All Posts By:


    North America Travel

    Chasing Waterfalls in Washington’s Puget Sound Region

    Summer in Washington State

    Snoqualmie Falls

    Location: Washington State USA

    Spending every summer in Washington State, we always try to search out something new and interesting we have never done. The Pacific Northwest is chock full of gorgeous opportunities for hiking, biking, boating and more. And this summer we decided to go chasing waterfalls in Washington’s Puget Sound region.

    There are lots of waterfalls to choose from, and not only on the west side of Washington. Eastern and Southern Washington have a variety all their own. But we chose to visit five waterfalls within a short drive of our summer villa which is located on the Kitsap Peninsula.

    Today I share with you five beautiful, easily accessible waterfalls everyone should visit – locals and visitors alike. It’s time for everyone to try chasing waterfalls in Washington’s Puget Sound region. So here we go;

    1. Marymere Falls

    Marymere Falls
    Marymere Falls near Port Angeles Washington

    The drive to Marymere Falls trailhead is in itself a great summer or fall activity. Located just a short 2 mile walk from Crescent Lake and the Crescent Lake Lodge, Marymere Falls is 30 miles from Port Angeles and is within the Olympic National Park so an America the Beautiful Pass is required. At this location you can also do the Storm King hike if you are in good shape and an experienced hiker. As for the hike to Marymere, it is accessible to just about anyone. Starting from the parking lot it’s about 2 miles with a slight incline to reach the falls. The view of the 90 foot drop of the falls is beautiful. This hike is very popular and can be extremely crowded on a summer weekend. Consider fall or midweek if you can.

    2. Franklin Falls

    Franklin Falls near North Bend Washington
    Franklin Falls

    There are at least three waterfalls all within a few miles of each other and just off of Interstate 90 near North Bend and the town of Snoqualmie in the Cascade Mountains. Franklin Falls is the first of the three. A easy and beautiful 2 mile round trip hike through old growth forests, Franklin Falls is on Denny Creek. You can swim at the base of the falls and many people come here on the weekends to cool off in the summer. This is a hike you can do any time of year, and the water level of the falls changes seasonally. Again its easy access makes it very popular on summer weekends and parking can be tight. Plan accordingly. Franklin Falls is part of the Denny Creek Washington State Campground and a Discover Pass is required.

    3. Twin Falls

    Twin Falls Washington State
    Twin Falls near Snoqualmie Washington

    A short drive west from Franklin Falls you can get to the hike for Twin Falls. Located on the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River, Twin Falls is within Olallie State Park and a Discover Pass is required. Many families come here on the weekend to swim in the river, but the hike has a slow and steady incline so not everyone goes to the falls. But due to limited parking, consider weekday visit in the summer. The 2 mile round trip hike meanders along the river then traverses through beautiful forests before reaching the first observation point for the falls. Continue on another quarter mile to get up close and personal with beautiful Twin Falls.

    4. Snoqualmie Falls

    Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Lodge
    Snoqualmie Falls near the town of Snoqualmie Washington State

    The Granddaddy of all Washington waterfalls is the incomparable Snoqualmie Falls. Located on the Snoqualmie River, just downstream from the town of the same name, Snoqualmie Falls is majestic. Higher than Niagara, the falls have a different personality depending on the season. If you are lucky enough to view the falls during a flood or high rain season you will be astonished by the amount of water that thunders over. But the falls are just as beautiful during summer and fall, when the narrower cascade gracefully falls like a veil. Snoqualmie Falls offers multiple viewing platforms, open from dawn to dusk, and a steep hike is also an option down to the base of the falls. Access is free and free parking is also available. A very special treat is to dine or stay the night at the impeccable Salish Lodge, located right at the edge of the falls with spectacular views. Snoqualmie Falls is located just off Interstate 90. Follow the signs through the town of Snoqualmie to the falls.

