Our travels and ideas for planning your next trip!

Archive for the ‘Weekend Trips’ Category

Deception Pass State Park, Washington

He was turning two, so we wanted to celebrate by going camping with our grandson and daughter somewhere near Seattle.  I googled “great camping with a toddler near Seattle”.  Deception Pass State Park came up the winner due to the beaches and toddler friendly trails.  We headed out with our 1965 Chevy wagon and 1965 tent trailer (we are into vintage).  The park was two hours north of Seattle on Hwy I5 then west on Hwy 20 to Whidby Island.  Our first glimpse of Deception Pass came when we crossed the bridge high above the water spanning the cliffs.  It was spectacular with fall color just beginning to burst forth.  The recommendations suggested not walking across the bridge with a toddler but in the future we will definitely want to catch that vista on foot.

 

The campsites are a walk from the beach but most everyone is excellent (I did a lot of walking about the campground with a stroller.) My favorite was #170 which was up a little hill and no RV connections but felt as if you were in hobbit land.  From the campground you can walk to Cranberry Lake on one side of the inlet, then walk a dozen yards to the beach on the bay.  Two parks in one!  Cranberry Lake has a protected sandy beach open in the summer with life guards and a snack shack.

Liam, being just two, enjoys throwing things so “No, don’t throw,” is a frequently heard phrase.  Deception Pass was the perfect place for him as he found throwing rocks into the water was a grandparent approved activity.  Plenty of rocks and hours to do it until a worn little boy was ready for nap. (Scroll over the pictures to see the narrative.)

    

On Sunday, we took a ride to the little artist town of LaConner on the mainland a few minutes south of Hwy 20.  We visited two delightful art galleries.  “Cattails and Dragonflies” run by Gil and “The Artist Remarque” run by Gil’s wife, Rebecca.  They are both warm and friendly folks with many works of art to feast your eyes on.  If you get to LaConner, stop in for a chat.  After a wine tasting and a snack, we headed back to camp for Liam’s first campfire.

  We decided to return to Tacoma by driving south through Whidby Island and take the Port Townsen Ferry.  I would not recommend this with a toddler.  Though the scenery was pleasant rural hills and small towns, the traffic was stop and go.  The ferry ride was short and cost us $46.  The price is determined by measuring the length of the car plus tent trailer.  Liam did not want to return to his car seat after the ferry boat ride and was cranky the rest of the way.  Instead of the two and a half hour trip we had coming in, going back to Tacoma took us five hours.

As many of you know, I specialize in water, sun and sand to Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii and Costa Rica.  Deception Pass has now made my list of exceptional water, sun and sand places to go.  Yes, I know, it was September and rain was predicted yet we had many glorious moments of brilliant sunshine.  When not traveling to hot sunny sandy places or on cruise ship, you just can’t beat camping along the entire west coast, my home.

See you on the beach,

Anne

California Wine Country Backroads Getaway

      Heading north from San Francisco for a few days in the California Wine Country, I was eagar to relive my very favorite backroads wine country outing.  Even though I spent eleven years leading groups on this same exact route (and would do it again in a minute if any of my readers want to put together a group), I am thrilled to return again (especially now that I live in Idaho) with my cousins in tow. 

     From Petaluma, take Bodega Ave (get yourself a map) to Valley Ford Road, destination the village of Freestone. You will wind through gently rolling hills and emerald meadows reminecent of the English countryside resplendent with flocks of sheep and spring lambs.  Stop for a few few minutes in Freestone a blink-and-you-missed it rustic little town.  Save some tummy room for a sticky bun at the Wild Flour Bakery.  Spa enthusiasts must not miss an osmosis enzyme bath at the Osmosis world class spa hidden away in this tiny town. 

     Having totally indulged yourself, drift north again through wooded lanes to the quaint welcoming town of Occidental.  Lost in time with no expansion for decades, I always envision ladies of the 1920’s coming by train from San Francisco with broods of kids for their summer lodgings.  My mother, in fact was one of those children who learned to swim on the Russian River during summers in a cabin named “Don’t Worry”.  Her Dad came up for weekends while Grandma and six little ones played away the summer at Camp Meeker just down the road from Occidental. 

   Enjoy an Italian meal family style at Negris.   Walk around the town visiting the little shops for folk art.  Rest for the night in Occidental at The Inn At Occidental.  This is an exquisite bed and breakfast with all the romance , ambiance and delight to the eyes of a country home.  I personally recommend selecting The Inn at Occidental if you are celebrating a special occasion.  

     Next, we meandered up the redwood line roads towards Camp Meeker.  Just beyond we swerved left into the Alliance Redwoods.  My children went to school in the lodge here for three years long ago.  Now it is a bussling center for nature study classes and retreats.  More exciting, today though is the “Canopy Tours!  ZIP THE REDWOODS!!  7 adrenaline-pumping zip lines-one over 800′ long.”  My cousins purchased a gift certificate for their son’s anniversary package.   www.sonomacanopytours.com

     Still having a grand time, we continued past Alliance Redwoods to Monte Rio and Guerneville to Armstrong Redwoods.  I always feel as if hobbits are watching me from under dewy ferns in this enchanted forest of giant redwoods.  Cool and peaceful for an afternoon walk, my heart is filled with joy at the beauty of God’s creation.    Another way to tour Armstrong Redwoods is on a segway.  To set that up contact http://segwayofhealdsburg.com/.  Ask for my son, Michael Del Vecchio, to be your guide!

     Do you like champagne?  We are in the wine country so you must visit the Korbel Champagne Cellars.  Tasting and tours are free.  My favorite is the “Natural”.  Here is our darling wine server and my grinning husband.  The tour includes a facinating story about the Korbell family history so be sure to catch it. 

   Of course, a stop in Sebastopol at the Fosters Freeze for a soft-serve icecream is a must.  This was my husband’s restaurant for 22 years and boy do I miss my daily dipped cone.  Thanks for coming along on my favorite Sonoma County tour.  We didn’t visit many wineries or take a side trip to the coast but you can on your trip. 

Have fun travel dreaming,

Anne