Last weekend we took a micro vacation down to the Oregon coast. Awkwardly, we have been to the ocean a number of times since we moved out to Seattle a couple of years ago but, given how close we are to the Sound and our own coast, we hadn’t yet made it south of the Columbia River.
Since we live right next to a ferry, we took that for the first stretch of the trip which both feels weird and let us bypass the terrible Ft. Bragg / Tacoma traffic so I was very happy with all of that. Seaside was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be: a sleepy beach town that is 100% focused on tourism. As an odd piece of trivia, Seaside is also the end of the Lewis and Clark trail and the various signs don’t let you forget it.
The house we rented was right next to the beach and we probably spent 5 of the 8 hours of sunlight everyday walking the beach. It was extremely pretty and well worth the trip. I think next time we go we might want to stay a little further out of the town – especially if we are there in the summer – but it was nice to be able to walk to the amenities (read: coffee shops and restaurants that were still open).
We had a great time, although traveling (at least short road trips) with the baby required a bit more planning. Happily, it didn’t cramp our style too hard.
You can see the edge of the beach from our (rented) front yard.
Guest cousins’ dog!
This is 100% a prog rock album cover. I may have been listening to too much Pink Floyd recently.
We we right next to Haystack Rock, which is a well known tourist attraction apparently ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Saved the best picture for last.
So, I guess we are about at the once a month updates. Welcome to content creation – more posts will be coming soon.TM
But we made it out over the weekend and went for a nice walk north of Ballard and managed to find a park we had never been to before. Golden Gardens was small, but pleasant, and the walk there from Ballard was along the water of on the Burke-Gilman trail, so nothing to complain about there. Would walk again, especially in the summer when jumping into the Sound might be in the cards for all of us.
Baby’s 19th coffee shop.
The more Ballardy side of the walk
The weather at the park was for the birds.
Shilshole Marina was on the walk, so pretty much uninterrupted boat views for a quarter mile.
Golden Gardens park via the magic of watercolors.
Apparently we have been busy in the last week, but see the exciting conclusion of our Victoria wanderings below!
One of the aspects of wandering around Victoria that Jasmine and I like the most is all of the various gardens that are open for the public to wander through. This time, the big ticket find was Government House, the residence for the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. The grounds are full of a surprisingly large number of sub-gardens with multiple rose gardens, a wilderness area, and an obligatory herb garden. It was a very pleasant place to wander around for an hour or so in the morning.
One day we will run out of things to find in Victoria, but not this visit.
A water feature is key for Pacific Northwest gardens.
The rose garden.
Manicured English garden.
Lavender everywhere in the herb garden! It is almost a weed around here.
There was a heraldry exhibit apparently? I took a picture of the cutest coat of arms.
We took a long weekend and went up to Victoria. Having been there and blogged about it before, we spent most of our time wandering around the city, checking out the gardens, and having some coffee and nice food. We did things a little differently this time and stayed at a bed and breakfast – which unfortunately stopped doing breakfast.
We had a great time. I think that there is a bit more of the city to explore so we will be going up there again.
Getting some coffee at our favorite cafe so far in Victoria: Hey Happy.
They have pianos distributed all over Victoria. I like to think the seals enjoy it.
Oak Bay is a pleasant place to sit around.
Victoria may need more real wolves instead of steel wolves.
On the second half of the trip, we decided to do some things that were new to us and explore the various water options available. Stop one was Rockaway Beach out in Queens, which we were told was one of the few beaches accessible by public transit. We took the “A” train and headed on out for a pleasant day at the beach. The water was, to our West Coast feelings, very warm even though it was only June. The beach is a very weird thing for the two of us as we are so used to short days with foggy, rocky beaches and cold, wavy water that the warm, calm water, sandy beaches, and 100% sun was pleasant but felt weird.
When we got back to Manhattan, we proceeded to spend a day taking ferries up and down the East River and hanging out in Brooklyn for a while as well. I think that a combo of walking and ferry transit with some good food, cafe stops, and great views is my perfect vacation, so I give the East River ferry an A+ and the same grade to NYC Ferries for graphic design.
The beach was pretty empty until noonish.
Chilling between dipping in. The waves were just large enough to body surf, so that is what I spent a solid 3 hours doing.
A bit of a fun-house maze area on the Brooklyn Bridge Park was a cute change of pace.
This is cover of our upcoming LP “Futures”.
Is everything they say, and no place that I’d rather be. Where else can you do a half a million things all at a quarter to three. In somewhat recent news, Jasmine and I were in New York for a family wedding and it is about time it showed up on the blog. The wedding was fun and went off with only a single hitch so you, gentle reader, get to hear about about the rest of the trip.
We got a hotel in FiDi so, in the standard Lloyd and Jasmine fashion, we proceeded to walk every block of lower and midtown Manhattan from Battery Park through Central Park. Two major complaints: first where do you keep your chill cafes? That, more than anything else, we missed from the West Coast. And second, our favorite park during the last visit was the Highline, but holy crap is it a tourist mecca now! We could barely find standing room much less enjoy the park.
