West Coast adventure fall 2015

On September 9th – day 1, Kathy and David flew from Portland, Maine to Seattle, Washington for a 71 day adventure on the West Coast. Our journey began in the Pacific Northwest. It was our first time in Washington State. We stayed near Lake Union.

The next morning – day 2, we headed to the Seattle waterfront on Puget Sound.

Friday – day 3, we rode the trolley from Lake Union to downtown and connected to the monorail. The monorail brought us to the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum. The glass work was spectacular. It is a must see for anyone visiting Seattle. The artist is Dale Chihuly from Washington state.

Friday night, we walked to the Space Needle and went up to the viewing deck to watch the sunset. In the distance stands Mount Olympus.

Saturday – day 4, we rented a car and drove north along Puget Sound. We stayed two nights in Mukilteo. The highlands along Puget Sound have beautiful vistas. Across the sound is the mountain range from Olympic National Forest.

Mukilteo was popular with the Native Americans. For thousands of years, they camped along its beautiful shores. Now its a Ferry Landing to Whidbey Island.

On Monday – day 6, we drove down the mountain side to the ferry terminal. Near the lighthouse, a great black and white Orca whale swam by and flipped his tail to say hello. We boarded the ferry and crossed the channel. On Whidbey Island, we drove to Langley. A small town with an artist colony. We stopped at Island Carvings and spoke to woodcarver Dexter Lewis and admired his amazing wood sculptures. Below is a life size Shaman Medicine Man carved by Dexter.

At lunchtime, we stopped a Coupeville. It was an old whaling port. We shared a delicious prosciutto, mozzarella, basil, and tomato sandwich with a glass of pinot grigio white wine at Bayleaf Wine and Deli. After lunch, we drove to Deception Pass.

After Deception Pass, we drove to Fidalgo Island and followed the bay to Fairhaven a quaint Victorian era town. We stayed the night in nearby city of Bellingham.

The next morning – day 7, we drove towards Mt. Baker – a glacier covered mountain volcano and followed the Northern Cascade Mountain range south to stay the night near the Seattle-Tacoma airport. Overlooking the airport stood the majestic Mt. Rainer – Washington State’s tallest glacier covered mountain volcano.

On Wednesday, September 16 – day 8, we flew from Seattle to Portland, Oregon. We rented a car for a 4 week period. Our hotel was on the Columbia River. Across from the hotel was Vancouver, Washington on the other side of the river. The river bank on both sides were lined with floating house boats. These boats were actual houses built on floats. Mt Hood stood in the distance overlooking the Columbia River.

Thursday morning – day 9, we walked through the Pearl District on the west side of the river in Portland. We traveled over 3,000 miles from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. Portland, Maine was settled in 1632. Portland, Oregon was settled 100 years later in the 1830’s. The Pearl District was the industrialized side of the city. The area has been undergoing a Renaissance conversion from warehouses to condominiums, restaurants, shopping, and Art galleries. We visited Keen’s Footwear store. Both of us were wearing a pair of their athletic sandals. Another landmark was Powell’s City of Books – the largest independent new and used bookstore.

Friday morning – day 10, we drove to the top of Mounte Vista and toured the Pittock Museum. It was built in 1909 by Henry and Georgiana Pittock. They were the local publishers of the Oregonian newspaper.

In the afternoon, we returned to the West Hills and toured the International Rose Garden in Washington Park. Mt Hood stands as guardian in the distance overlooking the city.

Portland, Oregon is grandeur and larger than Portland, Maine, but Portland, Maine is an oceanfront city with fresh Maine lobster.

On Saturday morning – day 11, we drove up the Oregon side of the Columbia River to the Columbia Gorge area. It was beautiful and amazing.

After the Gorge, we visited Multomah Falls.

We stayed the night in the Hood River area. It’s a small town on the Columbia River with an artistic flare.

Sunday, September 20 – day 12, we drove across the Columbia River to Washington State. The landscape was covered with tall yellow straw grass with few trees. In Washington and Oregon, it turns to desert on the east side of Cascade Mountain range. From the Washington side of Columbia River Mt Hood towered over the landscape.

Our first stop was at Stonehenge. No, we weren’t in Wales in the United Kingdom, we were in Washington State. It was built as Memorial for the Veterans of World War I.

After Stonehenge, we drove to Yakima Valley to stay for two nights in the Washington wine country. The dry arid land is irrigated from the river turning it into a fertile valley.

In the distance stood Mt Adams, one of Washington’s five mountain volcanoes.

We visited several wineries.

Tuesday – day 14, we headed west through the North Cascade mountain pass on Interstate 90. The desert grew green as we drove west. The Cascade mountains were majestic.

On the east side of the Cascade mountains, we stopped at the Snoqualmie Falls and enjoyed our picnic lunch.

