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For those of you who have been fortunate to have visited the ‘Emerald City’, you know how beautiful and vibrant Seattle is.


Both my mother and I have been here numerous times and decided to spend most of our time in other parts of the Northwest, but we couldn’t just pass Seattle by.  We had to spend at least a little while enjoying the sights and sounds.


So where do you go in Seattle when you only have a few hours to spare?




Over 100 years old, Pike Place Market has been described as “Heaven on Earth” and “a browser’s heaven”.

I like how AAA describes this iconic place in their guidebook: “The sights, the smells, the sidewalk musicians, the seafood-tossing fishmongers and the ambling crowds all make it a sensory experience of the highest order.”

Of course, the fish mongers are perhaps, the most popular attraction as they toss large pieces of fish in order to fill orders.







Fish mongers interact with visitors and help them find the perfect seafood for their table.


I must admit that it was fun to watch them yell and toss large fish to each other.






While I don’t eat large amounts of seafood, I do like to see the different kinds available.  Pike Place Market has so many different types of fresh fish and other seafood available.




In addition to the fresh seafood, Pike Place Market is also known for their fresh produce and flowers, which was more up my alley.






The produce was so bright and colorful and looked absolutely delicious.






I love berries and grapes!  Once I get home, I plan on making some jam from my own blackberry bushes.




Farmers markets are great places to see vegetables that may not make it to your local supermarket.




Of course, I always tend to find myself spending a lot of time next to the flower stalls.






I decided that if I were ever to get married again  that I would have my bouquet made up of peonies.
Just a note – I have been happily married almost 29 years and have no plans on walking down the aisle again.




Pike Place Market is also filled with shops and a large variety of ethnic food places.








You can easily buy a baguette at a French bakery, pick up some fresh cheese and some fruit for a delicious lunch.


There is one place where there is always a line of people eager to get a certain beverage…




Pike Place Market is where the first Starbucks opened in 1971.




People happily wait in line for their favorite Starbucks beverage so that they can say that they visited the first one.


In addition to the seafood, fresh produce, flowers and great places to eat are a variety of shops carrying souvenirs, clothing and just about everything else.




‘Rachel’ is the mascot of Pike Place Market and is a large piggy bank.  The money she collects is used to benefit social services.  People say if you rub her snout after giving a donation that you will have good luck.


The marketplace is big and ideal for walking and people watching.  There is no ‘secret’ method for seeing everything.  Simply walk into one of the many entrances and just stroll throughout.


I came away with several flavored pastas, including chocolate, habanero chili pasta and garlic chives, which I will share with my family once I get home.  


After leaving the market and Seattle, we headed up north toward Canada.  Along the way, we decided to visit the town of Sequim, which is famous for the lavender that is grown there.


I was surprised to learn that they produce the most lavender in the United States.


We decided to visit one of the lavender farms, called Purple Haze Lavender.




The sight of the cute farm house greeted us as we drove into the parking lot for the small store onsite.




Small lavender plants were available to buy right outside of the store.




While the lavender won’t be in bloom until summer, it was still beautiful.




This spot in Washington, is relatively dry, receiving only 17 inches of rain per year, which makes it a great area to grow lavender, which don’t like soggy soils.




Among the grounds were blooming clematis climbing over an arbor.




Chickens, a peacock and an orchard filled with fruit trees were located alongside the lavender fields.




The store had just about any type of lavender product, including lavender ice-cream.




Who wouldn’t love a view like this?




We left the farm with a new appreciation for lavender.  


You can visit Sequim for their annual Lavender Festival in July.


Our journey resumed toward Port Angeles, Washington.  Tomorrow, we will tour the Olympic National Forest before leaving for Victoria, Canada.



Day 3 of our road trip began as another cloudy day and our fun-filled day contained an unexpected diversion.



The day began with a quick breakfast at our hotel in Astoria, which sits on the northeastern most point of Oregon.  The plan was to head to see the house from the 80’s movie ‘The Goonies’ and then head to Fort Clatsop, which was where Lewis & Clark’s expedition ended up in the early 1800’s.  




But first things first – as a fan of ‘The Goonies’, we headed toward the house first.




The way to the house was well marked.

The house is privately owned, but you can venture up to the house.

Doesn’t it look the same as in the movie?

The garden around the house was nice too…

California poppies were in full bloom in the retaining wall underneath the house.

Believe it or not, this blue-flowering plant is the annual lobelia.  Evidently, they love cool, moist weather.

The pink roses were so vibrant.

There was a little arbor with white clematis.

After seeing the house, we drove back through town, along the coast of the Columbia River where you could see large ships and signs of the importance of fishing.  The sea lions along the pier were quite noisy and could be heard from far away. 

As we drive through downtown Astoria, we came upon a street market.  Of course, we had to stop.


The market stretched 3 blocks through downtown Astoria.


