Follow:
Topics:
All Posts By:

Laureen

    At Home

    Golfing Around the Sound – Three Multi-Course Options

    Location: Western Washington USA

    Enjoy this one again or for the very first time…

    I began golfing a little more than a year ago, when we settled into our new summer place on a golf course. I had dabbled in a golf a long time ago, but hadn’t picked up a club in twenty years. And so it has been like starting over. Our summers in Washington have given me a great opportunity to learn while golfing around the sound. And during the year we were stuck in the USA it was a great time to take up the sport.

    My home course of McCormick Woods

    Learning to Golf

    I’ve played A LOT since I decided to learn the game and I have also taken lessons and had a coach. Getting some coaching pointers and playing consistently (about once a week) has helped me learn and improve my game. I still have a long ways to go but I enjoy the game a great deal and especially enjoy having another activity to spend time with my husband.

    View from the 12th hole at McCormick Woods

    It might be surprising to some, but I feel one of the best ways to improve is to play at as many different courses as possible. I know many golfers like to play their “home” course only, but I find by moving around to new courses I don’t fall into a comfortable pattern and am therefore always challenged and learning new things.

    Gold Mountain

    Golfing Around the Sound

    Given that strategy we set out this summer to explore as many courses in the Pacific Northwest as we could. For Christmas my husband gave me a Golfing Around the Sound golf package, 11 courses included for $220. We created three golf “weekends” (we did them mid-week) and covered courses in Skagit and Snohomish County; Mason, Kitsap; Clallam and Jefferson County too.

    Glen Eagle Course

    Some courses are certainly better than others, but all the courses we played offered wonderful opportunities to learn and enjoy this crazy game. If you want to give this a try for yourself, here is our suggestions for three golf getaways in the Pacific Northwest. I imagine next summer we will try this again and expand to more courses including to the south and east.

    SKAGIT & SNOHOMISH

    La Conner Channel Lodge

    Using the lovely little town of La Conner (Skagit Valley) as our home base, we booked a fabulous room on the water at the La Conner Channel Lodge for two nights. This unique boutique style hotel sits right on the La Conner Channel and offers spectacular sunsets. While in La Conner we visited the Swinomish Indian Reservation, did a little boutique shopping and visited the local fresh markets where we purchased blueberries, raspberries and peaches to take home.

    Berries from La Conner
    Dinner at Nell Thorn
    Dinner at La Conner Brewery

    We played three courses in the Skagit/ Snohomish region. Each course was easy to get a tee time for our dates of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday;

    Burlington

    GLENEAGLE GOLF COURSE – This course in Burlington was nice, but some of the fairways are pretty tight and there are many houses, so it’s a bit stressful for an erratic golfer like me. Also, as first timers we wished for better signage between tees. Gleneagle has a restaurant on site.

    Gleneagle

    AVALON LINKS – I liked this course in Burlington; it was pretty while still being relatively easy for a beginner. Strangely this course has 27 holes…not sure why that is, but we played 18 and had a very enjoyable game. A small cafe is available on site.

    Avalon

    Snohomish

    THE GOLF CLUB AT ECHO FALLS – This is a beautiful course in Snohomish, and of the three the most challenging. We had a really fun game here. I had a cart but my husband was walking and he did wish the tees were not so far apart….sometimes a bit difficult to find. The clubhouse and restaurant and the entire grounds here are very beautiful.

    Echo Falls

    We recommend dining in La Conner at Nell Thorn for a delicious dinner made fresh with local ingredients. And for something a little less formal, try La Conner Brewing for excellent beer, burgers, tacos and salads.

    MASON & KITSAP

    Since we live in Kitsap County and near the border with Mason, we did not stay in a hotel while exploring these five courses listed below (three in our Around the Sound package and two not). But we can recommend from experience choosing to stay at the beautiful Alderbrook Resort & Spa on Hood Canal or the Silverdale Beach Hotel on the waterfront in Silverdale.

    View at Alderbrook

    We also recommend dining at Alderbook Resort, McCormick Woods Club House Restaurant and the Kingston Ale House near White Horse.

    Kingston Ale House

    Meanwhile we enjoyed these courses;

    Union

    ALDERBROOK GOLF CLUB – Our friend John invited us to enjoy nine holes with him at his home course of Alderbrook Golf Club in Union. This course is not part of the Around the Sound package. It was our first time playing here and I enjoyed it very much. This course has both homes and a lot of trees along the fairways, but it was just the right amount of challenge for me (and I only lost a couple of balls!).

