the autumn nights in the Pacific Northwest nights have turned chilly. That weather combination has made me think back to Willows Lodge, a luxury resort smack-dab in the middle of Washington's Woodinville Wine Country – just a few miles from our home and only a half hour from Seattle, (during a good traffic commute).

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A spa-sponsored Garden Party brought out the hats and dresses, upper left, a Willow tree
I was thinking back to that sunny summer afternoon when I sipped wine under their massive willow trees while attending the hotel’s spa-sponsored Garden Party, an annual event that grows larger each year and one of the few that prompt attendees to don their favorite hats (something not often done in the Pacific Northwest).

'Refreshed' Guest room - Willows Lodge
While I sipped wine that warm July afternoon, the ‘The Scout’ relaxed in our second-floor guest room – the first to be finished in a comprehensive refurbishing, or ‘refreshing’ as they call it, of the interior common areas, meeting rooms and guest rooms at the lodge. Too hot to use the fireplace, we decided we’d have to return in fall or winter months and try it out.

Willows Lodge reception counter and lobby
The resort, which routinely lands on Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List, celebrated its 15th Anniversary in September by introducing the new look. The decor's ‘refreshening’ was just enough to create a feel of a more modern lodge interior –   subtle, but striking enough to ‘wow’ long-time regulars.

Willows Lodge Lobby

Willows Lodge

This quintessential Northwest lodge with its wooden beams and distressed concrete floors  incorporates reclaimed wood and metal furniture into its interior design.  That coffee table pictured above was made by Pacific Northwest artisans Meyer Wells and N.K. Build.
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Guest room, bathroom and deck - London's Molton Brown products are featured

Guest rooms are described and priced by three categories: nice, nicer and nicest.  They’ve all been refreshed to include an accent wall behind the headboard in a deep wine hue (but, of course – it is wine country!) The new color makes the existing hand blown glass pendants simply pop.  The ceiling and wall colors have been lightened which adds to the feeling of spaciousness. I had a difficult time deciding whether I wanted to spend my ‘room time’ in the  comfy chair and ottoman (a new addition to the rooms) or outside on the small deck. I could have spent the entire stay bouncing between the two. . . with maybe a trip or two to the lounge and restaurant.

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Barking Frog Restaurant - shots of breakfast and dinner (fresh Halibut was our choice)
The resort offers afternoon/evening light dining options in its Fireside Lounge just off the lobby (which opens onto an outdoor patio), and its award-winning Barking Frog Restaurant  serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We loved eating in its patio but in the cold weather there’s nothing more inviting than its table that circles the indoor centerpiece of a fireplace. For an over-the-top gastronomical experience, the lengendary Herb Farm Restaurant, is footsteps from the lodge’s entry.

Say Ahh for the Spa

The spa pool at Willows Lodge
I had time between breakfast and our late morning checkout for a spa treatment but not enough to luxuriate in the steam room or pool – ‘next time’, I told myself. There are five treatment rooms, (one designed for two with a fireplace).

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A treatment room at Willows Lodge

Tucked in between warmed blankets, I experienced one of their signature, Clarita Facials, a treatment I had written about a few years ago but had not yet tried. My face had a healthy glow about it for days afterward.

A Stay in Woodinville Wine Country

It was our first stay at this 84-room resort, that got its beginning as a privately owned hunting lodge. Owner C. D. Stimson, a member of the early day Seattle business and social community, came here to hunt ducks.

While the duck hunting has ceased in the immediate area, Willows Lodge is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts as well as those who want to visit wine country. Woodinville, located to the east of Lake Washington in the heart of what was once agricultural fields,  is now a vibrant part of the state’s wine country with more than 100 wineries and/or wine tasting rooms located near Willows Resort. Red Hook Brewery is the next door neighbor.

The lodge is adjacent to the Sammamish River Trail, a 10.9 mile bike and recreational rail trail. There’s a kayak launch near the resort grounds and a zip line concession just a short walk away. The resort has an assortment of bikes for guests (or a pedicab you can hire to get you to the wineries) and it is pet-friendly as well. 

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Willows Lodge, the adjacent Sammamish River Trail, zip lines, and Red Hook Brewery
Our only excuse for not staying there sooner is its close proximity to our home. But an invitation to experience the new ‘refreshing’ as guests of the hotel got us to try it out. This hosted introduction convinced us that visitors to the area shouldn’t miss it and locals shouldn't take as long as we did to stay there!

Want more information?
Willows Lodge
14580 NE 145th St.
Woodinville, 98072

That’s it for this week.  As always, thanks for your time. We’re heading back to our Greek life so the tales of our time there will be intermixed with our continuing tales from the Middle East cruise. Hope we see you back here soon. Until then, safe travels to you and yours~

Linking this week with:

Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox 
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Mersad's Through My Lens
Photo Friday - Pierced Wonderings
Wordless Wednesday


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