Sidewalk mosaic of ferry boat, Bainbridge Island

Sidewalk mosaic of ferry boat, Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art

One shouldn’t need an excuse to enjoy a ferry ride from time to time — being out on the water is its own reward — but now I will be looking forward to more frequent trips to Bainbridge Island just to visit its new Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.  Opened in mid-June of this year, the light-filled museum is a showcase for artists and craftspeople from the Puget Sound Region.  I loved the focus on local art, and because the museum promises to change its displays seasonally, I am looking forward to returning again and again.

One of the whimsical sculptures in Margie McDonald's "Sea 'scape"

One of the whimsical sculptures in Margie McDonald’s “Sea ‘scape”

"What Shakes the Eye" by illustrator Barbara Helen Berger

“What Shakes the Eye” by illustrator Barbara Helen Berger

"Cat Table" by Frank Renlie

“Cat Table” by Frank Renlie

Bainbridge Island Museum of ArtThe museum couldn’t be more welcoming — admission is free, and it’s conveniently located a short walk from the ferry terminal.

One of my favorite things about the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art is its rooftop garden.  It is set up something like the art inside the museum in that it is meant to be viewed from behind a fence — it’s not a garden you can touch and walk through.  It’s a rock garden and very Zen-like.  The sculptural shapes of the rocks and succulents also make it feel like a continuation of the art exhibits inside.

Rooftop garden, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art

Rooftop garden

Rooftop garden

Succulents, rooftop garden

Succulents, rooftop garden




Rooftop garden

Ferry rides and museums — both vehicles for transport.  A satisfying combination on this day trip from urban Seattle.

From a street mural in Pioneer Square

From a street mural in Pioneer Square

Watching the sunrise at Sunrise Point, Mount Rainier National Park

Watching the sunrise at Sunrise Point, Mount Rainier National Park

My niece, who is visiting from Israel, wanted to see some of our country’s national parks, so that was all the excuse I needed to made a day trip from Seattle to Mount Rainier National Park.  We were on the road at 3:00 a.m. so that we could be at Sunrise Point in time for sunrise at 5:22 a.m.  It was worth the early start.  Sunrise, at 6400 feet, is the highest point reachable by car in the park.  Mount Rainier with elevation 14,409 feet, looms majestically and dominates all views at this point.

The cascading Cascade Mountains

The cascading Cascade Mountains


I simply loved the cascading shades of blue vanishing to white on the most distant peaks of the Cascade Mountains.  It was easy to see why the Cascade Range got its name, but when I read more about it, I was surprised that neither the explorer Vancouver nor Lewis and Clark called these peaks “Cascades.”  The first reference to Cascade Range came in the writings of botanist David Douglas.

Landscape at Sunrise on Mount Rainier

Landscape at Sunrise on Mount Rainier

Wildfowers in the apline meadows at Sunrise on Mount Rainier

Wildfowers in the alpine meadows at Sunrise on Mount Rainier

We didn’t do much exploring on the trails at Sunrise because they were still covered with snow, but the meadows were full of wildflowers.  I will share more photos of the wildflowers in tomorrow’s post.

Melting snowbank

Melting snow bank




The trails along the Naches Peak loop were also blocked by patches of snow, so my plans to take my niece on this hike were thwarted.  We salvaged the day by indulging instead in a touristy trip up a gondola at Crystal Mountain Resort.  I had never taken the time to do this before, and it was fun.  The views from the summit were stunning.  We could see Mount Adams, Mount Saint Helens, and, of course, Mount Rainier.  Altogether a wonderful day trip.

The gondola at Crystal Mountain Resort

The gondola at Crystal Mountain Resort

First vistas as you exit the gondola at the summit

First vistas as you exit the gondola at the summit

The gondola rode higher than the tree tops!

The gondola rode higher than the tree tops!

View with Mount Adams

View with Mount Adams

Wildlife sighting!  A chipmunk.

Wildlife sighting! A chipmunk.









Laburnum arbor, Bayview Nursery

Laburnum arbor, Bayview Nursery

Spring is proceeding at breathless pace, and one of my favorite places to savor the fresh colors and blooms is Bayview Farm and Garden on Whidbey Island.  I mark my calendar each year so that I remember to make the trip there when the laburnum arbor is in full glory.  The cascading flowers of Golden Chain give the impression that you are sitting under a floral waterfall.  The double arbor alone makes Bayview Farm and Garden a worthy destination, but of course, the rest of the nursery is also full of visual treats.



A garden Buddha

A garden Buddha










“Fuchsias are among my ninety-nine most favourite flowers. . . . I could go on for hours, and probably shall, one day, about their white petticoats and their crimson ruffs and the incredible grace with which they dispose themselves.”
— Beverley Nichols, Sunlight on the Lawn

Tacoma's Museum of Glass with clouds

Tacoma’s Museum of Glass with clouds

Of course no trip to Tacoma is complete without enjoying some glass art.  The Tacoma Art Museum has an impressive collection of Chihuly glass, and Tacoma’s Museum of Glass is another big draw.  We were able to see a lot of glass art in the outdoor public areas adjacent to the Museum of Glass without paying admission.  Here are some photos:

Fluent Steps by Martin Blank was inspired by the "elegant movement of steam rising from his teacup"

Fluent Steps by Martin Blank was inspired by the “elegant movement of steam rising from his teacup”



Tacoma's Bridge of Glass with stunniing glass works by Dale Chihuly

Tacoma’s Bridge of Glass with stunning glass works by Dale Chihuly



Two red umbrellas, Tacoma

Two red umbrellas, Tacoma




Bellingham waterfront

Bellingham is about 90 minutes north of Seattle, and it makes a nice destination for a day trip.  I left the I-5 freeway just north of the Anacortes exit and drove leisurely through the countryside and along Chuckanut Drive.

