Author: ashley

Concrete, WA

Bryan and I took a weekend trip with my parents to Concrete, WA near the North Cascades back in January. We rented a cute two bedroom cabin called the Cougar Creek guesthouse from Ovenell’s Inn. Our cabin had many cougar-themed decorations, hence the name. It was the perfect size for the four of us. We enjoyed relaxing together in the living room/kitchen area below in the evening.

Cougar Creek guesthouse

The cabins are located on a 580-acre working cattle ranch. We bought steaks from the Inn. The plan was to cook them in the cabin Saturday night but they were still too frozen. When we did finally enjoy them at them a few days a later, they were delicious.

P1170156Our trip coincided with the town’s annual Skagit Eagle Festival. We took a bald eagle float tour from the Skagit River Guide Service. Our boat held 6 passengers plus our guide. The boat did have small space heaters which helped with the cold and drizzly conditions.

We saw about 40 eagles during the 3-hour float. Our guide said the peak was the end of December when they saw about 200 eagles each trip. I would definitely go back and plan for a trip in December.

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Wild Horse Wind Farm

Last April Bryan and I took a day trip to Wild Horse Wind Farm near Ellensburg. The Wind Farm has a visitor’s center called the Renewable Energy Center.

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The visitor’s center is a beautiful building with great views of the wind turbines and surrounding land. It is open April to November, weather-permitting.

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We took a guided tour of the facility and were able to go inside the base of an operating wind turbine (pictured below).

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The tour is free and it was interesting to learn about wind and solar technology. It was very windy by the visitor’s center and while on the tour, so I would recommend bringing a warm jacket. It was definitely worth the drive to see.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Bryan and I celebrated the holiday this weekend by going to A Terrible Beauty Irish Pub in Renton for dinner on Saturday night. The outside of the bar isn’t very impressive but the inside is decorated nicely with a stunning bar area. The batteries in my camera died while in the restaurant so unfortunately I wasn’t able to take any interior pictures.

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The pub had a special St. Patrick’s Day menu with all their favorite Irish dishes. Bryan and I split the Shepherd’s Pie which was topped with champ and cheese.

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The inside contained beef, carrots, peas and onions. It was delicious but I am glad we shared since it was a big serving. We sat up in the loft and enjoyed the live Irish music played below. I would definitely return here to eat. I was intrigued by the Death by Mac and Cheese on their menu; I want to try it next time I return.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Red Caboose Getaway

Bryan and I are attracted to staying in unique places while on vacation. The accommodations are an important part of the travel experience for us. One of our favorite places to stay is the Red Caboose Getaway B&B in Sequim, WA. Each caboose has a theme which is reflected throughout the interior décor. The owners, Olaf and Charlotte, have clearly put a lot of time and energy into the beautifully decorated cabooses.

Red Caboose B&B

For our first trip we stayed in “The Grape Escape.” The décor was grape and wine-themed. The bathroom had a beautiful copper tub which was perfect for a relaxing soak. Included in the room’s DVD selection was The Great Escape.

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On our next visit, we stopped for only one night with my sister while on an Olympic National Park road trip. We stayed in the “Circus” caboose which sleeps up to four people. Upon our arrival, Charlotte and Olaf had spelled out our names and the words “welcome” on a magnetic board inside the caboose. While this caboose can accommodate more than two people, it is not ideal when traveling with your husband and sister. The bathroom door has a half door that doesn’t reach to the floor so neither my husband nor sister bathed while we were there due to lack of privacy.

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On our most recent trip, Bryan and I stayed in the “Western” which was decorated in western and cowboy-themed décor and complete with multiple classic Western movies to enjoy.

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While we love the themed-cabooses, the best part is breakfast. Breakfast is served in the “Silver Eagle” dining car. Each caboose has its own table (I dislike B&Bs where everyone sits at the same table so I love the Red Caboose B&B’s arrangement). Breakfast is a four-course meal which starts with warm, freshly-baked bread and ends with dessert. A small menu is at the table so you know what food you will be served. The breakfast is wonderfully made.

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My favorite part is the first-course bread. Our orange pull-apart bread was served at the table…

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A few minutes later, Bryan and I devoured it.

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I would pay just to eat breakfast here. My goal is to eventually stay in all the different themed-cabooses.

Red Caboose Getaway B&B provides a memorable experience – would highly recommend it to anyone.

Qualicum Beach

Bryan and I spent President’s Day weekend in Qualicum Beach in Vancouver Island. Last year I bookmarked an online article in Seattle Met about unique vacation rentals. The one that intrigued me the most was the Free Spirit Spheres.

