“Pic of the Week”, July 11, 2014: Pike Place Market, Seattle

Seattle 2006 044  Pike’s Market

One of the most popular places in Seattle is Pike Place Market.  Near the city’s waterfront and overlooking Puget’s Sound, but really a world to itself, Pike’s is Seattle’s favorite tourist attraction.  It covers 9 acres and has been designated a National Historic District.

Pike’s was designed to be and still primarily functions as a farmer’s market, with dozens of vendors selling fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, seafood, cheese, meats, and an assortment of handicrafts.  Most famous among these is Pike Place Fish, where fishmongers throw a fish around every time someone buys one.  There are lots of unusual specialty shops and small cafes, but above all Pike’s Market is the place in Seattle to people watch.  And on a weekend day you’ll have …

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“Pic of the Week”, July 4, 2014: Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Columbia River 3-2006 055

One of the great drives in America is through the Columbia River Gorge west of Portland.  There are lush green mountains, steep cliffs and numerous (77) waterfalls to enjoy.   Of these many waterfalls, Multnomah Falls is the grandest of the them all.

Multnomah Falls drops 620 ft (189 m) in two steps, and is a popular destination.  Only three waterfalls in the USA are higher, and none are in a more lovely setting.  A trail from Multnomah Falls Lodge takes you across the arched Simon Benson Bridge (1914) over the shorter lower cascade, then the trail switchbacks up towards the top of the upper cascade.

It’s a beautiful, misty place.  Hard to keep the lens dry but that didn’t stop me from …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 2, 2013. Japanese Garden, Portland

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One of the finest Japanese Gardens in North America — perhaps the best anywhere outside Japan — is found in Portland, Oregon, in the hills near downtown.  Covering five and a half acres of Washington Park, it’s a setting of calm and tranquility, as all Japanese gardens are.

I’m always been inspired by the asymmetric balance and harmony of these gardens.  The methodical selection, placement and pruning of trees and bushes, the blending of colors, the judicious use of water and stone make me want to do better in my own yard (though somehow I always fail with this).  It’s a great place to go for a slow relaxing walk.  The garden is open throughout the year and its character changes with the …

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.All Trips / North America / Oregon / Pacific Northwest

Portland, Oregon — The Cozy City of Roses

Portland 2013-001 intro.  Mt. Hood and city view

I can enjoy a visit to a large city as much as anyone — seeing the Eiffel Tower, Sistine Chapel, Buckingham Palace or Statue of Liberty are as exciting and fun for me as for any traveler.  But overall I’m more relaxed and comfortable, and derive greater pleasure from visiting smaller cities and towns than I do a huge metropolis.   Such places are easier to get around in and lend themselves well to exploration on foot.  They often have quality attractions not as well known or as busy as those in larger cities.

Downtown Portland and Willamette River

Such — sort of anyway — is the case of Portland, on the lush green banks of the Willamette River where it joins the mighty Columbia River …

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“Pic of the Week”. January 4, 2013. Skedans Island Totem Poles, Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands)

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Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands (or “Misty Isles”), is a chain of islands off the coast of northern British Columbia, just below the Alaska panhandle.  The Islands are lush and green because they are wet — frequently foggy, drizzly or rainy.   When I visited, one of the locals told me it’s not unusual to have only have a single day of sunshine a month.  I’m not sure I could live in that type of environment but I did enjoy my visit!

Haida Gwaii has a rich aboriginal history and culture.  Natives in the area lived as tribes, often in large communal houses built of cedar logs.  Food (salmon, game, berries) was very plentiful …

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Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”. January 4, 2013. Skedans Island Totem Poles, Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands)
.All Trips / North America / Pacific Northwest / Washington

Seattle, Washington — Coffee Capital of the World (and a city of many other nicknames)!

001- Seattle 2012 Skyline viewed from Space Needle

Seattle is a great city — a world-class travel destination!  Situated in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, it has much appeal as a several day (or even week-long) stop especially when part of a circuit through other great sites in the region, such as Vancouver and Victoria B.C, or the Olympic and Long Beach peninsulas, or Mount Rainier and Mt. St. Helen’s.   By far the largest city in America’s Northwest, with over four million residents, it’s a bustling growing metropolis with a memorable skyline set on the shores of lovely Puget Sound.  Lush and green, fenced in by the Cascade Mountains to the east, with westward views of the Sound and …

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.All Trips / North America / Pacific Northwest / Washington

A visit to Washington state’s Long Beach Peninsula


For most travelers, the southwestern corner of Washington state is easy to bypass.  It lies well over an hour’s drive from the busy I-5 Interstate Freeway.  The broad mouth of the Columbia River limits access from the Oregon coast and the geography of the peninsula limits access from northern Washington.  The peninsula is several hours drive from airports in the nearest major cities, about 2 hours (110 mi) from Portland and 3 hours(180 mi) from Seattle.  So you really have to plan to visit here and can’t just drop by.  My wife and I were definitely motivated to go as the Long Beach Peninsula was the last major region of Washington State we had not visited.

The Journey to Long Beach

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.All Trips / North America / Pacific Northwest / Washington

Tacoma — Water, Glass, more Glass, with a little history thrown in…


Tacoma is a city I’ve driven through numerous times but never thought much about.  I was aware it was a port city situated on Puget Sound, and that it had a huge dome (Tacoma Dome) just off the I-5 freeway. I knew Tacoma is Washington state’s third largest city (Seattle and Spokane are more populous) and a gateway to Mt. Rainer National Park.  But this time we weren’t going to Mt. Rainer, rather to Tacoma’s Museum of Glass, which Sylvia and I’d heard good things about.  We had few preconceived expectations for our visit and as it turned out we were to be pleasantly surprised.

The Museum of Glass is an interesting hybrid …

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