    5. Silver Falls

    Silver Falls in Washington
    Silver Falls, Mount Rainier National Park Washington State

    Within Mount Rainier National Park you will find a variety of glorious waterfalls, as well as wonderful hiking options. Silver Falls is one of the most beautiful, with a 3 mile round trip loop hike that most anyone can do. Start the hike at the Ohanapekosh Campground, located at the Cayuse Pass entrance to the park about 47 miles from the city of Enumclaw. Once again, summer weekends are busy and parking is limited, so try to come midweek. Autumn is an excellent time to visit as well. The hike is within the Mount Rainier National Park and a America the Beautiful Pass is required. From the parking lot follow the signs to the falls through a beautiful old growth forest with views of the Ohanapekosh River below. Arriving at the falls you will be awarded with a stunning view. Cross the tiny wooden bridge to see another view of the falls, or to clamber out on the giant boulders and enjoy your lunch. Return to your vehicle on the loop trail, enjoying more of the beauty and scenery of this magnificent National Park.

    Beautiful Washington

    We love our home state of Washington and love being tourists in our own back yard when we are in Washington and the USA. Chasing waterfalls in Washington’s Puget Sound region is just one of our favorite things. Want to learn more about our Favorite Places in Washington? Click here.

    See last week’s post Favorite Day Hikes in the Pacific Northwest

    We love it when you pin or share our blogs.

    Washington Waterfalls
    Washington Waterfalls
    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The House of Eve by Sadequ Johnson

    Unfortunately I was expecting more from this book, given it’s reviews. But for me it fell a bit flat. Sorry to those of you who loved it, I just didn’t. Here is my book review The House of Eve by Sadequ Johnson.

    In The House of Eve we follow to parallel stories set in the 1950’s. First we meet Ruby in Philadelphia, a fifteen- year old girl who is destine to become the first in her family to attend college. No thanks to her mother, who has essentially abandoned her and she is living with her aunt. Ruby is totally focused on the scholarship she must have to go to college. Until she Ruby, who is black, falls in love with a white Jewish boy named Shimmie. Her story and her life will take a definite right hand turn.

    We also meet Eleanor. Arriving in Washington DC to attend Howard University after a rural up bringing in Ohio. Eleanor meets and falls head over heels with William. But William hails from one of the cities most affluent black families, and Williams mother will make Eleanor’s life miserable, as she and William marry and Eleanor becomes pregnant.

    The plot can be intriguing at times, but I was very annoyed with some of the characters; William and his horrible mother, and Ruby’s horrible mother as well. I found the ending a bit too contrived for the convenience of the storyline and unrealistic. Perhaps the author is hoping for a sequel…?

    ***I can only give this book three stars…although I know many people will love this book.

    Three stars for The House of Eve. Thank you for reading my book review The House of Eve by Sadequ Johnson.

    Read last week’s book review Victory City by Salman Rushdie

    Thank you for reading and sharing my book reviews.

    North America Travel

    Day Hikes in the Pacific Northwest

    Summer and Fall a Great Time to Hike

    Location: Pacific Northwest

    Hiking is one of our most favorite activities and it is so good for you too. We love everything from walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain (almost 500 miles) to short day hikes close to home. Spending our summers in the Pacific Northwest where we grew up, we are spoiled by so many great day hikes close by. So I thought I would put together a list of my favorite day hikes in the Pacific Northwest.

    Olympic Peninsula

    Definitely one of the most beautiful places to hike anywhere in the world, the Olympic Peninsula is the closest to my home of the regions I’ve listed here. Located in Washington State’s upper Northwest region, it offers both day and overnight hiking options for the novice to the advanced. Listed here are a handful of my favorite day hikes on the Olympic Peninsula.

    South Fork Skokomish RiverMap it

    South Fork Skokomish River

    Beautiful and relatively easy with minimal incline (there is some but nothing too strenuous) this well-maintained trail skirts the South Fork of the Skokomish River in a region just Southwest of the lower Hood Canal. To walk the entire out and back it can be eleven miles or a bit more, or turn around at any point. Keep your eyes open for some beautiful and massive old cedar and Douglas fir trees. There are a handful of areas to access the river for your picnic or a place to rest and enjoy this peaceful location.

    Parking is available

    Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass Required

    Learn more about Lower Skokomish trail here.

    Storm KingMap it

    Storm King view of Crescent Lake

    We hiked this for the first time this past July and it is a climb! If you don’t want incline this one is not for you. But boy do you get some beautiful views from the top. The trail is steep and in places rocky as you traverse the 2 miles to the top. It’s popular on weekends so consider off season or mid-week. The last part to the peak requires use of ropes to conquer the top. Or just sit on the rocks and eat your lunch and let the young kids do that last part.

