The Chihuly Garden and Glass in the Seattle Center is a beautiful attraction for people visiting the city. These pictures do not do justice for all the wonderful pieces of glass artwork on display at the garden. There are small, intricate and detailed pieces of glass as well as large and almost overwhelming pieces.
It is a great activity for an afternoon, but if you are in Seattle for the day, the Seattle Center is full of other activities. The Chihuly Garden and Glass is located directly beneath the Space Needle, within walking distance of the EMP (Experience Music Project) building. The Pacific Science Center is also within the Seattle Center. However, if you only have time to visit one place, the garden is a beautiful experience and well worth the price of admission.
As you can see from the pictures, they have blended the glass work of Dale Chihuly with a lovely outdoor garden. A glasshouse also displays a large selection of Chihuly glass.
Another Chihuly exhibit is located in Tacoma, WA. However, it is nice to have one in Seattle as well. If you have not yet experienced Chihuly Garden and Glass, it is well worth your time.
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…bringing the prettiest sunsets to Soundview. People who’ve stayed here will recognize this view from the deck. Usually things start slowing down about now, but not this year. The cottage is booked solid through October! But I’m offering the low-season special anyway – 20% off for stays between November 1 and May 15 – because I enjoy my guests.
I’ve been up on The Mountain recently. The last post was a hike to Spray Park on the northwestern flank, and a couple of weeks ago I hiked with a friend out of Sunrise. The Sunrise road goes up to 6400 ft., the highest road in the Park, and it will close soon for the winter. This was a beautiful view looking south across the terminus of the Emmons glacier.
And, looking far to the southeast, the Tatoosh Range pokes its pointy peaks into the sky.
Another fun recent Northwest happening for me was an informal fundraiser concert in a Bremerton backyard – for the local symphony. Yummy BarBQ, amazing music performed live in a clearing in the woods, pleasant people supporting the arts – what more could one want?
Well, I guess if you really take that question seriously, you could answer world peace; freedom from hunger, disease, want and fear for everyone; a loving home for every child; and a true democracy for our country – washed clean from the corrupting influence of money in politics.
We’ve had a spectacular summer, and last Friday I took an 8-mile round-trip hike into Spray Park on the Northwestern flank of Mt. Rainier. It’s been warm, so a lot of the snow has melted, but there were still some patches left. Water was gushing everywhere, and Spray Falls was brim-full. What a day!
Seattle in the summer is the perfect base camp for hikers! There are hundreds of trails to explore — many different types for any type of hiker. From beachfront walks to mountain-top climbs, anybody of any skill level can find a hike to enjoy.
The weather is ideal for taking in the outdoors and the scenery is beautiful. There is a reason we call it “The Emerald City.” A great feature of Seattle is that you can find hiking trails within the city limits to enjoy, but you can also go just outside the city and find huge, expansive trails that would take you more than a day to fully explore. These pictures were taken from the trails at Lincoln Park in West Seattle.
There are so many spectacular places to hike near Seattle, it would be tough to explore all of them in a lifetime, but you can find a detailed list of hikes in the area on the Washington Trails Association website.
I’d be happy to help you find the perfect backpack or local dayhike. I’ve blogged about a few of my adventures in the Cascades and Olympics: Seven Lakes Basin, Wallace Falls, Emmons Glacier, Goat Rocks, and Summerland and Rainy Pass. Enjoy and start planning, now!
A few blogs ago, I announced the birth in San Francisco of my 6th grandchild, and I’ve been back to see her (and her parents, of course) twice since then! I spent February and March in their household when Allison went back to work, and then another week last month when she had to be away.
I did a fair bit of sightseeing on both trips, and I wanted to share with you the most unusual field trip of all – a wine-tasting tour of the Quixote Winery in Napa Valley. My San Francisco friend Bob took me there.
The winery building, including grounds, is the only project built in this country by Viennese architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928–2000). It’s designed in a whimsical, exotic way with ceramic tiles, irregularly rounded and painted columns, and deliberately uneven floors designed for their tactile effect on occupants’ feet. There are no right angles, except in the basement. The design style has been called phantasmagoric, psychedelic, and Dr. Seuss-like, and also likened to “the creation of a beautifully demented child.” The winery structure is dominated by an onion dome covered in gold leaf, as well as a living roof (seen here in the foreground) topped with grass, bushes, and trees.
Oh yes, the wine was delicious, too. Quixote is deservedly famous for its Petite Syrah. And it was the best Rose´ I’ve ever tasted.
In case you’re wondering how the cottage gets along when I’m gone, I always arrange for a friend to stay in my (separate) home, ready to answer questions or help with any problem that arises.
