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Travel Planning

June 16th, 2014

In a few months my mom and I will be taking a trip to Seattle. I have visited many times, Mr Chiots and I actually went there on our honeymoon 16 years ago, but my mom has never been. We thought taking a trip together each year would be a great way to spend time together since we live so far apart now.  Since either of us would have to travel for a visit, we may as well meet up somewhere interesting.
seattle trip 2
Since I have been to Seattle before, I already have a list of things to do. Since my mom is an avid gardener we’ll definitely enjoy visit Bloedel Reserve and the Japanese Garden.
seattle trip 4
Of course we’ll spend a day in the city visiting the Space Needle and Pike’s Place Market. No doubt we’ll drink lots of coffee and eat lots of great food as well!
seattle trip 1
seattle trip 3
There also might be a day trip to Mt Rainier if my mom wants to see the mountain.
seattle trip 5
Whenever I have been in Seattle I’ve wanted to head across the water to Victoria B.C. to see Buchart Gardens. This is on our list of possibilities, I’m debating taking the day clipper trip from Seattle or spending a few days over there. It’s so hard to choose what to do when you head out on an adventure. I like to maximize my time on vacation, but I also want to make sure we have time to relax.

Do you have any great recommendations for things to do and see or restaurants that are delicious for us to visit while in the Seattle area?

22 Comments to “Travel Planning”
  1. Misti on June 16, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Yes! We went for a week almost two years ago. I could have spent another month in that area. Visit the Hoh Rainforest if you get a chance it is spectacular! Just driving around Olympic NP and popping into all of the hiking trails and camping areas is worth the drive through that area. You won’t probably be doing any backpacking so I won’t tell you do to the Enchantment Lakes region, but you should drive up to the San Juan Islands and do a whale tour. We barely had any time to walk around the busy and touristy town of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, but I could tell the town and island would have been fun to explore.

    I’m jealous! Love that area!

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  2. Christine on June 16, 2014 at 8:32 am

    If you are planning on visiting any of the attractions (going up the space needle, the aquarium, the museums, etc), there is a package that includes five different admissions for about $65. It can save you a fortune if you plan on visiting even just a couple of sights around town.

    Reply to Christine's comment

  3. Dana on June 16, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Can’t wait to see recaps of your trip and other people’s suggestions. I’m moving from Boston to the Seattle area soon so I’d love to know what to do/see!

    Reply to Dana's comment

  4. B.Y.S. on June 16, 2014 at 9:37 am

    My parents and I are headed that way in 2 months, never been there, my Mom has once. We are taking our truck and truck camper then getting a new truck camper in Colorado then we’re headed for Vashon Island, WA.


    Reply to B.Y.S.'s comment

  5. whit on June 16, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Seattle is wonderful…it’s the best place I’ve lived so far. We actually live in a little farming community about an hour outside of Mt. Rainier NP. If I wasn’t such a mess cat, I’d totally open our home to you and your mom. I am afraid my style of housekeeping would ruin your trip though. :) We do have friends with a b n b on their little farm here. They have 3 children, and if you and your mom wouldn’t mind that, shoot me an email, and I can pass along their info.

    I’ve heard that Buchart is an amazing experience and getting to it is rather easy from Seattle. The Clipper would give you the experience of seeing the Puget Sound and the mountain ranges, passing by the islands, and maybe catching site of a whale or orca or two. Victoria is consistently written up in our news as an alternative to flying to England if you want to experience British traditions.

    Someone mentioned the Hoh forest. While it is stunning, it can be far, unless you have plans to visit the lavender farms in Sequim. An alternative to see the moss covered old growth can be a trail near Mt. R called the Federation Forest, off of Hwy 410. Up at the top of 410 (Chinook Pass) is a beautiful hike at Lake Tipsoo.

    I’ll keep thinking and get back to you. There is so much to do here, but the problem is getting around. And having down time to rest or explore is so important on a vacation like you’ll be taking.

    Reply to whit's comment

  6. amy on June 16, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Love Seattle….but it has been years since I was there….The space needle is a neat treat and the food delicious…. as was the ferry ride to Tillicum Indian Village. When I was there we saw them do tribal dancing in full costume and ate our meal with them. Very cool. Do not know if they still do this but if so worth your time.

