Ilwaco, Washington

February 5, 2014

sanw_logo

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 IlwacoJessiescannery

 

Getting there. Across the Columbia River from Oregon on the Astoria-Megler bridge to the Long Beach Peninsula.

bridge

The Port of Ilwaco marina. One fun summer for the parents: my brother with appendicitis in the Ilwaco hospital followed by a stay for me, age five, with whooping cough. Walk the waterfront, Time Enough Book Store, art, head out fishing over the Columbia bar to the blue Pacific Ocean. Shrimp. Sturgeon. Tuna. Salmon. Dungeness crab.

Image

Image

Buy a fresh Dungeness from OleBob’s (that’s Ole & Bob, not good ol’ Bob) or more local seafood from Jessie’s Fish Market.

Image

Image

Then through the woods on Hwy. 101 loop road  to North Head Lighthouse & Cape Disappointment State Park.

Image

Image

EAT? Jeff McMahon’s Pelicano. Excellent fresh, local seafood with views of the harbor. Wonderful wines + cocktails.

Image

Or Serious Pizza. Seriously!  At Cape Disappointment. Chi (and husband Jim not shown) Kreitzberg. Long lines in summer – worth it.

Image

Image

STAY? China Beach Retreat + Audubon House eclectic luxury on a secluded estuary of the Columbia.Image

Or The Lighthouse Keeper’s Residences (or yurts) at Cape Disappointment.

Image

Or the Inn at Harbor Village – lovely B&B in a historic chapel (Innkeeper’s photo).

Image

Advertisements

Portland, Oregon

January 11, 2014

pdxUnionStation

I still can’t get over the feeling of being in a real “city” even though I lived in Seattle and then Los Angeles for years. It’s a feeling left over from childhood where visiting my grandparents in their apartment on Belmont Avenue in Portland was an exciting and exotic thing being a girl from the boonies, the woods, on the banks of the Clackamas River.

An autumn ritual, there were excursions to  shop for school clothes. How delicious to be in the city – Lipman’s, I. Magnin & Co. long gone, a break for teatime with grandmother Nauneral at Meier & Frank now The Nines hotel and Macy’s. (The Nines + MAX top; Departures lounge atop The Nines below.)

pdxNinesMAX

pdxDepartures

There’s fashion.

pdxstyle

pdxstylemannequin

pdxstyleMacys

And tons of parks. The wee Directors Park as seen from the Paramount Hotel.

pdxParHotel

PDXDirector Park

And Architecture. Michael Graves’ Portland building with Portlandia + Fox Tower.

pdxPortlandia

pdxFoxTower

And food, glorious food.

Little Bird + Pok Pok + Higgins + Block & Tackle + Kenny & Zukes  + Cacao + Castagna + Le Pigeon + Paley’s Place – too many to mention + amazing food carts.

pdxfoodcarts

A cozy, walkable city with a European flavor.

The river, streetcars,  birds, bridges, bikes and books. Powell’s not to miss.

Image

Image  Image

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.

Image

Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)

“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

Road Trip!!!!

May 4, 2010

I travel. I write.

I’ll be wandering the Pacific Northwest checking out great places to Stay, Eat & Play.

Watch for new posts every Friday.

Until then!  MJ

Summer’s Over on the Road

October 21, 2009

Jetty Landing, Everett

Jetty Landing, Everett

PART I of three in Washington State

Summer went out with  a splash, warm days, brisk eves, five days on the road roaming first Seattle overnight in the dishy sleek new LEED certified Hyatt at Olive 8 – a mad dash through Barney’s & Pike Place Market before happy hour at the hotel’s Urbane where six of us gathered for shoestring fries, a cheese & salami plate, an excellent chicken liver pate with balsamic gelee and “savory clams” that were steamers a bit overpowered by Thai chillis.

In the morning off to Everett (four writers in a van with two p.r. young twentysomethings who drove and were supposed to represent Washington State yet were woefully unprepared but quite nice & pretty to look at). Toured the Future of Flight museum and the Boeing plant, top secret, had to leave purses in lockers no phones or cameras or anything not even spy pens or buttons. They’re building the 878 Dreamliner jet with tipped wings, very pretty, and they even have a jumbo Dreamlifter jet which opens sideways at the tail and the nose cone specifically built to retrieve wheels and fuselages, etc. too big for conventional cargo manufactured elsewhere in the world like Japan or Germany.

Still in Everett, who knew there was a pleasant waterfront hard to find amid industry, a new Navy base and Kimberly Clark paper mill. A ferryboat ride to the narrow, sandy Jetty Island manmade from dredging & tossing sand over the breakwater rocks which now after several years has volunteer cottonwood trees & wildflowers (good) blackberry vines & Scot’s broom that we always called scotch broom as kids (bad, with efforts to eradicate) but loads of birds, salmon fry taking advantage of a river-made lagoon at the far end and deer and coyote swimming over for a jaunt. Two miles long and about 40 yards across. Muddy sand flats stretch out into the bay from the jetty where we’re told kite-boarders swarm for easy launching and reliable afternoon winds.

Then it was a trip back and forth some 60 miles to Sultan in the foothills of the Cascades (Hwy. 2 that we would take right through Sultan over the mountains the next day, go figure…see above) to the Sky River Meadery, a small home-brewing outfit making honey wine, that is, mead – too sweet for some, delicious for others.

Ninety Farms

Ninety Farms

The GPS (!) got our drivers lost so we arrived a little too late to Ninety Farms outside of Arlington to take decent pictures of the sheep and cows meandering in the fields or the guard llamas that ran right up to us to make certain we weren’t going to harm their “mama,” Linda Neunzig, owner of the organic farm (lamb & beef supplier to upscale restaurants & specialty shops). The “local chef” for the evening in our itinerary, unnamed, turned out to be none other than the amazing Russell Lowell, of Russell’s Restaurant & Bar in Bothell (Bill Gate’s personal caterer). We were going to eat in the barn, but it was too chilly, so we gathered inside Linda’s cozy farmhouse full of her kids’ fair trophies for equestrian skills and showing animals. Washington wine (14 Hands cab for me) and butternut soup, salad, braised vegetables from the garden, cut-it-with-your-fork tender luscious home-grown beef perfectly done and the (ok-to-die-now) warm chocolate morsel with raspberry drizzle.

Russell's butternut squash soup

Russell's butternut squash soup

Lovely evening with Linda & Russell, good conversation and our one vegetarian (who had a specially prepared “tower” of layered veggies) wasn’t grossed out. Happy to bed at a motel catering to business folk along the ever-enchanting Interstate-5.

NEXT UP: Over the Mountains to Eastern Washington.