Showing posts about Pacific Northwest

Weekend road trip on the Olympic Peninsula

April 10, 2021

Recently, Alex and I took a weekend trip to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington! The getaway, while short, was packed with a day of adventures, and we had a blast exploring some spots in the Olympic National Park for the first time.

The weather was surprisingly fair for March. We got some peeks of sunshine which was so pleasant after a long, rainy winter in Seattle! Plus, it was great to have a change of scenery after working from home in our apartment for what feels like an eternity.

We had been planning this trip for a few months, but after a snowed-in Saturday in February (where Alex’s car may or may not have gotten stuck coming back from the grocery store that morning), we had to postpone it at the last minute. I’m so glad we could go when the temperature was a bit warmer, especially since driving around mountains in winter could have ended up being a difficult time.

Our “home base” for the weekend was an Airbnb in Port Angeles, around 2½ hours from Seattle. It was charming—we cooked our favorite empanadas for dinner and got takeout at a local Italian spot the next night. The space was roomy, and the location was ideal for being close to many great sites in the national park!

I took many photos on our trip, and it felt great to get into my natural shutterbug mode. We came back home refreshed and inspired.

Lake Crescent

I was struck with complete awe as we drove around the winding highway alongside Lake Crescent. It was around 9 am, and the sunlight was hitting the trees on the mountainsides in the most perfect way! The lake’s surface looked so serene, and below the blue sky, misty clouds interweaved with the landscape. I felt entirely calm at that moment—the views and the experience were nothing short of magical.

Ruby Beach

This was such a cool experience taking in the Pacific Coast’s sights and sounds for the first time! It was a gray morning, which added a dramatic touch to the misty, rocky scenery. My favorite thing to see was the sea stacks on the shore. It was a very Pacific Northwest moment!

Hoh Rainforest

We enjoyed visiting the Hoh Rainforest, one of the most popular spots in the national park! The trees along the Hall of Mosses trail were sprawling and spooky, and it was tranquil in many parts of the rainforest. One of the most notable things was how crystal clear the Hoh River was due to the lush moss and greenery. This was a place I felt we could spend hours exploring.

Marymere Falls

Alex and I loved hiking Marymere Falls! The trail itself was pretty manageable, and the view of the waterfall was absolutely worth it. I especially liked the bridges along the paths, and the forest was thriving and green.

Route 101

This was one of those trips where the sights along the road were just as interesting as the destinations! We saw many snow-capped mountains, and the landscapes changed drastically within miles of driving. Some parts were clear, and others were wet and rainy, but it was all spectacular.

The Olympic National Park was unlike anything I’ve seen, and we can’t wait to return someday soon.

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My post-pandemic Seattle bucket list

March 6, 2021

Things are looking up a little bit with the state of the pandemic, which has me daydreaming about all the possibilities for fun activities in Seattle! I put together a short list of things I want to enjoy, and I’m sure I’ll keep adding to this. From biking to picnics and tourist attractions, there’s a bunch to see and do—hopefully by the end of this year.

See cherry blossoms in spring

From mid-March to April, cherry trees bloom across the Pacific Northwest. I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of these, if not this year due to crowds, definitely in 2022!

Visit the Olympic Sculpture Park

As part of the Seattle Art Museum, this park holds an outdoor sculpture museum, indoor pavilion, and beach on Puget Sound. I’m really looking forward to visiting!

Find a great Vietnamese restaurant

I enjoy all kinds of Vietnamese food, and I’d love to find a go-to spot for bánh mì, phở, bánh xèo (crepes), and more.

Experience otters at the Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium holds both sea otters and river otters (my favorite!) They even have virtual Otter Cams, but that’s obviously not the same! My 2021 goal is to experience these playful mammals in real life.

Be a shutterbug at the Bellevue Botanical Garden

This was one of my highlights in my first week after moving here, and I’d love to take another visit. I discovered there’s a suspension bridge, too, which looks amazing!

Have a picnic in downtown Redmond

What better time than spring to have a picnic nearby? Redmond has a beautiful park downtown that’s within a short drive or bike ride.

Explore Pike Place

With Seattle’s iconic farmer’s market and a giant Ferris wheel overlooking the waterfront, this would make a great place for a post-pandemic afternoon.

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First fall in Seattle

November 29, 2020

It’s been some time since my last post! With Thanksgiving weekend coming to a close, I thought I’d share a recap of my fall in Seattle.

Alex and I spent a lovely afternoon at the Washington Park Arboretum to see the fall colors in October. It was so cool to see all the diversity of plants, leaves, and trees. My favorite spot to see was Azalea Way, a highlight of the gardens that offers a beautiful walk. With cherry blossoms blooming in the spring, this would be a perfect place for picnics and small gatherings.

The following weekend, we explored Kubota Garden, a Japanese garden in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood. The weather was pleasant and sunny, and I enjoyed walking around the 20-acre park!

