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We’ve got this great cottage at the Gearhart Ocean Inn – a small living room with gas fireplace, tiny kitchen, bathroom, and the cutest upstairs loft with two beds. The décor is beach fresh in colors of pale sky and sand, every detail near perfection. It’s pouring rain outside, but Jessie and I have our books and can curl up in front of that fireplace. Next morning, sunlight streams through the windows, so we get up, dress, and stroll down the block for breakfast at the Pacific Way Bakery & Cafe. Uh, oh, rain bursts in big blobs and we sprint those last few yards to the bakery door. We sit on high stools at our round marble table with coffee for her, tea for me, plus our almond croissants and veggie tarts. A steady flow of customers come and go, arrive and greet, sit at small tables, or leave with their breakfast treasures. A woman, just arrived, and joining friends, says, “I haven’t even brushed my hair this morning!” I think, gosh, me too, and say it. We all laugh. Strangers in our cozy café.

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The sun reappears and we hasten back to Ocean Inn to procure bikes – simple, one-gear town bikes, available for guests. It’s cool, but sunny, and we whiz happily through the neighborhoods pointing out a favorite house or yard, wending our way past Gearhart Golf Links (established 1891, first golf course in the west) to the beach. Nearing the sandy approach it starts to rain and we swerve, changing direction, heading, jackets zipped and hoods up, home. By the time we reach the inn driveway – ten blocks laughing, unprotected knees soaked – the sun is out. We ride by our inn and continue our sightseeing, more beautiful beach homes, the kind you might see on Cape Cod or Nantucket Island. When it starts raining again, we’re done. Swoosh, back to the inn as fast as we can, bikes put away, and into our cozy cottage suite and that welcome fireplace.

Gearhart by the Sea is a small, inviting beach town – retiree, yuppie, kid & dog friendly, upscale charming.

You’ll find:

Fitzgerald’s Cottages (same owners & breezy style as Ocean Inn, larger family suites w/ bunkbeds) hidden adjacent to Back Alley Gardens & Natural Nook Florist & Gifts (formerly Fitzgerald’s Home & Garden Store). The garden center is terrific and one can still find home décor and knick-knacks at the Nook, but I could breeze through, circumventing the florists – fun to see them at work – and admire some items, but not gasp nor drool over exquisite items as before. Pacific Crest Cottage next door – a browser’s paradise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gearhart Golf Links  / McMenamin’s Gearhart Hotel & Sand Trap pub-style restaurant (Terminator stout/chocolate milkshake!) mcmenamins.com / Trail’s End Art Association art classes & monthly exhibits in the little red house. And the Gearhart Grocery, fresh food, deli, etc. 

Of course, don’t miss: Pacific Way Bakery & CaféGearhart Ocean Inn & the wonderful beach!!! (Look for all sorts of flotsam coming in from the Japanese tsunami. Don’t know what you’ve found? Dial 211 for questions & reporting)

Road trip with my sisters and niece. First night in downtown Seattle at the  renovated New Renaissance Hotel – posh and tasty, top floor salt water swimming pool, had to stay swimming (some hot tubbing it) until closing at 11 p.m. Cookies and milk delivered to our elegant chic Presidential Suite where we were staying thanks to a front desk mix-up. Lucky us!

The next day takes us to Anacortes overnight near the dock for the morning ferry. From our P. Suite aerie we could see traffic backed up all morning heading north, so took ground routes through the University District – later found out from friends that accidents had held up traffic all day Tacoma to Everett. Kudos to the New Renaissance for terrific views of Puget Sound and freeways heading north saved us sitting in traffic all day…

Pike Place Market in Seattle for lunch, ferry to San Juan Island, fresh-picked Friday Harbor blackberries for sister Sue’s home-made pie at friends’ farm, orcas! lighthouse, southbeach, happiness… more later.

In the meantime, Happy Trails, MJ

“Dog days”

Don’t know why, but I seem especially attractive to dogs this week. It all started interviewing Harriet Bullitt, the extraordinary 80-something CEO of Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort (so named after the mountain profile in the property background).