Now onto the good things – like ICE CREAM!!! Our favorite was Van Leeuwen’s, but there were so many awesome options. I think Seattle has something to learn here. Food was also consistently good; it is one of those things you forget occasionally when you don’t live in a major city, but city restaurants are miles better than rural ones on average. This is one of the reasons we are keen on the move from Renton to W. Seattle.
Finally, we spent a lot of time walking the paths and parks on both the East River and the Hudson. These are both much nicer than I remember from last time I was in New York and quite pleasant to walk on. Whereas three years ago I said don’t miss out on the Highline, I would revise that to walk the Hudson from Battery to Pier 51 on the Greenway.
Goodbye West Seattle.
Hello East River.
This is a rooftop park in the Financial District. I love the concept of public rooftop parks in cities.
And the Hudson in the morning. It was very picturesque with just the right lighting.
Some yachting in Central Park.
We only stayed on the Olympic Peninsula for two days and one night so we decided to splurge and stay at a nice B&B in Dungeness. It was quite pleasant and a bit different than our usual hotel or hired house experience. Major upsides include: B&B was a converted barn, nice in-bloom flower garden, and an magnificent sunset over the beach.
On day 2 we decided to check out the water rather than the mountains. There is a large spit out onto the Strait of Juan de Fuca called the Dungeness Spit that is both a wildlife refuge for waterfowl and a long hike on the beach. We had a very pleasant hike, but I suppose it was a bit nondescript, just a long sandy walk with gorgeous views.
Overall, it was a fun trip and we will certainly go out to the Olympics again. Next time, maybe even go deep into the rain forest.
As mentioned awesome sunset! With bonus background Canada.
This picture has two bald eagles and a hawk. One day I might get a nice telephoto lens, but the thought of lugging it around…
My favorite beach, one with lots of skippable stones.
We thought ahead and took a photo of both of us together!!!!
We missed “the dash of other carriages, the heavy rumble of carts and drays, the bawling of newspapermen, muffin-men and milkmen, and the ceaseless clink of pattens” and all of the other good that comes out of living close in to a city so we have given up the suburbs for a house in West Seattle. I’m sure one day both of us are more suited for the country, but not while we have to commute into jobs. Suburbia is full of compromises I would rather not make.
To say goodbye to the old house we went for a walk on our favorite circuit: down the Ceder River Trail to Lake Washington, then back through Renton with proper zigzagging through suburbs and parks. It is a nice 10 mile walk that we would do every other week or so, so I wanted to temporarily immortalize it through a blog post. For you, Renton, “Let us say not farewell, but as the French have it, au revoir!”
The Ceder River Trail is very nice for the three quarters not on the highway.
This bridge is a library! I would put King Country up for best library system.
And, finally, Lake Washington with that damn interloper Mercer Island.
Boeing lines up all the 737’s like ducks in a row by the water. The awesome turquoise color is the coating before painting.
There are some surprisingly nice vistas in Renton.
Our tour of eastern Canada ended up with a two day stay in Halifax. We had some weather troubles with Halifax in that it was cold, rainy, and windy most of the time we were there. That being said, it was part of the risk of an autumn trip to Canada and there were some cool coffee shops and museums to check out. We spent a good portion of a day at the Citadel (i.e. the fort in the middle of the city) and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, both of which were quite fun.
The weather turned nicer the second day so we went out to the water and took a nice long walk through in the city. On the third day, we were flying out later in the afternoon so we took the car and went out into more rural Nova Scotia and ended up in the UNESCO heritage site of Grand-Pre with a large landscape of dikes and farmland. It was very pretty and calm and we both rather enjoyed it.
Overall, we had a nice time and I would rate Nova Scotia 9/10, would visit again.
You can tell that we are on the Seabridge because it is written on the eabridge.
Got to check out dem small boats.
Pt. Pleasant Park had a fair share of fortifications, the best way to keep the French away.
A picture of Lloyd and Jasmine, looking out over the Atlantic instead of the Pacific for a change of pace.
Grand Pre had some pretty rural sites.
And, now, continuing our Canada Adventure, with only a slight delay based on house purchasing. After Quebec, we took a road trip all the way to Prince Edward Island. I think of our whole trip, this was probably the only mistake as it was around a 12 hour drive with touch and go snow and rain that had pretty much nothing on it. And 12 hours is more time than I want to spend driving in one go on holiday.
That being said, we also arrived a bit late in PEI for tourist season, so most things outside of Charlottetown were closed. But we stayed at an acceptable, if a bit poorly built, modern cabin and drove around the bucolic country side – which is what we wanted out of PEI in any case. So I rate it a 6 out of 10: PEI was fine.
Even though restaurants and cafes were not open, all of the parks were!
And now the sea with Jasmine and me.
Charlottetown, home of the commonwealth.
This was a sweet hotel/B&B right next to the ocean on the North side of PEI. I want to stay here some day.
The North Atlantic was very pretty if a bit on the frigid side.