    Alderbrook

    Bremerton

    GOLD MOUNTAIN GOLF COURSE – One of three courses within fifteen minutes of my house, Gold Mountain is an outstanding municipal course in Bremerton. I really love playing here, although I have only played the Cascade course. The Olympic course is more challenging…maybe next year. Anyway this is a beautiful rolling course with no houses…for me I need a cart as it has a lot of hills.

    Gold Mountain

    Port Orchard

    TROPHY LAKE GOLF & CASTING – Not on the Around the Sound package, Trophy Lake in Port Orchard is one of my favorite courses. It’s just right for my skill level and I enjoy the grounds and the fact there aren’t any houses. It’s very close to where I live so that’s a bonus too.

    Trophy Lake

    MCCORMICK WOODS GOLF CLUB – Well, you can’t get much closer for me, as I live on the 6th hole at McCormick Woods. I never imagined living on a golf course but we have quickly fallen in love with this beautiful community that surrounds this beautiful course. This public course in Port Orchard also has memberships as well as an excellent restaurant. It’s challenging though, with lots of houses and lots of underbrush and water too. It’s here I have taken my lessons and had my coaching with course Pro Kyle Larson.

    McCormick Woods

    Kingston

    WHITE HORSE GOLF CLUB – One of the more challenging courses I’ve played this summer, White Horse is in Kingston and is tough but a great learning course. I was in the sand A LOT. It’s a beautiful course with only a few houses. A very nice club house and restaurant too. Very close to the Kingston Ferry.

    White Horse

    JEFFERSON & CLALLAM

    The Resort at Port Ludlow

    We ventured across the Hood Canal Bridge for three days in Jefferson and Clallam Counties, one of our favorite areas in Washington, and a perfect golfing around the sound getaway. We spent two lovely nights at the The Resort at Port Ludlow. During our visit we had dinner at Port Ludlow (amazing), as well as breakfast at Stymies at the Cedars at Dungeness. We spent some time in Port Townsend checking out the shops and visiting Fort Worden State Park. We dined in Port Townsend at La Cocina Mexican.

    Breakfast at Stymies in Sequim
    Dinner at the Fireside at Port Ludlow
    Lunch at La Cocina in Port Townsend

    Our getaway included playing at these three fun courses (all included in our Around the Sound package).

    Sequim

    THE CEDARS AT DUNGENESS – I enjoyed this course a lot, even though my score didn’t reflect that! It’s a well maintained course with some beautiful views of the Olympic Mountains right in the heart of beautiful Sequim. We met friends for breakfast before we teed off and the restaurant Stymies was a great choice.

    Beautiful views at The Cedars at Dungenes

    SUNLAND GOLF COURSE – I had fun at this course, even though my cart was an antique. The course itself was well-maintained and fun. The fairways are really tight though, with houses and trees, but I managed to stay out of people’s yards (for the most part). It’s a great option in Sequim.

    Sunland Golf Course

    Port Ludlow

    PORT LUDLOW GOLF CLUB I struggled at this VERY hilly course…and lost a lot of balls too. When we arrived I asked the guy in the Pro Shop if the course was hilly, as I was trying to decide if I would walk or get a cart. He said there were a “couple of hills”. So I decided to walk. By the end of 18 I was ready to drop. There are way more than “couple of hills”. I recommend a cart. This course has a lot of water and also houses to avoid. We enjoyed our visit despite it all and enjoyed the beautiful sunny day we had on the greens.

    Port Ludlow Golf Resort

    GOLFING AROUND THE SOUND

    These are a few of our finds this summer as we spent time golfing around the sound. There are many more wonderful options to golf in the Puget Sound region…we hope to find those when we return from our winter travels next spring.

    Port Ludlow

    Meanwhile, it’s time to clean the clubs and get them ready for two months in Maui, where we love to golf. Stay tuned for our Maui adventures starting in September (we hope…unless the PanDamit shuts everything down again).

    See last week’s post Coastal Grandma – Does That Make Me Cool?

    We love it when you pin and share our blog posts. Thank you!

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson

    Jennifer Doudna is The Codebreaker. Walter Isaacson is the renowned author who can take her story and put it in lay terms we all can understand. Here is my book review The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson.

