Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Island of Pigeon Forge, TN

On a trip to the Smoky Mountains this summer we spent an extra day in Pigeon Forge.  We have never spent much time in Pigeon Forge except to shop a little or try out a new restaurant,  but this trip we discovered a whole new area that proved to be a lot of fun.  The The Island of Pigeon Forge had great places to eat and shop plus fun things to do.


My husband and I loved the view from the 200 feet tall Great Smoky Mountain Wheel.  It is hard to choose between the daytime view of the mountains and the night view of the lights. 



The fountain show was a very special treat.  The water danced to the music as the lights changed colors while we rocked in the rocking chairs or watched from above in The Wheel.                                                   




video


The Margaritaville Hotel will be open starting October 2014 but the Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Restaurant and Bar is already open complete with a patio bar that has live music nightly.  Timberwood Grill is another good choice for food with indoor and outdoor seating.       



Awesome sunset in October 2014








Thursday, July 3, 2014

Chihuly Glass in Seattle and Tacoma Washington



 The trip my husband and I took to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary began and ended with Chihuly glass.  Our first day began in Seattle at the Space Needle with Chihuly Garden and Glass right next door.  You can see just enough to know you do not want to miss that exhibit. The glass in the Exhibition Hall, the Glasshouse, and the garden well surpass even your high expectations.


 

 Pictures do not give justice to the experience of standing in the dark rooms full of lighted glass displays of wild imagination.

















 The gardens around the Glasshouse are full of a beautiful mixture of nature and glass.  I wish we could have returned for the after dark version of the garden.

After spending two days in Seattle we continued our trip by visiting Mount Rainier, Portland, Columbia River Gorge, Cannon Beach, Astoria and ending in Tacoma.
  
Number One on my list in Tacoma was the Museum of Glass.  I had heard about the Chihuly Bridge of Glass that is connected to the museum and knew it would be well worth our time.  The museum was very interesting with several artists' work on display and the Hot Shop where molten glass is shaped into beautiful works of art.  We got to sit in on a talk given by visiting artist Donald Lipski.

The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a 500 foot long pedestrian overpass that links the Museum to downtown Tacoma. It is an unbelievable display of hometown boy Dale Chihuly's glass.  The ceiling part alone has 2,364 objects from his Seaform and Persian series.  
















 In the center of the bridge are the 40 foot tall Crystal Towers that can be seen from many places in Tacoma.


Closest to the museum is an 80 foot wall that contains 109 of Chihuly's sculptures. 
















Experiencing and enjoying Chihuly's glass in such different settings has opened my eyes to be on the look out for interesting art where ever we go.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Oregon Coast


On our trip to Oregon and Washington we only had one day to visit the Oregon coast.  We left Portland early and headed to Cannon Beach.  We got there early and it was still cool enough to need to wear jackets as we walked down the beach toward Haystack Rock.  We found out that this was the day of the 50th Annual Sandcastle Contest and were there early enough to see the trucks drive down the beach loaded with buckets and shovels.
 

Knowing it would take several hours to build the huge sand sculptures we drove into town to shop at some really nice shops and galleries mixed in with cute cafes and beautiful bright flowers.


I can see how people could enjoy a stay of several days in the Cannon Beach area!

 
We continued north on the Oregon coast to the town of Seaside to visit the spot of the end of the trail for Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition.






We reached our destination of Astoria and had a busy afternoon seeing the sights of this interesting town at the mouth of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. 

The view was beautiful from the Astoria Column on the top hill in Astoria whose streets reminded me of a small version of San Fransisco.

















The Columbia River Maritime Museum was a very informative and a well put together museum that explained the importance of this area and its dangerous waters 






After learning about the numerous shipwrecks that had happened around the Astoria area we went to visit the Peter Iredale's remains from its shipwreck in 1906 on the beach at Fort Stevens Park on the Oregon Coast.
 After a really busy day we treated ourselves to a very nice dinner at the Silver Salmon Grille in downtown Astoria.  Then we returned to our super nice Hampton Inn with its spectacular view from our balcony of ships going up and down the Columbia River.

It had a pretty awsome view of the sunset too!






Monday, June 30, 2014

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon



Beautiful.  That pretty much sums it up.  It was very cloudy the morning we were at the scenic overlook taking this picture of the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon side of the river, but the view was still stunning-maybe even more so.

The tiny building you see on the cliff in the picture above is the Vista House on Crown Point.  It was built nearly 100 years ago for the travelers on the then newly built Columbia River Highway to view the Columbia River.


We traveled on this scenic highway and saw dense forests of tall mossy trees and several beautiful waterfalls that can be viewed from the parking lot. There are trails that can be hiked to the top or bottom of each waterfall.







      Latourell Falls





                

   Wahkeena Falls








         Picnic Area












   Multnomah Falls

The granddaddy of them all!  
620 feet of waterfall.














      Tunnel at 
    Oneonta Gorge







 


  
      
        
     Horsetail Falls









All this beauty within eleven miles of the Vista House.  Best road trip ever!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mount Rainier


My husband and I visited the Washington/Oregon area for our 40th wedding anniversary in June.  We saw so many beautiful places but Mount Rainier was my most favorite.  It seemed to pop up and then disappear again through out our 900 miles of road trips.  At 14, 410 feet you would think it would never disappear.

It first appeared outside our airplane window.  My husband spotted it sticking up above the clouds and took this amazing picture. 


 Of course if the mountain was above the clouds we did not see it again until the next day when the clouds cleared.  Then looking across the Puget Sound from our balcony at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel we discovered it behind the ferries and boats of the harbor.




On our way from Seattle to Portland we made a side trip to visit Mount Rainier.  The mountain would come in and out of view as we traveled the 80 miles from Seattle to the entrance of the Mount Rainier National Park.


 

The base of the mountain is thickly wooded with huge trees and lots of ferns and moss.  On our way towards the top we came upon some beautiful waterfalls.




There were great places along the way to pull off the road and take some wonderful pictures and just hang out.




Eventually we found ourselves surrounded by snow even though it is the middle of June. The Road Closed sign ended our drive to the top.


After our trip back down the mountain we were ready for a late lunch.  We stopped at a really cute cafe at  Copper Creek Inn and had a delicious lunch of fish chowder and beef stew. 
 
But that was not the end of our fun with Mount Rainier.  We continued our trip on to Oregon and spent three beautiful days around Portland, the Columbia River Gorge, and the Oregon coast.  On our way back to the Seattle area to catch our flight home, Mount Rainier popped up in our view while driving through the capital city of Olympia and then many times as we came to Tacoma.  Our last evening in the area found us accidentally stopping to eat at the Cliff House Restaurant since I totally got lost finding the restaurant we had intended to visit.  This was our view from our table.  Not such a bad mistake after all!


Then there was one more chance the next day to say good bye to this beautiful mountain from the window of our airplane.  What a wonderful trip!