Friday, July 6, 2012

Did You Think I Had Dropped Off the Face of the Earth?

I did not, of course, but have been out of town with my daughter for five days.  It's probably just me, but being gone for five days involves five days of catching up at home - unpacking and arranging those little treasures that could not be resisted (I tried to buy nothing and really was pretty good), returning phone calls, dealing with the mail, watering plants (it has been drier than the proverbial bone in  upstate New York), washing clothes -- you know the drill.  Hence, my lack of posts.

So, today, I'd like to share our trip with you.  I will be on Nantucket again next post, but Seattle is such a beautiful and exciting city that I have to show you some of our favorite spots.  When my daughter decided to do her residency in Seattle, I was devastated.  We are quite close and Seattle is not.  Her absence required many trips home for her and at least one trip a year to Seattle for me.  During my visits  there over the four years, what I discoverd is Northwest design, a design aesthetic I knew nothing about, the beauty of a new, vibrant city and the landscape which surrounds it.

We stayed in Willows Lodge, a hotel in Woodinville outside of Seattle.  It has a very Asian feel as you will see.

The room below is identical to ours, but ours was on the second floor.  Cool, eh?  I loved the lighting.

Now, our tub did not have rose petals dancing atop, but it was the biggest tub I have ever been in.  I could have spent all five days in that very tub viewing the Food Network (which I cannot watch in western New York because my oak trees block reception.)  What a treat this one was.
Images above from Google Images

View from our balcony.

Another view of the Willows Lodge garden.

Whenever I visited Brooke, I had a list of gardens and garden tours I hoped to visit.  She was a really a good sport and acted like she loved them as much as I did.  The following garden in Portland is about a five hour drive from Seattle, but we love its beauty so spent one of our days here.   (As a side note, Brooke now has a very beautiful Japanese garden of her own which is going to be on a tour in August.  Some gene must have been passed on during all our tours.)

I kept trying to wait till there were no people in my photos but gave up.

Finally, got one sans people.

Moss loves moisture and the Northwest has it.  A drizzly day when we visited, but great for pictures and the moss.

Love just the right amount of drip sound from these bamboo fountains.

I had such a difficult time choosing where to take a picture.  Everywhere I looked was a picture.

I thought I was quite "artistic" below.   Not too difficult to be artistic when art abounds everywhere in this garden.  It is thought to be the most beautiful Japanese garden outside of Japan and was designed by Takuma Tono.

Couldn't avoid the visitors here.  We were all enthralled by these huge irises, not as big as the tub, but huge for irises.  Brooke and I lost each other here but what a place to wander and get lost.

I have even more photos of the garden, but thought you might be tiring of it so am sparing you the entire 40 photos.  After finally catching up with one another, Brooke spied this neat little grocery store right near a Starbuck's.  Zupan's is beautiful to look at and the lunch we chose from here was delicious as well.  I was almost afraid to disturb the fruit and vegetable vignettes.

This was as attractive as we could make our tablescape far from home.  The chicken soup and brie were delish.

Barking Frog is the restaurant that adjoins Willows Lodge.  After our long ride from Portland, we decided to just have a salad and glass of wine close by.

Like the Lodge the restaurant had lots of Northwestern charm.  We sat here near the fire.  The table is a huge rock.  They must have installed the restaurant around it.

Larsen's needs a little explanation.  The second time I visited Brooke in Seattle, she told me we had to go to this wonderful bakery.  While driving there, I asked, "This is really quite a way from the University.  How'd you ever find it here, Brooke?"
"I was just exploring the city out this way," she replied, "and I smelled it.  I followed my nose."  That was the beginning of a great tradition - we must go here whenever in Seattle, but they deliver world wide, and their Danishes taste even better than they look.

Many locals come here for breakfast, some even in their pajamas.  We were definitely not local, but ventured to Larsen's two mornings all the way from Woodinville.  It's that good.

After breakfast, a little retail therapy was on our agenda.

Pike Street Market was packed with tourists, so we left there and again went to a few shops the locals might frequent.  We love cooking equipment so City Kitchens was a must.

Fran's is a shop devoted to chocolate and caramel.  For the first time, I had a chocolate covered caramel sprinkled with a touch of sea salt.  As delicious as they are pretty.

Stumbled upon Watson Kennedy and were charmed - many items reminiscent of French antiques.

That ends our trip, but since writing about the Northwest, this would be an opportune moment to view a Seattle home I've always admired.  Almost makes me want a fantasy house here.  It has the spareness of a Jacobsen house on Nantucket, but the colors are warmer.  Do you think it is because the weather is cooler here?

Architect, George Suyama built this house for himself and his wife.  "It as hospitable to the landscape as it is to the couple's guests."  Very Seattle.

Front of the house "a starting point for a series of parallel journeys."

So serene.

The architect's wife, Kim, in the kitchen.  (Wish the article had shown more of it.)  I love the art work.

Living room furniture all designed by Suyama. 

View from the living room is almost like viewing a Japanese garden.   (Sorry again for the center tear.  Try to ignore it.)

I'm making the image below extra large so you can read the description which is so much better than mine would be.

This is another bath I might never leave.  Sooo beautiful.

More details.

In many ways, don't you see this home in Seattle being as serene as a Jacobsen house in Nantucket - the spareness, the sea and water, the ships?

Good bye again, Seattle, you beautiful city.

Hope my "vacation pictures" were not too cliche-like and boring, but you had to know where I was.  Seattle and Portland are beautiful places just as Pennsylvania and New England are.  If my daughter had not been there for four years, I may never have known this beauty or Larsen's.

Next time, dear reader, back to the Northeast.


  1. Hi Billie,

    Well, now I have an itinerary for my trip to the Pacific Northwest. I have been to Vancouver, but neither Washington or Oregon, but know that I would love it and the weather - seriously, grey and damp is my favorite forecast.

    What a beautiful garden, thanks for sharing the photos. I like the grocery store, too. That is just my style, produce displayed like luxury items!


  2. Hi Billie,
    Thank you for your tour ! I enjoyed it a lot! What a gorgeous hotel you stayed! And those gardens are pretty amazing!!
    I am so glad to hear you had a wonderful time together with your daughter! It is so important that family members do take care of each other!
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

  3. Hi, Billie ~
    Yes, I was wondering where you were :-) So glad to see your comments yesterday....welcome back!! Thanks for sharing your wonderful holiday photos with us. I have never been to Seattle or the Pacific Northwest. Would love to visit....especially the gardens. That Japanese garden is just beyond. Everything in such perfect harmony. I'd like to have a garden like that one day. And, thanks for squeezing in that vintage goodie from Met Home. I enjoyed this detour to Seattle.