As promised in my post “Let’s Go Cruising” this narrative is a conglomerate of activities that for some reason or other have not showed up on our blog. Since we are winding down our stay here I figured this would be our last post from this wonderful area. It has been a gift to be able to spend this amount of time with our son and his family and to enjoy so much of what this beautiful part of the country has to offer. Hope you enjoy!
First, our visit to Camano Island which sits between the mainland and the larger Whidbey Island. An easy hour drive NW of our campground we directed our sights to the state park and beach that sits on the island’s west side. The island provides a sense of remoteness with stands of tall conifers interspersed with small farms. Where there is a view of the water you’ll find lovely homes taking advantage of it.
Upon arrival at the state park, the road leads you through old growth forests as you wind your way closer to the beach.
When I use the word “beach” let me explain that this is nothing like the NC or FL beaches Art and I are most familiar. More rocks than sand and driftwood washed ashore lends to a rugged feel and a less comfortable walk.
Different, but scenic, nevertheless! Cama Beach sits on the Saratoga Passage and faces Whidbey Island. On a clear day you have views of the Olympics. Along its shore sits a double row of rental cabins that originally opened as a fishing resort in 1934. This seems to be a popular place as we encountered quite a few campers.
St. Edward State Park
We discovered this jewel of a park by looking on Google maps for a place to take an afternoon walk with Sadie. Sitting along the northern shore of Lake Washington this 314 acre park was once owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle. In fact, the Romanesque style seminary built in 1931 still remains on site and was added to the US National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
The trails down to the lake vary in length and difficulty. Opting for one that looked to be less strenuous we soon found ourselves on a narrow (one person wide) path along a ravine in deep woods!
While it was downhill all the way and beautiful, it was a challenge to navigate especially for Art with Sadie in tow!
Once safely down to the lake we took a sigh of relief and enjoyed the views. Of course, our relief was short-lived when we realized our walk back would be all uphill. Obviously, we survived the trek and so did poor old Sadie but it was certainly a bit more than we had bargained for! Nevertheless, if you are looking for a quiet oasis in the midst of the city, you’ll find it here.
Addendum: We took our granddaughter a week later to enjoy the large playground – no walking involved! It was a hit!
Edmonds is a picturesque town just north of Seattle and about a 20 minute drive from the campground. It sits on the shore of Puget Sound and has spectacular views of the Olympics. Along its shoreline is a public beach, an off-leash dog park, an expansive marina and a Washington State Ferry port.
It was a warm and sunny day when we made our first visit with Harmony and the kids. While our granddaughter romped in the water and played in the sand Art took Sadie to enjoy the dog park. Unfortunately with the rocky beach and the gentle waves, the dog was less than impressed! She was also not thrilled by the grated walkways throughout the marina and walked across them gingerly and with legs splayed!
On our next trip to Edmonds, we brought Caryn along and walked the length of the marina with a stop for ice cream along the way. This is just one of many large marinas in the area housing boats of varying sizes and price tags, but if I were a boat I sure wouldn’t mind the prime real estate this moorage in Edmond provides.
It’s funny that with water everywhere this is the first time in all my visits here that I have come to appreciate its connection to it. Always being a mountain girl I guess I’ve just looked over the sound or the lakes for the elusive view of Rainier or the peaks of the Olympics and Cascades. But make no mistake, water is king and the coastal feel is very much a part of what defines the areas that surround it.
On our last visit to Edmonds we decided to explore its city center. Comprised of a cluster of shops and restaurants we strolled about window shopping. Edmonds is a fairly small town so we finished up in a little over an hour, but it was a delightful day to be outside and without any haze or clouds the view of the Olympics was indeed grand!
Couldn’t be this close to the epicenter of the computer world without visiting the Microsoft empire in Redmond. And when I say empire, I mean empire! With its multiple sprawling campuses throughout the city, you quickly understand its importance to Redmond’s economy and vitality. Visiting on a Sunday, we were unable to take the offered tours, but couldn’t resist snapping a picture to prove we were here.
Woodinville Whiskey Company
With Art having done the Kentucky Bourbon tour and learning that bourbon whiskey can be properly distilled anywhere in the US, he was thrilled to come upon the Woodinville Whiskey Company just down the road from our campground. So, grabbing Jason, they ventured off to do a tour and tasting.
Art compared their processes with the Kentucky big boys of Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark and was thoroughly impressed. Although a fledgling distillery having bottled only 60 barrels so far, the Woodinville Whiskey Company produces an excellent straight bourbon whiskey. So, for all you bourbon connoisseurs, if you ever visit Woodinville, WA this is a must see (and taste)!
While on the topic of alcohol, one of Art’s agenda items for this trip was to be tutored by Jason on how to brew beer.
Setting aside a day for this tutorial they began with a trip to the Brew Cellar on Greenwood Ave to pick-up the necessary supplies. Carefully following Jason’s recipe they returned with malted and two-row barley; Fuggle, Cascade and Willamette hops; and American ale yeast. Supplemented with additional hops harvested from Jason’s backyard, they were ready to begin the brew process. The desired result will be an Imperial red ale.
Jason schooled Art on all the particulars such as how long to cook the grain mash, when to add the hops and most importantly how to control the temperature. Jason was quite knowledgeable on what temperatures the grains release their sugars and how the hops add to the taste. Art left well informed and well supplied to repeat this process upon our return to NC. And, though he and Jason’s brew is currently fermenting, he hopes to sneak a taste before we head back home.
This was on our bucket list from the beginning and we finally made it happen this week. Caryn and I hopped on the ferry and headed over to the Olympic Peninsula to visit Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park. Located just outside of Port Angeles, WA you reach the ridge by traveling up a 17 mile winding road to the top at an elevation of 5242’. So named for the 75+ mph winds that blow in the winter storms this vantage point offers top of the world views of the Olympic Range on one side and the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the other. Victoria, BC can also be seen in the distance.
Since we were blessed with a beautiful day of bright blue skies and mild temps (60’s) we took our time marveling at the views, taking pictures, hiking and picnicking. As always, pictures just don’t capture the ruggedness or the majesty.
On the ferry ride home we were also rewarded with a spectacular view of Mt. Rainier. Unbelievably, this huge mountain which is less than 60 miles from Seattle is hard to see most days because it shrouds itself with clouds. This was the first “real” view of the mountain that we have seen in the 6 weeks we’ve been here. And, yes, it really is THAT big. Incredible.
Lake Pleasant RV Park
Can’t bid farewell to our time here without a nod to our “home” for the last six weeks. Conveniently located in Bothell, we are far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the city to enjoy peace and quiet and yet close enough to get to most places (traffic dependent) within 30 minutes.
It is a lovely park that sits in a “bowl” surrounded by evergreen trees. Weeping willows drape a small lake that is inhabited with ducks, geese and a lone egret.
All of this has made for a nice little oasis and our reservations are already booked for next year!