Sunday, August 28, 2011

When in Seattle........

The northwest coast of the United States is full of fish. There was herring (used for bait) for sale and the pink salmon were running in Puget Sound. Lots and lots of boats were out hoping for a good catch. I was just getting ready to take a ferry from Mulkiteo to Whidbey Island.

This is Not the Ferry

This is a friend's boat which is a tree house(boat), not the ferry..........scroll on.

Be on the Lookout

Yikes, killer whales. I'll keep a sharp eye out when I'm on the ferry.

Make Your Plans Carefully

Well, should you want to take the ferry to the other side of Puget Sound from Seattle, get there in plenty of time. You may be in line for three hours if you come at a high peak time. The Mukilteo/Clinton Ferry leaves each side on the half hour starting at 4:40 am and ending at 2:00 am.

Walk On Passengers First

Boarding a Washington State Ferry is an adventure. There are eight ferries which transport people, cars, bicycle and motorcycle riders and even dogs from the mainland/Seattle's shoreline to islands on the other side of the Puget Sound.

The Welcoming Committee

Wayne is one of the many Washington State Ferry employees. He was happy to meet me and chat for a little bit after he directed the cars off the boat and waited for the new arrivals. The ferry system is operated by the Transportation Department. For schedules and info go to:

Packed in Like Sardines

The Clinton Ferry to Whidbey Island can accommodate about 150 cars. This is what it looks like from a dog's eye view. Mostly everyone stays in the car because it only takes 20 minutes to get to the other side of Puget Sound. This is a quick ferry!

Woof, Woof, Who are You?

Well, not everyone stays in his or her car. This dog's owner must be out on the bow taking in the cool breeze or upstairs grabbing a cup of hot chocolate or, maybe, a breakfast burrito.

The View is Spectacular

It was fun to get my little doggie nose full of the crisp, clean air while crossing Puget Sound on the ferry. Thank goodness it was a bright, sunny day. Everyone I met kept commenting on how perfect the weather was-----usually it's rainy. Yuck, I don't like it when my fur gets wet so I'm glad it was a clear summer day.

The Perfect Spot

This was the best place to be on the Clinton Ferry. I just made sure that I was out of the cool wind.

If You Have the Time

Well, I was on the early ferry, before the toursits arrived, so the lounge was pretty empty. Way in the back corner was the food nook. I was impressed, there was a wide variety, even healthy choices.

Make Sure You Include a Ferry Ride

When visiting the Seattle area, it is a must to take one of the Washington State Ferries. The one I took from Clinton to Whidbey Island was great! I recommend it! Make sure you talk with the locals and get the history of the area. It's exciting to learn new things, especially when you can ask questions back. Most residents like to share their knowledge and feel special when you are interested in their world.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fort Necessity was a Necessity

Yes, Fort Necessity was named that because George Washington was fleeing the French during the Colonial Wars (the French and Indian War). He came to Pennsylvania to tell the French to vacate Ft. LeBoeuf and all of western Pennsylvania and was on the run from them heading back to Virginia. Washington was outnumbered. The French were catching up, so he found a meadow and hastily built a wooden stockade with a big birm around it. And here we are..........almost 300 years later at the site of Washington's only surrender.

The Stockade Isn't What it Appears

Now when I walked into the Ft. Necessity Great Meadow which George Washington called, "a charming field for an encounter", I thought the stockade it was pretty small to hold all of his men. I was right!! The stockade was built to hold the guns and ammo, and the whiskey. It was constructed to keep the men out, not in!! Washington's men were positioned behind the birm when the French and Indians attacked.

History Speaks

What I love about so many National Parks across the United States is this.......there are park rangers and volunteers dressed up in period costumes which means they are clothed the way the people were during a specific time in America's history.
Better yet, these "actors" are so knowledgeable about local history that they are like open books. Mom loves to ask questions and talk just like I do, so this exchange with the costumed characters was right up her alley! We learned so much!!

Yes, History Speaks

You know, people learn best in different ways. Some learn best by listening, some seeing, some doing hands on activities, and some, like me, learn best by asking questions and getting answers and asking more questions and on and on.
Kyle, a Native American from Michigan, is a seasonal employee of the National Park Service at Fort Necessity. He's from the Odawa Tribe. I was able to ask him lots of questions and I loved that!! (It seemed like he liked it too!)

