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Musings from the Innkeeper

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Matthew's Sunset from the deck of the cottage | Soundview Cottage

Summer has arrived in all its NW splendor.  Clear dawns, lots of eagle activity, incredible sunsets.  It’s hot during the day (96 yesterday in town!) and dark at 9 pm.  The cottage is booked solid until August 29, and much of September, too.

Fortunately, it’s cooler here by the water, and the cottage has air-conditioning and new insulating window shades.  Many guests just STAY here, enjoying the chance to “get away from it all.”

You can send out for elegant dinners from a local caterer who delivers, or order from To Go Services, which offers a tremendous variety of take-out from different restaurants.  And there are lots of grocery stores nearby – and there’s always Pike Place Market for the best fresh fish and produce to bring home and cook in the little kitchen for dinner!

I wanted to share a few interesting innkeeper stories.  A couple of weeks ago, a young couple arrived on foot with backpacks, and last week another couple arrived on bicycles.  Most of my guests come from the airport in a rented car.  But recently I’m getting more local folks who just want a relaxing break in a more peaceful setting.

The backpackers are college students from Arizona who never rent cars when they travel – “So much better for us and for the environment,” they say.  They had flown to Seattle and taken 2 different Metro buses to get as close as possible, completing the last mile on foot.  When they got hungry, they walked to nearby restaurants or grocery stores.  The bikers, who live in a different part of Seattle and don’t own a car, brought their own supplies in panniers.

I had two really interesting  guests on Saturday night who had driven over from Eastern Washington for a Mariners game.  He’s a geneticist from a 7,000-cow dairy farm in Prosser – decides which cows to inseminate with which bulls.  And she does ultrasounds on pregnant girls and women.  She’s done it for 15 years, and she told me a little about some really dramatic scenes that can happen in her work.
And my current guest, from California, is recovering from the Ironman he competed in yesterday in Everett (in the heat!).

And about once a year I get a visit from a US diplomat to Moldova, usually with his wife, here for a couple of weeks to see family, doctors, dentist, etc.  These folks, originally from Seattle but just now winding up his long career abroad in the diplomatic service, are modest, sophisticated, REALLY well-educated, fun to talk with, and very sweet.

I love being an innkeeper and getting to know such a variety of people, on a short-term basis and sometimes repeating.  Matthew, who shot the sunset photo above, has been here many times on business.  He usually comes by himself to install communication systems in private luxury yachts, but once he came out just to relax, bringing his lovely wife.

Recently, guests have given me a bottle of delightful dessert wine, and (different people) 2 lbs of yummy, very special Portuguese sausage (FedEx’d from the east coast in dry ice).  (as if they hadn’t already paid me!)

I love my job!

Adventure in Peru

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Nonnie Trip #2 took grandson Alex and me to Peru.  (#1 was last November when I took his cousin Quinn to Egypt.)  I have 3 grandchildren to go.  A Nonnie Trip (Nonnie is the family name for me, a grandmother) must be

1.  to another continent where they don’t speak English  2.  hopefully, to a developing or third-world country and  3.  a mind-blowing adventure.

The two-week trip started in 11,000-ft-high Cusco,

went even higher to Chinchero, came back down (believe it or not) to the ever-thrilling Machu Picchu, and ended  in the Amazon headwaters in a REAL jungle.   I can heartily recommend this small, casual-style tour conducted by a most unusual eco-volun-tour outfit called Crooked Trails.  They came to our rescue in 2 emergencies, in most compassionate, professional ways.

The highlight of the trip for me – because I’d been to Machu Picchu before – was the Posada Amazonas lodge in the jungle.  Hard to describe the hardcore eco-ethics-cum-luxury style of this remote hotel.  No walls on the rooms – all part of the jungle.  (of course, there are mosquito nets for the beds.)  The food was generous, varied, healthy and delicious; the staff fun and knowledgeable; the setting other-worldly.  And our exit was yet another adventure!

History of Three Tree Point is Published

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Three residents of Three Tree Point have recently published a book about our unique Burien waterfront community, tracing its history through more than 200 vintage photographs. Soundview is just south of the Point, on a high bluff overlooking the Sound.

The Point received its name from three massive fir trees that stood on its north side at the beginning of the 20th century. The area was largely undeveloped until 1903 when the Three Tree Point Company began marketing the community as a place to build summer homes for those desiring a beach lifestyle.

“A Mosquito Fleet” of ferries served all the South Sound coastal villages in the early days.  They landed at Three Tree Point, bringing supplies to the general store, which still stands, now converted into a home.  (The current city fathers won’t allow any commercial activities in these parts.)  Many of the original beach residences, some more than 100 years old, are lovingly maintained and inhabited, despite dozens of stairs that have to be negotiated between the road and the beach.  (No worries – Soundview’s off-road parking is just a few level steps from the red door.)Cottage Front Door

This neighborhood is still a quiet backwater of greater Seattle, enjoying tranquil views of the Sound, the mountains, and Vashon Island.  I’ve only lived here five years now, but some of my neighbors are third generation residents!  There’s something mesmerizing about this place.  It would be hard to leave.

The history book presents images of a diverse mixture of family life, unusual characters, holiday celebrations, shipwrecks, fishing derbies and storytelling.  Sepia-tone photos of old geezers, prim wives and roudy children adorn the pages.  If you’re interested in perusing the book during your visit in the cottage, please let me know and I’ll lend you my copy.