We’re new to the whole houseguest thing, but boy, are we making up for lost time. The past few months have seen five visits from friends and family (including one visit of SEVEN people at once). We did our best to be good hosts, but I confess that every trip included at least one day where one of us wanted to curl into the fetal position until everyone went home. This is what I’ve learned (the hard way):
1. Know your visitors. Don’t expect anyone to do something that you suspect they won’t be comfortable doing. Friend has a fear of driving in a strange city? Accept it and be prepared to chauffeur — or line up other people who will.
2. Hire a housecleaner. We didn’t, and the stress of doing a last-minute deep clean on top of making beds and putting out towels and blowing up air mattresses almost did us in.
3. Don’t buy too much food ahead of time. Once everyone has settled in a bit, make the first outing a trip to the grocery store. Everyone will have what they like to eat — and they’ll chip in for provisions, too.
4. Be realistic about your plans. I had visions of how I would WOW my visitors with the best of Seattle each day. And then I spent more time stressing over trying to fit it all in than enjoying being with the people who were also there to see me. Really, planning one outing per day is FINE.
5. But do plan. Ask people what kinds of things they want to do when in town — Outdoorsy? Touristy? Shopping? — and make a daily schedule ahead of time. You can always dump the schedule later, but it will save time and brain cells by not having the “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” conversation each day.
So those are my tips. What are yours? –Mary T.
Have you ever had the chance to watch more than 40 bald eagles in their natural habitat less than 50 feet away? Neither had I, until we visited Neah Bay on the Olympic Peninsula.
We got up early to drive from Lake Crescent to Cape Flattery, the most northwest point of the U.S. This turned out to take three hours — the Peninsula isn’t huge, but because most of it is covered in national parks and forests, there isn’t an incredibly direct route. Cape Flattery, part of the Makah Nation, is home to water an astounding shade of blue and sea caves that echo the bellows of sea lions. After walking the trails along the tops of the rocks, we decided to find a walkable beach.
We ended up a few minutes away on Hobuck Beach. Though guidebooks tell us that Hobuck is popular with surfers, around 3 in the afternoon the beach was utterly deserted. It was low tide, so we spent a good hour wandering about exploring the tide pools. Never had we seen so many fat, colorful starfish, mint-green sea anemones, and enormous rocks literally jammed with mussels. Click to the link to see where we watched dozens of eagles have their evening meal! (more…)
Are you walking to the store? Taking the bus to work? Canceling that road trip? It seems that high gas prices have had that affect on a lot of people. What about you — how has the high price of gas affected you?
Photo by Chris Stevenson
We have yet to make it to the brand new Ikea store that just opened in Red Hook, Brooklyn. (The one in Paramus, NJ is soooo much closer to us on the UWS). But we’d love to hear from any readers who have made the journey — how is the store? Is it hard to get to via public transport? Is there anything about it that makes it distinctly Brooklyn? We found some great photos on Flickr, including the one above, but want some firsthand reporting. Spill it!
If you’re ever in the Seattle area, it’s worth the trip to visit the Olympic Peninsula. One of the highlights of a trip we took this past weekend was a stop at Lake Crescent Lodge. Simply put, I’m in love. Located in Olympic National Park, not only is Lake Crescent incredibly gorgeous, the inn itself gets it just exactly right in terms of what a Pacific Northwest inn should be: rustic, woodsy, and charming — never tacky.
There is a huge porch with ample chairs for enjoying the view. Fresh local catches are served at dinner. And there are incredible trails adjacent to the property — several short enough that you can fit in a hike after dinner. (A side note: I thought lodging prices were downright affordable, and for a very small fee, you can bring pets.) –Mary T. For more on this fantastic 1916 lodge and its surroundings, click below.