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Olympic National Park – Part 1


Goodbye to Bainbridge Island, and now on to Washington’s Olympic National Park, the favorite of my husband and our son.  This travel day was amazing to me because of the variety of geography we enjoyed in a period of less than 24 hours.  We began our day here at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.

Dungeness National Wildlife Area WashingtonDungeness is a sand spit that juts 5 1/2 miles out into the water, the longest spit in the United States.

Dungeness National Wildlife Area Olympic National ParkDue to a tight driving schedule for the day, we did not walk its entirety that morning, but if we had, we would have arrived at New Dungeness Light.  You can tour it if you hike the spit to get there, or even better, you can stay there with your family or a small group of friends for a week to actually be the lighthouse keepers. (The week before Christmas is the only availability left for this year.) I’ve always thought that would be something fun and interesting to do.

New Dungeness Lighthouse Washingtonsource

We left the Dungeness area after hiking about half its distance and drove for a little over an hour.
This was our next view…

Olympic National Park WAWelcome to Hurricane Ridge!
(And yes, there was an avalanche hazard for the day.)

olympic national park hurricane ridgeRemember how I was wanting snow last winter and never saw any?
Well Hurricane Ridge gave me my snow. 🙂

snow at Hurricane Ridge WAGorgeous snow all around!

road with snow Hurricane RidgeAfter exploring that area, we hopped back in the car, drove a little over an hour again to arrive here.
Hello beautiful Lake Crescent. 🙂

Lake CrescentThis was my favorite stop in Olympic National Park.

Lake Crescent LodgeUnfortunately we were one week away from their opening for the summer season. 🙁

Lake Crescent Lodge cabinsBut when we return, I hope we will stay in one of these cozy cabins.

cabins Lake Crescent Lodge

It was just so peaceful there.  (But I imagine when it is open, it is quite busy and probably not quite as peaceful.)

Lake Crescent Lodge Olympic National ParkI took this photo looking through one of their sunroom windows.
Wicker Heaven, just waiting to be put out!

wicker at Lake Crescent LodgeWhen it is open, this is what the sunroom looks like.

Lake Crescent Lodge sunroomsource

We walked all around their beach area on that sunny day.

Lake Crescent Olympic National Park

And then it was time for another hour or so drive.
This was the view out the window this time.

Olympic National ParkSoon we passed these cute ranger stations.

ranger station Sole DuckAnd stopped here for a hike.

trail sign SoleduckThese are the Soleduck Falls.  This photograph does not do them justice because it is hard to capture their magnitude.  To put it in perspective, that “pole” going across the water at the bottom is actually a very large tree trunk, and if you look near the top of the photo you can see a man standing on one of the rocks there.

Soleduck Falls Olympic National ParkThe area also has a lodge with hot springs and cabins.

Sol Duc Hot Springs Olympic National Parksource

But we did not stay there.  Instead we once again hopped back in the car after our hike, drove another period of a little more than an hour and arrived at the Pacific Ocean right at sunset.

sunset Olympic National Park

 This is where we stayed for the night.

lodge Olympic National ParkAnd I’ll tell you all about it in the next post.  🙂

Olympic National Park is huge, and its variety of terrain is simply wonderful.  It was amazing to me that we could experience the longest sand spit in the United Stated, snow on top of mountains, a gorgeous peaceful lake, a raging river, cascading waterfalls, and a beach at the Pacific Ocean all in a matter of one day.  Thank you so much for following along with us on this adventure.  I’ll have two beautiful lodges for you to explore coming up.

Until next time….

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Frances in England - June 25, 2016 - 5:55 am

Thank you so much for taking us on your trip. I so wish we were doing another trip Stateside in the near future, but it is not on the cards for the moment. However, your photos and words help a great deal, allowing me to feel I am getting to explore, albeit vicariously!

Rosemary - June 25, 2016 - 2:14 am

Hi a Kelly, must be half asleep this morning as I ended up putting my comment on an earlier post instead of here, not sure how that happened!! Anyway …
What a beautiful and interesting drive Kelly, So many variations of scenery all in one day. It made me think of a day we spent, a few years ago,that started with us wearing t shirts in a sunny San Francisco, driving through the Napa Valley …still warm and sunny! Then along a very icy, snow lined road up to Lake Tahoe, where there was so much snow! My children were all quite young and promptly lay down in the snow to make “snow angels” 🙂 Such a memorable day …as I’m sure yours was. Keep having fun and enjoying your travels!

julia walker - June 24, 2016 - 9:43 pm

Hi Kelly! I felt many emotions throughout your tour but your photo of the sunset on the ocean literally took my breath away! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. Your friend in Cincy, Julia

Tricia - June 24, 2016 - 7:04 pm

Hi Kelly! What a wonderful day you must have had. It’s funny to see the snow banks and your son in shorts! Love the little cottages, so cute. Having never been to the west coast it’s nice to share in your adventure. Thank you!

