This year, Jeremy and I decided to take our first real family vacation (just the three of us). Bella, as usual was an excellent traveler. First we (flew, drove, and took a ferry) went to San Juan Island. After a long day of travel (but lots of good scenery), we arrived at what we would call “home” for the next six days. Wow…it was beautiful. The SJI Visitors bureau’s slogan is something like “Just getting there is part of the fun…” but when we truly arrived, we were so excited to see that where we “were” was absolutely perfect. The home really exceeded our expectations. It was small (just two bedrooms/one bath), but a perfect little layout, with a deck overlooking a picturesque bay and a path down to our own little private beach and dock (where Bella passed alot of time just throwing rocks into the water). It was also secluded – which was something Jeremy and I REALLY enjoyed. The home was situated on a large lot, with an oyster farm next door and the other neighbors home was a good distance away. The owner had a huge steel drum embedded into the ground that they used as a fire pit and provided tons of wood, so it was like camping, but with a nice bed, warm shower and heated house to settle down in after the thrill of s’mores and a fire are over. Jeremy and I took advantage of the views with Bella during the day, watching the resident Sea Lion swim by each afternoon, and watching the flock of Canadian Geese that liked to come into our area of the bay during sunset. The fire pit was the perfect end to most evenings after putting Bella to sleep. We explored the local harbor, visited the winery, went to see the Alpaca Farm, and even saw 2 pods whales swim by at Lime Kiln State Park…but mostly we just relaxed and that was the perfect way to start a vacation.
Then we drove down to Seattle to check out a city that we had never been to. The highlight of this portion of our trip was exploring Pikes Place Market. Jeremy and I both love good, fresh food…and Pikes has tons of it. We got to see the fresh fish markets with the dungenous crabs, the original starbucks, try homemade cheese, taste wine, and in general taste some wonderful food. Bella appreciates fresh fruits and seeing the “fishies” and crabs as well, so there was plenty to keep her entertained. One day, she was so pooped out that she actually napped in her stroller for 3 hours. Jeremy decided to just stay in this cute little Italian restaurant and wait for her to stir…so we drank wine and gorged on delicious food for a super long lunch…We also visited the Seattle Center with the Space Needle. The view was exactly as you would expect (beautiful), and we our day was clear and sunny. They have a little carusel, and we let Bella take a ride (which she LOVED) and then we went to see the big fountains and her and Jeremy played in the park and ran off some of her energy. She had a blast. Our last day in town, we decided to try out Kayaking on Lake Union. Even with her short attention span I think Bella really enjoyed the experience. I really enjoyed it, and would love to give it a try here in the San Diego Bays (I can’t believe I never have!)
After a couple of days in Seattle, we hopped in the car and drove South to visit the Walkers in Portland. In the car on the way there, I told Bella we were going to visit a farm with chickens, and her mouth literally dropped open and she just stared at me in delight! Well, upon arrival, the scene did not disappoint her! We walk up and Pasquale is swimming in a little baby pool, and chickens are everywhere…and Bella is literally in Heaven 🙂 She and Pasquale played great together, and he was quick to show her the ropes with where to find the chicken house and the food to throw to them. It was nice for Bella to be distracted with all the fun, so we could catch up with Sam and Lane. We spent the next few days relaxing with the Walker Clan and just catching up and exploring a different side of Portland than we had seen in the past. Lane took us to the Missippi area (which I really loved, a super laid back bohemian vibe), and we went to the PSU farmers market, which was by far, the coolest farmers market I’ve ever been to. Portland is such a green city, with great organic and local specialties…Then we went out to a beautiful Hazelnut farm and spent and evening relaxing in the country while Sam and a friend roasted a whole pig (the kids LOVED to see that). We spent our last day enjoying another wonderful view of a river on a Walnut Grove on the Mullalla River making Nocino (a green walnut liquor), and eating wonderful food at one of Lane’s friend’s homes. It was a wonderful visit, but I think both Jeremy and I were actually ready to come home on our last day…twelve days is a long time to be away from your home and your dog (poor Hazel)! I think that is the sign of a really good vacation…when you have had so much fun, that you are actually ready for the boring routine of everyday life.
Unfortunately, what we returned to was not boring or everyday…but I’ll save that for another post.