We stayed the night in Tacoma south of Seattle.

In the morning, Wednesday – day 15, we drove north on Route 16 toward the Olympic peninsula. We stopped in Port Townsend a Victorian city frozen in time. The city was the major metropolis of Puget Sound until the 1890’s. When US Customs moved across the bay to Tacoma. Almost overnight, the population of Port Townsend decreased by sixty percent. Across the sound from Port Townsend stood Mt Baker and the North Cascade Mountain range.

We stayed the next three nights in Sequim. A small town just a few miles from the front entrance to the Olympic National Park.

Thursday, September 24 – day 16, we entered the Olympic National Park and drove to the top of Hurricane Ridge. The road was steep and winding sometimes without guardrails.

From the lookouts along the road, we could see the Northern Cascade Mountain range across the Puget Sound and British Columbia across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

At the top of the Ridge, we enjoyed our picnic lunch in the Ranger’s Lodge. We had a magnificent view of the Olympic Mountains.

Friday, September 25 – day 17, we drove through the Rain forest to Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Forest.

Saturday, September 26 – day 18, we drove south across several bridges and sea channels.

 

We stayed the night in Lacey, Washington south of Olympia the state capital.

Sunday, September 27 – day 19, we drove to Mount St. Helens Visitor Center. We stopped in the town of Castle Rock on the way. Mount St. Helens had a major eruption in 1980 causing widespread damage. The land is now healed.

A black and green Garter snake crossed our path in the woods near the visitor center. The snake’s totem is Wisdom, transformation, and healing. Our intention for this journey was to receive Wisdom and knowledge to guide our Spiritual Life Mission and Purpose. The snake’s appearance reaffirmed this journey would bring self-transformation.

We stayed the night in Vancover, Washington near the Columbia River. During the night, we saw the Blood Moon – a Total Lunar Eclipse. The lunar eclipse was another sign we were spiritually crossing into new lands.

Monday, September 28 – day 20, we drove through Portland, Oregon and headed west through the Coastal Mountain range to the Pacific Ocean.

The Berkshires, Massachusetts

Lenox, Mass

Hey Everyone!

It’s late September and we just spent 4 days in Lenox and Stockbridge Massachusetts. Back to nature. The photo above was taken behind our hotel. This area was home to several artists and authors. While living here Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote  “The House of Seven Gables”, Herman Melville wrote “Moby Dick”, Edith Wharton wrote “The House of Mirth”, Norman Rockwell and Daniel Chester French had studios for their work. It attracted many wealthy patrons looking to build ‘summer cottages’ in a town with a multicultural atmosphere. It became known as the “inland Newport”.

We visited a couple of the “Summer Cottages” that have been restored. The Mount was built and designed by Edith Wharton in 1902 with architects Ogden Codman Jr. and Francis L.V. Hoppin. The house, gardens and surrounding woods were created to compliment each other. This classical revival house represents the only full expression of Wharton’s architectural interests. The drive through the periwinkle clothed woods to the main house mimics the meandering of a brook through the woods.

Another beautiful example of The Gilded Age cottages in The Berkshires is the 1885 Naumkeag Museum and Gardens. Designed by Stanford White for Joseph Choate, noted attorney and Ambassador to the Court of St. James. The tour shares the love story connected to the 44-room summer cottage making the Choate family come to life. The landscaped gardens were designed by Fletcher Steele and Mabel Choate. Walk through the Moon Gate into the Chinese Gardens and stroll eight acres of landscaped gardens.

The Norman Rockwell Museum contains the world’s largest collection of original art by America’s favorite illustrator. The museum building and his last studio are set on a 36-acre landscape with scenic views. I have a new appreciation for his paintings and the stories they inspire. The sculptures on the grounds were created by his son.

Chesterwood, the summer estate of Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the seated Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial at Washington DC.  We were able to tour the grounds, his work studio and home.

Until next time. Have a wonderful life filled with beautiful days.

Kathy

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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In late August we took the new camera out of the box. I’m sharing the photos I enjoy the most. This is just a glimpse of Portsmouth. It is a town that is between Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts in size, location and cost. All three locations share the charm of cobble stone streets, brick sidewalks, inspirational boutique shops and fabulous restaurants that make window shopping such a joy. Especially when holding an ice cream cone.

As you can see we had a lot of fun. Portsmouth is a great town to explore. The people are friendly, the atmosphere is artistic and energetic. At night the sidewalks come to life with people singing, playing instruments of all kinds and juggling while riding a unicycle. When you are learning something new, like taking pictures with a new camera, you tend to look at everything with fresh eyes. So, take your camera out of the box and explore. The world will soon be blooming around you.

Sharing My Blessings,

Kathy


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