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On Chuckanut Drive

02/05/2015

This is what is looks like in the Northwest right now. Dark and dreamy. IMG_2223

That’s right. I called it dreamy! NOT dreary. But it is dark. I’ll admit that much. The days are lengthening though, and that hope for more light is heartening.

I took this pic from along Chuckanut Drive yesterday. Another cure for the season: Take a day trip to Bellingham, sit awhile in a cafe with coffee, drive along scenic highway Chuckanut Drive on the way home. The moss on the tree branches is so lush right now, and you can see through the less leafy forest to the water.

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Before you get all the way back to Seattle, stop at the Conway Pub and Eatery  just south of Mount Vernon and right off I-5, where the cheeseburgers are widely regarded as the best around. It is a funky, lively place with really decent food. Small town life.

 

 

 

 

explored places featured properties

The Desert Cure

02/03/2015

Six more weeks of winter have been predicted, according to the groundhog in Punxsutawney, matching our somber mood this week in Seattle.

Here is a remedy: go to Palm Springs!

This is the undeniable season for it. I just visited in December and experienced such warm weather I wore a short skirt and a tee shirt during the day and lunched on a sunny patio. Paradise.

While there, I took a tour around Old Las Palmas and the Movie Colony neighborhoods and particularly admired what my local guide called tracery walls, a mid-century construct of breeze blocks or architectural screen blocks, meant to allow breezes through.

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Marvelous, aren’t they?

I also had a drive by Brad and Angelina’s home, as well as the former home of Cary Grant. It was all terribly glamorous.

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If you are now tempted to book a trip, you can stay in this mid-century home, the one from above with the pink flamingo pillows, perfect Palm Springs kitsch. Embody the old Hollywood lifestyle!

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Paseo Gracia. Four bedrooms, three baths. Rents for $350 to $1300 per night.

While there, ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, and visit Joshua Tree Nation Park.

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Palm Springs is a special, dry kind of dreamy.

 

 

explored places

Echo

06/08/2014

Somehow, the summer season feels in full swing around here, has felt so for a while. People, people, milling about absolutely everywhere most of the time anymore, sidewalks just another lane of traffic, rubber soles rather than rubber tires, and not only on week-ends or in the evenings, often obviously tourists because they speak with a foreign accent or in another language to one another.

I sort of marvel at it all since this is a very different Seattle than the one when I was new here 25 years ago.

Seattle 1989. It was humble then. Now, we are an international attraction.

Now, for instance, we have Spanish born Echo, the woman on the waterfront, who has arrived here most recently of New York City.

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And, oh my, everywhere we look there is so much more to come.

 

explored places

Memorializing May

05/28/2014

Before May ends and Memorial Day becomes so last season, I want to share some photos I took while visiting Lazy River Farm and Sidetrack Distillery on Monday. They built a barn! And this barn will soon become a wedding and event venue. I don’t plan to get married, but I sure would love to have a big ol’ party here one day. Everything about Lazy River Farm is sweet and enchanting. And photogenic.

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The liqueurs distilled here are special, too.

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explored places

Shangri La

05/09/2014

Two weeks ago while in Honolulu, I could not miss the chance to visit Doris Duke’s fabled Shangri La, once the heiress and philanthropist’s Hawaiian home, now a magnificent setting for her collection of Islamic art and culture.

The shuttle from the Honolulu Art Museum to Shangri La descends through the jungle from a street in Honolulu’s prestigious Kahala neighborhood. Sited on five private acres overlooking Diamond Head and the Pacific ocean, Shangri La is a magical place.IMG_1288

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Doris Duke, ‘the richest girl in the world,” bought the Honolulu property in 1936 for $100,000. She loved the relaxed island culture, and she was a sporty gal; she enjoyed hiking, sailing, canoeing, fishing, surfing. In Hawaii she was able to escape the intense scrutiny of the press, and here she could fully devote herself to her lifelong love of Islamic culture, art, and architecture.