In Authentic Costume

Well how do I look? I'm "dressed" in the clothing of the residents of northeastern North America of the mid 1700's. These were the players in the French and Indian Wars which were really the French with the Indians and British Wars. That's Mom and our friend, Jane, in the photograph.

What's What?

There was a picnic area at Fort Necessity and in it was a park employee showing me all the artifacts that were worn or carried by the area residents almost 300 years ago. Those fur skins are from the local wildlife. So what do you think of my "three-cornered hat". Do I look like Ben Franklin?

Visit a National Park--Experience Your America

So........if you are ever heading west on Route 40, the National Highway, the first road into the wilderness from the East Coast, stop by Fort Necessity and relive colonial times in western Pennsylvania.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Deep in the Woods

Here I am at a small cabin deep in the woods of West Virginia. Many people who live in cities along the East Coast of the United States have cabins in the woods for the hot and humid summer days. This one has a little lake where I can go swimming. Can you see it through the trees?

It's Just for the Summer

When winter comes and the weather is freezing outside, the little cabins in the woods are put to sleep for the winter. (The water is turned off before the pipes freeze and burst.) But before it gets really, really cold, weekends can be spent in the mountains with a little warmth from a wood burning stove. I loved the rug in front of this one!

Bye, Bye Til Next Time

Because the cabins are mostly for weekends and long holidays, the furniture and beds are covered to keep the dust and bugs (and their droppings) off when no one is around. I thought this photo looked a little spooky, like a ghost. What do you think?

But, You'd Better Watch Out!!

Yes, that's a snake. It's harmless, but it still made me jump when I saw it. I'm not used to snakes because we don't have any in Hawaiii, except for a tiny, shiny, black worm-like thing called a blind snake. I was very careful when I walked around in the woods of the East Coast.

The Benefits of Living in the Woods

Yes, the woodlands of the East Coast offer lots of trees for lots of reasons. These two tree trunks are going to be made into posts for a back porch. I love that idea! Just thin out the forest a little, to let more light in, so tree seedlings can grow better, and have yourself some free timber!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Taking the Baths

I'm ready to slide into the hot mineral water of this Roman bath at Berkeley Springs State Park in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. This is the smallest state park in the country and it's about 2 hours northwest of Washington, D.C. The water feeding this tub is supposed to keep you healthier! I hope so!

Or Maybe I'll Just Take a Tub Bath

This is Pat. She's been working at Berkeley Springs State Park for 24 years and loves it! (Her smiles shows it!) She leads you from the dressing room, to the tub, and then to the massage table. You can get a whole spa treatment and the price is right--$45. I loved the golden glazed tiles on the walls. I felt like I was in a jewel box! Visit the park's website and find out more:

......Or How About a Sauna?

The winters can be pretty cold in West Virginia, so if you are there then, you might want to include a sauna while you are visiting. It will take the chill out of your bones! I guarantee it!

George Washington Slept Here, and "Took the Waters", Too

Because our First President was a surveryor (someone who measures big tracts of land), he would ride his horsel all over the wilderness surrrounding his home in Virginia measuring land. When he happened on a place he liked, he would buy a parcel and
that's what he did in Berkeley Springs, and so did the man who hired him to survery his 5 million acres, Lord Fairfax.

Free Water

The spigot above gives water from the spring to anyone who wants it. I saw cars drive up with empty gallon water jugs in the trunk waiting to be filled with this soft water full of healthy minerals.

Take in a Movie While You're Visiting

Should you choose to spend the night in Berkeley Springs---there is a great Apple Butter Festival on October 8, 2011, so maybe you could plan around that----you can go to the Star Theater and rent a couch. It will be 50 cents extra! This is a quaint, charming town in the mountains that is full of artists and residents who are very interesting. A lot of them once lived in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Mom Dragged Me Here

Yes, Mom loves to look at old things and buy them sometimes-----she says they have more soul and that old artisans (makers of stuff) really put their hearts into their work. So, while we were visiting Berkeley Springs, we had to go into this giant emporium of antiques and collectibles. Lots of residents in the area scour yard sales and estate sales looking for valuable items so they can resell to the tourists who visit their town.

Last Stop

Whenever I'm traveling, I always stop in at the local library. (I usually make friends with the librarians.) I loved the one in Berkeley Springs with a big window in a quiet nook on the second floor; lots of morning light came streaming through making it a beautiful place in which to sit and think and blog. I believe every public library in America lets you use the internet for free and, of course, we can borrow books for free too! Lucky us!!