Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Fountain Park on the Bremerton Boardwalk


Discovered this little park on the waterfront in Bremerton completely by accident last summer.  Alex and I ran over to try a Coldstone Creamery ice cream treat, then went for a walk to find this little hidden jewel right beside the ferry dock. Have to confess that even though I live here, I don't always read the local paper so I didn't realize that The Fountain Park was even built.


The park features 5 copper ringed fountains, built by a company that also designed the famous fountains at the Bellagio in Vegas. The fountains represents many things, not only about Bremerton's proud heritage of the Naval presence here in the Northwest, but also  represents the ever present reminders of being surrounded by our volcanic geology in the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges. Can you maybe also see spouting whales?


For me, the fountains clearly remind me of submarine "sails"  (conning towers) headed out of the Puget Sound. Living here, this is a common scene that we take for granted.  We probably shouldn't... if you ever get a chance to see a glimpse of a big Trident submarine, it is really something amazing! Better yet, watching the aircraft carriers come in, completely dwarfing the Washington State Ferries, and taking up Rich Passage and Sinclair Inlet entirely!

During the summer the fountains are full of water dancing with their own special synchronization to music.  Kids have a ball running in and out of the water spray.  Believe me, I was tempted, but Alex was embarrassed by his silly mom! Gorgeous landscaping, and sculpted granite pieces complete this great space. Lots of opportunities to photograph the  four seasons!


Heard a rumor from a friend that gray whales had been spotted near here, so I jumped in the car yesterday afternoon to see if I could find any.  No such luck, it appears that they might have been chasing the smelt run into Sinclair Inlet and then left.  As it started to get dark, I noticed that the lights in the park were slowly coming on. With frozen fingers,  I did manage to get a few pictures to share.

If you are in the Puget Sound area, this is really a great place to visit! Take a walk along the boardwalk, have a little something to eat at Anthony's Homeport while watching the ferries come in and out from Seattle, then wander over and enjoy The Fountain Park.


Here's a little bit more info for you!  The City of Bremerton - Harborside Distict

Merry Christmas to all of my readers!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Beaches


Sorting through some photography that I took earlier this fall, and thought you might enjoy some late fall images from the shore in Pacifica, California.  It was soooo cold on that November day, but still so beautiful.

Truly, I believe that sometimes a winter beach, or a winter coastal storm can have its own wild, untamed beauty.... the gray desolation, heavy pounding seas, sea birds playing in the wind..



I hope that what ever beach you can visit this winter, you have to chance to simply stop and breathe. Please  don't forget to bring 2 bags with you; 1 for beach treasures, and 1 to fill up with discarded harmful plastic!

Walking on the beach for me is always a zen-like experience, and so important to help focus me for the next big thing.  When you are out for your winter beach break, think about  all of the great things that this next year will bring, and let the sea breezes carry off the old from 2009.



Bundle up, let the wind caress your face, take the time to really listen to the crashing waves, then race back to the house for hot chocolate!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Simple Coastal Christmas Tree


Have to admit that this Holiday season has been a little bit of a struggle for me. This is the first year EVER in my adult life that I have not had my own house or my own space. For a nester personality like mine - it has felt a little weird to be living out of a suitcase some days. Granted, it has also been very freeing. Without "stuff" to take care of to clutter up my brain, I have been able to travel and to really enjoy the little things and the natural beauty that surrounds us.

Before I left for San Francisco a few weeks ago, I had Alex drag up my mom's faux tree out of the basement... and then I just kept looking at it. Even though it's all set to go with lights, I could not bring myself to even plug it in. Depressing.


Tuesday night, while watching my favorite movie of all time "Gone with the Wind", I finally decided to unpack my carefully wrapped seashell and beach ornaments. Maybe I would feel better if I decorated the tree with my coastal flair. White lights, a great bonus once I finally found an extension cord and plugged the darn tree in! Found some pretty wide gold ribbon and some white iridescent ribbon, draped down the tree and then I carefully wrapped strings of pearls around as garland.

Starting to feel a little bit better. Also decided to avoid the emotional landfills if at all possible - "those" ornaments could stay happily in the box.















My glass aqua mermaid sits on top - I think she works just fine as an angel!

