Non Touristy Destinations.

We started out on our three hour journey to Leavenworth with the idea of revisiting the town and stopping for some bratwurst before exploring the surrounding areas. After a stop for breakfast at Snoqualmie’s Commonwealth restaurant for some tasty beef brisket. We made our way to our destination in Leavenworth.  If you’d ever had a chance to visit the area, You would have immediately noticed the Disney like themed Bavarian setting. The town itself is a vacuum for tourists. Everything from the architectural facades to the shops and restaurants are focused on attracting tourists and their readily disposable income. Not to say that’s a bad thing, but it is definitely not something I look for when traveling. After indulging in some bratwurst at a packed outdoor spot. We hightailed it out of there and began our picturesque drive home.

On the way, we drove through some nearby towns that featured the character and warmth we always look for when traveling. Cle Elum was just one of the towns we travlled through and stopped in. I manged to take a few pictures before the sun disappeared into the night. The Chai Tea I enjoyed at Pioneer Roasting Company was enough to guarantee a return to the area. While I won’t go as far as to put a negative spin on tourism, tourists or tourist attractions. From my own experience, I always suggest exploring the areas outside of the designated areas of your trip. If you wish to learn about the area, it’s people and their unique personalities. Doing so will almost always reward you. As for Leavenworth. I’ll be cooking my own bratwurst from now on.

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Red Arrow Drive In
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Viewing the sunset over Sunset Cafe
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Enjoying my Chai tea and the dusk from the inside of Pioneer Roasting Company.

Posing a Question

Truth be told, if it weren’t for the constant call of family back east. I might just stay in Washington state a bit longer. Having lived in New York and New Jersey my entire life. I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to move to and live out west. And while it’s long ago been decided that we’ll soon return to either New York or New Jersey. I can’t help but wonder, what if?

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Though my wife has reiterated that we, indeed, will return to that area. She, perhaps unknowingly, sends me mixed singles when I catch her looking online at lofts and condos in Portland. OR. It’s something I’ve become used to and I fully realize that she is either playfully curious or just doing it to break my balls. Maybe that’s why I’ve learned to take it all in stride and play along. Maybe that’s why I didn’t even blink an eye when leaving Olympia today and I was asked the question, “If we decided to stay in Washington and the choice

came down to living in Tacoma or Olympia. Which would you choose?” Before responding, I took a few seconds to think, choose and properly explain my choice. As a husband, you get used to being asked questions all day. So being able to quickly answer one and have enough facts and data to back it up might make you seem a lot smarter. Though delaying your answer can help give you breathing room and slightly delay the next life shattering inquiry. Which in my case usually has something to do with my hatred of Led Zeppelin, Bon Jovi or Aerosmith.

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Parting Shots

Any trip to Olympia means stopping at Old School Pizza for a sit down, slice or three and a celebration of wall to wall 80’s culture. Whether I’m hungry or not. There’s always room enough for pizza, a fountain soda and a few quarters for Pac-Man. And while I usually leave my camera packed away in the trunk of the car. I sometimes bring my phone with me in case I want to capture a moment. Today was the “in case” as I pulled out my iPhone to take a few shots of both the interior and the totally awesome Marvel Comics mural in the adjacent parking lot.

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Tattoos and dirty napkins
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“Be sure to write something before returning to your pizza.
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Despite not collecting comics since the fourth grade. I could name everyone pictured in this mural along with their super powers.
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I was happy to see that Moon Knight made the cut.

Sunday trip to Olympia.

As we pushed through Tacoma and entered the last leg of our trip to Olympia. We suddenly became besieged by a thick fog the wrapped around the interstate and its surrounding areas shrinking drivers visibility from miles to a matter of feet. As we grew closer to our exit, we wondered aloud. Had we been betrayed by a weather report to boasted about sunny skies and warm temperatures. Had the recent wildfires regrouped and were gathering strength just up the road? Undaunted and olympia iii-1with empty stomachs we soldiered on to our intended destination. When we arrived at 4th Avenue’s New Moon Cafe. We were well aware of how cold it was and even debated on how long we were willing to wait for a table to open. Being that we had both spent much of the previous night reviewing the menu and trying to predict what the other would order. I assured her that we were both in fore the long haul. Luckily, our decision to wait it out paid off as the food, service and sense of communal warmth that New Moon provides. Rewarded us with full stomachs, empty plates and ear to ear smiles. From there, we did our best to walk it off. Stopping in at Olyphant, Rainy Day Records and Ember Goods before heading to some of the area farms and our eventual trip home. This was maybe our forth or fifth trip to Olympia since moving out West. We’ve yet to tire of the food, people or atmosphere thw area provides. What makes returning to any area you’ve become familiar with is finding something new to appreciate and look forward to returning for.

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Day trip to Tacoma

tacoma rub-1Though our last several trips to Tacoma, Washington featured everything from sporadic rainfall to torrential downfall. This weekends attempt spared us of any such weather tantrums. Truth be told, I didn’t feel a drop until we walked back to  our car to begin our voyage back to Seattle. During each prior trip to the area. My camera, perhaps due to the rain, never left the comfort of our cars trunk. Each time we’ve visited though, the talk of returning during dryer days to enjoy the areas personality and old world architecture.

If by any chance you find yourself in the area. Be sure to grab a bite at Alma Mater’s Honey on Fawcett Ave. Go crate digging at Hi- Voltage Records on nearby 6th Avenue. Window shopping on Antique Row and of course exploring City Hall and train station for starers. And while such sunny days may not show themselves anytime soon. During the times we’ve recently visited, all be it wet ones. We’ve seen enough to carve out a nice enough visit tht will surely endear us even more to an area we’ve come to love. Until then.

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Rain Reigns, but the Plan Still Remains.

As we were driving in the pouring rain. I turned to my wife and asked if she preferred the year round rain of Seattle or the often bone chilling winters we got used to experiencing during our many years on the east coast. While I was almost certain of her answer. I was somewhat surprised by the break neck speed in which she answered.  Considering the amount of time she spends complaining about the constant rain one has to get used to when living here. I can  imagine her daydreaming about the bone chilling cold we endured while experiencing Christmas in Boston a few years ago.

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xBeing that we’ve had to abort a Christmas visit to Portland Oregon and detour today’s drive to Olympia Washington today. I can relate to her frustration. Luckily, we decided to shorten today’s trip before it really started. Deciding to cut it somewhat short while filling up our gas tank at the local Costco. Though the rain would follow us on our reshaped visit to Tacoma. By the time we reached Broadway’s antique row, that rain seemed to dissipate to a few drops. I recall my wife commenting on how it was still raining as I began to retrieve my camera from the cars trunk. Just as I closed the trunk, the sky opened and began to pour rain down on my head as if the Gods were planning all along to  exact revenge on me for all my recent fist shaking and thoughts of eternal damnation. Regardless of the weather or any vengeful acts by the Gods that be. We both love traveling and visiting Tacoma. We’ve promised to return under less threatening skies.      Until then.

It’s Not the Destination…

Santa-1Before moving on to our final destination in Tacoma. We made a stop at Gig Harbor for breakfast at Devoted Kiss for some breakfast before taking a short break to explore the towns shops and adjacent harbor. We haven’t had a chance to visit Tacoma or Gig Harbor since Summer and were eager to experience the area as it fully embraced the holiday season. Overall, Gig Harbor has a nice small town feel and appeal. I can’t say enough about the service, hospitality and food Devoted Kiss served up. I’m sure there will be no hesitation to stop in the next time we find ourselves in the area.

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