Harriet Bullitt of Seattle Bullitt fame–TV & radio stations, magazines, philanthropy–retired to the retreat east of the Cascades in early 2000 and took up residency across the Icicle River. Retired, uh, not. This energetic, enigmatic woman still oversees her environmentally sound resort, 67 acres including rustic cabins and meeting spaces connected by meandering paths through stands of pine and aspen, KOHO radio station, The Grotto lounge and O’Grady’s Pantry deli café on campus as well as music venues, art everywhere and an organic garden that supplies Chef MacDonald’s excellent fresh, organic cuisine. Sleeping Lady feels like the best of childhood camp, but with good beds and private bathrooms.

Harriet arrives with her Icelandic shepherd, Loki, via cable stretched across the river that a logger, familiar with such, rigged up using an old lift chair from Stevens Pass ski resort. (Sister Sue Cody captures this pic. – Harriet crossing the river with one of the art salmon in foreground…)

I meet Harriet at O’Grady’s Pantry and sit down in an armchair nearby in front of the stone fireplace. Roki suddenly stretches on hind legs and paws at my shoulder, nose in my face, tail wagging. Harriet’s blue eyes widen, her mouth agape, “Roki never does that…doesn’t take to strangers.” After a minute of nose to nose interaction, Roki lies at my feet while Harriet shakes her head and laughs.

Driving five miles up the stupendous granite canyon of the Icicle River, down to river’s edge and across a hand-hewn timber bridge is Boudreaux Winery.
Rob Newsom, a tall, lanky southern gentleman perhaps in his forties or fifties, hard to tell, looks more the wine connoisseur and vintner than mountain man, even though he’s hand-built the remote bridge, log house and winery.

Rob’s blind chocolate lab, Roux, drops at my feet a slobbery half-chewed stick, nudging my shins to pick it up. Rob says no and Roux lumbers away. Later, touring the winery admiring the beautiful French oak vats, Roux reappears with a pine cone and lays it at my feet.  Sue tries to get Roux to pay attention to her by moving the pine cone, but Roux slides it back to me.

“What’s with the dog charmer?” Sue asks after I tell her about Roki too.

Next, it’s downtown Leavenworth walking along the sidewalk when a young collie leaps to great me nearly pulling his owner off the bench on which he’s relaxing.  He apologizes for his dog’s behavior, but Sue says “Don’t worry, dogs love her today.”

In the evening, a fifty-ish couple with a tiny black miniature poodle pup on leash approach walking the path back to our room from the dining hall at Sleeping Lady. Sue whispers, “OK let’s see,” and tries to get the dog’s attention. But no, the fluffy pup leaps for joy straining the leash trying to get to me. The owners apologize and Sue explains that dogs just can’t help themselves today. We laugh ourselves to our cabin.

Next day, Sue bets that the dog magic is gone.

Visiting Run of the River Resort their massive St. Bernard (pup!) comes right to me and Sue tries ruffling the neck, good boy, good boy, and he accepts this, but is sitting (all 140 lbs) on my foot leaning against my legs as she tries to dissuade his attachment.

Finally home, I’m watering plants out on the front porch and it sounds as though someone is talking near my back door which is open to let some air – that’s the lane access, so not unusual for neighbors to gather and visit a bit there, voices carrying. I decide to go see, as I know neighbors on both sides of my cabin are gone. What ho! A strange black collie-ish mutt is sitting on my doorstep smiling. He’s come up the two steps and is sitting on the sill, not coming in like a good dog, but there in the entrance. Well! Of course one has to pet and say good boy a few times and who are you? He does not answer although seems happy indeed. (And makes me wonder about who was talking –  I don’t see anyone or anything, except the carpenter’s van next door and the carpenter way on the other side of the neighbor’s house…the dog walks back up the lane where the carpenter is, looking back at me like aren’t you coming too? I’m not and shut the door.

Hmmm.

Until later, MJ

Links to Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort, Boudreaux Cellars Winery, Run of the River Inn, Leavenworth information:

www.sleepinglady.c

om

www.boudreauxcellars.com/

www.runoftheriver.com/

www.leavenworth.org