Melody

We stayed in the Melody spherical treehouse. Melody is located away from the other two spheres and overlooks a small pond. The craftsmanship and attention to detail inside the sphere is incredible. There are two window seats as well as two tables that fold down. We left the tables down during the day. At night, we folded up the tables and pulled down the murphy bed.

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There is a skylight at the top of the sphere. I enjoyed gazing up at the treetops while lying in bed. It was a unique experience.

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The first night we stayed in Melody, there was an intense rain and wind storm. The spheres are tethered to the trees with ropes, no bolts are used. I was worried that the sphere would move around a lot in the wind, but the sphere only slightly rocked back and forth. The one downside was there is no bathroom in the sphere but luckily the composting toilet is only a short walk away. The composting toilet outhouse was clean although I saw several wicked looking spiders in there during the nighttime. There are much nicer bathroom facilities with showers on the opposite side of the pond.

No breakfast is served at Free Spirit Spheres although the owners prepare a welcome basket full of fruit, baked goods, yogurt and candy. The basket was filling enough that we ate it for breakfast our first morning. We explored downtown Qualicum Bay and found a restaurant called Lefty’s Fresh Food. We ate lunch there on Saturday and then went back to Lefty’s again on Monday for breakfast. The oatmeal spice pancakes were delicious.

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On Sunday morning Bryan and I took a kayaking trip with Adventuress Sea Kayaking. Our guide, Jan, was friendly and loaned us extra rubber boots to keep our shoes from getting wet. She took us to an area where there were hundreds of male California and Steller sea lions. The sea lions were resting on floating logs in the water as well as splashing around in the water.

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We also saw some harbor seals and bald eagles. I have gone on several kayaking trips over the years and this was by far my favorite. I would definitely recommend a kayaking trip with Jan if you are in the Qualicum Beach area.

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Travel Recap

STAY: Free Spirit Spheres

EAT: Lefty’s Fresh Food

FAVORITES: Sea lion kayaking tour with Adventuress Sea Kayaking

Birthday at the Space Needle

Bryan surprised me on my birthday by taking me out to dinner at the SkyCity restaurant in the Space Needle. We had eaten at the restaurant once before about 5 years ago. At the time we were not even living in Seattle. We were in the area interviewing for jobs in the Pacific Northwest. A lot has changed over the past 5 years so it was a chance to not only celebrate my birthday but what we have accomplished together.

Space Needle

The restaurant rotates so you can admire the 360 degree view from the Space Needle. People place notes on the window so it was fun to read them as we went by.

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I ordered the beef short ribs. Bryan had the chicken. We had to have dessert since it was my birthday. We split a warm apple and cranberry pie à la mode. The dishes are overpriced but the views are spectacular. We arrived before sunset so were able to watch the sun set and then admire the city lights at night.

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I would definitely recommend going at least once to the SkyCity restaurant for dinner. You can’t beat the view.

Treehouse B&B

Bryan and I spent the past weekend at TreeHouse Point B&B in Issaquah, WA. This was a belated 5th wedding anniversary trip (the traditional 5th wedding anniversary gift is wood so a treehouse is very appropriate). The B&B is only about 45 minutes away from our home. We didn’t realize until we arrived but there is a TV show on Animal Planet about the owner and operator of the TreeHouse Point B&B. I am surprised I was actually able to book a room for Friday and Saturday night.

I always wanted a treehouse as a little girl so I was pretty excited to stay here. We stayed for two nights in the Upper Pond treehouse.  The room was cute and cozy. The bunks on the top made great places to read and nap. The room even had a compostable toilet so we didn’t have to climb down the ladder at night to use the bathroom. I was a little concerned about having to use a separate bath house but the bath house exceeded my expectations. Each bath house contained a toilet, sink and glass shower with the ability to adjust the room’s temperature.

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Since Upper Pond treehouse is accessed via ladder, there is a pulley available to hoist up and down baggage.

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There are not many activities (especially in winter) or restaurants around the B&B. We ate a unique and delicious dinner at Falls City Bistro. We spent time hanging out in the treehouse reading. Snoqualmie Falls is a short drive away. The accumulated ice and snow around the Falls was interesting to see.

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We woke up on our last morning to a light dusting of snow on the ground around our treehouse.

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Even though we were so close to home, it definitely felt like we were farther away. We came back home refreshed and relaxed after our stay at TreeHouse Point B&B. I just wish I could return sooner; the B&B’s reservation calendar is booked solid for months and months.

Travel Recap

STAY: TreeHouse B&B (http://www.treehousepoint.com)

EAT: Falls City Bistro (http://www.fallcitybistro.com) plus we ate the lovely breakfast buffet at the TreeHouse B&B lodge each morning

FAVORITES: Hanging out in a treehouse and Snoqualmie Falls