Last week Karen and I resumed out trips to small towns. It was a beautiful day to visit the Montesano courthouse and walk along the residential streets.
The courthouse was damaged in the 1999 earthquake and I didn’t know if it was open. It was, in fact, the work to repair the quake damage led it to be restored to its former glory. The courthouse today is considered one of Washington finest and is an important part of the state’s architectural history.
The entrance is through the side making the building look like it is closed. Karen and I took a self-tour of the building. The murals in the rotunda are some of many throughout the courthouse.
Just seeing the courthouse is worth the trip but the town itself is an experience. The 1987 survey made by the state referred to the county’s collection of homes as “the richest in the state”.
It was a beautiful day so when we left the courthouse we wandered down some streets. Many of the homes looked to be in the process of renovation but the Hubble House was in perfect condition and is for sale. The listing reads 5 bedrooms – 5.25 bathrooms and 5352 square feet. It was built in 1903.
Of course, we finished off with lunch stopping at a Mexican restaurant recommended from people we met at the courthouse.
Visiting small towns are one of my favorite out and about days.
Last week, we spent a few days in leafy Warwickshire (Shakespeare Country) and, since we lived in the area about thirty five years ago, took the opportunity to visit some of our old haunts. Stratford-on-Avon, where we spent many happy hours showing visitors around Shakespeare’s town (especially his birthplace, pictured), then on to Leamington Spa, where I used to work, and a day spent in the city of Coventry which, for me, was the highlight of our trip.
Coventry is probably best known for it’s medieval cathedral, which was bombed in November 1940 and left in ruins. At the end of World War II, it was decided to build the new cathedral beside the ruins of the old one as a symbol of hope, peace and reconciliation. Unfortunately, the photo I took is too blurry to post, but there are many great images on Google if you’d like to check them out.
Another reason for Coventry’s fame is the story of Lady Godiva. According to legend, she was the wife of a powerful tyrant lord who demanded high taxes from the people of Coventry. Lady Godiva asked her husband to stop this tax since she knew it was causing such hardship amongst the people she loved. He allegedly told her that he would do so if she rode naked through Coventry.
Lady Godiva took him at his word, and with only her long blonde hair covering her naked body she rode through Coventry on market day. Pious and modest, Lady Godiva is said to have sent word to the townspeople that they should go inside their homes and not watch as she rode by. Because they loved her and knew she was doing it to save them hardship, they complied. Except one young tailor who couldn’t resist looking. He became known as Peeping Tom and was blinded by heaven for not adhering to Lady Godiva’s instruction.
On the plinth below the statue are words from Tennyson’s poem:
“Then she rode back
clothed on with chastity.
She took the tax away
and built herself an everlasting name”
This gallery contains 3 photos.
Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I love this time of year and what a fun way to end a year. Only 10 more days until we see 2019. Today is the first day of winter and we … Continue reading
We took advantage of some glorious late summer/early autumn weather this month to grab a few days away on the south coast of England. Sidmouth in Devon has been a favourite spot of ours ever since we moved to the south west area well over thirty years’ ago. The town is considered the gateway to Devon’s Jurassic Coast. Sidmouth has amazing beaches situated at the foot of prehistoric red cliffs and surrounded by the beautiful green hills of the Sid Valley.
During one of our mega walks along the coast we stopped off at Jacob’s Ladder Beach and managed to find enough puff to climb the Ladder itself up to a rather splendid tea shoppe. Afternoon Devon tea served with a huge slab of coffee and walnut cake helped give us the energy to walk back to our hotel.It had some lovely views, too.
The hotel we stayed in was incredibly interesting. Some parts of the hotel date back to the 13th Century and boasts connections with Sir Walter Raleigh and the Prince Regent. It has fabulous gardens where you can sit and enjoy the sunshine under the shade of ancient trees like the one in the photo. The hotel was one of the first buildings in the UK to achieve listed status in 1951. During renovations in the 1970s, archaeologists discovered some of the oldest structures in the town consisting of a spooky network of ancient tunnels and a domed subterranean chamber. Alas, we didn’t experience any spooky goings-on while we were there, just a lovely relaxing and enjoyable break.
Unfortunately, Ms. Vivvy couldn’t join us, although the hotel was incredibly dog-friendly, because she is not the best traveller. But we know how much she’ll love the beaches, so we’re going to dose her up and take her with us when we visit again over Christmas. She was pleased to see us when we got back, and as the autumn chill set in, she snuggled up with me under our furry blanket. The very best welcome home after a great trip away.
Karen and I picked Hoquiam for our second, “exploring our own backyard”, mission. The weather the day we went was unbelievable. Perfect for a Sunday outing.
Hoquiam is a small town, population of 8,726 in 2010. I’ve been to Hoquiam, both Karen and I remember going through it to the ocean beaches. Amazingly it hasn’t changed much, the houses along the route are the same, older but well kept up.
Our first stop was Duffy’s for lunch. We both had shrimp fettuccini. Delicious. Our main destination for the day was the Polson Museum. Again on the route to the coast, you pass it and yet neither Karen nor I had ever stopped. The picture at the top of this blog is of the 6,500 square foot mansion. The man at the entrance gave us a brief history of the house and invited us to tour at our leisure. He told us to look for 1942 photographs as most of the rooms have a picture of how the room looked when the Polson’s lived there.
