My family and I moved up to Seattle when I was in the eighth grade, and I lived there through my first year of teaching. While Seattle is break your heart beautiful with bright green trees lining the freeway, blossoming Rhododendrons in the spring and the glistening blue water of Puget Sound, I couldn’t take the dark, wet winters. I moved back down to Southern California for some sunshine in the summer of 2000. But, I still have cousins and aunts and uncles that live in Bellingham. So, during the month of July, I flew up to visit.
Of course, I took Kinsey along, and I must tell you that she is the world’s best travel companion. She doesn’t complain, she’s ready on time and when she’s bored she curls up and goes to sleep.
Bellingham is in Northern Washington, right on the border of Washington and Canada. To get to there from the SeaTac airport, you drive right through Seattle. So, we decided to stop and stretch our legs at Pike Place Market.
After navigating the crowds at Pike Place, we all headed toward Cutter’s Crabhouse. The reason I loved Cutter’s when I lived in Seattle was not for the food, but for the view of Puget Sound. Watching the sun set as a ferry glided across the water was breathtakingly beautiful. Unfortunately, when we were there all of the windows were covered up because the restaurant was under renovation. But, I was with friends and family and we always have so much to say we didn’t mind. Most of us are teachers, and we tend to talk too much. 🙂
One of my favorite things about the lovely little college town of Bellingham? Lots of amazing coffee shops. Like better than Starbucks, my latte doesn’t need sugar deliciousness. Every morning I woke up, threw on a sweater and walked to Wood’s Coffee for a latte. Then I would make my way to the bakery section of Haggen’s Market for a blueberry muffin. Sugar and caffeine, so I could keep up with family, friends, small children and a lot of dogs from sun up to sundown. (Which is very late that far north during the month of July!)
The weather was Northwest perfect all week long. Mornings of clouds and drizzle which burned off by one or two in the afternoon. Perfect hiking weather, and lots of bright green scenery.
We had a family dinner at my aunt’s house with barbecued yams, corn tortillas and sweet corn on the cob. There were Norwegian crepes filled with whipped cream and strawberries for brunch on Cain Lake. And once, lavender ice cream that tasted a bit too much like soap. Food is an experiment that I’m always willing to try.
There were children in life jackets leaping into ice cold lake water. A brand new puppy learning how to sit. And conversations about gluten free chocolate chip cookies. The week was filled with family and friends, and catching up.
My favorite morning was our drive to the top of Mt Baker, about 5,000 feet. Can you believe that there was still snow? After staring at it from the safety of the parking lot, my uncle found a park ranger that knew of the most lovely hike. So, we drove back down the mountain a bit, and followed a loop along a stream that pooled in spots. As we hiked there were patches of green with bright purple flowers. Kinsey behaved on lead, but every now and then she would look at the water with longing. There’s not much she loves more than a swim. But like me, she’s a rule follower, so she listened and stayed close. As we finished the loop, I turned and looked back, amazed by the shades of green. Such a beautiful morning.
All in all, it was a magical week in the great Pacific Northwest.