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  7. Jennifer on June 16, 2014 at 11:30 am

    We just got back from Seattle a few weeks ago on a “scouting trip,” we are planning to move to Vashon Island and had a lovely time of house hunting/dreaming! We meant to get to Seattle but after we got off the ferry to the island we stayed put! We stayed at an awesome AirBNB where they were dog trainers and had a kennel and lived on a little farm, so we had fresh eggs for breakfast and they had amazing cherries and strawberries at farm stands all over the place. If you go to Vashon check out The Roasterie (the hub of the town). It was where they used to roast all the beans for Seattle’s Best Coffee.
    In British Columbia I also love Salt Springs Island…(one of the Gulf Islands). Enjoy!

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  8. Laura Damron on June 16, 2014 at 11:49 am

    I highly recommend visiting Bellevue Botanical Gardens (just across the lake in Bellevue) and Volunteer Park (in Seattle.)

    For a trip to BC- VanDusen Botanical Garden is a must-see, along with the University of BC’s Botanical Garden.

    I first visited these amazing gardens when I was in college studying horticulture- every weekend we had plant identification labs off-site at various gardens (public and private) around the area. I have a book somewhere around here with more locations listed in it. I’ll have to dig it out and make sure I haven’t missed any of the big ones.

    Enjoy your trip to our beautiful area! Oh, and FWIW, I do recommend spending a day or two in Victoria, BC. It’s a charming town. :)

    Reply to Laura Damron's comment

  9. Darah on June 16, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Buchart gardens is amazing- well worth the trip. And really Victoria is a great city, different from other cities around there. I don’t think you would regret it if you went either for just one day or a few. Enjoy!

    Reply to Darah's comment

  10. Kyle on June 16, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Seriously, skip the Space Needle / PPM. They’re just not that great. If you want to do good food/good coffee, get into one of the neighborhoods. There are so many interesting things happening in Seattle, particularly in Ballard, it’d be a shame to waste a day on a tourist trap!

    Reply to Kyle's comment

    • Susy on June 16, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      We stayed down in West Seattle last time in a house and we loved the neighborhood. We tried different local coffee houses and restaurants each day. This time we’re renting a cottage on Alki beach, should be nice as well.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. Kristen on June 16, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    We took the day clipper from Bellingham to Victoria and went to Butchart gardens. It did give my visiting relatives a taste of Butchart and we looked for whales (with no luck) on the boat ride. There was no time to look around Victoria itself. I would have to say it was an exhausting day with a tight schedule rather than a true “vacation” day.

    Reply to Kristen's comment

  12. Chris on June 16, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    I too live in a small town about an hr. south of Seattle (Gig Harbor), and as the others have said, there is just so much to do and see here, it’s hard to list them all. Being right on Puget Sound and if you like shellfish and or salmon, you won’t find it any fresher or prepared any better than here. If you have the time, Whidbey Island is another, not to miss destination not far from Seattle. Ebey’s Landing hike there is stunning and the little town of Langley has beautiful, waterfront gardens, parks, amazing restaurants, art galleries, etc. It is one of the most picturesque spots in the Northwest. The island has 2 or 3 wonderful nurseries to visit as well.
    Yes, definitely see Butchart Gardens…if that’s all you’re going to see in Victoria then take the Clipper, otherwise stay in one of their charming B&B’s to explore more of Victoria! The Oympic Peninsula Rainforest and Mt. Rainier Nat. Park are also have to see places for stunning scenery!
    The list goes on and hopefully you are going in September sometime…that’s the best time of year here, to travel..usually still dry and sunny! After that…not so much…until the following June or July! :)

    Reply to Chris's comment

    • Susy on June 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      I was just offered a rental house in Gig Harbor – too funny.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  13. Lindsey @HalfDimeHomestead on June 17, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    I live here – it is so funny to see people talking about visiting my city! (To be totally fair, I’m a bit south, but whenever we head to West Seattle, we look at the skyline and my daughter shouts – “It’s my city, mama!”)
    Head out to West Seattle (1-5 south, West Seattle Bridge exit) and grab some fish and chips from the Spud. It’s an institution. You can then sit on the beach and watch the ferries trundle past on their runs to Bainbridge, Vashon and elsewhere. It’s gorgeous.
    There’s also a guy across the street from the public market (Sorry – Pike Place) who sells humbow out of a hole in the wall little place that’s really just a glass case full of deliciousness. Get the veggie one. SO GOOD.
    Have fun! Avoid 1-5 south or north anytime between 3:30-6:00pm and the 405 bridge is usually closed on the weekends for repairs so the downtown corridor can sometimes get really clogged.