On October 25, my 6th grandchild was born, my younger daughter’s first-born. Sweet. I flew down to San Francisco to join the new little family as soon as I could, and spent two sleepless, heavenly weeks with them, helping to care for little Franny. She is a beautiful baby, as all babies are.
The quilt in the background is a labor of love. Each relative or family friend sent a handmade African-animal-based (or whatever they felt like) square with a personal message of love for the new babe. Elephants, monkeys, and giraffes are popular nursery themes these days – but also Franny’s parents worked in Tanzania for three years, so it’s especially meaningful for them.
When guests explore our nearby majestic mountains, I’m always thrilled for them. Here are 2 spectacular dayhikes I took late this summer – we had a late summer! – one to Summerland on the eastern shoulder of Mt Rainier, and the other to the awesome North Cascades out of Rainy Pass – 50 miles east of Marblemount. I also did a 4-day backpack out of Stevens Pass which intercepted the Pacific Crest Trail in places, and that was equally beautiful – but I didn’t bring my camera on that one. I hope you enjoy these photos.
The scrawny little trees that are turning yellow are larches – some call them tamaracks – at about 6,000 elevation. And that cute rodent creature is a marmot. He was so tame!
I have been blessed with 5 grandchildren, and the 6th is almost here! My big idea is to take each kid individually on an important trip – ideally, to a less-developed country where skins are not white, English is not the native language, and the dollar is not the local currency. Last summer was my 3rd “Nonnie Trip” – this time with 13-year-old Logan to Costa Rica. We had a blast.
It’s a beautiful country, and Costa Ricans are justly proud of it and of their progressive program to preserve wild spaces – >30% of the country is national parks. We saw jungle habitat; both oceans; wildlife in trees, jungles, beaches and rivers; an active volcano; and each other – but not much local culture. I was hoping Logan, who is a soccer star, could mingle with some village boys and join a pick-up game, but that didn’t happen. With an inter-generational tour group of 31, it was not too likely. But it was still a wonderful trip. I did my first zipline – whoo-hoo! – and Logan made some good friends.
Here are some photos from Costa Rica. Pura Vida! (that means life is good)
In case anyone’s wondering what happens to the cottage while I’m away for weeks at a time, there are two couples, friends from other parts of the country who like spending time in this area. They come and live in my home and manage the cottage (not all four at once – either George and Catie OR Don and Karla). Since guests cook for themselves, it’s not a lot of work to make sure the cleaning lady does her job, the hot tub is ready, and the cupboards and fridge are stocked with all the breakfast ingredients that I always provide. These good folks are on call 24/7 (or “on-knock” – come down and knock on the door if you need anything), and guests have given them good reviews for helpfulness.
I took two wonderful trips abroad – in June I toured Ireland and Scotland with friends, and in July I took my 13-year-old grandson to Costa Rica.
I had always wanted to go to Ireland, and when new friends from Australia – who stayed in the cottage last year – invited me to meet them in Dublin and drive around the countryside, I couldn’t wait! Except for the damp and cloudy weather, Ireland and Scotland both exceeded my expectations. The mysterious castles, the green countryside, the vast open spaces outside the cities, the dramatic cliffs and ocean views, the darling villages, the proud history and friendly people, the spontaneous joyful trad music in the pubs. We stayed in B&Bs, always finding something delightful as the daylight waned, and then dashing out for a brilliant dinner or an evening of trad and fish & chips. Yes, contrary to the bad rap re: UK dining, the food was delicious!
My next post will be about Costa Rica. If anyone has any questions like “Where was that photo taken?” or “Where did you stay on the Isle of Skye?” – pls email me – firstname.lastname@example.org
Keeping the cottage busy in the summertime is always easy. This last summer especially, parched Americans from everywhere else in the country were flocking to the cool, comfortable Northwest, and Soundview was booked almost every night. But in the autumn the snowbirds fly south and it’s harder to make a living. But the more interesting guests start coming now. It takes grit to sit in a hot tub when your head is sticking up into 35-degree night air. It takes vision to enjoy the view of the Sound when it’s raining, and insight to imagine the Olympic Mountains looming on the northern horizon when the clouds come.
So this time of year I lower the rates – 20% off, even on the weekends and holidays, from November 1 through May 15. And I keep the hot tub going. I tried this for the first time last year, and the results were significant. Everybody won! The cottage was busier than it had ever been during that period, and so was I – and I enjoyed it.
Fall and winter months are perfect times for persona
l retreats, romantic hideaways, and business trips. Concerts, plays, ballet, and opera are 15 minutes away in downtown Seattle, and the sports stadiums (stadia?) are even closer. Yet Soundview as always is peaceful and serene. Come enjoy some down time here.