Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Seattle Christmas Ships

The Seattle Christmas Ships at Edmonds, WA

The Seattle Christmas Ship festival will be starting again the weekend after Thanksgiving.  This is one of my favorite things to do during the holiday season.  The colorful parade of boats decorated with Christmas lights is led by the Argosy Spirit of Seattle which has a choir on board singing Christmas Carols.  Each night for about a month they travel to a specific destination around the Seattle area People can purchase a ticket from Argosy to cruise on board the Spirit of Seattle or on one of the "follow" boats.  Private boat owners are also invited to decorate their boats and join in the parade. On any given night the procession may include large vessels like tugboats and large luxury yachts to kayaks and everything in between.  Spectators on the shore gather around bonfires in numerous parks to watch one of the best free holiday light displays pass by.  Visit my Seattle Christmas Ships page on Squidoo for more photos, details and the 2011 Christmas Ship Schedule.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Marymoor Off Leash Dog Park

It has been called Doggie Heaven and Doggie Disneyland - perhaps those are overstatements, but the 40 acre Marymoor Offleash dog area is definitely a great place for dogs and their people.  We try to beat the crowds that can sometimes make it a little too congested and chaotic for our easily overstimulated border collies, so we got there just after the crack of dawn on a not-so-nice Saturday morning.  It was pleasantly uncrowded and the dogs had a great time - no rain and they came home tired and ready for a nap.  Meanwhile we humans enjoyed the beautiful fall colors on a pleasant walk through the trails and along the river.  See more about our adventure......

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Skagit River Bald Eagles - They're Back!

The arrival of November in the Pacific Northwest means shorter, dreary days and noticeably colder weather, but it also signals the return of the Bald Eagles to the Skagit River.  The Skagit River is the largest bald eagle winter resort area in North America.  The eagles come south from Alaska and northern Canada for the warmer weather, large trees to lounge in and the all-you-can-eat salmon and steelhead buffet served up on the Skagit and its numerous tributaries.

Skagit River Bald Eagle in Winter
Fortunately for residents and visitors to the Pacific Northwest the Skagit River eagle wintering area is only about 2 hours from the Seattle area.  A trip to the Skagit River Bald Eagle Natural Area makes a great day trip.  It is possible to see the amazing spectacle of sometimes more than 100 eagles in a few short hours along a 10 mile stretch of the river.  Eagles can be viewed from several turn-outs along highway 20, but one of the most enjoyable ways to see the largest number of eagles up close is to take a float trip down the river with one of the professional river rafting companies.   The eagles start arriving in November and reach their peak numbers in late November and December.  They start to depart in January with most being gone by the end of February.  If your goal is to see the maximum number of bald eagles, the best time to see the most is by taking a trip to the Skagit in the next 2 months.  For more details see my Skagit River Bald Eagle Float Trip.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Seattle and Pacific NW Haunted Places & Ghost Tours

Does Halloween put you in the mood for scary stories of haunted places and Ghosts?  The Pacific Northwest has its share of places where paranormal activity has been reported that some people believe are haunted.

For those who would like to go on a ghost tour, today's daily special on Groupon is a Seattle Ghost Tour! Click here to get your Spooked in Seattle Tour at half price on Groupon!

The Pike Place Market is believed by many to be Seattle's most haunted place. There have been numerous investigations done at several locations around the market. You can do your own tour of the market looking for ghosts if you know where to look. If you would like to find out more of the details about the Pike Place Market Ghosts and where you might find them, visit this page: Seattle's Haunted Pike Place Market

Another place that many people think is haunted is the Point Wilson Lighthouse near Port Townsend.  Here is the link to the story: Port Townsend's Haunted Lighthouse.

Perhaps you'd enjoy a trip to historic Port Gamble which also offers haunted tours;

Port Gamble, WA

Or how about a hike to the ghost town of Monte Cristo.

Monte Cristo, Washington Ghost Town

Happy October Hauntings!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Fun Activity for October - Boo Your Neighbor

It's Time to Boo Your Neighbor!

I must admit at first this may not seem to be about the Pacific Northwest, but then maybe it is.  Booing your neighbor is a fun family Halloween or fall activity that also helps people to get to know their neighbors and helps to thaw the dreaded "Seattle Freeze". 

If you haven't heard of it before, it basically follows the old tradition of the May Day basket, but with a Halloween twist.  You select a couple of neighbors and leave a container of treats on their door knob along with a "We've Been Boo'ed" sign and a poem letting them know how the game is played, ring the doorbell, run and hide.  Kids can help put together the package and usually enjoy delivering the treats.   You can make it a dog-friendly activity if you leave the treats in the course of taking a walk with your dog.

For more details about how to Boo your neighbor along with links to websites with free downloadable poems and signs go to my You've Been Boo'ed page!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Halloween Shrunken Heads from Apples

Washington State is known for its apples and the orchard harvest is in full swing.  In case you have an apple tree or make a trip to the orchards and buy some apples, I thought I'd share a fun and inexpensive Halloween decoration you can make using those Washington State apples!

