Of larks and hearts
Posted by joeabbott on February 15, 2016
Well, this past weekend has been something of a tiny gift for Suzy and me: for the first time, my company is giving its employees Presidents Day off; and on a whim I took the prior Friday off, too. Here’s how Suzy and I put to use our long weekend … including St. Valentine’s Day!
It was a chill and rainy day … so we took my truck!
A long while ago Suzy and I drove through Lynden, Washington on our way back from Whistler, BC and were charmed by a few of the quaint amenities; enough-so that we decided to drive the ~120 or so miles (one way) up there for a late breakfast. Yeah, let’s just say gas prices are down, our interest in a road trip was up, and we enjoy each others’ company. So off we went.
We prepped by bringing three “books on CD” but only cracked one of them (a Twilight Zone audio-play that was only so-so). The road up was mainly along I-5 until we hit Bellingham and then we headed through cow pastures and rural back roads. Lynden is off Hwy 539, which offers a back road crossing into Canada and can sometimes be less busy than the Peace Arch crossing if you head up I-5. But, as Hwy 539 is referred to as the “truck crossing” the roads are in good shape and well-traveled … enough so you’re not lonely but not so much you feel squeezed off by semis.
The town of Lynden is just a couple square blocks of businesses: a goodly share of bakeries, a few restaurants, some antique shops, and a surprising upbeat feel to it. The streets are clean, there are very few boarded up buildings, and most of the shops have a new/modern feel to them.
We started by heading to the Dutch Mothers Family restaurant where we each got a Pannekoeken about the size of small pizza. While they were thin and had the most deliciously crisp edges, we ended up with take-home boxes knowing that the long drive home would mean they’d be chicken food by the time we got in. It’s a sad way to treat a delicious Pannekoeken!
After the meal we walked the blocks, stopping in where we wanted, and continuing along under leaden skies … but ever thankful that it’d stopped raining.
Before leaving the town we had a few tasty bakery goods with us, had stopped into a bookseller (and while tempted, we restrained), and told ourselves that we’d be back again as we’d really liked the feel of the town. It was a nice day.
Saturday was another road trip outing: the Bloedel Reserve.
Built in the mid-1900s by a former Seattle governor, the mansion and grounds were bought by Prentice Bloedel as a retirement home where he could study gardens and invest in his own. He expanded the grounds to include some 150 acres and a huge variety of various garden locations.
Our trip started with Suzy and I looking at one another shortly after 8AM, agreeing we’d try to catch the 8:45AM ferry, and hustling buns out to Seattle to get our ride to Bainbridge Island. Good luck was on our side as we threaded morning traffic, navigated the revamping of the Seattle waterfront, and pulled into the waiting line some 5 minutes before the ferry set sail.
The ride over was short and, upon hitting the island we pulled into a parking spot and walked to the Streamliner Diner for a lovely breakfast. I enjoyed the eggs Benedict and Suzy got French toast … made with a croissant!!! The busy little diner did a commendable job and, in spite of my taut belly, I asked for one of their simple flour rolls … which was as delicious as it looked!
Again, we walked the streets and visited a bakery before hopping back into the car and driving the 6-miles to the Bloedel Reserve for our Cupid’s Walk Tour … the special promotion that brought us out. It was billed as “14 of the most picturesque places to kiss in the Seattle area”. And, my, did it live up to that.
The trails weren’t deserted but with enough intimacy to avoid feeling rushed, the attendant at the Visitor Center spent a goodly amount of time answering our questions, and the trails were magnificently groomed for our short-2-mile stroll. It was obvious the 14-fulltime gardeners are busy and conscientious.
After the tour we drove unhurriedly back home and tinkered around the rest of the day: we watched last week’s episode of the X-Files (Season 10) and then I finished my second run-through of Dark Souls. Sounds like the perfect setup to St. Valentine’s Day, no?
Years ago, when we first brought Spencer into our lives, we took him on a walk through Flaming Geyser State Park. Now, if you think it’s not normal to take a cat on a walk through a State Park, you’re right … but you also didn’t know Spencer. He was game for anything, had no fear, and at 16-pounds, could hold up to strolling about on a harness and lead as if it were normal. He was a great cat.
But, Suzy and I planned to return to park.
Before getting to the Park, we dropped by Legendary Doughnuts and I entered asking for their heart-shaped doughnuts … and, to my surprise, they had some! We did pick up a couple heart-shaped buttermilk doughnuts (they freeze well and will be a treat later), we got a little something for after our hike and headed out to Auburn.
The Flaming Geyser has seen better days … now it appears as a simple tube coming up through a concrete footing … but the whiff of methane was obvious when you walked near it. But we opted for a stroll along the raging Green River, a trek through the moss-laden trees, and viewing the many plaques and signs around the large park. It was part history, part awe at the rain-swollen river, and a very nice bit of exercise without so much as a sprinkle hitting us.
But, after an hour and then some of walking about, we returned to the car to enjoy our pastry as we listened to the river rush by and then made our way back home. Back roads were the order of the day to fit our mood and we arrived home with enough time for a few other projects: like me starting the drawer to the bookshelf I’m building (more on that later) and for the two of us to watch Avatar. Yup, the 2009 James Cameron movie … neither of us had seen it before so it rounded out the day nicely.
And that’s it. Today we’ll stay home after our road wandering and enjoy a quiet day of rest.
Happy Presidents’ Day to you all!