I met Emily my freshman year of college (13 years ago!). We graduated early together and celebrated with a wild (for us anyway) 6-week backpacking trip through Europe. That trip cemented our friendship. She's one of those friends who I can go weeks without talking to (not by choice! We just haven't lived in the same state for years), but we can click again immediately on sight, updating each other on our lives; our families; our plans; and our memories of bedbugs in Rome, Scottsmen in a pool in Venice, Guy Friday tours in Dover, gummies and caviar with Thor on a train, and Muppet bugs in Smurflet huts.
Which is why I was so excited to go visit her last weekend. While she lived in Grand Junction, I got to hang out with her every time I went home to see my parents. Sadly, that was not to last. She moved to Mount Vernon, WA a few months ago with her family. I figured my spring break was an excellent time to see her and see a bit of the northwest.
I was met at the airport by three very mysterious figures in fedoras and sunglasses. Caitlyn (5) cried, "Manda!" wrapped her arms around my legs, and asked, "Did you bring the swimming pool?" She is a big fan of my parents' house still, it seems.
We marked the first day with trips to three different grocery stores: Whole Foods for lunch at their salad bar, the Co-Op in Mt. Vernon for fun, and Hagaan's for fish and chips for the grown-ups' dinner.
Saturday started slow - I hung out with Caitlyn and Logan watching Curious George cartoons while Emily slept in. Logan wasn't feeling too hot, so we didn't really get going until the afternoon. Fortunately, Ben had finished his work for the day as well by then, so he could join us for our adventure.
We drove north to Bellingham to see a sculpture garden.
It was chilly but not raining, and the flora was beginning to bloom:
Logan still wasn't feeling great, but that didn't deter out next destination... another grocery store! No, seriously. This time it was Trader Joe's. Caitlyn and I shopped for treats while Emily, Ben, and Logan got more nutritious fare:
While driving around Bellinghmam we spied an enticing sign: Artisan Cheese. Thus we discovered Quel Fromage and sampled many of their wares. Thus, after taking a gorgeous senic route home along the sound,
the grownups got another grownup dinner - this:
along with orange chicken from Trader Joe's, which we enjoyed while watching the BBC's The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Ultimate-Husband Ben had Monday off work, so he offered to watch the kiddos while Emily and I could run away to Seattle for a few days. Sunday morning we loaded up the car, swung by their church so Emily could fulfill her calling (she's RS secretary and a slave of duty), and drove to the Emerald City.
Emily booked us a room at a lovely hotel with an excellent location. After dropping off the car and our luggage, we ran through this fountain:
on our way to find lunch (gyros and baklava - yum!) at Pikes Place Market:
Then on to the Seattle Art Museum!
We saw a special exhibit on Calder, a Korean Dress Outfit made of dogtags, a giant rat sitting on a sleeping man's chest, and this
We also found the hands-on section for kids. And for us, of course.
Like good visitors to the Pacific Northwest, we sought out seafood for dinner. At Ivar's Acres of Clams, we discovered the joy of happy hour. We ordered several discounted ocean-based entrees to share:
but declared the argula, beets, and goat cheese salad with vanilla vinaigrette the winner of the meal.
We called it an early night, walked back to the hotel along the waterfront,
and settled in to watch Iron Chef while eating gourmet popcorn in bed.
Monday we ate several breakfasts while enjoying the sights of Pikes Place Market:
(Cinnamon Roll with slices of apple baked in!)
We also found a little used bookstore in there, run by a delightful Russian fellow. From there, we walked to Pioneer Park, stopping off to buy umbrellas since, being Seattle, it had decided to rain.
We walked to Pioneer Park, enjoying the sights,
shopping for fun vintage-inspired clothes, and browsing a mystery bookstore.
We capped off the day by visiting this favorite place of mine
by finding some excellent Thai food at a restaurant near the University, and by stopping off at a third bookstore (a huge Barnes and Noble's) to browse with steamed milks in hands.
Oh! We also found a haberdashery and got ourselves a little style
Caitlyn modeled my hat for me the next morning:
It was a sad morning, since I had to fly home. Logan executed his best grumpy face
and I bid a sad farewell to Emily and the kiddos.
Exactly how I feel, Cailtyn!
In short, it was an excellent trip, the Walls make excellent hosts, and I couldn't be luckier than to have Emily as a friend.