Tidal Pools

After a lovely first night in Washington, where we ate sandwiches in front of our window overlooking the beach, we turned it early so we could get up bright and early at 5am (low tide) to go tidal pooling.  The beach right outside Kalaloch is a little restricted for tidal pooling because the little creek next to the property runs down into the water, making it difficult to cross to the rocks.  So we hopped into the car and headed to Beach 4, just five minutes up the road.

View of Beach 4

It was rainy so some of my photos are a little gloomy, but we still had fun.  We saw barnacles, mussels, anemone, snails and star fish.

Both beaches were pretty empty, probably because of the rain. 

Ruby Beach

This guy was barely hanging onto a rock so we decided to pick him up for a second to see what he felt like and so I could take a quick photo.

And then we quickly put him back on a his rock while the waves were out!

We found this giant banana slug amongst the driftwood!

And then we spotted this guy on the way back to the car, just munching on some grass in the rain.

Despite the rain, we still got to see some cool creatures and we had a blast.  Though I would totally love to go back in the summer when the weather is a little better and see some sea urchins.  Have you ever been tidal pooling?  Or does getting up at 5am to look at sea creatures sound completely insane to you?

Also, happy Friday everyone!  Any exciting plans in the works this weekend?  My sis and I are heading home to see my grandpa who's recovering from his hip surgery.  It'll be good to see him and my grandma!

**A little blog update, I changed the commenting parameters and now anyone should be able to comment on my blog without signing in.  So, please, say hi sometime and let me know you're out there!


Kalaloch Lodge

For our first night in Olympic National Park we stayed on the Washington coast at Kalaloch Lodge.  The Lodge sits on a driftwood covered beach, along with a selection of cozy looking cabins.  As soon as we checked into our room we headed down to the beach to walk around and explore for a bit.

View of Kalaloch Lodge from the beach. 

Flowers sitting among the driftwood.

The view from our room in the lodge.

Kalaloch is a great spot that I'd recommend to anyone looking for a place to stay in/around Olympic.  It's especially good for those interested in early morning tidal pooling, as the lodge is really close to some great beaches with tidal pools...but more on that later!

Also, while at Kalaloch we spotted a basset hound...
Sadly though, we didn't get a chance to say hi because he/she was taken back into the cabin after we spotted him/her.  It just made us miss Cheesy even more!


Seattle's Woodland Park Rose Garden

So, I underestimated just how many photos I took during our trip to Olympic and Seattle.  Not including iPhone photos and a couple film shots, my grand total adds up to 1,144 photos.  Ugh, I need to learn a little bit of self control.  Ha!  Who am I kidding?  That's not going to happen, unless I'm using film.  Oh, well.

While I'm still working my way through all the photos I took, the first batch I organized and edited were taken in the middle of our trip.  On our anniversary, after spending our morning running around Pike Place Market we drove a little north of downtown to the Woodland Park Rose Garden.  It's this great garden situated right next to the Seattle zoo and it's one of only a couple dozen certified American Rose Test Gardens in the US.  Oh, and it's free, with free nearby parking.  It doesn't get much better than that!

For me, our trip to the rose garden was like another anniversary present.  I've said before just how awesome Antoine is when it comes to me taking photos; he's patient and never rushes me.  Well, when we walked into the rose garden and my eyes got all wide and dilated and I went into my "pretty-flowers-must-take-pictures-of-every-single-one" mode...Antoine just continued to fuel the fire and pointed out roses that I had missed.  "Ooo, look at that one!"  "What about that one?"  "Look at the red one!"  "Did you see that one?"  It just made me smile and I had the best time wondering around, taking photos and smelling all the gorgeous roses.  They also have a little sensory garden in the back with a variety of herbs, flowers and plants, which was fun.  I'd highly recommend it to anyone.  And if I lived there I'd totally go in the afternoon with a little picnic and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the garden with Antoine and Cheese (yeah, it's dog-friendly too!).