    Parking is available at the Crescent Lake parking area

    America the Beautiful Pass or Day Pass required

    Learn more about Storm King and Crescent Lake here.

    Lena LakeMap it

    Lena Lake

    I have hiked this trail all my life, since I was a little child and we used to hike overnight for our summer vacation. Some elevation to lower Lena, but it’s a perfect day hike at about 7 miles round trip. The incline is gentle and most anyone can do it. The trail does have some rocky areas and lots of roots but you will marvel at the beautiful old growth Douglas Firs. The turquoise blue lake is perfect for your lunch and then head back down. Overnight hikers can consider continuing on to upper Lena another xx miles.

    Parking available

    Northwest Forest pass or America the Beautiful Pass required

    Learn more about Lena Lake here.

    See more Olympic Peninsula Hikes here.

    Close to Seattle

    Visitors and locals in the Seattle area are lucky to have great day hikes a short drive or even a walk away. We often urban hike around Seattle and Ballard or head east of the city into the Cascade foothills for easy, accessible hikes.

    Discovery ParkMap it

    Discovery Park

    A hidden gem in the City of Seattle, Discovery Park is just that – a surprising discovery! Suddenly you find yourself in a beautiful wooded park, on a bluff high above the Puget Sound or on the shore of a driftwood-littered beach. If you are in Seattle and are looking for the perfect day hike close to the city, this is it. Multiple hiking options through out this beautiful 534 acre city oasis. Who knew day hikes in the Pacific Northwest would include one in the heart of a city?

    Parking is available.


    Learn more here about Discovery Park.

    Franklin FallsMap it

    Franklin Falls

    Less than an hour East of Seattle just off Interstate 90 is an easy little 2 mile hike to Franklin Falls on Denny Creek. This popular day trip from Seattle can get really crowded on a summer weekend. But check it out in the fall for a beautiful getaway with fall color, or in the spring when the falls are crashing from the winter melt. It’s a great multi-season destination and perfect for the whole family.

    Limited Parking

    Washington State Discover Pass or Day Pass required

    Learn more about Franklin Falls and the Denny Creek campground here

    See more close to Seattle hikes here.

    North Side of Mount Rainier

    The North side of Mount Rainier is easily accessed from central and south Puget Sound and is one of my most favorite places to hike. There are many choices but the ones listed below are some of my favorite.

    Tolmie PeakMap it

    Tolmie Peak

    I love this hike, even though the road getting to the trailhead can be rough. Start at the Mowich Lake campground and hike the 7 miles round trip to one of the best views in all of Washington State. Passing by Eunice Lake and continuing up to an abandoned fire look out where you will not only enjoy a stunning Mount Rainier view but on a clear day you will also see Mount Baker, Glacier Peak and Mount Saint Helens.

    Parking Available

    America the Beautiful Pass or Day Pass required

    Learn more about Tolmie Peak here.

    Spray ParkMap it

    Spray Park

    This trail also begins at Mowich Lake on the south end. The first quarter mile your are walking on the Wonderland trail before the Spray Park trail branches off. This trail (6 miles RT) takes you through a beautiful and delicate sub-alpine meadows and along to Spray Falls. In late summer an abundance of wildflowers make the trail popular especially on the weekend. Gentle incline and this is easy for most anyone.

    Parking available

    America the Beautiful Pass or Day Pass required

    Learn more about Spray Park trail here.

    Summit LakeMap it

    Summit Lake

    On a clear day you can see forever. No joke. This hike is worth the elevation gain of about 1300 feet over about 3 miles. It’s just gorgeous. The road to get there is not so gorgeous though so be sure to have a all-wheel drive if possible. The road often has snow into June. The best time to hike here is June through October.

    Parking Available

    Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass required.

    Learn more about Summit Lake here.

    Crystal MountainMap-it

    Crystal Mountain

    The Mount Rainier gondola at Crystal Mountain ski resort is open in the summer and zips you up 2400 feet to the top of the ski area for a spectacular view. On a clear day you can see a succession of mountains including Rainier, Saint Helens, Adams and Baker through out the Cascade range. Hikers can hike down the mountain enjoying the wildlife and subalpine meadows, small lakes and creeks along the way or you can ride the gondola back down.