My glitter seashell ornaments came from a really cool company (a family in South Carolina) and they were sold in my Poulsbo store. One year, when I called to order the ornaments, my friends that made these beautiful shells,  just had their workshop wiped out in a hurricane that had roared up the coast, but they were still making and shipping the glitter shells on their kitchen table. Have to admire their perseverance!
My gold seashells come from another small company, this time in Oregon - real shells dipped in 14K gold. LOVE these all year, not just for Christmas.




















Wish I had kept more of these cute little red crabs!  When I had them in the store, they were the first ornaments to completely sell out.  Customers would buy handfuls of them for stocking stuffers and for using on wrapped presents.

 I feel better now, especially after I ate some fudge...




Thursday, December 10, 2009

Polished Agates from Oregon Coast Beaches


Last month, I was invited to spend the weekend with my friends Patti and Micheal Frazier at their Beverly Beach home on the Oregon Coast. What a view! Non-stop crashing Pacific Ocean waves on Otter Rock, pelicans diving in and out of the surf, even an occasional grey whale cruising by. If I lived here, you would be very hard pressed to make me ever leave. In fact, I love it there so much that I am going back down to Newport for an entire week after Christmas. Winter storms here we come!

Patti and Michael spend countless hours walking the nearby beaches, bringing home pocketfuls of Oregon Beach rocks, never knowing exactly what beauty really lies underneath the salt water, until they get them home and into the rock polisher. When you walk in their door, one of the first things you notice are the bowls filled to the brim with these indescribable examples of nature's beauties, washed up on the shore. (that is AFTER you've stood at their front windows for quite awhile!)



Introducing their new exciting adventure! The Frazier's have taken their love of the simple beauty of these agates and are now creating one-of-a-kind wine stoppers - beautiful and the perfect gift. I don't think you could go wrong purchasing one of these for a beach loving friend. (or for your fave wine friends!)




I highly recommend their new website http://fairytaleenterprises.com/PolishedStoneWineStoppers.htm, not only for purchasing these unique reminders of the Oregon Coast, but also for reading their story of how they are created.


Patti and Michael are wonderful friends that are
continually discovering ways to enjoy their incredible life and story on the Oregon Coast. I especially love the new name for their budding company, "Fairy Tale Enterprises"! Here they are in a Nye Beach Cafe sipping a yummy rich mocha.

Fairy Tale Enterprises Make sure that you let Patti know that I sent you!

(Love you guys - see you in a few weeks!)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Coastal Christmas



Just a quick simple idea to share.. who said holiday colors always have to be red and green? How about some vintage aqua canning jars filled with shells, (these shells came from one of my travels to Sanibel Island!) add some vanilla candles and some glittering starfish -and Voila!
You have a simple, easy coastal centerpiece.






Friday, December 4, 2009

Festival of Chimes and Lights


Downtown Port Orchard; the merchants, the marina, and the city will be hosting their 11th annual Festival of Chimes and Lights this Saturday, December 5 - 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm. Lots of fun activities for the entire family!

Here are a few of my favorites - love the Christmas lighted boat parades!

2:00 - 5:00 pm: Bay Street Merchants Art Walk and Open House > Please visit for wonderful holiday shopping ideas, cookies and hot chocolate along the way!
4:00 - 8:00 pm: Hayrides through downtown
5:00 - 8:00 pm: At the Marina, Sinclair Inlet Yacht Club's "Christmas Lane" - Lighted Boat Parade, vote for your favorite!
6:00 - 6:10 pm: Santa and Mrs. Claus Arrive at City Hall
6:35 - 8:00 pm: Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Port Orchard Marina Park for photos

For more details and the full schedule, please visit this link! http://www.cityofportorchard.us/docs/city_clerk/temp/chimes.pdf

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cold December Nights in Puget Sound




Another gorgeous day here in Western Washington, followed by a cold, crisp night (36 degrees at 4:30 pm!) highlighted by an almost-full moon. I hope that you are enjoying some of the same at a coast near you....



Coastal Shopping in Gig Harbor


Wanted to share with all of you, one of my favorite shops on the waterfront in downtown Gig Harbor - this store is a must when visiting the harbor for all of the Christmas festivities this holiday season! Sea Glass Interiors is located right in the heart of the waterfront district and is plumb full of great gift ideas for coastal lovers and "beachy" holiday decorations.

