Monday’s Meander: Daydreamy Travel, a Weekend at Edmonds, WA

Today I’m returning to a Pacific Northwest community I immediately loved. Revisiting from the comfort of my home is not the way I’d like to do it, but the times are what they are. Edmonds, Washington, is a community 15 miles north of Seattle, comprised of 40,000+ people. In October 2017 I attended “Writers on the Sound”, a writers conference. My husband and I had ample time to explore after workshops were done. Though I learned a few writerly helps and enjoyed being with other writers, I was, honestly, more deeply impacted by the area’s natural wonders– including Olympic and Cascade Mountains and Mt. Baker, as well as waters of Puget Sound. (Some are more invigorating than others; some years they are just more useful to me, also.) But the walks and visual beauty provided me with with plenty of inspiration. And the boats! I love to be on a good boat, any size… a rowboat, canoe, sailboat, ferry– or a medium-small yacht. (I will try to locate old pictures of a 2001 family trip on the last sort. We travelled through the beguiling San Juan Islands for 5 days and made fun stops along the way.)

I offer some glimpses into enchantments I discovered that weekend. I plan on returning in person, of course. I suspect you will see why as we spend a few hours around Edmonds and its waterfront along Puget Sound, within 60 miles of the Pacific Ocean.

As the sun lowered, its vibrance charged the lands’ contours, the water’s undulating surface and damp autumn air with sunset’s energy. Such peaceful, awe-inspriing magnificence prevailed.

Monday’s Meander: Pittock Mansion, Holiday Dressed

It was cold and drizzly; the air was a haze of fog. A little snow had even fallen before we visited yesterday, as well. But despite being chilly, the weather cast this historic site in a mysterious presence. We’d come in anticipation of a relaxing and bedazzling hour.

The gift shop in front. People enter and see the mansion, almost dreamlike, just discernable in the fog.

I have visited here many times over the years, in all seasons and often at Christmas when it is decorated even more beautifully. This year’s theme was lighter and unique: “Critters Make Merry.” The place is transformed in two days with over 70 vountyeers. This grand home was in the Pittock family until 1958. So before we go on a colorful tour, let me add some history.

In 1860, Henry Pittock, a London-born and Pittsburgh, PA.-raised typesetter at The Oregoninan (our city’s primary newspaper) married Gerogiana Burton and became the owner of that newspaper. He shaped it into a thriving paper and invested in a diversity of businesses, amassing wealth. Both of the Pittocks were well-respected in Portland, engaging in many community endeavors. Henry was an outdoorsman and, in fact, one of the first to climb Mt. Hood. Georgiana was a fundraiser and community organzier who established or supported several charitable and social enterprises, one being housing designed for single, self-supporting women. But it wasn’t until early 1900s that Henry drew up plans for and later began construction of his home. It was was completed in 1914. Regrettably, both of them died four years following, though family members lived there for decades. A major storm damaged the mansion in 1962; it was bought by the city in 1964 wth help from fundraisers for $225,000. Restored to its former glory, it opened the next year to the public.

Let’s step out of the drear and into warmth and soft light to look around interesting rooms. Many spaces were closed off due to the pandemic; we all wore our masks, with timed entries into the edifice. The staircase certainly is grand, and is immedicately seen at the right upon entering.

It was hard to imagine what it must have been like to live amid such opulence–both the Pittock family and the servants who took care of tasks and their emplyers’ wishes. But it was a pleasant interval in a busy time and the architecture is impressive. Before we left, I insisted on snapping some more shots outside, and Marc snaped me feeling happy– if half-frozen–before we hightailed it home. I will leave you with these and wish you a safe and kindly week–and a dash of good cheer!

(I’m hoping to write a short post Wednesday…we shall see how it goes!)

(P.S. Some of these were taken with my new iPhone 12. and some with my cannon EOS Rebel T6. The clarity of a few shots taken by the iPhone is unnerving if noteworthy. Makes me think about my not-too-fancy camera and also what I need to improve technique-wise. That phone is too easy.)

Monday’s Meander: Salmon Creek Regional Park

One place I haven’t visited in a long while is Salmon Creek Greenway, part of Salmon Crteek Regional Park in Vancouver, WA. (Near that area is popular Klineline Pond for swimming and softball fields.) It is only an hour from my home and I’ve missed it. Until I enjoy it once more, these wintry pictures help bring it closer. The paved trail is only 3 miles, but the greenway is comprised of 368 acres of varied landscape: wetlands, bottomlands, forest, and its namesake, Salmon Creek. Surpsingly, it is within an urban area, yett many mammals and birds (including migrating waterfowl) utilize this diverse environment. These include deer, coyotes, beavers and rabbits, racoons and opossums. And, of course, frogs, harmless snakes and assorted others.

I enjoy being outdoors in frosty weather. The chilly season’s mostly monochrome views are peaceful–more so when not raining. And as sunlight brightened then shifted, it was water that caught my eye again and again.

Monday’s Meander: Halloween at Cannon Beach

It was Halloween and I was restless. Since it was an under-two hour drive to the beach over the Coast Mountain Range, we took off around 12:30 pm. It wasn’t nearly as long a visit as desired, yet worth it on such a spectacular afternoon. Upon arrival at cannon Beach it was gratifying to discover most of the good weather crowd had stayed home. This is a well known tourist spot, a big attraction being Haystack Rock. (We noted costumed families and teens roaming the pleasing downtown, bags filling up with goodies handed out at shops.) We walked a few miles on pale, smooth sand and luxuriated in warmer temperatures, brilliant sky, and constant lull of the waves. The Pacific was gentler this time, but its power is never mistaken nor disregarded.

Here’s a small sample downloaded from my new iPhone 12–I had left my camera battery charging in the house…I think most of the larger batch turned out pretty well, but I’m not putting aside my companionable Cannon EOS Rebel T6.

Parting shot of a unicorn…and note tsunami sign at corner.

PS Re: the booster. It did lay me flat for a day, then I was fatigued. Worth it to me as I am more high risk of serious complications of, actually, any strong virus including the flu…plus I am now over 70. But by the week-end, it was back to normal with walks, my son’s birthday and a visit with daughter and her twins.

Monday’s Meander: The Big River Calls

Yes, Oregon’s numerous rivers hold me in their thrall, and I miss visiting far more of them. This shot is of the Columbia River. Last week I posted a Columbia Gorge hike and, prior to that, a visit to the Fruit Loop resulting in three heavy bags of amazing apples (we’ve eaten most–though we did share). Today it’s blustery-rainy where I live. So it’s good to wrap up recent sunny treks out there with a last revisit of a visit in and around the town of Hood River, a major stop for water sports enthusiasts. (Consistently high winds coming down the Gorge encourage their activities.) We often stroll the streets, visit shops, enjoy coffee or lunch. But the Columbia and surrounding landscape are the draws for me. And great athletes out on the water. This is a prime spot for water sports. I’d have loved being out there a few decades back!

A bit of trivia: the actual Hood River, originating from Mt. Hood’s wilderness in the Cascade Range, joins the Columbia here. And a side note: Marc was offered a job there not long ago…it was very tempting though too far from family if we relocated. And not an easy commute from our home. So here we remain–but it’s beautiful there! Sit back, enjoy the views.

Can you see the adventurers? The camera is pointing at the Washington State side of the river.

The above slideshow: I tried to keep up with the para glider and taking as many shots as I could. He/she struggled a bit so there would be a return ot the shore– but about the time he/she cruised closer out the person went again.

Farewell, Hood River and Columbia River Gorge!–until we meet again.