September 4, 2012

Our Pacific Northwest Adventure

Hello friends! I’m back from my Pacific Northwest Adventure and feeling refreshed, cooled off and ready for fall. Another thanks to Haydee and Mariah for holding down the fort while I was away. And did you download your September calendar yet?

Our trip was incredible. I have tons more photos to share (photo collages from Vancouver and our amazing place in Port Ludlow) plus all of my PNW recommendations for your trip planning. Let’s go!

We landed in Seattle early in the morning and headed straight to Pike’s Place after checking into our amazing hotel (more on that in a minute). Bill found us the perfect lunch spot, Matt’s at the Market, sort of hidden up some secret steps so it wasn’t as crowded as the rest of the market. We had local beers, delicious deviled eggs and amazing fish sandwiches all with the perfect view of that iconic Public Market sign. After walking around a bit it was time to check in at our hotel, Andra, which I can’t recommend enough! It’s in the most perfect location and just gorgeous. The prices were a little out of our budget but we found out that they have a few Queen Studios which basically just means a smaller room for half the price. Such an incredible deal. We loved the lobby with a beautiful fireplace and floor to ceiling windows with gigantic window seats and comfy leather chairs. There’s an attaching restaurant/bar called Lola, so if we ever had downtime we just sat by the window in our sweaters sipping some red wine or beer and watching the people pass outside. Dreamy.

We went on a really fun underground tour (I love doing at least one touristy thing on my trips) that told us all about the beginning of Seattle and how there’s a whole other city right under your feet!  It was so fun to get a bit of history about the city we were walking around in. I found the cutest home goods shop, Watson Kennedy, where I found some really fun soaps and a super necessary hot water bottle and knitted cover : ) We played cards and took naps at Golden Gardens beach—how funny is that photo above where Adam and Bill are taking a twin nap? They are so similar it’s ridiculous!! They even sleep the same. Meagan and I were cracking up when we took that photo. And the food! Oh my gosh, I was shocked at how well we ate! I want to tell you every good spot to go to so I made a little directory:

Local 360—Recommended by some of Meagan’s Seattle friends we got to meet while we were there. Easily tied with Sylvain in New Orleans as the best brunch I’ve ever had! Incredible pancakes, great drinks, perfect atmosphere. This is a must if you’re in Seattle.
Walrus and the Carpenter—we went out to Ballard for the afternoon to get to Golden Gardens and then went to this place that came highly recommended for happy hour. Little did we know it was the most popular HH in town! We got there at 4, when they open, and there was already a line for the adorable spot. Oysters are half price until 5—we ate these by the dozen with crisp, cold rose and white wine. Great food, great interior. And I really recommend exploring Ballard a bit while you’re out there. Really fun part of town!
Serious Pie—So Tom Douglas is sort of The Man when it comes to Seattle eateries. He owns a ton of them, including this one which was catty corner to our hotel. Tiny, adorably pizza spot with amazing pizza and a good wine selection. We got fresh salads and some incredible pizza.
Dahlia Bakery— Another Tom Douglas joint and right across from our hotel. Get the egg sandwiches and beignets!
Brave Horse Tavern—Yet another Douglas joint—I told you he owns everything! We had a great night here playing darts, sipping cocktails and eating their famous pretzels with all sorts of dipping sauces. They play fun movies on Sunday night so we caught Goonies and Bridesmaids which was fun background to our competitive dart playing — it got serious when we played boys vs. girls : ). We all agreed this night was one of our fondest memories from the trip. Just a good feeling spot.

A couple other spots that came highly recommended but that we didn’t have time to squeeze in are Sitka & Spruce and Odd Fellows. Next time! Now onto Vancouver…

The drive to Vancouver was gorgeous! We stayed at a really fun little rental spot called Home Suite Home, in the heart of Kitsalano, which is sort of the Brooklyn to Vancouver’s main downtown island. We stayed in The Loft Suite and it was perfect for us, beautifully decorated and a really fun spot to stay. While in Vancouver, we rode bikes in Stanley Park, hung out at at Kits beach, explored Granville Island and walked a lot downtown. Here were my favorite spots:

Guu (Thurlow location)—a few people told me this was a must and if you are an adventurous eater and love Japanese food, I think it is too! The decor isn’t anything special but the food is amazing. Really fresh fish, delicious fried rice and big pitchers of cold Sapporo hit the spot.
Motomachi Shokudo—A fellow foodie friend of mine recommended this spot to us and it was amazing. Our bike ride was cool and even a bit rainy so afterward we ducked in here for hot bowls of brothy ramen. So great! This was the first real ramen I’ve ever had and it didn’t disappoint. Also, conveniently located next to almost all of the bike rental spots.
Bitter—A great little beer spot to pop into with a fun menu and knowledgeable staff. A must if you’re a beer lover!

Port Ludlow! We absolutely loved this place. It’s so fun to plan a trip, book all of these spots and then actually…show up and see what they’re like in person! We were hoping this place would be as good as the photos, but it was better. The ferry ride to Port Townsend (where you get to in order to drive to Ludlow) was gorgeous. I had the best ice cream cone of my life while we waited to go across the water and once on the ferry we sipped ice cold beer and stood on the deck, watching the little town come closer. Each day in Ludlow we read our books, made a fire by the water, watched the beautiful golden moon come up and shimmer on the bay, and then woke up and did it all over again. We walked on the beach, made big pots of stew, drank plenty of cocktails and just basked in the fifty degree weather. One day we hiked Hurricane Ridge which was so fun, highly recommended if you’re ever up there—I took that photo of the mountains and the blue sky while we were up on top of our hike.

This was an incredible trip and one that reminded me why I love to travel and how important it is to make time for it in my life. It was heaven to spend a little over a week with some of my favorite people in the entire world. Our last day in Port Ludlow I was standing out on our deck, trying to soak in our sweet bay with it’s lone floating boat, the giant trees, the cool air; making a memory I could call upon when deadlines are looming and my computer screen is waring on my eyes.

I love how even my home town feels a little different when I get back from a great trip like this one. It reminds me that there are places yet to be explored, things yet to see, people yet to meet, even in a city I think I know so well. This trip left me with the affirmation that every good trip does — the belief that I want to see this world. As much of it as I possibly can. Here’s to many more adventures, dear reader.

10 Comments

  • The Hunza Valley  / 

    Hey great blog! really i enjoy it:) keep sharing. you can visit my blog too. it is all about adventure!

    (Reply)

  • Nomadic D  / 

    Oh how fun!! My husband and I just got back from our own trip to Vancouver and we totally fell in love with the city. I’m putting together my own post on it now, I’ll get it up this week and let you know when I do. We stayed in the West End and were super happy with the location, and we walked past Guu every evening, but it was always so crazy crowded we headed to other (delicious!) japanese places instead. What a gorgeous city, huh?

    http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

    (Reply)

  • Chelsea Fullerton  / 

    Wow. I desperately want to take this trip. Tomorrow.

    (Reply)

  • Ana Perkins  / 

    Thanks Hunza Valley! I’ll have to check out your adventures too!

    Nomadic D — such a gorgeous city. I would’ve loved to have spent a bit more time in the West End. It went by so quickly!

    C — you would love it all! Super photogenic part of the world : )

    (Reply)

  • Nomadic D  / 

    Just got my vancouver post up, thought you might be interested:

    http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/2012/09/postcards-from-edge.html

    We got to spend 4 fabulous days there, and even then it went by so quickly!

    (Reply)

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