We took a little tour of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington State this last weekend. We were so lucky to find sunshine and acres upon acres of beautiful flowers. We began by crossing the Salish Sea on a twenty car ferry to Lummi Island for a short stay and a meal at The Willows Inn. The sun was setting and the evening was divine.
High flying kites at Tulip Town.
Daffodils in Skagit Valley.
La Conner’s Rainbow Bridge that crosses the Swinomish Channel.
Not quite the tulips as I found them.
We took a couple of walks on Sunset Beach, where it occurred to me, that we had been on Sunset Beach in Hawaii just a couple of weeks prior. Both places are uniquely lovely and well worth spending extended time at. One has soft golden sand and tiny shells while the other has incredible stones from the San Juan Islands. We visited family at Lake Whatcom, ate at EATS in Bellingham, cruised down Chuckanut Dr. to view the oyster farms, walked to Whatcom Falls, and ate at Seeds while taking a short tour of La Conner. I shouldn’t forget the blueberry ice cream. I’m not a great lover of ice cream, it always makes me thirsty, but this was wonderful. Maybe because it’s made locally and is fresh. I always thought that I needed to go to The Netherlands to see the bulbs in bloom. I was wrong. This place is well worth seeing. I’m removing Holland from my list.
A couple of weeks ago we seized the opportunity to go over to Sonoma with some family members and share a day in the sunshine, which was very hard to come by at that time. We went to Corner Stone right outside of Sonoma for lunch and a little wandering through the gardens on that lovely day. The place is rather new and is a really great place to go to relax. I’d say that they have a little bit of everything there with their shops, gardens, restaurants, distillery, etc. There really is something for everyone there.
Attractive Bird Houses
As Spring approaches, we should step out and find those places that are unique and worthy of our wandering. You never know what you might find in your own backyard, so to speak.
The next blog will show you the big reveal of the kitchen remodel. It is nearly finished and I am loving the new space. It reminds me of Santa Cruz. That’s a great way to begin and end every day.
Last weekend we rounded a curve on Hwy 70 and found the sun shining down on the hillside. It was beautiful.
I attempted to put a video, that I just finished, into my blog this week but I no longer have that capability. Here is the link to view it if you are not linked to me via Facebook https://vimeo.com/202985562
You can copy and paste and this should open up for you. It has photos, and music that I wrote, playing in the background. It’s only two minutes long. I hope you like it. I’ve been waiting for a while to share it with you. I hope you have a wonderful day. It’s a stormy one here in California. I hope this photo reminds you that the sun will surely shine for us soon.
I haven’t written in my blog for a couple of weeks. I’ve been very busy with a kitchen remodel. There is dust everywhere and it doesn’t even bother me, as I know that the end result should be amazing. I also know that it is my last kitchen remodel ever. That is a joyous thought. With that being said, we did find the time to drive down to Newport Beach, the weekend before last. We just happened to be there between storms. We’d had it booked for quite a while so we did feel very lucky to catch such good weather.
Four Caspian Terns & Four Marbled Godwits
Once we were there, we were so taken with the restaurants, the company, and the beautiful beaches. This was taken from the beach where the movie Beaches was filmed. It’s Crystal Cove and I can’t say enough good things about the vibe in this place. They’re raising funds to restore all the little cottages. Many are still in use but just as many are abandoned and in need of great amounts of repair. I understand that this was quite a happening place in the 1930’s to the 1960’s. I was wondering; what would be said if those old walls could talk? I’m sure there were many good memories made here.
Abandoned Old Cottage & Boat
Sound Tunnel in the Evening
We went to The Beachcomber, that sits adjacent to Crystal Cove Beach, one of the mornings because we were told that the beignets would remind us of Cafe De Monde in New Orleans. They were very good so we returned for a sunset and a delightful dinner that very same evening.
Lone Seagull at Sunset
Here’s what I really want to convey, it only takes a little effort to find a place that fills your soul with joy. I’m finding that true for the remodel as well as taking small trips to beautiful places.