Barbara Livdahl - June 24, 2016 - 2:19 pm

I am so happy you enjoyed the park! We have enjoyed many times there with family in all our years here in WA.

Gina - June 24, 2016 - 1:28 pm

What a beautiful place to visit and explore!! That snow!! Wow, I couldn’t believe how deep! I loved the little cabins too and the wicker. What an inviting spot that must be when it is open. 🙂 The sunset was stunning too. Thanks for letting us tag along another trip!! 😀

Garden, Home and Party - June 24, 2016 - 12:25 pm

What a beautiful park. I will have to add that to the list of places in the Pacific Northwest that I’d like to visit. The place you stayed looks wonderful, can’t wait to take the tour.
Your son looks very young. Is he attending college in Washington?

Vel Smith - June 24, 2016 - 12:13 pm

I’m enjoying your pieces on our beautiful state. I live in Western Washington and love these same places. Despite my 70+ years, I feel that joy of discovery like the first time. You and your blog are delightful!

Milli McDonald - June 24, 2016 - 11:19 am

Yes! The Olympic National Park is gorgeous! We stayed in one of those cabins at Crescent Lake. It was pretty peaceful. The lodge is like going into another era. It feels as though the ladies should be in long skirts and wide brimmed hats and the men suited as to the era. Beautiful photos Kelly.

Dawn - June 24, 2016 - 10:58 am


Your day trip was full of adventure and lots of different landscapes. It all looks so much fun and interesting. It would have been so hard to not walk out that sand spit to the light house. Thanks again for sharing! Take care. I can’t wait to see where you take us next.

Sandy in FWB - June 24, 2016 - 9:44 am

I am enjoying my vicarious trip to the PNW. Love it when you share your travels.

Travel Talk: Bainbridge Island – Pleasant Beach and The Bloedel Reserve

Pleasant Beach Washington

On one of our mornings on Bainbridge Island we headed over to one of the prettiest neighborhoods there – Pleasant Beach with its Tudor style architecture.  That particular style was used there with a home, several shops, and Lynwood Center all built by Emanuel and Edna Olson back in the 1930’s.  The Tudor style was a favorite of Edna’s.

Lynwood Center Bainbridge Island in the 1950ssource

Lynwood Center still stands today and is an operating theater.  Back in 2009 a company tried to build a new development there in the area, but it ran into much financial debt and the property for the new development was finally sold to John Jacobi in 2011.  He and several family members then began to work to make the neighborhood into the walkable village of Pleasant Beach – while still staying true to the original architectural style of Lynwood Center.  Just take a look at the cute street of shops there!

Pleasant Beach shops

Pleasant Beach WA shopsBesides the charming architecture, there is also some unusual sculpture scattered about.

Pleasant Beach Washington garden

And of course there is the lush landscaping like you see all over the island.

Pleasant Beach WA landscapingThere were several places with water features in the village – all with mice sculptures!

Pleasant Beach WA fountain

Pleasant Beach fountain

We had considered staying at the one inn located there  – The Inn at Pleasant Beach.

The Inn and Restaurant at Pleasant BeachUnfortunately, they did not have an availability for us at the time we needed it. I really liked the cheerful blue and yellow color scheme they used in most of the rooms.  I thought they looked more east-coast than northwest in style – which would have been perfectly fine with me. 🙂

Inn at Pleasant Beach WA suite 3source

Inn at Pleasant Beach WA suite 3 bathroom


Inn at Pleasant Beach WA suite 4source

I mentioned that the Tudor style started there with a home built by the Olsons back in the 1930s.  That home is now the village’s Manor House Restaurant,

Manor House restaurant Pleasant Beach WA


and here is a sampling of their menu.

Manor House resturaunt menu Bainbridge Islandsource

It was early in the day when we were visiting that area, so we did not have an opportunity to dine there.  After we looked around the cute shops and other places in Pleasant Beach, (complete list of merchants here) we drove to a wooded area called The Grand Forest and spent an hour hiking there.  It was not easy to find, but once inside that forest, it really was beautiful.

Grand Forest on Bainbridge Island WA

We had lunch back in Eagle Harbor, and then we drove to the magnificent Bloedel Reserve, a 150 acre public garden.  After parking you enter the gatekeeper’s cottage to purchase your tickets, and then you are free to walk the property at your own pace.

Bloedel Reserve entrance buildingHere is a gift shop located inside the gatekeeper’s cottage.

Bloedel Reserve gift shop

There are not a lot of flower beds in this garden, but numerous trees, shrubs, and ponds provide places of beauty.

