Adventures in the Pacific Northwest

Hello everyone!

What a crazy year 2020 has turned out to be. So many changes, challenges, and uncertainties in life right now, but through it all, my family and I have found new ways to connect and make memories together.

After living in Texas for 18 years, we decided to go back home. So we uprooted ourselves, only a few months before this whole pandemic thing happened, and moved across the country, which resulted in my family being separated from each other for several months. Our lives became a bit more crazy and chaotic. Since that time, we’ve settled into our new home, new jobs, and new surroundings. My daughter has rejoined us, my husband is now able to travel home after being on the road with his job for an extended length of time, and my family has had several opportunities to enjoy the beautiful area we now call home…the Pacific Northwest.

This area of the country has everything we love all wrapped into one wonderful package. Mountains, trees, rivers and lakes, the ocean, and spectacular views surround us everywhere we go. I’ve long awaited opportunities to explore and hike through my old stomping grounds. I thought I’d share some of our adventures with you.

Welcome to Seattle!

I don’t know why, but for some strange reason, I have an unusual obsession with ferries. They fascinate me, and I think they add unique character to the Seattle area.

A ferry on the Sound

Another icon of this area is the Space Needle, which is one of the coolest architectural structures I’ve ever seen. There are similar buildings in other large cities, but in my eyes, none will ever compare to the Space Needle.

The Space Needle, Seattle, WA

Another very distinctive element of Western Washington is lighthouses. We’ve visited a few now, but have many more to see.

Mukilteo Lighthouse

Buildings and boats aren’t why we returned here. The natural beauty of the area is what brought us back home. They say you don’t realize how much you miss something until it’s gone. Never has that statement been more true than returning home after spending 18 years away from it. I didn’t realize how much I missed the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest: Puget Sound, the Pacific Ocean, the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, forests, waterfalls, rivers, and trees…so many trees. It’s green everywhere you go, something I had missed beyond description.

The waterfalls are quite spectacular.

Snoqualamie Falls
Wallace Falls

There’s water everywhere you go.

Carkeek Park, Seattle
Camano Island
Mukilteo
Skykomish River
Wallace River
Bitter Lake
Puget Sound

When the sun sets and reflects off the ocean…nothing compares to that.

Western Washington is surrounded by majestic Mountains. The views are breathtaking.

Mt. Rainier
Mt. Baker
The Olympic Mountains
Winter on Stevens Pass in the Cascade Mountains

There are so many places to hike and enjoy the natural beauty of the woodlands in this area.

American bald eagles nesting atop a tree on Whidbey Island

The distinctive change in seasons is yet another wonder of the Pacific Northwest.

Fall in Ballard
Winter in Everett
Winter in Seattle
Spring in Mukilteo
Summer in Seattle

Western Washington has its own culture and quirkiness attached to it as well.

Pike Place Market before the pandemic
Historic Arlington
LaConnor
Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle
Fremont troll
Jimmy Hendricks statue, downtown Seattle
Ballard Locks
Camano Island
Fort Casey
Random art murals everywhere. This particular one is by a local spray paint artist known as “henry”
Seattle Pier, which is about to be dismantled ūüėě
Leavenworth, one of our favorite places

The photos and images here don’t do the Pacific Northwest justice. It’s one of those places you have to experience in person. Although this worldwide pandemic has put a halt on much of what used to be considered “normal”, such as travel, dining out, and just spending time with friends, one positive outcome from all this has been the bonding time and reconnection my little family has had. We’re enjoying our natural surroundings, getting outside, finding new things to do, and soaking in the beauty around us, PNW “coastal distancing” style.

Needless to say, we love our new environment and have settled in quite nicely to what we now call home (for me, it’s a return home).

Stay safe, everyone, and cherish this time with loved ones.

Spring is in the Air

Spring is my favorite season, mainly because I love flowers and gardening. I grow vegetables, herbs, and have many kinds of flowers in my yard. In Texas, the wildflowers start to bloom.

The Mountain Laurel’s purple blossoms and the Texas Redbud’s pretty pink buds decorate the landscape.

My own garden flourishes with roses, irises, daisies, marigolds, and other colorful flowers.

Gladiolus, tulips, daffodils, and lillies start to pop out of the ground, and my vegetables begin to sprout. Bushes bud, fragrant herbs grow, and the grass turns green. Crepe Myrtles sprout leaves and begin to flower. Spring is a beautiful time of year when nature comes back to life.

Happy spring, everyone! ūüĆěūüĆļūüĆĽūüĆĻūüĆ∑ūüĆł

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Even though it’s 99 degrees outside¬†today with 43% humidity, I took a break from my writing¬†world¬†to go¬†on a photography adventure.¬†¬†Taking pictures¬†is¬†one of the things¬†I do when I’m not writing.¬† Usually my kids rush me through the picture taking¬†process, but today I was able to take my time and soak in the scenery.¬† Perhaps some of these photos will inspire your writing, or just give you a break¬†so you can¬†enjoy a beautiful place for a while.¬† These were all taken at the Tea Gardens in San Antonio, TX.

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The Japanese Tea Gardens is often used as a wedding venue, and many people have photography sessions on the grounds as well.¬†¬†The flowers¬†were all in full bloom today, which was nice.¬† The large amounts of rain we’ve¬†been blessed with¬†lately¬†have made¬†everything around here so green.

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The Koi pond attracts ducks and other birds to the area.  Some turtles live here too.

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But it’s the flowers and greenery that I love most.

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A waterfall trickles into the pond.  You can hear it throughout the garden.

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The Tea Gardens is one of my favorite places to go in San Antonio.

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The Tea Gardens used to be a cement factory, but when the factory shut down, they turned the quarry into this beautiful place.  During WW2 the name was changed to the Chinese Tea Gardens, as the sign at the entrance says.  But today, it is known as the Japanese Tea Gardens.  Up by the pavilion, a little restaurant serves tea, fresh lemonade, sandwiches, salads, and sushi.   Great place to have brunch.

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If you’re ever in the area, stop by the Tea Gardens.¬† It’s free to the pubic and open from dawn ’til dusk.

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