Life can be hectic. Traveling can be hectic. When you take time out from the day to day hustle and bustle to pause and enjoy the people in your life, it makes all of the prep for traveling so rewarding! Last August (I know, it has taken me this long to write the post) the hubs finally got to go with me on my bi-annual trip up to the lovely Pacific Northwest. We had 6 days off and a ton of things packed into every single day!
My pops and my brother and his family live on Whidbey Island located just north of Seattle, WA in the Puget Sound. Lucky them right? Lucky me! I get to visit someplace beautiful! We lived there when I was 1-6 years old and traveled back every summer until I was in my teens. This place holds a very special place in my heart. Each time I go up I drag my pops off the island for 1 day of exploration. Since the hubs was going I wanted to include a ferry ride in our adventure. Port Townsend and the top of Mt Walker in the Olympic National Forest was our destination for the day!
The morning ferry ride from Coupeville to Port Townsend was foggy and chilly but that did not deter me from hanging out on the deck of the ferry soaking in all the sites and smells! It always amazes me how large trucks and motor homes actually fit on the ferry and we don’t sink. I am not an engineer so please don’t judge that thought! 🙂 Offloading we dodged the traffic and headed up to the top of Mt Walker in the Olympic National Forest. The drive was about an hour with 20 minutes of it on a dirt road winding around the mountain and through a thick forest. We started off in the fog at the bottom and slowly started seeing rays of sunshine as we reached higher and higher. Normally the hubs and I would have hiked this but how nice that we could drive up and show my pops what we do on the weekends? We walked around at the top and enjoyed the clear views above the fog-filled canyons below. IT WAS SPECTACULAR!
After all this fun we drove back down and headed to Fort Worden State Park. I don’t remember going here as a kid but apparently I did. We let my pops nap in the car while we explored the beaches and lighthouse. I looked and looked for whales but only saw a ton of seagulls. At about dinner time we got back in line for the ferry. Note to anyone not familiar with the Washington Ferry system, you need to make reservations or you may not make it on the ferry! We had reservations…thankfully! Oh and watch for Orcas while you are on the ferry! We saw 3!!!!! I was beyond excited!
The next morning I got up at the crack of dawn with my brother and pops to go to town to get coffee. They are nice and stop at this beautiful spot on the way home for me that has views of the sound and Mt Baker in the background. So beautiful here and always a good spot to see heron and bald eagles. Never disappoints! The day was filled with the hubs and I cruising around the property on the quads and exploring like I did when I was a kid. Love being up there! Our count of wild animals for our two days was 2 owls on the property, 6 bald eagles, 3 orcas, countless heron, and several deer. I like to think they were checking out us Californians. 🙂
Deception Pass State Park
One of the well-known spots on Whidbey Island is Deception Pass State Park. The hubs and I camped here years ago and loved it! There are hiking trails, boating, and beaches with large rocks to climb around on. I have a favorite little spot on the rocks that I usually hang with my pops where we have a view of the Strait and Deception Pass bridge but this time the hubs and I explored more of the rock outcroppings and trails. The views from here are stunning! It makes it really hard to leave this part of the world.
After 2 glorious days with the family, we headed to Olympia, WA, and then our tiny house for the weekend. Yep! You read that correctly, a tiny house!
We strolled around downtown Olympia and enjoyed some lunch before heading over to Buckley, WA to check into our tiny house. OMG! So cute! It was everything we expected! The hubs and I have wondered if we could downsize enough to be able to live in a tiny house and this was a perfect opportunity to check it out. We had a wedding to go to that was in a smaller town and we wanted someplace close by to stay in. In comes Airbnb. We hadn’t used this site before and were slightly hesitant but for less money than a hotel room, we had the run of a tiny house! It was perfect.
The Buckley Euro Cabin was located in an RV park situated just 45 minutes from Crystal Mountain. Yes, I had 3 things to choose from in each of our destinations on the trip and we got to choose once we got there depending on how we felt. Since we had the time we opted to head up to Crystal Mountain Resort and take the gondola ride up to the top. I am not a snow person but I could definitely see this would be a gorgeous place to ski! Views of the top of Mt Rainier were hidden behind the clouds of smoke that covered the PNW while we were up there. It was a harsh fire season for the entire west coast while we were traveling. We still enjoyed what views we did have and took time to relax and watch the sun go down over the mountains.
Since the tiny house had a kitchen we took advantage and stopped at the store on the way back to pick up dinner and breakfast for the next day. It was a bit difficult to get up and down from the loft where the bed was after a glass of wine but once you got the hang of the ladder it was all good. The shower and bathroom were separate and large enough for 1 person at a time. The lounging area was small and the kitchen was well laid out. Plenty of room for us for a couple of nights!
The next morning we headed over to the wedding venue and helped set up. So incredibly happy to be a part of my best friend’s oldest daughter’s wedding. I can’t believe we are old enough to have kids getting married but we do! It was a gorgeous wedding on the lake full of happy tears, dancing, another gorgeous sunset and several people jumping in the lake!
It was hard to say goodbye to friends and family but we had another destination on our short trip, Portland. Leaving the tiny house we chatted about whether or not we could live in one full time. The decision was no, but it would be great for a vacation house!
A trip up to the beautiful Pacific Northwest wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Portland, Oregon! Unfortunately, the Portland skies were also filled with smoke. The hubs and I walked around downtown, walked around the gardens at the Grotto, and checked into the final night of our trip. Since we were so lucky to find a great place in Washington on Airbnb we used it to find our place in Portland as well. It was an adorable bungalow in the back of a house on a very Portland-like street. So adorable and the perfect jumping off spot to explore Portland!
After a long day of checking out Portland and eating delicious food (that I could actually eat!), we were so glad to have a comfy place to lay our heads and rest. It was roomier than the tiny house with a full-size couch and no ladder to climb up but the kitchen wasn’t as well equipped. We got such good rest our final night that I figured out we could see Multnomah Falls before heading to the airport! Woohoo! We even made it before most of the other tourists!
We truly made the most of every second of our trip. That’s why we work right? To enjoy our time off! Thinking we should have more of this time off but still trying to figure out the best way to do this and still be able to eat. 🙂
Things We Love:
Airbnb was so wonderful to search and find places that we could have all to ourselves, with a kitchen of some sort (I need one when traveling), in the perfect location, and for the right price. We can’t wait to plan our next (non-camping) trip using Airbnb! If you haven’t signed up for this service yet, do us both a favor and use this Airbnb link to get $40 off your first trip! It is a great service and would recommend to anyone looking to travel without being in a hotel.
The hubs and I haven’t been able to travel together in some time and this was our first big trip in years. We had a few travel toiletry supplies to get before the trip. Silly things like toothbrush holders. I know, weird that we didn’t have them but it has been several years since we have been on a trip together and combing our toiletries for 6 days we needed a few supplies to make it work. Check out a couple of things we purchased on Amazon below. We love the toothbrush holders because they are compact and have a suction cup on them to put up on the mirror. These come in handy at campgrounds too!
How do you plan for trips? Do you have an itinerary that you stick to or just wing it? We are still trying to figure this out and with such limited time to vacation, I tend to try and make the most of every second with loose plans. I like options and knowing what is around our destination. I have serious FOMO! (fear of missing out)