Paddling Lake Samish

Lake Samish Paddling-2

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to…paddle.

…to paraphrase Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

I live on an island. You’d think I could just drop a boat in and take off anywhere, but it’s not that easy. The tides, wind, etc., etc., have to be just right. Plus there’s the issue of a steep cliff right in front of us with no easy access for hauling a kayak. If I’m going to put a boat in the water, I still have to load it onto the car and drive it to some access point. This past Tuesday I really wanted to get out for a longer trip but the tides were just not going to work out. I decided to try one of the local lakes instead, so I headed up to Lake Samish. Continue reading “Paddling Lake Samish”

Thrift Stores and Farmers Markets

Bellingham Farmers Market-021

I miss a good, old-fashioned Southern flea market, the kind where you can find anything from fishing lures to knives to rusty tools to outdated medicines to questionable Confederate adoration. There’s just nothing like that up here. The western term is “swap meet”, but I haven’t even been able to find one of those. At least in this corner of the state swap meets are infrequent and are nothing like those in the South. I was eager to find some alternative. Continue reading “Thrift Stores and Farmers Markets”

Random Skagit – Volume 6, Padilla to Bowman Bay to Guemes

Guemes Island-15

It took until May to get here, but it’s finally spring in the Pacific Northwest. Along with the tulip fields we’re getting rhododendron and other blooms. The weather is also improving, with sporadic sunshine temps reaching almost 70ยบ. It’s perfect weather for getting out and about, so I’ve been trying to take advantage of it when I can. Continue reading “Random Skagit – Volume 6, Padilla to Bowman Bay to Guemes”

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Roozengaarde Tulips-093

To say that tulips are a big deal in the Skagit Valley would be a massive understatement. Just looking around the town of Mount Vernon one sees a huge smoke painted with tulips and tulip motifs worked into architecture and bridges. Several business are named for the flowers, such as the Tulip Inn. It’s a big business and it all comes to a head during the month of April when the tulips are in bloom. That’s when the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival takes place. Continue reading “Skagit Valley Tulip Festival”

Random Skagit – Volume 5, A Visit from Bubba

Houston with Fire Pit-001

I’ve got some catching up to do. The last few weeks have been a relaxed whirlwind and I’ve been having too much fun to write about it. It’s Tulip Festival time here in Skagit Valley, but, more importantly, we’ve had a visit from my brother, Houston. The past week was spent showing him all our favorite tourist spots and having a great time in general. Continue reading “Random Skagit – Volume 5, A Visit from Bubba”

Spur of the Moment Whale Watching

Quintessential Washington

We are finally getting some spring-like weather here in the PNW. With sunshine and warmer temperatures we’ve been wanting to get out and about a bit more. I had gotten an e-mail with a discount coupon for whale watching out of Anacortes. We had taken a tour with the company several years ago, and decided that we would take advantage of the coupon and head out with Island Adventures once again. Continue reading “Spur of the Moment Whale Watching”

A Visit to Northern State – Part 2, The Recreation Area

Northern State Hospital Recreation Area

I was on an old-fashioned ramble, much like the ones I used to do back in South Carolina. I was visiting the site of Northern State Hospital, a former mental asylum that is purportedly haunted. So far I had visited the hospital’s on-site cemetery, but now I was ready to explore the park that surrounds the hospital. Continue reading “A Visit to Northern State – Part 2, The Recreation Area”

A Visit to Northern State – Part 1, History and Cemetery

Northern State Hospital Ruins

Laura and I were working on her mother’s estate and had an appointment in town with an insurance agent. We arrived a bit early, so Laura suggested that we try to find the old Northern State Hospital just outside of Sedro-Woolley. It had been featured Ghost Hunters, one of Laura’s favorite shows, so she wanted to see it. When we arrived we found only open space and ruins. We had to get back for our appointment, but I had seen enough to know that it warranted another visit. So the next morning I paid a visit to the old mental asylum. Continue reading “A Visit to Northern State – Part 1, History and Cemetery”