    The full title of this book is The Code Breaker Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing and the Future of the Human Race. My friend who is a librarian recommended this book to me. I listened to it on audible on a road trip. Though I might have gotten lost if I had been reading instead of listening to this book, which takes the reader through a fascinating history of gene editing. But I loved it as an audible book. Jennifer Doudna, Nobel Prize winner, along with a wide cast of other characters, are the brilliant and captivating scientists whose work has thrown open the door to gene editing.

    The decades of research and discoveries Doudna and her team, and many more teams around the world have done leading up to the current pandemic, were instrumental in developing tests for Covid. Their work will continue to impact the human race forever.

    Isaacon, whose list of books about intriguing people includes Steve Jobs, Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, da Vinci and others, is a talented and compelling writer. His knack for taking a difficult and deep subject and creating words and voices that are understandable and engrossing for the average person is remarkable. Everyone can learn something from The Code Breaker while realizing the human side of beguiling and competitive scientific developments.

    I learned so much from this book.

    *****Five stars for The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson. I hope you enjoyed my book review The Code Breaker by Walter Issacson.

    Read last week’s book review Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt.

    Check out our Reading Year In Review here for 15 of my favorite books of the past year.

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

    Inspire

    Coastal Grandma – Does That Make Me Cool?

    Last month when I was in Wisconsin with some friends, they mentioned this term “Coastal Grandma”. I had heard the term but really hadn’t paid any attention. I asked my friends what a Coastal Grandma was and they described the fashion and interior design aesthetic that is apparently all the rage thanks to TikTok.

    Only a few days after I returned to my summer home in Washington State another friend of mine told me that I was “a Coastal Grandma before it was cool”. Wait. What? Okay time to explore what is this and am I one? And does that make me cool?? Do I want to be cool? Coastal Grandma – Does That Make Me Cool?

    Coastal Grandma

    On closer inspection I learned that you don’t need to live on the Coast (I don’t), be a Grandma (I’m not) or frankly even be of my generation (fabulous sixties) to embrace the Coastal Grandma aesthetic. And indeed I guess I have been embracing it to some extent long before it was cool.

    Love this all cotton ensemble with eyelet skirt and fresh white button down from Talbots

    Fashion

    Apparently it’s Coastal Grandma cool to wear comfortable yet stylish clothes with simple lines that are made of natural fabrics often in soft tones of whites and beige. Okay, well I got some of that covered. But, with my skin tone and silver hair I tend to gravitate away from beige and instead choose bold and bright colors that flatter my hair color and skin.

    Cream Linen pants and tank and silk kimono is so versatile and cool and comfortable too

    That said I have been promoting for years the amazing natural fabrics, especially linen, that I find perfect for travel and warm climates. Yes, linen wrinkles, but there are many linen pieces out there now that don’t wrinkle, and especially in humid climates the wrinkles fall out as soon as the fabric is against your body. I adore linen and I have no less than two dozen items in my closet made of linen including pants, tops, dresses and cardigans. I also own a lot of cotton pieces, silk blends and lightweight knits.

    Linen dress is lined and perfect for a summer wedding and travel too from Ann Taylor

    I guess Talbots must be Coastal Grandma cool because a large percentage of my wardrobe comes from Talbots (with a few pieces also from J Jill, Ann Taylor and Tommy Bahama). Without knowing I was Coastal Grandma cool I have been collecting items over the past five years that work well for travel, are easy to care for, stay bright after multiple washings, hold their shape and look appropriate on my fabulous sixty something body. Who knew it was cool? I just thought it was comfortable.

    White linen cool and comfy for tropical islands

    I’ve thrown a few photos in here of some of my more recent purchases that will be in my suitcase when we head out for long-term travel again this fall.

    White linen slacks and easy v -neck cotton blend pullover for cool summer nights. Talbots.

    Interior Design

    I love my little house that we have been working on for the past few years. We have created a comfortable and cozy space that is bright and airy to spend the summer months when in Washington State. Eventually when we no longer travel for long portions of each year it will be a perfect place for the two of us to grow old together.

    Master Bedroom

    A departure from previous houses I have had, I wanted this house to have a similar and light color pallette throughout. We did this with matching wall colors, matching floors and matching cabinetry throughout. By adding a hint of natural colors to different rooms we have created a functional and cheerful space. I just love it.