Tours of the property are limited to three times a day, four days a week, Wednesday through Saturday, and they often sell out, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead if you hope to see it. Also, they don’t allow interior photos to be taken of the 14,000 square foot home, but check out this Pinterest board for some inside views.

I love visiting the homes of the rich and famous. It’s my job, and I embrace it, even on vacation.

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explored places strictly personal

Happy May Day?

05/01/2014

When I was in elementary school, I once made a May Day basket for my grandmother, filled it with flowers and candy that I left on her doorstep, rang her bell and ran away. It wasn’t so long ago that I only knew of May Day as having this flower basket tradition, also featuring dancing around a maypole with ribbons, a rite of spring.

These days, in Seattle, we celebrate May Day a little more dramatically.

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As you can see, Seattle’s May Day march protested all sorts of things. Mostly, it was peaceful, in large part because the Seattle police department kept a huge, calm presence and a close watch everywhere the protesters marched, even as they marched around downtown and Capitol Hill somewhat aimlessly until 10 o’clock tonight. Currently, as we approach midnight, the remaining protesters are staging a standoff with police up on Broadway on Capitol Hill. I have been hearing helicopters constantly. I hope it doesn’t end badly.

I was earlier this week in Honolulu where May 1st is Lei Day, another celebration of spring. Lei Day. I love this. I also really love Hawaii.

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It wasn’t too hard coming back home to Seattle, though, since we are having a fantastic heat wave here; 85 degrees today, a sun-filled record-breaker.

Finally, this particular May 1st is the twenty-five year anniversary of the day I arrived in Seattle to live. Twenty-five years ago my husband and I were in our twenties, our first son had just turned one, and we were beginning what would be a marvelous adventure together in our new city.

Happy May Day, citizens of the world.

 

 

 

explored places

Transitioning From Winter

03/19/2014

I took this photo in January, glad to find hope on the branch of a tree.

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Now this tree and all others like it are completely covered in pink. What a welcome sight, these harbingers of spring. So much better than when Seattle was frozen, like this:

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Brrrrr.

And speaking of brrrr, a few weeks ago, I trekked to Leavenworth with my book group gals to find lots and lots of lovely snow.

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Somehow, we made it over Steven’s Pass without incident, which wasn’t at all assured; the snow came before and after our trip, closing all the mountain passes several times that week. But we traveled both directions unimpeded, a beautiful two hour car ride.

Our destination, Harriet Bullitt’s Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort, was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930’s, run as a camp by the Catholics from the 1950’s to the 1980’s, and redeveloped by Bullitt in 1995 into a magical retreat. Many of the original cabins have been preserved  (not too rustic; just the right amount of camp charm) .

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Sleeping Lady has also long been renowned for its sustainable gourmet cuisine (dinner and breakfast included) which was such a treat. We also saw nonagenarian Harriet Bullitt in the lobby building after breakfast (speaking to local paramedics about response times), another treat since Harriet is one impressive gal, obviously still very involved in making things right.

Winter is nearly over now. Spring starts tomorrow, a little before 10 a.m. here in Seattle. And while winter has its charms, most of us are quite ready for the change of season.

Long days, warm evenings, here we come.

explored places market report

‘Twas the Week Before Christmas

12/18/2013

‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all thro’ the town, this Realtor delivered, up one street then down.

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Ho ho ho!

I am in the throes of holiday delivery while Seattle’s real estate market takes a long winter’s nap. I’d be delighted for that perfect downtown condo to get listed whilst other buyers and their brokers slept. Then, my motivated buyer and I could swoop in and buy it without pesky competition.

But with Christmas so close at hand, new inventory is down to a near frozen trickle. So, in accordance with the season, I am out delivering cheer to clients and friends instead. I don’t have a sleigh; I am driving a Zipcar. And my bundle is filled not with toys but with chip clips.

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If you have been very good, perhaps I will visit you!