On the plane bound for Seattle, I was reciting my usual prayer whenever I head this way,”let it be sunny-oh, please…let it be sunny”. And what do you know? Two days into our stay, I was granted my wish and the sun shined (I am not mentioning how many days, it didn’t).
For the first time, I chose to stay outside the big city. Our first stop was the mini Sonoma of Seattle, Woodinville, a mere half hour drive Northeast of Seattle. As I got out of highway 405 and drove closer to Willows Lodge (our lodging); I padded myself in the back. What can I say? Every once in a while, one gets lucky and makes that perfect choice.Farmlands, tall trees, pristine vineyards and serenity- great ingredients for a relaxing weekend.
After checking into the hotel and checking out our room, we immediately concentrated on two important things: something to drink and something to eat; and in that order. So, we headed for Chateau St Michelle, sitting pretty and innocent just across the road from our hotel. One of my traveling buddies had a nostalgic encounter as we visited the winery. He once had a picnic lunch there many years ago when he was living in Seattle with his aunt and attending Seattle U. We walked around the beautifully landscaped grounds, had a quick wine tasting and bought a couple of wines for gift giving. As our stomachs growled louder; we quickly made our way to the nearby Purple Cafe. A thin crust pizza, a fantastic mushroom lasagna and yes, another glass of local wine were ordered and quickly devoured. With bellies well stuffed; we took a mostly motorized tour of the small downtown and I had the least expensive frozen treat since I was a teenager. I fixed myself a TCBY cup of frozen yogurt for a grand total of one dollar!!! Granted, I had poured such small amount of yogurt that it was barely peaking out of the cone and the cashier had to ask the manager for the price- still, that was all I wanted and it was such a freedom to dish out your own frozen yogurt for as little as you wished. We were all done in by around 5 and headed back to the hotel. The grounds of Willows Lodge are nicely done. There are a couple of ponds, unique sculptures, fire pits, gazebos and of course, beautiful shrubs and flowers.
Dinner was at the Lodge’s famous restaurant, Barking Frog, at the company of my cousin and his sweet wife (he is sweet, too). Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and atmosphere with great food! The next day we were invited for a boat ride to San Juan islands. In spite of the gloomy sky; it was a great experience and we were so well taken care of by a colleague and his family. We even saw a few seals.
I also managed to squeeze in a bit of work and had a tour of Cascade Yarns on Monday (a.k.a the Sunny Day). A valuable visit and time well spent. Afterwards, I drove to Kirkland, about 15 minutes Northeast of Seattle. My traveling buddy’s aunt, Parveen, was our host (and a great one at that) for the next couple of days. She and I happen to share a love for Iranian poetry and even love the same Poets. One more thing- I was stunned to see a copy of my prized book of Omar Khayyam Rubaiyat on her table.
If the weather was just a bit warmer, not as windy and not raining; we had plans to do a leisurely canoe ride. Instead, we took a stroll and visited the Japanese Garden.
Kirkland’s downtown is compact and charming filled with many shops, restaurants and parks. We took walks along the long stretch of waterfront promenade; where one could see the faint sillouhette of Seattle’s skyline across the water.
We tend to envy what we don’t have or hold. Weather is no exception. While complaining about Seattle’s overcast sky and cool summer temperature of mostly around low 60′s; we headed home to be greeted by a temperature of near 100 degrees and blazing hot sunny sky.
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