    Master Bedroom

    One of my favorite rooms is the Master Bedroom which is natural whites with a touch of sea blue. The master bath is also natural whites with touch of gray and beige. This summer we have added a few accent walls in a few rooms including a pale blue in the reading room and a pale green in the entry. I used a new color pallette by Benjamin Moore that is designed to tie together and flow perfectly.

    Master Bath

    Although I had no idea I was creating Coastal Grandma vibe, but apparently I was and I like it no matter what other people think. It’s where I live and my goal is calm comfort.

    Simple

    My life took a dramatic turn when I retired nine years ago (about the same time this fabulous blog began) and that dramatic turn was purposeful and calculated. We wanted a simpler life, an easier life, a stress-free life and an affordable life. We choose not to burden our lives with committees, commitments and complications that didn’t fit our retired goals. We chose to let go of “stuff”. We choose minimalist comfort, intentional calm; we created time to do the things we love the most in our silver years, travel being one of the most important. That simple, unpretentious, comfortable and affordable life is what we have achieved.

    Coastal Grandma? Well okay if that’s what you want to call it. I call it fabulous. Go. Be. Fabulous.

    My friend Randi writes a design blog. Check out her Coastal Grandma post here.

    See last week’s post about my fabulous trip to Door County Wisconsin here.

    We love it when you pin and share our posts. Thank you.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

    I had heard that this book was about, and from the point of view, of an octopus…but I didn’t know anything more. I assumed it was going to be about the life of an octopus in the sea. No. It was more about friendship and family. Here is my book review Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt.

    Remarkably Bright Creatures is the first book I’ve ever read where one of the main characters is an octopus…a remarkably bright Giant Pacific Octopus named Marcellus. Living in a small aquarium in a fictional small town in Washington State, this remarkably bright octopus just knows things about people…

    He knows how lonely and sad Tova Sullivan is…the woman who is the after hours janitor at the aquarium. Marcellus figures out that much of Tova’s loneliness is because of the death of her son under mysterious circumstances thirty years ago.

    Marcellus begins a quest to unite Tova with a special person…someone who can lift Tova out of loneliness and help make her golden years have true meaning. Someone she doesn’t even know exists. Marcellus knows, and it is his dying wish to make Tova happy.

    Van Pelt’s debut novel is a sweet and sentimental look about life and all its tragedies, and how sometimes the key to happiness is standing right in front of us.

    I hope you enjoyed my book review Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt.

    ****Four stars for Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt.

    Read last week’s post Reading Wednesday Year in Review with my top 15 books of my reading year.

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

    North America Travel

    Visit Door County Wisconsin

    Three Cheers for the Red White and Blue

    I recently spent a wonderful four days in Door County Wisconsin. Two friends and I based ourselves in Sturgeon Bay, with little or no expectations whatsoever. But we were so impressed. It was a perfect little get-away and I think you would like it too. Here are my Red White and Blue suggestions to Visit Door County Wisconsin.

    Door County Maritime Museum

    I met up in Chicago with two of my friends who joined from separate parts of the country. It was my friend Winnie who suggested I do this blog post with a red, white and blue theme. It was a perfect suggestion…a way to look at colorful Door County and Sturgeon Bay through the colors of summer and the lens of my iPhone. If you visit Door County Wisconsin you can complete the rainbow with your own beautiful photos and colorful experiences.

    Red

    Cherries

    We learned on arrival that Door County is one of the largest cherry growing regions in the USA. And much to our delight, we arrived at the peak of the picking season. We did not pick but we ate and bought lots of cherry products to take home!

    Sit and Sip

    Our sweet little Airbnb in Sturgeon Bay offered a perfect place for me to enjoy my daily morning ritual with the traveling mug!

    Great Lakes Maritime

    Sturgeon Bay is home to the Door County Maritime Museum where we enjoyed the spectacular view and learned a lot about the Great Lakes Maritime industry. We also explored the lighthouses of Door County, and enjoyed the ones we saw. However if you want to see lighthouses you should visit during the Door County Lighthouse Festival in both June and September.

    Farms and Barns

    My friend Cathy was our navigator and her research skills found us a fun little farm to visit called Waseda Farms. We purchased organic bread, cheese and vegetables and also met the goats and cows.

    Red and Delicious

    You won’t go hungry in Sturgeon Bay and we enjoyed great food and drinks, including this Cherry and Vodka cocktail and this warm cherry pie with ice cream. Both are from the Inn at Cedar Crossing where we ate twice because we liked it so much!