Old barn on Hwy 11 near Bow, WA

Self-service farmer’s stand on Hwy 11 near Bow

The curvy Chuckanut Drive along Puget Sound

View of the sound from Chuckanut Drive

Bellingham itself has a welcoming, small-town feel.  I like the look of the weathered, old buildings near the waterfront and the small, independent cafes and coffeeshops.  I strolled along the waterfront paths of Boulevard Park, and  because I like to check out libraries on my travels, I stopped by the Bellingham Library.  Serendipitously, the library was hosting its Friends of the Library booksale.  I couldn’t resist buying five books from the gardening table at $1 each.  I will get far more than $1 worth of pleasure from each of these books.

Tansy (I think) — a spot of yellow along the path at Boulevard Park

Mural in downtown Bellingham

Sculpture outside Whatcom Museum

Old weathered building along waterfront

Table on the sidewalk outside the Mount Bakery Cafe, Bellingham

The five books I bought at the Friends of the Bellingham Library sale — a bargain at $1 each

The art alone will give me far more than $1 worth of pleasure.

Pages from My Garden by Mary Russell Mitford

Hiking trail up to the bluff at Ebey’s Landing

When I have company from out-of-town, I like to take them to Ebey’s Landing, one of my favorite hikes on Whidbey Island.  This loop trail provides a perfect slice of Pacific Northwest life — a ferry ride to get there, expansive views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, bucolic rural scenery, and a beach walk.  It’s not too strenuous, and a breeze keeps you cool even on a hot, sunny summer day.

We experienced a special treat on this most recent hike — a plein air artist was working on a landscape in oil pastels.  I always love to see artists at work.

Easel and trays of oil pastels at Ebey’s Landing

Steven R. Hill, plein air artist

An artist’s hands

Plein air art at Ebey’s Landing

View from Ebey’s Landing: a rural landscape with Mount Baker on the horizon

View out over Puget Sound

Looking down at the lagoon from the bluff at Ebey’s Landing

View of Olympic Mountains from across Puget Sound

The Glasshouse at Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle

My sister and her husband were visiting from Wisconsin, and while playing tourist in Seattle, I finally went to see the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum that opened earlier this year.  The exhibition surpassed my expectations.  I’m sure it will become a top tourist site for Seattle, but like the Pike Place Market, it should also be a go-to destination for those of us who live here.  I’ll be returning, especially if they host special exhibits from time to time.

Some of the Chihuly pieces on display at Chihuly Garden and Glass are familiar, like old friends.  The Northwest Room was similar to the exhibit I saw at the Tacoma Art Museum in June 2011.  The Persian Ceiling feels similar to the Bridge of Glass in Tacoma.  But there were many, many new pieces too.  I loved how room opened upon room, each stunning in a new way.  Here’s a virtual tour:

Glass Forest

The Northwest Room

Glass baskets in the Northwest Room, inspired by Chihuly’s collection of Native woven baskets

Chihuly glass and his collection of Native trade blankets

Chihuly’s collection of Edward Curtis prints on the wall leading to the Sealife Room

Sealife Room

The Sealife Room opened into the room with the Persian Ceiling

Awestruck visitors take in the Persian Ceiling

Strategically placed benches allowed you to rest a while and immerse yourself in the art

The Persian Ceiling Room, with its reflections, was my favorite part of Chihuly Garden and Glass.

Doorway to the Milli Fiori Room

The glass sculptures were dramatically lit in the black room.

Detail, glass sculptures in Milli Fiori room

Detail, glass sculptures in the Milli Fiori room

Ikebana and Float Boat

Chihuly’s paintings are energetic and colorful.

Next, a room of glass chandeliers

Orange chandelier

Detail, chandeliers

Macchia Forest Room

Detail, glass sculpture in Macchia Forest Room

Glasshouse, Chihuly Garden and Glass

Tomorrow’s post will take you into the Garden.  Stay tuned!

Snow-capped Mount Baker dominates this Skagit Valley view

Winter offers its own pleasures in the rural Skagit Valley, a one-hour drive north of Seattle.  We were on the lookout for trumpeter swans and snow geese on our most recent trip.  We saw the birds, but they had settled to feed some distance from the road.  It’s always awesome to see and hear the great flocks in flight, even if they were too far away for good photos.

Trumpeter swans in flight

Trumpeter swan

Skagit Valley in February

Summer Day Trips

August 16, 2010

This week I took advantage of the summer weather and spent my day off on a road trip to Whidbey Island.  Instead of taking the ferry, I drove through the Skagit Valley and then crossed the Deception Pass Bridge onto the north end of Whidbey Island.  I was by myself, so I could stop on a whim whenever something caught my eye.  It was a perfect day, and I took enough photos for four blog posts!

Barn painting at the Skagit River Produce stand near Conway, WA

I love driving country roads where I can go slow without holding up traffic.

Skagit Valley wheat field with old fence

I stopped at Roozengaarde Flowers & Bulbs

The snapdragons at Roozengaarde were amazingly colorful.

Curtained window at the Rustic Door antiques shop