With a few simple kitchen tools and a little time you can turn this:

Into this:

Simply take an apple, peel it, carve features with an apple corer or pumpkin carving tools, give it a lemon juice and salt bath, add some eyes made from cloves, dried whole peas or peppercorns, teeth made from rice or seeds and watch the apple transform as it dries into a ghoulish shrunken head Halloween decoration!  For detailed step by step instructions about how to make shrunken appleheads for Halloween, visit my Squidoo page:  Shrunken Apple Heads

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival

The Mukilteo Light Station

If you are looking for something to do on this beautiful sunny weekend in the Pacific Northwest, I recommend the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival.  The Lighthouse Park was rennovated this past year and of course the quaint little Mukilteo Light Station is always a delight.  The Mukilteo Lighthouse is the only lighthouse in Snohomish County and has been restored and is maintained by the Mukilteo Historical Society.  Or if you can't visit in person, take a virtual tour at: Visit the Mukilteo Lighthouse

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wild Horse Monument - Vantage, WA

Most of us who live in the Pacific Northwest have traveled across the state on I-90 and have admired the Wild Horses Monument that can be seen from the interstate about 2 miles east of Vantage.  I, like many people thought that it would be interesting to stop and hike up to get close-up look. 

The name of the sculpture is actually named "Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies"  and it was created by sculptor, David Govedare in 1989 as part of Washington's Statehood Centennial celebration.

 In 2011 I finally decided to stop and trek up to the top.  As you can see, the view is fantastic!

To read the full story and see more photos, visit Wild Horses Monument in Washington State.

Travelers in Washington State who like seeing interesting roadside attractions, learning about local legends and other oddities, may enjoy reading the book, Weird Washington.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Win a Trip Into Space and It's Seafair Week!

(Photo credit: Alan Mitchell)

This week is Seafair week in Seattle and the celebration this weekend will again feature a performance by the Blue Angels!  This stunning photo of the Blue Angels flying over the Space Needle was taken by my friend, Alan Mitchell who generously and kindly gave me his permission to use it.

Speaking of the Space Needle - In celebration of the Space Needle's upcoming 50th Birthday, someone will be sent on a flight into space!  For more information about the Space Needle and to enter the contest to be the lucky person to take a flight into space, click here to visit my page about the Space Needle on Squidoo. >

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wild Edible Berries of the Pacific Northwest

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the raspberries were ripe and shared a link showing how to make easy raspberry freezer jam.  While walking through the Loganberry Lane Off Leash Dog Area in south Everett with my dogs this morning,  I noticed that many of the local wild, native berries are ripening, too.  Salmonberries, trailing blackberries, red huckleberries and blackcap raspberries all there ready for picking.  Visit this link for more information about identifying and eating wild berries of the Pacific Northwest.
Recommended Reading:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Raspberries are here!

As everyone in the Pacific Northwest knows, it has been a longer than normal wait for those yummy raspberries this year.  The colder than normal weather really slowed them down, but they are finally here.  Raspberry freezer jam is the favorite around my house, so I had to get busy and make some.  If you've never made raspberry freezer jam, you might want to give it a try.  There is no cooking so freezer jam retains more Vitamin C and fresh taste of the berries and it couldn't be easier!  Here is a link to easy step by step instructions for making easy no-cook Raspberry Freezer Jam!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Banding Hummingbirds in Edmonds, WA

Hummingbirds are delightful, tiny, winged jewels that most of us in the Pacific Northwest enjoy seeing. I was fortunate to be among the 20-30 people who attended the annual hummingbird banding workshop given by Dan Harville in Edmonds on July 19th.

Dan has been banding hummingbirds for over eleven years and as you might expect, was a wealth of information about these beautiful little birds.  We learned that bird banders are unpaid volunteers who add to our knowledge by capturing, taking measurements and recording information about the birds and placing a band on their legs. 

The birds are sometimes captured months or years later by others and through the band number the data is sent back to the bander and a database adding to our knowledge of bird migration routes, life expectancy and by comparing it to data from past years how the species are changing.  

A most interesting evening!

Measuring the beak length of a young Anna's Hummingbird

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Great Seattle Area Deals - Check out Groupon!

I'm probably the last person in the world to know about it, but I just discovered Groupon!  If you want to have fun, but still stay within your budget it is a great way to get reduced prices on all sorts of things. 

Sign up for their free daily emails to get the specials sent to you everyday!  If anyone is considering a trip to Victoria on the Victoria Clipper, today there is an awesome deal!

Here is the link to get today's Daily Deal on the Best in Seattle!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Meet My Canine Companions

Since I like to include my canine companions in my adventures, I thought I should start off by introducing them.  I've seldom been without a dog for long at any time during my entire adult life, so I've lived with many over the years.  Each of them beloved and unique with their own personality.  Currently I share my life and home with two border collies, Skye and Tim.  Here is a link to read more about Skye and here is a link to read all about Tim.

Border collies were bred to herd and have a high energy level.  We don't live on a farm - we live in the burbs of Seattle, so they don't have anything to herd.  I try to take them with me as much as possible to keep them busy.  Skye and Tim have started their own page to share our adventures from a more canine perspective -  Border Collies in the Burbs.