    Parking Available

    Gondola price ranges from $19-34. Online reservations are available.

    Learn more about the gondola here.

    South Side of Mount Rainier

    More remote than the North side of Mount Rainier, the Southside, including the Sunrise Visitor Center, has fewer visitors so is a good choice during peak season. But it does take longer to get there. Overnight in the Ashford or Packwood area makes for a nice multi-day visit.

    Sheep Lake and Sourdough Gap Map it

    Sheep Lake

    We just did this hike for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I loved it. The weather was not very cooperative however, so we did only about five miles. This trail, part of the Pacific Coast Trail, goes on and on, and I really would like to return and see more of it next summer. The first part up to Sheep Lake is very easy as the trail wanders along the ridge and then inland to the lake. Continuing on you have several options to Sourdough Gap as well as Crystal Lake. This hike skirts Mount Rainier National Park and falls within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

    We had the place to ourselves on a fairly stormy fall day, but this hike can be very busy on a nice summer weekend. Consider midweek or fall. The fall colors were excellent.

    Parking Available

    America the Beautiful or Northwest Forest Pass Required

    Learn more about Sheep Lake here.

    Burroughs MountainMap it

    Burroughs Mountain

    On this five mile hike that leaves from the Sunrise Visitor Center in Mount Rainier National Park you will get as close as possible to Mount Rainier without actually climbing the mountain. There are three Burroughs peaks on this hike, and snow is often on or near the trail well into the summer months so come prepared. It feels like a moonscape, and yet a few flowers and plants flourish as do several small mammals.

    Parking Available

    America the Beautiful Pass or Day Pass Required

    Learn more about Burroughs Mountain here

    Silver FallsMap it

    Silver Falls

    This very easy 3 mile round trip hike starts at the Ohanapekosh campground and leads you to one of the prettiest waterfalls in Mount Rainier National Park. Easy meandering trail through beautiful forest, offers a great option for families or those looking for less incline with a big impact. Spectacular hike.

    Parking Available although limited

    America the Beautiful or Day Pass Required

    Learn more about Silver Falls here.

    Grove of the PatriarchsMap it

    Grove of the Patriarchs

    One of the most magical hikes in Mount Rainier, Grove of the Patriarchs is a wonderland of old growth trees, some as old as 1000 years. This easy 1.5 mile round trip hike can be done by anyone, including children. It’s a remarkable oasis of nature’s beauty and a reminder of the importance of preservation and care of our natural wonders.

    Parking available but limited

    Learn more about Grove of the Patriarchs here.

    Summerland TrailMap it

    Summerland Trail

    This beautiful alpine trail is 8.5 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 2100 feet as you traverse from wildflower meadows up into subalpine tundra admiring views of Mount Rainier along the way. Steady incline and occasional rough trail make this better for more experienced hikers. Snow can be present into early summer. Very popular on weekends and parking is limited so come midweek, fall or early in the day.

    Parking available on the road but limited

    America the Beautiful or Day Pass required

    Learn more about the Summerland Trail here.

    Learn more about all hikes in Mount Rainier National Park here

    And Many More

    mount rainier
    Hiking with the family Summit Lake

    There are many more hiking options both for day and overnight that I have not listed here including trails North and farther South. Two great websites to learn more about day hikes in the Pacific Northwest are and Washington Trails Association

    Be sure to check the weather before setting off on any hike in the Pacific Northwest, as even in the summer it can be unpredictable. Be prepared to encounter wildlife, bring bug spray and sunscreen and plenty of water. And always make sure someone knows where you are going.

    With a little preparation, day hikes in the Pacific Northwest are rewarding, invigorating and always stunningly beautiful. Go outside!

    See last week’s post Hidden Gems of New York City.

    See our blog about My Favorite Things in Washington State here.

    We love it when you pin and share our blog.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Victory City by Salman Rushdie

    A couple years ago I read The Enchantress of Florence, the only other Salman Rushdie novel I have read. I loved that book. So I decided to read Rushdie’s newest work, after my husband read it and raved about it. So here is my book review Victory City by Salman Rushdie.

