Three Port Towns – Two Days!

Yes, it can be done!  Quite easily in fact if you live in Seattle.  We were looking for a quick getaway and decided on Port Townsend,  a charming Victorian seaport on the Olympic Peninsula. We headed north to Edmonds to take the ferry to Kingston. It was a beautiful day for a ferry ride.

On the other side, just before the Hood Canal Bridge,  we visited another port town – Port Gamble.

Port Gamble

A National Historic Landmark – Port Gamble is the quintessential company town. The Pope and Talbot sawmill was founded here in 1853 and operated until 1995. The mill is gone but the town remains with its perfectly manicured streets, quaint houses and tiny shops.

After walking through town I was drawn to the cemetery by a large bird I saw perched on a treetop high above.  It was a Golden Eagle, the first I’ve ever seen in the wild.  It seemed to watch over the graves and tombstones of the early city pioneers.

When it finally flew away, it was time for us to move on to our destination for the night.

Port Townsend

On the National Register of Historic Places, Port Townsend has also been named one of the  ‘Coolest Small Towns in America’  by Budget Travel, Fox News, NBC News and Yahoo Travel. I agree.  Once speculated to become the largest harbor on the west coast it’s destiny changed when the railroads stopped short of their planned expansion.   Its now noted for its charming waterfront, maritime history and Victorian buildings.

We arrived in the early afternoon and settled into our hotel, then explored the town, its waterfront and shops.  As usual I supported the local economy by bringing home some things from my favorite boutiques.

The next day we went west for our final port town on the peninsula, Port Angeles.

Port Angeles

Though Port Angeles lacks the charm of Port Townsend and Port Gamble it has something they don’t:  it’s the gateway to Olympic National Park.   (It also has the ferry to Victoria as you can see from the map above but that’s another story.)

We took the scenic drive to Hurricane Ridge for the best views of the Olympic Mountains in the park.

After a short hike we returned to town for lunch before heading home.

As promised,  we covered three port towns in 2 days and returned happy and refreshed.

So can you! 🙂

~ Susanne

All Packed and Ready to Go

We took a little road trip recently and Benji was all in.

“All packed and ready to go Sue!!”

“Aw Benji, I wish you could come with us.  But sorry, you’ll have to stay home.”

“Why Sue?  I won’t be any trouble.”

“I know Benji but I’m honestly thinking of you. You’d hate the car ride and the ferry too.  You’ll be much more comfortable here.   And I promise we’ll be back tomorrow okay?”


~ Susanne and Benji

A Fall Walk with a RAW Twist

I took a walk at Coulon Park and despite the rain and milky sky, the fall colors couldn’t have been better.

So what’s the twist? For the first time I shot the photos using the RAW image format. And no it was not my idea.

I’m taking a Photography class and at the end of the first session the instructor stated – rather casually I thought – that we should be shooting in RAW not JPEG.  The quality of the image was better he said.  And unlike JPEG the RAW file contains all of the image data and can be edited without losing quality.  I’d heard of RAW before but it sounded too complicated to me and way beyond my abilities.  Now it was a roadblock and I was tempted to ignore the ‘suggestion.’

Instead I begrudgingly gave it a try.  I changed my camera settings to RAW and downloaded the software I needed to review and edit the files.  Then I set out to practice on my favorite walk at Coulon Park.

Turns out it wasn’t that hard.  I shot in RAW and JPEG simultaneously and compared  the results.  And though the difference is almost imperceptible I have to admit the RAW images came out a little better and were more fun to edit.

I still have a lot to learn but at least for the duration of the class I will be shooting in RAW.

And now I wonder what other mysteries of photography await to be discovered in this class.

~ Susanne

Up and Ready to Go!

Good Morning from Tiger and Benji  🙂

~ Susanne

Fall’s Early Twilight

I went outside after sunset last night and saw the moon surrounded by lavender and violet.  It was only 5:00 p.m.

By 5:15 the colors moved west settling behind nearby trees,

before disappearing from view.

I love early fall sunsets but not the early darkness that follows.

~ Susanne

Alki Blues in Seattle

Although Seattle’s nickname is the Emerald City it could just as easily be called the Blue City.   Surrounded by water, Seattle lies on a strip of land between Puget Sound and Lake Washington.

The first white settlers to the area – the Denny Party – arrived in Puget Sound by schooner at Alki Point on November 13, 1851.  They named it New York,  later adding the Chinook word, ‘Alki’ meaning ‘by and by.’  New York-Alki.

We visited Alki Beach recently on a cool fall day when the water was choppy and intensely blue.

We found a replica of Lady Liberty standing tall –

and the Space Needle doing the same in the distance.

We walked a bit then had lunch at Spud’s Fish and Chips – the best in town since 1935.

Inside the restaurant pictures of Luna Park covered the wall.  Known as the Coney Island of the West, Luna Park operated at Alki Beach from 1907 to 1913.  The pictures were taken by an early Seattle photographer, my great grandfather, O.T. Frasch, just so you know.

His work was prolific during the early 20th century, documenting much of Seattle’s early downtown and events including its first world’s fair, the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held at the current site of the University of Washington campus.  (Sounds interesting, huh? I may have to pursue that in a later post.)

Before heading home we stopped by for more views of the Seattle skyline.

Which looks even better at sunset.  I happen to know this from dining at Salty’s last month where we celebrated our anniversary.

I love Seattle.

~ Susanne

A Fall Day with Purple and Gold

No not this variety –

this variety.

I finally attended a Husky Football Game – at the University of Washington for those who don’t know – and yes, that’s my alma mater – and no I’m not telling you how long ago.

Why did it take so long?  Well first of all I’m not a huge football fan.  I prefer baseball.  Second, I only went to the UW for my senior year so I never quite got into the school spirit.  But a friend of mine works at the U and had tickets and I said sure, why not, and met her Saturday at the stadium.  Better late than never!

Getting there turned out to be surprisingly easy.   My husband dropped me off at the light rail station and it was a straight shot to the UW at the end of the line.  Okay it was jam packed as everyone else had the same idea so I had to stand most of the way. Still, it was pretty amazing to come up out of the tunnel facing the stadium.

And when I saw this handsome fan go by I knew I was in the right place.

I met up with my friend and we got some lunch and found our seats.  We were there early and the pregame festivities were great fun.  There was the marching band, paratroopers, and a flyby of a giant C-17 transport plane.

There was music and sunshine and good views and hotdogs and lots of visiting.

Oh!  There was a game too!   😉

Sometimes this happened and everyone went wild.

Just not often enough. At least for our team.

We led at halftime but it was short-lived.  We lost to the higher ranked Utah team.

Even so it was entertaining and a great way to spend a fall Saturday with a good friend. I’d even do it again, win or lose.

~ Susanne

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