Archive for the ‘Washington’ Category

West Beach Resort – Orcas Island

From cabins to glamping, West Beach Resort has it all. Dog friendly cabins are available too. Book early as these cabins fill up. The cabins are rustic, but that’s part of the charm. They are well stocked and impeccably clean. I sound like a commercial, but truly, this place is magical. Watch seals and puffins dive in the surf right in front of you. The store has a great variety including beer on tap. You are only a few minutes from Eastsound, so if they don’t have it, it’s just a short drive to the grocery store. The Cabins have wood stoves and fire rings, so bring wood, or you can purchase some at the store. Your rental comes with a free bundle including a fire starter, matches and kindling.

Logistics – Yes, there is a road running in front of the cabins on the water. This is just a little gravel lane to get to the cabins. There is parking for one car at the cabin. Cabins sit closely together, but this doesn’t take away from their charm and the feel of privacy. Many of the cabins have futons for extra sleeping space. The wifi in my experience has been fantastic. There are no TVs in most of the cabins. RV sites sit higher above the cabin area with very little view of the water. It’s pretty easy to walk to the water and store, so I don’t think it’s much of a problem. The staff is really great and helpful. Kitchens are stocked, a little on the primitive side, but adequate. If you need anything, chances are they have it. If I was traveling with a larger group, I would throw in paper plates and additional silverware. I would definitely bring extra firewood. Yes, you can see Canada from here!

West Beach Resort

Natural Lava Bridges near Trout Lake, Washington

Natural Bridges is a lava tube that collapsed leaving lava bridges. It’s located off of Forest Service Road 24 east of Trout Lake, Washington. Follow the signs to the location. The roads are pretty rough, so take your time. It’s a sort hike allowing you to loop around numerous lava bridges.



From Trout Lake, WA take Highway 141 for 4 miles past the Mt. Adams Ranger Station to the end of Highway 141. Continue west on Forest Road 24. Turn left on Forest Road 041 and go a half mile. Then turn right into the parking area.

The Gate Keeper’s Castle, Washington

The Gate Keepers Castle Vacation Rental Front

The Gate Keeper’s Castle

From the website:


“Designed and built from a dream. This medieval castle is the most enchanted castle in the area. Looking upon the structure, flights of pure fantasy and imagination dazzle the mind.  Feasting, sieges, bards, mystery and wonder grow when stepping into this magical world. An age of bygone kings, magicians, giants, dwarfs, sorceresses, elves and trolls. Through the doors, chivalry is born and romance has its origins in this magical world. The castle is extremely spacious and must be seen to fully appreciate. This is a dream getaway for anybody seeking a refuge from the mundane. The Gate Keepers Castle has a total of 5 full size bedrooms all prepared in the finest linens, rest easy in luxury. There are 3 bedrooms in the King Suite, as well as a full size Jacuzzi, steam shower and a decor unique in its own right. The main floor has a full restaurant style equipped kitchen, fireplace, and bathroom all with an elegant Victorian charm, with modern appliances. Meandering up the spiral staircase to the upper floor, one is drawn to the stained glass and antique decor. Here you will find two more spacious bedrooms and a bathroom.”

It’s about 15 minutes from the small towns of Sequim and Port Townsend.

Gnome House Chalet, Orcas Island

I get really excited when I find another magically themed vacation rental. While looking up information on Orcas Island in the San Juans up in Washington, I stumbled across a new find to add to my list!

The Gnome House


Gnome House Chalet


Welcome to the Gnome House in sunny Deer Harbor, Orcas Island Washington State.

Welcome to the Gnome House in sunny Deer Harbor, Orcas Island Washington State. Romance of family fun. This area at the Gnome House is perfect. The Gnome House foyer. Come in relax and enjoy this famous chalet. The south sunny half of the main living area. Notice the shipbuilding carpentry. The north half of the main living area. Baseboard electric or wood heated. Dining, game playing, reading, and popular 'wedding' nook. Romantic Gnome House has been the venue for many a beautiful wedding. Happiness! The gnomes' kitchen, convenient, efficient, and complete. Beautiful washroom with sunken tub. Past the Gnomes' cupboard bed and up the spiral stairs to the master loft. This photo highlights some of the famous woodwork and design of the Gnome House. Looking west over the 'Sleigh of Dreams' in the master loft. Looking east from the Loft Sleigh Bed. See the squirrel and acorn newel posts? View of the Gnome House east side as you drive up upon your arrival. Gorgeous views from our vacation rental houses' play set Your private Gnome House campfire, picnic, table, and hot tub area. A rare big beautiful snow day in 1966. Over 3 feet of snow to the delight of all The Gnome House nestled in Nature, just the way gnomes prefer. Everyone loves Cedar, our Golden Fetcher.  He will greet you with a tennis ball. 'Tater and one of his many admirers.  This darling little girl loved our pets. Fishing in the islands is super fun for the entire family.  Salmon for all. Springtime takes bloom near the play set. Our three gnome sons in 1986 in what is now the very popular gnome cubby bed. Well, why are you still waiting? Sign up now for your great vacation.
  • Minimum stay:Contact owner
  • Internet:Yes
  • Pets considered:Yes
  • Wheel chair accessible:No