This was a cool lookout point (not pictured: Koi pond below.)
I love the sprawling look of these maple tree branches!
Crisp, vivid Japanese maple leaves.

Our most recent trip was to Discovery Park in early November. As the largest city park in Seattle, this is one that’s been on my list for a while! We hiked to the park’s lighthouse and enjoyed the spectacular overlook of Puget Sound. It was quite different than other parks we’ve visited here, and the buildings and scenery reminded me a bit of New England/Cape Cod. I highly recommend this park!

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Getting to know Eastside spots

September 25, 2020

This past month was eventful, filled with many weekend adventures to places near our apartment in Redmond. It’s been so enjoyable to get outside and explore new areas around us—safely, of course!

Even with the pandemic (and a week of wildfire smoke which kept us indoors), I’ve been able to grab delicious takeout, visit parks, and see a waterfall!

Living in the Bicycle Capital of the Northwest! Redmond has extensive trail systems that are perfect for bike rides. One day soon I’ll get a bike of my own!

I’m continually amazed at all the natural beauty here in the PNW, and I feel like I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. There is a lot to take in coming from the Midwest, from mountains in the distance during scenic drives, to lush forests and tall trees, and even really bright sun (an unexpected kind of thing!) Crows are cawing in the morning at our apartment, which gives off spooky fall vibes, too.

I’m excited to experience the changing seasons in our new city with the onset of October. Plus, once the pandemic is through (whenever that time may come), it will be wonderful to live those joys here in Seattle. We are truly grateful to be healthy and safe right now, and we hope you are, too!

Below are some highlights from September:

Marymoor Park

This park is fantastic. When we first went, we only explored the main connector trail, which has plenty of room for people to walk, bike, or jog. But as we quickly found out, there’s so much more to see! The park is 640 acres and even includes a sprawling off-leash dog park.

One of my favorite parts is the conservation area with boardwalks along the marsh. It meets up with Lake Sammamish’s shores, and the scenery is beautiful, changing from almost pastoral-looking views to a lake with wide-open skies.

Marymoor Park already feels like a treasured part of our city, and as it’s within a 5-minute drive from our apartment, we can’t wait to return.

Did I mention there’s a windmill? It’s non-functioning, but still provides excellent photos on sunny days.
Alex for scale!
This gate is very pleasing to me.
Walking past the dog park to get onto the boardwalk.

Kerry Park

Kerry Park overlooks downtown Seattle, and it was pretty surreal to see on our first visit! Unfortunately, it was quite crowded even with COVID, so we didn’t spend a lot of time here. But it would be a lovely spot for picnics in the summer, I’m sure!

Juanita Bay Park

Juanita Bay Park is a great urban wildlife habitat area. There are many trails and boardwalks, and walking here, it just feels so lush and surrounded by nature! We saw some turtles on a log, pleasant birds, and a gorgeous weeping tree, too!

Moss is everywhere in the Pacific Northwest—it’s incredibly colorful and dazzling to look at!
Spot the turtle!
This tree was made for spring picnics.

Rocky’s Empanadas

This takeout place within walking distance of us is so good. Everything from the packaging to the actual food is like a work of art!

Evans Creek Preserve

Evans Creek Preserve is another large park right close to home, with meadows, wetlands, and a hillside forest. I love the soothing sound of the creek, too!

Snoqualmie Falls

This was our most recent getaway outside the apartment, and it did not disappoint! Snoqualmie Falls was spectacular, and I’m sure it’s even more beautiful once the trees have formed their peak fall colors! You could even feel the mist walking along the paths. We spent a short time in the town itself, and it seemed lovely, too.

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Walking the forested Redmond Watershed Preserve

August 28, 2020

We’ve been getting out a bit after work and on weekends to explore parks in our neighborhood. This was our first time in the Redmond Watershed Preserve, and it was a great nature getaway close to home!

The preserve is densely-packed with many trails and woods, and even the occasional horseback rider. We didn’t explore all the paths, but the scenery was quiet and not too busy—a wonderful place for a quick, easy afternoon walk.

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Exploring the Bellevue Botanical Garden

August 27, 2020

While my dad was here helping us unload the truck, we took a visit to the Bellevue Botanical Garden in the morning. It was the perfect weather to spend walking around the gardens—not too hot, humid, or sunny!

And since it was a weekday, there weren’t any crowds, either, which was wonderful.

I really enjoyed looking at the many kinds of flowers, trees, and plants. I was amazed at the sheer diversity of everything! From grasses and floral displays to a traditional Japanese garden, there was a lot to discover. It was an overall soothing and tranquil time!

We took lots of photos, too. I took a break after to enjoy an iced chai tea from their Copper Kettle Coffee Bar—probably the best-tasting chai I’ve tried!

We eyed this neat moth/butterfly that looks like part of the flora!

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