Gig Harbor is known for its maritime history, waterfront restaurants and brisk activity in the many marinas. Sea Glass Interiors does a fabulous job of having so many different specialized nautical gifts - etched martini glasses, nautical pillows, and wonderful serving pieces for all of those dock parties! Also carrying many unique home decor items for beach homes and cottages; coastal art, decorator shells, seashell potpourri (fresh and yummy!), customized beach signs, decorator pillows with seaside themes in every size and every color. There is something for every beachcomber here!

This Christmas, her store is loaded with holiday ideas, including really interesting handmade local Christmas ideas - wreaths with local shells and creative colorful driftwood snowmen. (love the snowmen!) The gold and silver shell ornaments are real shells, hand-dipped in precious metal from Oregon, very beautiful and I think not just for the holidays!


Loved the tropical tree idea, covered with bright aquas and lime green colors, with tropical fish and brightly colored shells. Check out the cloisonné mermaids!

Please make sure to stop by and see Randi when you visit the harbor for your Christmas shopping this year! You are bound to find just the perfect gift for another beachcomber, or you might have to buy yourself a little something to wrap up and place under the tree...

Sea Glass Interiors
3115B Harborview Drive
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
Phone: 253- 858-7184






Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holidays in the Harbor


Oh - It's that wonderful time of year again!
Holidays in the Harbor, in Gig Harbor

It all starts with music and entertainment from the Peninsula Community Chorus this Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm. A seaside winter wonderland - all sponsored by the Gig Harbor waterfront merchants! Come join them in welcoming Santa for the festivities!

5:00 pm - Santa Claus arrives courtesy of the Gig Harbor Fire Dept.

5:30 pm - Santa and the mayor of Gig Harbor light the Harbor Tree

5:45-7:00 pm - Santa visits children at the official Santa House located at the Jerisich Dock park

FREE refreshments provided by the Gig Harbor Waterfront Association
for more details - www.ghhwa.or



Friday, November 20, 2009

Santa Cruz Sea Glass Festival


Sorry for my delay! I meant to write this a week ago, just too many things to write about -

Awesome day to drive to the coast! 70-75 degrees, clear, not a cloud (no fog in sight!) enjoyed sitting outside to eat our lunch in Santa Cruz at Hawg's Seafood Bar. Yum.. wonderful seared ahi and caesar salad. I would highly recommend, and can also recommend the wonderful glass of pinor gris with my caesar salad... so perfect!





A friend of mine alerted me to this Sea Glass and Ocean Art festival located at the Seymour Center in Santa Cruz, just a few weeks ago. One of the goals of the festival was to bring awareness to our Pacific Ocean's plight, and how we can help protect its' fragile habitats. Santa Cruz Sea Glass Company worked very hard to put this festival together, bringing over 30 artists into the marine center to showcase jewelry, painting, photography, pottery and
more.




Check Santa Cruz Sea Glass Company's website for a complete list of the artists - here's a link to the festival page:


We had so much  fun to talking to other beach lovers about sea glass, shells and great beach walks.





Great fun to wander through the center's marine education displays and ocean tanks, to see all of the art and learn about sea glass hunting in Santa Cruz. It was so funny though, the artists were VERY close-mouthed about their secret sea glass finds! I guess I am just so excited to share my finds, that I am a bit of a blabbermouth about finding sea glass - it takes a lot of effort and patience, and I am more than happy to share.





Look at what I bought - could not resist this bracelet with the orange sea glass! You would never find this color here in the Puget Sound..









The surf was absolutely incredible that day, and we had the best time standing on the cliff side of the center watching surfers. Leaving you to enjoy my short video clip - so wish you all could have been there!

video

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Point Reyes Lighthouse


Love Saturday drives along Hwy 1 on the California coast, always discovering something new! We had driven by the signs before, but had no idea of the beauty that we were missing by not taking the 20 mile winding road down into the Point Reyes National Seashore, to arrive finally at the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse at the very tip. (Map)

We tried to make reservations to be there at sundown, as there is a special program twice a month for 8 lucky visitors to light the lighthouse lattern. It's a very popular activity, and the park starts accepting reservations the day of the event at 10:00 am - of course, I called right at 10:00 am, busy signal. By the time I got through at 10:10 all the spots were all filled up. Darn! Maybe next time...