Bloedel Reserve pond Bainbridge Island WA

Bloedel Reserve WA benchThis formal reflecting pool was a delightful surprise in the middle of the forest.

Bloedel Reserve reflecting poolPaths are dirt or gravel or raised walkways.

Bloedel Reserve Bainbridge Island WA walkwayAnd then there is the actual Bloedel estate home to tour.

Bloedel Reserve estate home WANotice the view out to the water framed by the front and back doors.

Bloedel Reserve WA estate home entranceMrs. Bloedel loved formal furnishings as you can see from the parlor here.

Bloedel Reserve parlorI liked the more casual library area.

Bloedel Reserve libraryAgain, you can see the formality in the chandelier and furnishings of the dining room.

Bloedel Reserve dining roomThis was one of the views from the yard behind the house.

Bloedel Reserve water viewMr. Bloedel was the one with the vision for all of the gardens.  He would consult with professional landscape designers, but in the end he would always have the final say in the design.  Among the areas of the estate he designed was a Japanese garden.

Bloedel Reserve Japanese gardenThe Zen garden in front of the guest house here was once a swimming pool enjoyed by the Bloedel’s grandchildren.  It was filled in some time in the 1980’s.

Bloedel Reserve Japanese garden buildingThere is also a moss garden within the reserve.

Bloedel Reserve moss garden

There is much much more to see of the wonderful Bloedel Reserve, but if you can’t visit it in person, then you might enjoy watching this very peaceful video of the gardens there…from a very different perspective.

Thank you so much for following us as we have traveled through this part of the United States.  Up next will be the beginning of our tour through Washington’s Olympic Peninsula – the favorite of my husband and our son. (I liked it too, just not as much as they did. 🙂 )

Until next time…

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Rosemary - June 25, 2016 - 1:59 am

What a truly beautiful and interesting drive Kelly. So many variations of scenery all in one day. It made me think of a day we spent a few years ago, that started with us wearing t shirts in a warm and sunny San Francisco, driving through the Napa Valley, still sunny. Then along a very icy, snow lined road upto Lake Tahoe where there was lots of snow!!! My children were all quite young and promptly lay down in the snow to make “snow angels” 🙂 such a memorable day …as I’m sure yours was. Keep having fun and enjoying your travels!

Barbara Livdahl - June 23, 2016 - 9:03 pm

Kelly!! The company my husband works for built the newest Lynnwood Center/Pleasant Beach Village! Isn’t it beautiful? AND, you drove right by our home to get to the Blodel Reserve!!!! We live on Dolphin Drive. Our boys used to Trick-or-Treat at the Reserve. So creepy driving past the pond to the mansion. I drive by the Grand Forest often but have not ever hiked it. Thanks for sharing my home area with your readers.

Gina - June 23, 2016 - 1:27 pm

What a peaceful tranquil garden to meander through. 🙂 And the view from the home is just gorgeous!! Looks like you had some beautiful weather!

Leslie Anne Tarabella - June 23, 2016 - 12:03 am

Built in bookcases and formal dining rooms make my heart sing. Such a pretty place, and I know you must have had a wonderful time.

Dawn - June 22, 2016 - 11:45 am


This estate is just lovely. I wonder why they filled in the pool? The lush gardens look like a great way to spend the day. Thanks for sharing!

Garden, Home and Party - June 22, 2016 - 11:29 am

What a fun trip. I loved your research on each area you visited. We’re just now cooling down from some major heat here in SoCal and your photographs made me feel much cooler just remembering the comfortable weather we have encountered with each visit.

Rosemary - June 22, 2016 - 7:06 am

I’m really enjoying this trip Kelly! Thanks for taking us all along with you 🙂
It really does seem an almost perfect place to visit ….I can imagine just strolling through the gardens, wandering around the shops …then off for a delicious meal. The mice water features are really adorable and the view to the water through the doorway is just begging us to walk through it! I took a similar photograph when we visited Watch Hill . I really wished I could just walk down to the water!!

bev - June 21, 2016 - 10:01 pm

Love your photos. I visited the Island about 7 years ago as part of a conference to learn about Islandwood Camp. I was so impressed with the facility and the vision for educating children about the ecology of the bay area.

It was fun to see the Island’s other beautiful sites. And I am with you – the yellow and blue bedroom is wonderful!

Gracia @ Gracious Offering - June 21, 2016 - 9:53 pm

Kelly, haven’t been to Bainbridge for a few years. Guess it’s time to go back! Thanks for the inspiration. You know how it is…when you live nearby these sites, you don’t always visit them until company comes. Sure would have been fun to meet up in person when you were so close! There’s always to much to see and do…and so little time!

vickie - June 21, 2016 - 8:18 pm

Thank you for taking us along on your fabulous vacation(s)!!!
Thank you for stopping by to read the posts Vickie! 🙂

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