The house was a wedding gift to Arnold and Priscilla Polson from his uncle. The house has twenty-six rooms with six bathrooms and four fireplaces. The Polson Museum website is very well designed and includes history and pictures. If you’re going to the ocean via Aberdeen/Hoquiam I would recommend a stop. If not, a virtual tour is the next best thing.
Another historic site is the Hoquiam Castle. We were fortunate to be able to tour the castle years ago when it was open to the public. There is so much history in Hoquiam. For a while, it was a Bed and Breakfast, but we were told it is now a private residence. The website from the B/B time is the only tour available. Karen and I drove past it and even though you can’t go in, I would recommend the slight detour to see it.
So what’s next on our mission to see out of way places in Washington? Not sure yet we are thinking of Whidbey Island and Coupeville. Any suggestions? We are open to ideas.
Oh almost forgot, check out the rose garden at the Polson Museum. It is late in the season but there were still some beautiful blooms.
***WARNING*** Badly preserved pictures ahead.
This month, for some people, is devoted to Oktoberfest. I drink beer, so I get it. Especially since I’ve had the privilege of going to the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. I was way too young to recognize that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was 21. And I only drank wine then. So if we hadn’t of taken a bus that day, I’d have been the designated driver. We didn’t find the one little tiny wine tent until about 7pm. Lol.
I went to Kitzingen, Germany to join my then husband. It was an experience that I learned so much from and I am so grateful for my time there. He was a Spec 4 in the Army, so not high enough in the chain to get base housing. So we lived “on the economy” as it was called. We had a small apartment above a very nice German family.
I was five months pregnant when I flew there. I scared the wits out of my husband because I got there and slept for twenty hours.
What am I grateful for?
- That we had no car, so I walked the two miles into base two or three times a week. There was a bus that would take us grocery shopping and to do laundry, thank goodness.
- That it’s okay to not trust a taxi driver on the autobahn. We never got in an accident, but boy, sometimes, it was close!
- That we had no running hot water. I learned to stoke a boiler under the hot water tank with paper, wood, and coal. And to plan baths because it took two hours to warm up enough water for a bath. Oh, and one night, when my husband was in the field with his platoon, the pregnant me got stuck on that floor. Stoked the fire, then couldn’t get up. Sat there for about the two hours it took to heat the water. That was the best bath ever!
- That we couldn’t just turn a switch and have heat. I learned how to pour oil into our heater, and how to keep track of how much oil we had left. Taught me to keep my house stocked.
- That I met Yolanda. In 1976. And we have been best friends ever since. I was pregnant and alone a lot of the time, with my husband out in the field. She’s my age and managed to be my friend, confidant, shoulder, and mother.
- That one of my daughters was born there. Definitely the best part of this whole trip.
- That, when I got off the plane after a year with my eight-month-old daughter, the nice Captain helping me with all my stuff, after a 9 hour flight, looked down through the customs window at all the people waiting there. There were a lot. He asked me which ones were my family. I say “see those three on the right?” “Yes,” he said. “Well, everyone but those three are my family.”
You see, I had the first grandchild born in the family and they’d only seen her in pictures for eight months. So they all showed up at the airport.
Yes, Germany will always be a special place to me. My husband and I did not stay together, and I’m happy for almost 30 years now with my soul-mate. But my first husband and I had a good life while we were together and he made sure I remembered our time in Germany with happiness. I do. I treasure the memories I have from that year, and will for the rest of my life.
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I have lived in this area all my life and never visited Anderson Island. A few weeks ago I was reading a story set in France and the characters were traveling through small villages. This set me to bemoaning that I wasn’t traveling. Then, in a moment, I realized that there were a lot of places, a whole lot, right here in my backyard, that I hadn’t been to. I called Karen and we decided to make it our mission to discover our backyard in the coming months. First stop, Anderson Island.
Anderson Island is called “The Secret Island” and is the southernmost Island in Puget Sound. It is accessible only by boat or float plane and is about a 20-minute ferry ride. Karen commented that going there is like stepping back in time. It has one General Store, one Gas Station, One Restaurant and no traffic lights.
The Island is just under 8 miles in size, with a population (in 2010) of 1037. We picked a perfect day with the weather. The ferry ride was beautiful. The picture shows it a bit windy, but not cold at all. In fact, we stopped at “The Old Swimming Hole”, and watched kids swimming.
Our first stop was the General Store where we picked up a map and met a very friendly guy behind the counter. This is one of the friendliest places I have visited. Armed with a map we set out to explore the island. The guy at the store told us about the restaurant that sets on one of two lakes. So first stop Riviera Lakeshore Restaurant. It overlooks Lake Josephine and has a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier. And, is sooooo quiet. We both had fish and chips, good, and better with the ambiance surrounding us.
A resident of the island stopped by our table and chatted for a bit. The pace of the day was “Island Time”. Karen had it right when she said it was like stepping back in time.
We drove around the Island stopping at the first school on the Island and Johnson Historic Farm. You can see more of the farm on their website. Unfortunately, it was closed but we wandered around enjoying the grounds and wonderful weather.
Altogether an amazing day that made me again wonder at how I could have lived here so long and never visited Anderson Island.