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Lan Su Chinese Garden, Vancouver

IMG_3681The Lan Su Chinese Garden in the Chinatown neighborhood of Vancouver, BC. is a little piece of serenity in a very busy downtown. All of the garden’s materials were brought in from the city of Suzhou, Vancouver’s sister city and built by citizens of that city. I took the 45 minute tour lead by a wonderful docent while my other family members wondered off to find their own adventures. One of the interesting facts I learned is that the decorative windows in the walls are all different and they are called leaks because they lead in light and air. More information can be found here.

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Granville Island, Vancouver BC

During our last Vancouver visit many years ago, we explored Granville Island, so I was eager to return and see if it is as wonderful as I remembered. It was even better. We took the SkyTrain into the city and then caught the bus to the market entrance.

19919280216_d4d7793528_k The first thing we did was go to the market building to grab some lunch, which we enjoyed along with the stunning view of the harbor and city.  Dear husband and I shared the mushroom pot pie.

19379968373_1c47338dce_o(1)19993094492_21c5710e37_oLater we strolled through the busy market with its many buildings, enjoying the unusual produce, delis and gift items. It is a foodie mecca. In 1915 the island was created from reclaimed land and became home to industrial uses and in the late 1970s it developed into its current mixed use.

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Hooked Fish Bar has a view!

IMG_3629We hadn’t been to Vancouver in well over 20 years and it was past time. So dear husband and I gathered up dear daughter and off we went. Along the way we stopped at the Vancouver Airport and picked up her boyfriend. Once at the hotel we asked for a dinner recommendation  and we were sent to Hooked Fish Bar at Crescent Beach area. I had the fish tacos, dh had the fish & chips, dd had the salmon burger and bf had the mussels. We shared some poutine, a first for dh who took right to them! Afterwards we walked along the beach and even into the water, gathering shells, admiring the view and generally playing.

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Federal Way Farmer’s Market

imageFederal Way has a pretty righteous farmer’s market located in the parking lot next to Sears at the Federal Way Commons. It has a nice mix of farmers and crafts people and this Saturday there was also a safety fair going on with a fire truck and police dogs.  I enjoyed some delicious fish tacos (2 tacos for $8) and homemade lemonade from The Frying Dutchman and bought two pair of earrings (2 pair for $5!). For more information, check out their website.

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Tacoma Cemetery Living History Tour

imageOnce a year, the Tacoma Historical Society, Tacoma Cemetery and the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum join forces to produce a Living History Tour.  Each historical reenactor is from the Fort Nisqually Time Travelers and has assumed the role of a Tacoma citizen in the time period around World War I.  This is the 7th tour and the first that I remember that photography was allowed as long as we waited until the end of each talk and didn’t bother the actors.

The list of those represented is here. Thanks to Tacoma Weekly!

  • Alexander Baillie (with the golf club)-  the founder of Tacoma Country & Golf Club. It isn’t often you actually see a twinkle in somebody’s eye! I loved the story about how he imported golf clubs from his beloved Scotland. When the port didn’t know what they were, he convinced the port officials that they were farming equipment so he had less of a tax burden.
  • Annie Brown (white dress) – Annie and Oscar were the lighthouse keepers at Brown’s Point for many years. When she teared up talking about how she missed the lighthouse in her old age, I sniffed a little myself.
  • Ada Bel Tutton Gifford (red dress) had a great hat, as she should since she owned a millinery shop on Broadway Avenue. I loved her pride in her accomplishments.
  • Chester Thorne (arms to side), owner of Thornwood Castle and accomplished local businessman. He owned a yacht name the El Primero and President Taft was one of his more famous guests on it. He lost the yacht in a poker game.
  • Peter Wallerich (hands folded in front), told some of his story in rhyme. He was responsible for the automotive industry situating on South Tacoma Way and bought the Northern Pacific Bank.
  • Hugh and Mildred Wallace (couple) each told their stories of being part of high society. He was the ambassador to France and the French often honored him. She was the much loved daughter of a Chief Justice. They donated the clock tower chimes in Old City Hall to honor their daughter who died. Note to self, their house is still standing at 402 North J.
  • W.F. Sheard (with chair) has a shop across the street from the Tacoma Hotel and was well known for his furs. He is also known for designing the gold bead sight used on Winchester rifles and for bringing the totem pole in Firemen’s Park to Tacoma.

I believe the tour is full for today, but you can contact the Tacoma Historical Society to double check. And make a note to go next year :)

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Little Free Library #7684, Tacoma

imageThis Little Free Library is located at 3815 South Ainsworth Avenue, south of South 38th Street and is part of the Little Free Library Project. This high quality Little Free Library has a lovely varnished wood with details including side windows and a sun. There is a little walk up area also. Inside there are over a dozen books, with an emphasis on good quality children’s chapter books. For the first time, I found a book I actually wanted, Tacoma-Pierce Co Walking Guide.