    In true Rushdie fashion, Victory City transports the ready completely to another realm. In this story it is fourteenth century India where we meet a nine year old girl named Pampa Kampana. The young girl has witnessed her mothers death and during her grieving a goddess takes over her little body. The goddess tells Pampa Kampana that she will be a great Queen and create a wonder of the world from the barren sand. This wonder will become the great city of Bisnaga (Victory City).

    Pampa Kampana become immortal and never ages and as 250 years pass she will sow magic seeds as the instrument to Bisnaga’s greatness. She will have several husbands and lovers and bear several children, all of which she will outlive.

    As Bisnaga grows and the world grows more intricate, the complex tapestry of Bisnaga, its leaders, triumphs and tragedies will be guided by the hand of the great goddess.

    It’s an epic tale, beautifully told in Rushdie’s imaginative prose. Sure to win numerous awards, Victory City is on it’s way to greatness.

    *****Five Stars for Victory City by Salman Rushdie

    Thank you for reading my book review Victory City by Salman Rushdie.

    Read last week’s book review The Probable Future: A Novel by Alice Hoffman

    We love it when you pin, share and comment on our book reviews. Thank you.

    North America Travel

    New York City – The Hidden Gems Tour

    Location: New York, New York USA

    We recently spent a quick four days in New York City, one of my favorite cities in the world. There is such a plethora of things to do in this city. It’s not the New York of old. It is clean, efficient, colorful. In fact the trees and flowers were all in bloom and my allergies where in full spring mode. But I loved it nonetheless. New York City – The Hidden Gems Tour.

    Grand Central Terminal

    Last May, we spent twelve days in New York and really did the city thoroughly. Check out last year’s post My Favorite Things in New York City. Surprisingly though, we missed a few things of interest to us. So on this much shorter visit, we set out to explore some lesser visited places. We dubbed our visit New York City – The Hidden Gems Tour.

    Empire State Building

    Lower East Side

    Last year we really enjoyed visiting the historically working class Lower East Side area. We spent a good portion of our visit last year Exploring the Neighborhoods of New York City. Since I am such a history buff, the Lower East Side has such a variety of interesting things related to the founding of New Amsterdam! We returned for our second visit to the Tenement Museum, one of my favorite things to do in NYC. The Tenement Museum is one of the most unique museums I have ever enjoyed, giving visitors a window into the past of the working class, immigrant neighborhoods of the Lower East Side. I highly recommend this hidden gem when in New York City. One visit is not enough.

    Historic Loewes Theater
    Historic Jarmulowsky Bank, now a boutique hotel


    On this fabulous New York City – The Hidden Gems Tour we took time to visit two libraries; the historic and iconic New York Public Library and the incomparable Morgan Library.

    A few years ago I read the book The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis. The fictional story is based in and around the New York Public Library. I really enjoyed our short walk around this iconic structure.

    The Morgan Library and Museum is not as crowded as some of the larger museums of New York and we really enjoyed the art here. But most of all we enjoyed the spectacular library and office rooms open to the public. JP Morgan  (April 17, 1837 – March 31, 1913) was an American financier and investment banker who dominated corporate finance on Wall Street. The former home and offices are well worth a visit when in New York City.

    New York Public Library
    Morgan Library

    Roosevelt Island

    Taking the tram over to Roosevelt Island is truly one of the most underrated things to do in New York City. The tram (gondola) costs $3 and during your ride it gives you a wonderful view of the East River and the city. Roosevelt Island is a lovely place to stroll, cycle or run with shops and restaurants, as well as a state park. Definitely check out Roosevelt Island on your next visit to New York.

    View From the Tram over the East River
    Roosevelt Island Monument

    The New York Mets

    Grab the subway to the neighborhood of Flushing in Queens for a New York Mets game at the beautiful Citi Field. The 1986 World Champion Mets play in this beautiful stadium opened in 2009. The subway drops you right at the stadium, but we recommend going a little early and heading into Flushing. We ate at the Michelin-recommended dumpling house in Flushing called Nan Xiang Xian Long Bao. The dumpling and the noodles are perfection…and it was the least expensive meal we had during our visit to New York. Don’t miss it.