    White

    Unexpected Foods

    White is for unexpected foods including the Wisconsin version of “Torte” my friend Winnie is displaying in this photo. It was nothing like the torte I’ve had before – more like a custard pie with whipped cream. We also experienced fried cheese curds, very Wisconsin.

    Natures Painting

    Although the weather was nearly perfect during our visit we enjoyed a wide variety of beautiful clouds drifting through as well as lovely, long, white sandy beaches.

    Geology

    Well you CAN teach some old dogs some new tricks and we learned a new geology word on our visit to Door County. Escarpment. The photo on the right is the Niagara Escarpment which Google describes as

    “…a long escarpment, or cuesta, in Canada and the United States that runs predominantly east–west from New York through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The escarpment is most famous as the cliff over which the Niagara River plunges at Niagara Falls, for which it is named.” I had no idea.

    The photo on the left is a beach we discovered near the Cana Lighthouse and these beautiful wind battered limestones are eroded to large rounded rocks. Pretty.

    Cheese and Wine

    Well, duh. We knew about Wisconsin cheese but who knew they also made good wine? One of our favorite stops on our Door County visit was at Wisconsin Cheese Masters facility in Egg Harbor. We chose to visit this cheese co-op because we could taste many of the award winning cheeses of Wisconsin all in one place. Did you know Wisconsin is home to every Master Cheese Maker in the United States? Wow!

    And lucky for us, there is a winery right next door.

    Let’s Get Cultured

    Now we aren’t talking about cheese culture here…arts and history are abundant. We were so glad we chose to see a live play in Sturgeon Bay at the Third Avenue Playworks (TAP) Theater. The play called The Book Club Play was hilarious, well acted and perfect for me and my friends who all are in book clubs.

    There are several history museums, and we enjoyed the interesting history display at the Bailey Harbor Visitor Center, housed in a historic home. So much to learn about the immigrants who settled in this beautiful region.

    Historic Buildings

    I love a good ole pioneer building, whether falling down or restored, and we saw all kinds in Door County. Here are a couple of photos I thought I could squeeze into the White category. The Blue Ox on the left is a restaurant in Baileys Harbor and the 5 & J on the Right is a coffee and scones shop in Sturgeon Bay. Both super cute.

    Blue

    Nothing But Blue Sky From Now On

    Blue sky…it’s everywhere in Door County in July. Picture on the left is taken through a lovely stained glass artwork at the Door County Maritime Museum. Picture on the right is my friend Cathy enjoying a cherry tree grove.

    The Blue Waters of Lake Michigan

    Lake Michigan is huge and for me being a Puget Sound girl I had to keep reminding myself this was fresh water. So big! There are lots of sandy beaches, as well as rocky ones too. But these two photos both taken in the smaller Sturgeon Bay area on my early morning run.

    Favorite Spots

    We had some really fun experiences including eating at the famous Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay. This family-owned restaurant has been serving Swedish favorites since 1949. And if you are lucky you’ll see the goats grazing on the sod roof of the restaurant.

    We also enjoyed a surprisingly good, and free, outdoor concert in Sturgeon Bay. Every Wednesday Destination Sturgeon Bay presents Harmony by the Bay in the park.

    Shopping Options

    We didn’t do a lot of shopping but we enjoyed strolling in and out of the many unique shops in Sturgeon Bay (left photo) where the shopkeepers were all welcoming and informative. My friend Cathy who is an amazing knitter enjoyed visiting Knit Whit Yarn Shop in Baileys Harbor. I look forward to seeing the finished product.

    Got the Blues

    I couldn’t end this blog without sharing these two beautiful blues. I love this old truck with the Ukraine peace symbol and this gorgeous historic home turned bed and breakfast located in the historic Sturgeon Bay neighborhood of Louisiana and Seventh Street.

    Visit Door County Wisconsin

    We really enjoyed Sturgeon Bay and we recommend that you Visit Door County Wisconsin. It was beautiful, sunny, delicious, interesting, friendly, inexpensive and colorful! I would definitely go back. Learn more at https://www.doorcounty.comDestination Door County here.

    Dinner at The Inn at Cedar Crossing, Sturgeon Bay

    More USA posts coming! Summer in the USA continues.