On Labor Day weekend we decided to go down to Monterey and Carmel. It was mostly overcast but extremely pleasant. We went to restaurants that we’d been longing to revisit and had a wonderful time.
Carmel By-the-Sea Beach
While we were in Carmel we decided to go to Hog’s Breath. It was there that we had many very unusual experiences and I seriously doubt that we will ever return. There were many factors that will keep us from returning and I won’t go into all of the strange happenings as it might portray me as being politically incorrect and this blog is not about my little frustrations in life. It did make me feel quite uncomfortable and made me wonder who was in charge of the overall running of the restaurant. To make this long story short, we simply won’t return; problem solved.
We went to Monterey Fish House and had a delightful dinner. Everything there is delicious and works like clockwork. We tried Tarpy’s Roadhouse for the first time and had a delightful brunch in a very old stone house that has a lot of history to it. We had lunch at the West End in Santa Cruz and I found the perfect light, for my kitchen remodel, at Illuminations. It was hand blown by an artist who lives in Santa Cruz so it is the perfect complement to my house. We walked all over Point Lobos and found it beautiful but completely overgrown with poison oak. I am extremely allergic so I found myself having to be extra careful while hiking through a rather remote area of the park. We then had to return home to our very own patio where we had the padrone peppers that we purchased at the Santa Cruz Farmers Market. They were the best we have ever had, and in many ways, we felt a little like we had hardly even ventured far from our patio. Truth be told, some of my best experiences have been on my patio. I hope you have a patio like ours; full of fond memories. Have a grand weekend.
It doesn’t get much better than finding the scent of a favorite childhood treat in your own backyard. I can’t tell you how this Iris was acquired, and I am sure I did not pick it for its scent. It popped open last year for the first time and the scent was just like grape soda. I couldn’t wait for it to return again this year.
Grape Soda Bearded Iris
This next Iris reminds me of a walk along the cliffs near the Pacific Ocean and the little beauties that we found there one day. Iris’ come and go so rapidly that, if you don’t happen upon them, you might miss them altogether. This one grows in my front yard.
Pacific Coast Iris
Thank goodness that I failed to post this blog last week beacause we went to Bodega Bay last weekend and walked along the cliffs. We saw Gray Whales and lovely wild flowers and very near the end of our walk we came upon this little Iris, growing out amongst the weeds. There were very few of them left.
Wild Iris at Bodega Bay Headlands
At long last, I finally came upon some Water Iris’. We came around the corner in Vina, CA a couple of weekends ago and there was, what looked like, a sea of yellow. I jumped out of the car to snap a few photos. I asked the girl at New Clairveax Winery how long they would last that way. She said that she had never noticed them, in the last four years that she worked there, until someone brought them to her attention. I don’t know how one could miss them. They were amazing!
So there you have it. Seasons come and go. Even the season of the Iris’. Hope you didn’t miss them because you’ll have to wait almost a year to see them again.
Yesterday I was on my way to an appointment in San Rafael when I came upon this area. The air was perfectly still and the waters were reflecting the blue sky like a mirror. I was so taken with the sight that I decided to stop on my way back later in the day.
Cullinan Ranch Tidal Restoration, Hwy 37
I came back through a couple of hours later and it was windy and the waters were muddied up. It was so different then what I had viewed earlier, so I decided to return today with the hope that I could catch the same stillness in the air.
Three Egrets by the Landing
The wind was ever so slight this morning, but it doesn’t take much to stir the water. The view was nothing like the day before.
I was a little disappointed but then I saw a single crane and it was gracious enough to fly across the water for me. What a lovely sight.
Looking for Midmorning Snacks
It made me stop to reminisce about how I felt as a child when I would see something amazing for the very first time. Our lives are filled with wonderment every day. We just need to stop to take it all in. We all live in places that have beautiful surroundings. I hope you see something truly amazing this weekend.