Tag Archives: hiking

What I’m Grateful For This Week…

Our family summer trip is to Seattle, Washington to visit my father-in-law. His health is failing so in the fall he will move back to Indiana after nearly 40 years in Seattle. We celebrated with him at an evening dinner at Palisades and an afternoon open house at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture. With a family member in declining health, there were some rough times but I was determined that our family would enjoy at least one moment every day. Often we only had 2 spare hours so we found things to do in only 2 hours. Here are our outings and bright spots:

1. Gasworks Park – On our first full day in Seattle, my husband and I made a quick trip to Gasworks Park. It was a gorgeous day so we had a beautiful view of downtown and the Space Needle looking over Lake Union. This visit also brought back fond memories of coming here with our boys when they were younger.

2. Olympic Sculpture Park – This was our quick afternoon outing the first full day of our oldest son’s visit. We visited this park the last time we were in Seattle but it has really expanded and we enjoyed a fairly long walk along the waterfront away from the downtown.

3. Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Tasting – We have a little more time today but not both of our kids so we try to find something to do that our younger son will not be left out of. The winery is perfect because the youngest is only 20 and could not join us in the tasting. We enjoy our tour and tasting of the winery. Then the three of us enjoy a select tasting of four Col Solare red wines. This is great fun and we go home with a bottle of the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon to be opened when we celebrate our oldest son’s college graduation, hopefully not too far in the future.

4. Space Needle – Now the four of us are together in Seattle so today’s quick outing is downtown to the Space Needle. I initially question why we are going here when our time is limited and we have seen this landmark so many times. The Space Needle has been updated, however, and is well worth the stop.

5. Waterfront – Seattle’s downtown waterfront has changed dramatically since we last visited 8 or 9 years ago. The Alaska Way viaduct is down which really opens up the area. Maybe we can return in a few years to see the full renovation. We stop at a favorite landmark, Pike Place Public Market, to see the flowers and produce and flying fish. We browse in a fun store with tea and spices. I have a great treat when I lunch with a work colleague at a market deli. Before we head back for the open house, the boys stop at a French bakery for croissants and melt in your mouth macarons – quite wonderful!

6. Mt. Rainier – On our last day in Seattle, we have our longest outing when we drive to Mt. Rainier. We need to be back in Seattle for dinner with family so we only have a couple hours at the national park. We have had beautiful weather for our visit and today is lovely. We hike the Sunrise Trails and have wonderful scenery to enjoy before returning to the Midwest.

Wishing you at least 2 hours of joy and gratitude each day!

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Aspen, CO

One of my “new things” for the summer was our family vacation to Aspen, Colorado. My younger son said we needed to branch away from our usual beach vacation and see something different so we traveled to the Rocky Mountains and high elevation for a week.

We spent our first day on Aspen Mountain after riding the gondolas to the top. I can tell there is less oxygen here while we are hiking! What fabulous views!!

Our second day is spent at Maroon Bells which ends up being my favorite spot – so beautiful!!

This is our “Bonanza” shot from our horseback ride near Maroon Bells.

We also hiked along the Continental Divide and stopped at a deserted mining town, learning about the early history of Aspen before it became an area focused on recreation. Our last day was spent in Glenwood Springs where we hiked to beautiful waterfalls at Hanging Lake. Gorgeous!!

Of course, we ate well. I didn’t have to give up my typical diet of seafood or vegetarian entrees. The homemade pasta with shrimp from Ellina was delicious.

My favorite restaurant was French, Creperie du Village. What’s not to love about chocolate crepes?

Colorado was beautiful and the hiking was splendid! …but I still miss the beach….