It was a live scene with vendors selling their goods, street performers, plants and unique food choices.


While most vendors sold items you would expect to see at a street fair (things made from wood, jewelry and clothing) – there were also some unusual items such as this gentleman who made guitars from old cigar boxes.

I must confess that I went the more traditional route and bought a bracelet for me and a necklace for my daughter, Ruthie.


Street performers played ‘Top 40’ songs, including Pharrel William’s song “Happy” using an electric guitar and drums made out of 5-gallon plastic pails.


The individual sounds from the drums varied depending on how high they were from the ground.

They were surprisingly good.

Plants had a large presence at the street fair.  Different nurseries set up booths selling a beautiful variety of plants.

Clematis
While I can’t grow hosta clematis in my desert garden, I do enjoy seeing them whenever I travel.

Lilacs
Weigela
While you’d be hard pressed to find most of the plants on sale in the desert southwest, I did find one plant that was being sold that grows great in my backyard…


Salvia greggii ‘Lipstick’ had red and white flowers on bright green foliage.  I love and so do the hummingbirds.  It blooms fall, winter and spring in my garden.  It was nice finding a plant that can grow in both places.


Fresh produce such as apples, asparagus, pears and sugar snap peas were on display.


This shopper was well prepared pulling a wagon filled with his purchases.


One thing that I have really enjoyed in the street markets I have visited on our road trip are the floral booths.


Gorgeous cut flowers are combined in a variety of beautiful arrangements.




The prices were amazing too!


I love peonies!


Before we left, we stopped by the food vendors.  There were a lot of ethnic foods available including Asian, Greek, Indian and Mexican.

Now, living in the Southwest, I am very familiar with Mexican food.  But, I must admit that I have never seen these unique offerings before…


I admit that I wasn’t even the least bit tempted to try bacon-wrapped or deep-fried asparagus. 
Even as an adult, I still don’t like asparagus.

On our way out, we stopped by a booth with a large number of baked goods.


We skipped the pies, but did grab 2 large cookies for lunch later.

Planters decorate the face of an empty building in downtown Astoria.

We enjoyed our time in Astoria very much and could have easily spent another day there.


As we drove away, we spotted two deer on the side of the road…


The next leg of our journey led us to the second state on our road trip.


We crossed the bridge over the Columbia River into Washington.


Yeah…that’s a lot of lumber.

We arrived in Seattle before dinner and walked a 1/2 mile down the road to attend an evening church service.  Then it was dinner at Chipotle.

Tomorrow, we will explore the downtown area!

Do you like to travel?


I bet you do.  But, if you are like me, you don’t like the having to tasks such as packing, finishing up last minute things at work and such.


Since I will be traveling without my husband and kids, I’ll also need to stop by the grocery store so that they don’t starve while I’m gone.


Below, is my kid’s puzzle of the United States and on it, I have placed the states that I have visited – many of them on annual road trips with my mother.




As you can see, there are some empty spaces and our road trips are an ongoing effort to visit all the different regions in the United States.

So before I reveal where we will be going this year, let’s look at the options for the road trip we considered:


Southern and Plains states.


A few Rocky Mountain states.


New England, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.


The Northwest, including British Columbia, Canada.

and


Texas and surrounding states.

Before I reveal our destination, I have to confess that it wasn’t our first choice.  We had initially decided to travel to New England and had worked hard on an itinerary filled with fun things to do and see.

But, that was before the harsh winter that they experienced.  We were advised by many New England natives that a trip this year would be difficult due to spring being delayed and numerous road crews repairing damaged streets due to pot holes left from the cold winter.

So, we decided to postpone our New England trip to next year (hopefully).

The destination that we finally decided on for this year is a region that we have both visited, but wanted to explore further…


We will be visiting the Northwest and British Columbia, Canada and I can hardly wait!

I have been to Seattle twice, but not by car and I look forward to exploring more of this dynamic city.

I’m ashamed to admit that I have never visited Oregon.  It has always been a state that is flown over on my way to Washington and I have always wanted to explore it further.

Here is a detailed map of where we will be going:


Our journey begins in Portland, where we will visit the world famous rose garden.  Of course, we will also explore other areas of this fun city.

After leaving Portland, we will drive to Astoria and spend some time before heading up to Seattle.

Later, we will stay in Port Angeles and visit the Olympic National Park.

The next leg of our journey involves a ferry to get us to Victoria, Canada.  I was fortunate to have spent a day in this very English city including Butchart Gardens, which I plan on seeing again.

Another ferry ride will take us from Victoria to Vancouver, which I have always wanted to visit since the Olympics was held there.

The last portion of our trip will bring us back toward Seattle with a stop in Mount Vernon and more gardens to visit.

**If you have any helpful advice on what to do and see in this area, I’d love some advice.

I hope you will join me as our journey begins!  I will be blogging from the road, sharing the sights and experiences along the way.

It all begins on Friday