Deer Harbor chalet description

The Gnome House is a truly memorable romantic getaway or family fun vacation rental. This premier Orcas Island vacation chalet is located on a 140 acre magnificent private setting…..a renowned wildlife and bird watching paradise.
The Gnome House is a one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted, timber-framed Orcas Island cottage constructed with massive timbers, cedar arches, and hand carved tree trunk posts.
Come discover this delightful site of many a honeymoon, many romantic evenings, magical family vacations, one of the truly romantic Orcas Island getaways or quintessential Orcas Island experiences. A perfect family vacation rental cottage – children and grandparents love it!


Dog Friendly Seattle Hotel – The Maxwell


Recently I needed to stay in Seattle near the Space Needle. I wasn’t sure about the surrounding area or where I could find a good dog friendly spot. Stumbling across The Maxwell and taking a chance really paid off. The decor and their hospitality is top-notch. The level of dog friendliness was off the charts. The gave you a dispenser and roll of doggy bags – the kind that can clip to a leash – awesome. Providing water and food bowls and having someone drop off a freshly laundered dog bed was far beyond my expectations. The rooms were roomy with amazingly fresh and modern decor. To top it off, all of their provided toiletries are Tommy Bahama and smelled fantastic. They even had a Keurig in the room with cream in the mini-fridge! It was easy to find places to walk the dog – mine is over 50 pounds, and it’s proximity to the Seattle Center area was perfect. Overall, it was one of the better city traveling experiences I have had. Definitely a top rated recommendation! And I have to mention it again – the decor and vibe is awesome! They even serve mini pineapple cupcakes in the lobby during the evening! I also forgot to mention the FREE PARKING! They do have room for oversized vehicles and it’s easy to park on the street when checking in. Watch your google directions in getting here from I5 as there is a ton of construction downtown right now and many roads have been re-routed. Your best bet is to get on Denny and take it down to 5th street. From there it’s really easy to get to.

The Maxwell Hotel Seattle

Tokeland Washington

The best part about road trips is when you stumble across the unexpected. Wanting to drive out towards the bay, I turned onto Tokeland Road off of Hwy 105 in the town of Tokeland. Staying on the road, you can drive all the way out to the point. There’s a nice dock area with a few boats. Heading back up the road, you will drive past the Tokeland Hotel and Restaurant.

Tokeland Hotel

Stopping for breakfast was a great treat. This inn is steeped in history and it’s definitely worth your time to stop. Breakfast was delicious and old-fashioned. The staff was incredibly friendly; making you feel like you were eating breakfast at your grandma’ s house. The whole area is surrounded in history and it’s fun to drive along the point looking at some of the old houses still left. I will make a point to return and stay at the inn.

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Westport Washington

Waking up in Westport Washington, it’s hard to know what to expect. Traveling into the evening, I had long-lost the light. Twisting along the bay road and up the peninsula, I just wasn’t sure what I would find. At the very end of the peninsula, I had targeted a motel for the night that would kick off my morning exploring. I stayed at the Westport Inn at the very end of the port. The town was pretty shut down as it was the off-season, but fun to explore. There used to be a much larger fishing fleet; I think from 300 boats to around 30. You can tell that it has impacted the entire area. There was a nice strip of restaurants and shops  along the harbor. During the summer, I think it would be pretty bustling. There were definitely a few interesting places to check out. At the tip of the peninsula, you will find the harbor and boats. There is also an old Coast Guard Station and a lookout tower.

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Nearby is Westhaven State Park. It was pretty early and the surfers were already out. Google maps show that the road continues into the park and connects to the lighthouse, but it does not. I wanted to see the lighthouse, so I headed back into town. Heading south on Monteseao street, you will take a right onto Ocean Avenue West. About 10 blocks down, the light house will be on your right. The gate to the lighthouse was closed, so I snapped some pictures from the grassy area in front of it. It’s quite beautiful and I’m surprised it isn’t signed or highlighted as an area attraction.

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Heading south on Forrest Street, you will see roads off to your right with beach access and you’ll see numerous cranberry bogs along the route. The beach reminds me of Long Beach. You can drive down on them in spots, though the sand seemed a bit softer. You should always use caution any time you drive on the beach. It’s pretty easy to get stuck.