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

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

    Reading Wednesday

    Reading Wednesday Year In Review

    As you likely know if you have been following all these years, I track my reading year from July to July. Nothing fancy, just keep a little tally in my notebook of all the books I read. This year I read 80 books, and today I will share with you some of my favorites, once again, for Reading Wednesday Year In Review.

    Over the past year I have written 52 book reviews, pulling into reviews my favorites of the 80 books. Sixty of the 80 were read on my kindle, five were traditional books, while 13 were audible books we listened to on road trips. Some of my top books of the year were on Audible…a fantastic way to enjoy a book while driving.

    My Top Fifteen

    So today I will share with you my top 15 of my Reading Wedensday Year in Review, beginning with my top five in order;

    1. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doer – This remarkable book is either loved or hated, but for me, it was one of the most beautifully written, uniquely plotted, and astonishingly creative books of the past several years. I admit, if you can’t spend the time really digging deep to understand the complicated plot, (which jumps from medieval times to the distant future) you might not like it. It is not for the faint of heart. But it took my breath away and it is my favorite book of this year. This is a story of how life goes on.
    2. Trust by Hernan Diaz – Like Cuckoo Land, Diaz is brilliant in plot development of Trust taking multiple complicated storylines and weaving them beautifully into a book I could not put down. The story of early 19th century Wall Street is written in several different styles, and it adds to the fun and intrigue of this great book. This is a story of things aren’t always what they seem.
    3. Project Hail Mary by Anthony Weir – to be honest I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. Generally I’m not a Science Fiction reader, but Weir’s story of a space mission to save the Earth had me falling in love with the characters (both human and not) and enjoying every aspect of this fun and exciting adventure story. This is a story of friendship and heroes.
    4. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabelle Wilkerson – last year one of my top books was Caste by Isabelle Wilkerson. When I learned she had an earlier book, I really wanted to read it. In this story Wilkerson’s vast research and interviews bring to life in the pages what it was like for the black population in the American South in the years after the Civil War. She follows a handful of real people as they make the life changing decision to leave the racially toxic southern states for points north and west. It’s a brilliant book that every American should read. This is a story of America’s racial tension then and now.
    5. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel – Mandel’s Station Eleven was one of my favorite reads of 2018, and once again she captivated me with Sea of Tranquility. It’s another story of alternate realities, looking both forward and back and ultimately leaving the reader wondering about their own daily reality. Is what we do and see each day real? Or is it all an illusion. This is a story about time and place and the human experience.

    And Ten More I Loved

    In no particular order, these ten more I recommend very highly;

    1. The Bonesetters Daughter by Amy Tan – This is a story of family and how cultural misunderstanding can lead to a life of sorrow. Sweet.

    2. The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton – This is a story of what some people will do for fame. Intense.

    3. So Brave Young and Handsome by Leif Enger – This is story about the early 1900’s in the United States and coming to terms with aging and choices we have made. Sentimental.

    4. The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn – This is a story of WWII and brave females who changed the course of the war. Exciting.

    5. The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz – This is a story about writers, plots and psychotic people in our midst. Jaw Dropping.

    And these too…

    6. Playing With Myself by Randy Rainbow – This book is about more than a comedian and satirist – it’s about growing up, coming out and love that binds through thick and thin. Heartfelt.

    7. The Candy House by Jennifer Eagan – This book is about a near future life where the internet rules our thoughts and memories. Creepy.

    8. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrel – This book is about the power men (husbands, fathers, lovers) had to make women disappear in the early 20th century. Horrifying.

    9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith – This book is a classic American novel about a young girl coming of age in tenement in Brooklyn in the early 1900’s. Wonderful.

    10. The Maid by Nita Prose – This is a book about a quirky and lonely young women who finds adventure as a maid in a swanky hotel. Hilarious.

    Go Read a Book and Explore a New World

    Thanks for reading my Reading Wednesday Year in Review. I always welcome book suggestions, and I hope some of these make their way onto your reading list. Reading, like travel, is a door to understanding the world. Go read a book.

    See all our book reviews from the past year on our Reading Wednesday list here.

    Some more suggestions for you here from Goodreads.

    Next Wednesday we will be back to our weekly book reviews.

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

    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.

    Free

    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 Alltrails.com and Washington Trails Association wta.org.

    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 Cyprus – Forever in my Heart

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

    We love it when you pin and share our blog.