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  14. Lauren on June 17, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Vancouver-ite here but Victoria is lovely and if you could spend a full day or maybe two you might enjoy it more than trying to get there and back on the same day.

    I’ll second the Whidbey Island comments if you have the time! We spent a few weeks camping there every summer when I was a child and it is amazing! You would find lots of nice places to hike and there are beautiful photo opportunities all around.

    Have you heard about the Experience Music Project (near the Space Needle)? I’m not sure you would be interested, and it may depend on the exhibit when you visit, but it is a fascinating interactive museum/attraction. I’m not a big music lover but I usually visit Seattle with my sister and she definitely is so we go to the EMP (/SciFi museum) each time. I find the museum interesting for the sort of sociological perspective it offers and she loves it mainly for the music/pop culture history.

    Reply to Lauren's comment

  15. Colleen on June 19, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    You have gotten lot of great ideas.You could spend a month in the greater Seattle area and still not get to see everything. Even after living close by, about two hours north on a small island in the San Juans, for most of my life, I still have not seen many of the places people have mentioned. Here are a few more for you to think about.

    You may know of the water taxi that can take you from Alki to the Seattle waterfront. Its about $4 or so.Runs every 30mins. Close by the water taxi to eat, the Marination Station. In West Seattle, Bakery Nouveau. Seattle has a new attraction, The Seattle Great Wheel, a ferris wheel right on the
    water. If you go, try to go at sunset. Captiol Hill is an eclectic area, full of little shops and many places to eat. The Wandering Goose is fun, there is
    outdoor seating available and is often quite full. A couple coffee shops,
    Vivace and Bauhaus. Volunteer Park Cafe, often crowded, but good food.Its located in a neighborhood. Also on Capitol Hill, Melrose Market, I have not gone myself, but all local grown and made products.Collection of shops and resturant, cheese shop, a butcher, seafood, and others. There are many Farmers Markets around the city. One in Ballard, on Saturdays, is quite good. Also in Ballard, if you like oysters (I do not) the Walrus and the Carpenter.

    Of course, the mountains. Rainier, St. Helens, Baker etc. each one amazing.

    As far as visiting Victoria, I highly recommended it. It is beautiful and full of things to look at. I have been a few times, the last time I went we took a walk on ferry from Bellingham. The ride is amazing through the San Juan Islands, this option was about three hours long. We did see whales both coming and going. On the return trip, three different pods. You don’t really need a car, you can walk from the ferry terminal to the town and there are many places close by to stay. The Fishermans Warf is the home to many house boats, fun to walk around and look at these quaint homes and you can even rent some. They have double decker busses with a ‘hop on hop off’ service. You get a pass for the day and tour all over the city, getting off and on wherever you want. Butchart Gardens, wonderful.

    Happy trip planning.

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  16. Ms. Tweetley on June 20, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    The Seattle Times has an article today about visiting Seattle that you might like to read. It’s at:

    Reply to Ms. Tweetley's comment

    • Susy on June 21, 2014 at 8:38 am


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  17. Sherri on June 21, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Suzy, I am from Victoria (grew up there) and I must say that Buchart Gardens is NOT to be missed! Not only is it a must see, but Victoria itself is awash in flowers and gardens – it’s known the world over as a botanical city. The downtown area is FULL of hanging baskets and gardens, plus there are many beautiful English/Tudor style homes/buildings with gorgeous gardens. The inner harbour area is so pretty – you can take a horse drawn carriage ride which is a lovely way to see the sights without exhausting yourself. There are English style double decker bus tours as well – but my favourite would be the horse drawn carriage. So fun! Your Mom will LOVE it if she is a gardener. You will never regret the side trip – Victoria will become a favourite destination, I promise you :)

    Reply to Sherri's comment

    • Susy on June 21, 2014 at 8:39 am

      Thanks, we’re hoping to be able to take a day to go up. Mr Chiots and I are thinking we might take a couple days or a week in Victoria in the next couple of years. It seems like a place we’d enjoy.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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