Made a quick stop at the visitors' center and were absolutely amazed to find out that there are only 10 National Seashore Protected areas, and Point Reyes is the only one on the West Coast. So much wildlife to see; so many birds, including gorgeous, graceful hawks, herds of elk, and tons of sealife. Tom stopped the car several times to see if we could catch the hawks on camera, it was a futile effort.

Out at the lighthouse, (after you finally make it to the bottom of the 308 stairs!) it is possible to look down in the rocks below and see sea lions frolicking in the surf. Never get enough of
watching seals and sea lions - they always look like they are having fun..effortless in the
surf.

At Chimney Rock, when we were there last month, the elephant seals were bringing in their newborns. Wow, so awesome to be able to see
them in the wild! (promise to show more in a
future blogpost) I don't think that I have ever even seen an elephant seal, except on television. Can tell you this; we could smell them and hear them, long before we got to the end of the trail...

Finally, after driving for what seemed like forever over rolling hills and through dairy farms, we made it to the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse parking lot.


Be aware, visiting the lighthouse is not for the weak of heart. (or too out of shape!) After parking in the parking lot, there is a .5 mile walk to the
visitors' center at the top of the stair case that leads down to the lighthouse. Enjoy the walk to the center, and the incredible views of the crashing Pacific Ocean! The day that we visited, the fog was extremely thick, almost a life of its' own - very eerie. As we walked through this stand of wild wind-whipped trees, the fog dripped off like rain.

Warning you now about the 308 stairs down, interspersed with long stretches of cement ramps, but thank goodness there are many view-point benches to stop and sit on the way back up! So worth the walk down though! Crashing waves and extensive 360 degree views of the Ocean.

Point Reyes is the windiest spot on the Pacific Coast, and the second foggiest on the North American Continent. It was both the day that we visited!

This light was first lit in 1870, to warn ships destined for San Francisco, of the dangerous
headlands at Point Reyes. I cannot possibly imagine how hard life must have been for the first lightkeepers! Wind, rain, fog, boredom and hauling coal up and down this cliff to keep the light lit.. oh my, not so glamorous.

The fresnel lens is still beautiful, although the outside of Point Reyes Lighthouse, has definitely taken a weather driven beating! (Still standing tho!")







For more information on the Lighthouse history - check out this link:http://www.nps.gov/pore/historyculture/people_maritime_lighthouse.htm

Here's one of our last looks at the incredible views as we ascended the staircase. The fog was lifting and fingers of sun stroked the ocean. Love this...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lunch at Hog Island Oyster Company

I know, here I go again... eating. Can't help it, finding new coastal places to eat fresh seafood is one of my favorite things to do! We read about The Hog Island Oyster Company in Coastal Living a few months ago, and had driven by their oyster farm on Tomales Bay this past summer, so it was an easy choice for a lunch treat today at the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero.



We found some great seats right in front of the oyster bar and had fun watching the expert shucking. Our new oyster friend claimed that he considered himself an expert, as he believes that he has opened up over 1 million oysters. Wow, that really is a lot of shells!


The menu is not vast, but all fresh seafood - including your choice of 6 varieties of oysters. Check out a sample menu - keep in mind that their selections change all of the time, including the oyster choices. For our lunch this sunshine-filled afternoon, Tom chose 6 Quilcene oysters and 6 Tomales Bay sweetwaters. He was in heaven!



I can highly recommend The Hog Island Oyster Company's famous Tomales Bay manilla clam chowder! OH mi goodness - have never had clam chowder prepared this way... cannot even describe its' total yumminess! (is that even a word?) Carrots, bacon, butter, cream, Yukon Gold potatoes, onions.. and whole steamer clams... Believe it or not, I even enjoyed a glass of Pilsner, brewed locally in Fort Bragg to go with my chowder!

Happy Seagulls hanging out here too! I would suspect easy pickings from us tourists....







Friday, November 6, 2009

Rainy Stormy Afternoon at Half Moon Bay

video

I lasted less than 30 minutes on the beach today. Rain soaked through my "rain-coat" (where is my favorite Grunden's yellow fishermen's rain coat??), through my sweater and through my t-shirt. Waves crashing on the beach were spectuclular! The Pelicans were having a blast dive bombing the waves, but the seagulls were just taking it all in stride.



I even found a small smattering of sea glass - please excuse the rain drops on the camera lense..

Relax and Live at the Beach Every Day of the Year!

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