Olympic/Seattle Trip in Instagram (and iPhone Photos)

Antoine and I just got back from our four night/five day trip to Olympic National Park and Seattle.  It was fantastic and we both fell in love with the area!  And in true Jessica fashion I took way too many pictures...I think something like 900 or 1,000.  Yeah, so those are going to take a while to sort through and edit.  So, in the mean time, here's some of my Instagram/iPhone photos from the trip. 

 Our flight to Seattle left bright and early Wednesday morning.  Luckily we had enough time to stop by the Delta Skyclub and grab some (free) breakfast before our flight left.  Oh, how I am going to miss the perks of Antoine having Diamond status when it ends next year.

 We flew from Cincinnati to Minneapolis and then Minneapolis to Seattle.  Once we picked up our rental car we stopped off in Olympia for some lunch at Fish Tale Brew Pub.  This little pub serves locally brewed beers and ciders from Fish Brewing Co.  I enjoyed a pear cider and a ham and brie sandwich, both of which were very tasty!  Antoine got an oatmeal stout and the cod and chips.  We both left full and happy.
 After lunch we stopped by Lake Quinault, which is part of Olympic National Park.  It was rainy, but we slipped on our hiking books for a small little hike by the lake.

 We spent our first night at Kalaloch Lodge on the coast.  The lodge and it's cabins sit on a small hill, with steps leading down to the beach.  We checked in and immediately made our way down to the beach to explore.

After some early morning tidal pooling in the rain and a trip to the Hoh Rainforest (also in the rain) we decided to follow the sunshine for a bit.  It led us to Clallum Bay where we walked along the beach and enjoyed a couple locally made sodas.

 We spent our next night at Lake Crescent Lodge, also known as "heaven on earth".  Seriously, this place was gorgeous.  And so tranquil.  We checked in, wandered around taking photos and then had a fantastic meal at the lodge's restaurant.  Then we shared a bottle of wine by the lake and it started to gently rain.  It was pure magic!
 After some hiking near Lake Crescent and an attempt to drive up Hurricane Ridge, we took the ferry into Seattle.  We spent our last two nights at the Westin Seattle downtown, where they were nice enough to upgrade us to a fancy deluxe suite with a killer view!

 Saturday and Sunday we dived into all the glorious food Seattle has to offer.  After our tour of Pike Place Market we enjoyed clam chowder and seafood bisque at Pike Place Chowder (AMAZING!!!).  For dinner we got some stellar wood-fired pizza from Serious Pie!  And then Sunday we got lunch at Brave Horse Tavern where we had a pretzel with smoked peanut butter and bacon...along with a burger with smoke blue cheese and these amazing smashed potatoes (that came with Antoine's chicken fried steak) and some kick-ass ginger ale from Silver City Brewery!

After lunch and a trip to the Volunteer Park Conservatory and the Kubota Garden, Antoine and I were a couple hours early to the airport so we hung out in the Skyclub and proceeded to get pretty drunk.  Luckily, this meant I was actually able to sleep on the plane, an almost unheard of thing for me!

I'm not sure at this point when I'll be able to share the photos from the rest of our trip, as my grandpa fell and broke his hip this weekend and I will be heading up to north to see him and the rest of my family for a couple days.  But once I do get all those photos sorted, prepare yourself for nonstop Seattle/Olympic goodness!


5 Years Together

Five years ago today Antoine and I went on our first date.  That day is the day by which we mark the start of our relationship.  The past five years have been some of the best of my life.  We bought a house, started a little furry family and traveled and seen new places together.  Though we have not gone without our hardships and problems, together we've come out stronger and happier than ever!  And each day my love for him grows.  I am so thankful for this life and love we have, and I eagerly look forward to many, many more years together.

Now, when it came to thinking up a good gift for Antoine nothing that came to mind seemed fitting.  Sure, he'd like whatever I got him, but none of my ideas seemed fitting for 5 years I decided to make him a book.  It's an accordion style books with photos of us and places we've been together.  Since traveling has become such a big part of our relationship and is one of the things we enjoy doing most together, it only seemed right to include these photos.  Here's a little look...

For our anniversary, we're spending the day exploring Seattle!  We're starting the day off with a Pike Place market tour and we'll be ending the day with dinner at the Pink Door.