Little Free Libraries is part of a community movement which offers free books. When I considered my first Little Free Library in November 2012, a Wikipedia article informed me that there were over 200 of these libraries. Per their website, there are now over 25,000!  Each of the libraries is registered and can be located by their GPS coordinates.

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The Boulders Near the Tacoma Public Library Main Branch

stones on parking stripThe boulders were dropped on the parking strip on Earnest S. Brazill Street between Tacoma Avenue South and Altheimer Street in June 2015. The strip is between Tacoma Public Library Main Branch and a public parking lot and indeed it was often full of people prior to the great stone drop.  Prior to the drop, the area had been identified as one of seven “hot spots” for homeless encampments in Tacoma. When I went passed this evening there was a small group of folks on the still green strip uphill to the west of the boulders. The move was seen as controversial and it is indeed a difficult issue. It is the second boulder drop in Tacoma this year with the other drop being under I-705 near the Dock Street offramp.

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Let's Eat

Chamber’s Bay Whole Foods

16793848633_738f3a9fab_kI was pretty excited when I learned that Whole Foods was opening up a location in University Place (Chambers Bay Whole Foods, 3515 Bridgeport Way West, University Place, WA 98466). We had a Whole Foods near us (kind of) when we lived in Dallas and I’ve always enjoyed shopping there. My day to day shopping is elsewhere, but Whole Foods was a pleasure for a once in a while treat.

I went to Chambers Bay Whole Food’s grand opening with live music and free samples. It was a lively event! But yesterday I went back to see how they are doing now that the opening is over and the US Open has left town.

The good points are.

  • Their employees are helpful, cheerful and knowledgeable.
  • Free samples! Lots of delicious fresh fruit and even a little wine.
  • There is plenty of parking and an entire underground parking lot also.
  • Plenty of ‘to go’ meal options including pizza by the slice, salad bar, hot food bar, juice bar, coffee bar with adjacent bakery, a bar bar (yes, you can have beer or wine with your pizza there in the store!) and other made to order goods.
  • They have a lovely Facebook Page.
  • Their website is also well done.
  • They have a good selection of local produce and other goods. For example there is an upcoming brewer’s night with local beer brewers.
  • All kinds of products that I don’t see elsewhere.
  • I love the octopus on the narrows bridge art over the cheese shop!

The less than good points are:

  • Well, they are expensive. For example the leg cramp medicine my husband uses was 1/3 more expensive than it is on Amazon. Though I found quite a few reasonably priced items and some of the sale items (I love their soaps) were a steal!
  • This location doesn’t carry Tom’s Shoes, which is what brought me there. In fact they have very little in the way of clothes. That’s OK, if I want clothes with my groceries I go to Fred Meyers. Though I really wanted to check the fit on the new Tom’s sneakers.
  • Like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods doesn’t stock most day to day items, so if I want Pepsi or Oreo Cookies, I need to go elsewhere. They do have healthy options to sodas and sweets.
  • I was looking forward to taking a class or two there and they don’t seem to be set up for that. Maybe in the future.

The good outweighs the not so good and I’m delighted that they are here.

 

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The End of the Wildflowers – Six Weeks Early

imageI finally made it up to Mt. Rainier to see this year’s wildflowers. Normally they are just starting to be in full bloom. The National Park Service’s website says “Mount Rainer’s renowned wildflowers bloom for a limited amount of time every year. The “peak” bloom for wildflowers is heavily dependent on weather and precipitation patterns, so accurate predictions are difficult. In most years, many flowers will be blooming by mid-July, and by the first of August the meadows should be very impressive.” This year because of our ongoing heatwave the wildflowers came into bloom six to eight weeks early, so I was catching the last of them. But still they were lovely and it was great to hike around and see the new to me visitor’s center. Driving up and down the mountain and even hiking around was like being in a cloud. When I crossed the bridge over the Nisqually River, I couldn’t even see much of the bridge and nothing to either side. It was a real leap of faith to keep going!

imageThis sign was displayed at the trail head and it made me wonder what the snowfall was for the year that just passed. 2014-2015 was a new record of low snowfall with only 266 inches. That is not a good thing impacting the glaciers, lake levels, skiing, fish migration and the water that will be available to Washington residents this year.

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Good Year Blimp

Goodyear Blimp over University Place

Good Year BlimpI hadn’t seen the Good Year Blimp in years, but there it was flying over University Place during the U.S. Open. This photo was taken on June 18th and it is the very best that my camera could do on full zoom.

There are three Goodyear blimps in the fleet and I suspect that this one is the Spirit of America, which is based out of Carson, California. More information on this particular blimp can be found here. The official Goodyear Blimp website has a great deal more information about these wonderful, helium filled flight machines. They have a regularly updated Facebook page too!

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