Westport Inn

The Westport Inn was adequate. It’s clean and the owner is very friendly. I stayed in the bottom floor basic room and it was pretty old, but you could tell they had updated them. I think the beds need to be updated, but it worked for a quick overnight visit. They have other really nice rooms, but were pretty full that night. I think I would try the cabins next time. There is a fun observation deck.

Overall, I think this would be a better place to visit during the summer. The town was pretty shut down. You can tell that hard economic times have come to this area; as it has to many northwest coastal communities.


Secrets of Long Beach Washington

There are places on this earth that hum with energy of the past.  Oysterville Washington draws me to her, even though she is not along a route to anywhere. Located at the north end of the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington, a lost traveler would stumble across it of they pay close attention to the split in the road. Oysterville is on the Willapa bay side of the Long Beach Peninsula. There is a lot of history to Oysterville and as you drive into the remnants of this little town, you can feel the community of time long past. At any minute, you expect Anne Shirley to come strolling down the lane. The street is lined with homes built around 1880. There is an old schoolhouse as well as a beautiful country church. As you drive out to the bay, you will see Oysterville Sea Farms – still in operation.  There is a lot to explore here and it’s worth taking an afternoon to stroll through the town, visit the church and reflect on this bygone era. Here is a great link to a walking tour offering the history of the remaining homes and buildings in Oysterville.

Walking Tour

There are a few great books outlining the history of Oysterville that make informative road-trip reads.

Oysterville by Sydney Steven

Oysterville by Willard R. Espy

Willabay Oysterville Sea Farms



The Secrets of the Gates

Traveling north of Oysterville towards Leadbetter Point State Park, oddly there are two metal gates. One of the gates is reminiscent of Victorian times. It looks like it’s a gate to an old romantic estate on the bay side. But oddly enough, there is a more modern metal gate guarded by Chinese Lions on the opposite side a little ways down the road from the Victorian gate. Perplexed, I snapped a few pictures (and not great pictures, but the light was fading fast), made a mental note and headed down the road. Finally home from my weekend adventuring, it was time to do some sluicing. Thanks to the help of Google maps, and Zillow, I finally had enough clues to break the mystery. There is a very impressive Lighthouse Estate at the end of the lion guarded road at the ocean side of the peninsula. The house belongs to business entrepreneur Craig Tillotson of Nu Skin. Interestingly enough, there is quite a bit of information about the 600 acre estate, known as Leadbetter Farms, including a primitive youtube video.

Leadbetter Farms Youtube Video

Leadbetter Farms

Leadbetter Point State Park


Dog Parks of the West – Three Forks near Snoqualmie Washington

Three Forks Natural Area

From their website ~

The Three Forks Natural Area has more than 200 acres of open space situated at the confluence of the south fork, north fork and middle fork of the Snoqualmie River. With an astounding up-close view of Mount Si, it is dominated by riverine, riparian, and wetland habitat.

Adjacent to the natural area is the Three Forks Off-Leash Dog Park, which has eight acres of mowed open space for running large and small dogs. The park is partially fenced and has water access.


From points west, take I-90 east. Take Exit 27 toward Snoqualmie/North Bend.
Turn left onto SE North Bend Way. Pass through one roundabout.
Turn left onto Meadowbrook Way SE.
Turn right onto SE Park Street.
39912 SE Park Street is on the left.

From points east, take I-90 west. Take the WA 202 exit, Exit 31, toward North Bend/Snoqualmie.
Turn right onto Bendigo Boulevard/WA 202 East.
Turn right onto Meadowbrook Way SE.
Turn right onto SE Park Street.
39912 SE Park Street is on the left.

Snoqualmie Falls Washington

Needing a break from I90, I decided to take a quick detour to see Snoqualmie Falls. A short little loop, I was unexpectedly surprised. The falls are majestically rugged in the middle of the urban sprawl. It was kind of surreal. I left I90 at the Snoqualmie Parkway exit which takes you through new development. Turning left onto 202, the falls are only a little ways down the road. Salish Lodge sits impressively overlooking the falls; offering fine dining. On this particular trip, I was just looking for a quick place to stretch my legs. The falls parking lot area was really full and people where everywhere – granted it was a Saturday evening. Needless to say, the view of the falls was amazing. A 268 feet waterfall cascading over granite is a pretty impressive site. Below I have attached websites with more information about both hiking near the falls and Salish Lodge. This area is steeped in Native American history. On my way back to I90, I went through the little towns of Snoqualmie and North Bend. Both were incredibly charming and with the backdrop of Mt. Si~ stunning in the late afternoon light. This area has a lot to offer – there’s a large off leash dog park, historic towns, hiking, elk viewing etc. It was definitely up there on my list for scenery – even though the city is vastly creeping forward.



Snoqualmie Falls

Salish Lodge