    Worth the trip to Flushing
    Citi Field, home of the NY Mets

    Staten Island Ferry

    We have been to the Statue of Liberty and to Ellis Island in the past, so this time we decided to hop the colorful and free Staten Island Ferry. The ferry that runs from lower Manhattan to Staten Island every thirty minutes offers a spectacular view of the Statue of Liberty, at no cost. It’s also a fun ride especially on a sunny day with views back to the Manhattan skyline. You can hop off and spend some time on Staten Island, or re-board and head right back. I highly recommend it.

    Staten Island Ferry Terminal
    Manhattan Skyline

    Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

    As you know, I am always up for a garden and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens did not disappoint. We were lucky enough to visit on a beautiful sunny day when the Cherry Blossoms were just past peak but still fluffy and pink. We spent more than two hours enjoying the 52 acre site and the variety of gardens and exhibits both indoors and out. Don’t miss the fascinating Bonsai collection. Subway from Manhattan drops you right at the gardens. Consider also visiting the Brooklyn Museum next door. We did not because the museum is closed on Mondays but I understand it is also worth a visit.

    Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
    Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

    New York City – The Hidden Gems Tour

    Thanks for reading this week’s post New York City – The Hidden Gems Tour. I am not done with NYC! I absolutely love it and I will definitely be back. Whether you are planning your first visit or going for the tenth time, you will always discover something new, fun, interesting and amazing in this fascinating city.


    We love it when you pin, share and comment on our blog posts. Thank you.

    Read last week’s post Happily Home for the Summer.

    Did you see our Washington DC post? Washington DC – Old, New, Red, White & Blue

    See this week’s top performing post Georgia On My Mind – Southern Charm and So Much More

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Probable Future: A Novel by Alice Hoffman

    I’m a big fan of the work of Alice Hoffman, especially The Dovekeepers and more recently I read The Museum of Extraordinary Things. I love her writing style, magical but not over the top, and this week I share a book review The Probable Future: A Novel by Alice Hoffman.

    Meet the Sparrow women. A family with magical gifts. Each women realizes her gift on her 13th birthday. An intriguing cast of characters pulls you into the story…both historical and present day…a haunting past and a violent present. Where does it lead?

    Meet Stella, turning 13, and discovering a power that is a window on the future, and not a pleasant one. Always at odds with her mother Jenny – Jenny can read people’s dreams. Jenny does not speak to her own mother Elinor. Elinor can tell when people are liars.

    Speaking of liars, Stella’s father is a chronic liar, causing heartache, divorce and most recently, being accused of a murder. Untrustworthy, his life begins to unravel as all the Sparrow women try to find their way in a family of secrets and mystery, intrigue and supernatural history in the town of Unity Massachusetts.

    ****Four stars for The Probable Future: A Novel by Alice Hoffman. Not my favorite Alice Hoffman, but I recommend it nonetheless. Great characters and intriguing storyline.

    Read last week’s Book Review Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman

    Thanks for reading my book review The Probable Future: A Novel by Alice Hoffman

    We love it when you pin and share our book reviews. Thank you!

    At Home

    Happily Home For the Summer

    Time to rest. Time for family. Time to take a breath. I’m happily home for the summer. We absolutely love our travel life, but we also love our summer’s back in Washington State in our tiny Villa de Verano.

    We have just completed our seventh year of nearly full-time travel – a life we began as we retired. When we started we didn’t know if we would be traveling for six months or six years. Well apparently we have made it work and other than a year at home during Covid, we have been on the move.

    Three years into our travels we purchased a small villa back in our home state of Washington. A place to call home when we needed or wanted to be there. We were grateful for it during Covid, and continue to be grateful for it each summer.

    We arrived Washington April 30th and plan to launch year eight on September 10th. Those plans are still in the works. But meanwhile it’s just about home. A word that feels so satisfying to say. Home. I’ll still be blogging but also will be taking a bit of a break, so don’t worry if I am absent. Thanks for all your wonderful love for this blog. I am grateful to you all.

    Happily Home For the Summer. Welcome Home.

    See last week’s post Washington DC – Old, New, Red, White & Blue and this week’s top performing post Georgia On My Mind – Southern Charm And So Much More