spring trip: bellevue and port angeles
Rock skipping, pizza, glacial lakes, snow-covered mountains, easter golfball hunts, stuffed polar bears, card games . . . We had a wonderful stay with Meema + Dampa. We spent the first night in Bellevue, before heading up to Port Angeles to visit Grandma. The weather was incredible in Port Angeles and we took full advantage of being in a beautiful setting in gorgeous weather. After a couple nights there, we returned to Bellevue for one more night. Elliot had so much fun with her Meema and Dampa, especially the latter who was bed-ridden the last visit and was really enjoying making up for lost time.
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Our first night in Bellevue, we all went out for Mexican food as a sort of early Mother’s Day celebration for Meema. Back home, we’d set up the old tent Grandmere had made for Mary and Me—fun fabric sewn in a tent shape, with a front door and a window, that hangs over a card table. Elliot bonked her head many times on the underside of the table, but that did not limit her enthusiasm for playing in the tent. Before bedtime, Elliot enjoyed stories with Dampa.
The following morning was leisurely before packing up the car, again, and driving up to Port Angeles. Another beautiful drive—riding the ferries from Edmonds to Kingston, driving through the scenic northern Kitsap Peninsula, through historic Port Gamble over the doomed Hood Canal Bridge and onto the Olympic Peninsula through “sunny” Sequim and into the well-worn, paper-milled, harbor town of Port Angeles. The town center is down at the water and it spreads upwards against the slope of the Olympic mountain range. Grandma’s house is up near the “top” of the town. From the front windows, one looks out over the rooftops of Port Angeles and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the islands of Canada in the distance. From the rear windows, one looks out to pastures, orchards and snow-capped mountaintops. We love it. The town, itself, is running down and getting tired, but the setting is spectacular. We keep thinking: all it needs is a revitalization of its historic downtown areas and it could grow into a thriving destination . . . but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
We picked up Grandma from her assisted living apartment down the street and went out for Pizza at Gordy’s. This is the pizza place where teens come to flirt and little league teams come to celebrate victory and families come for a friday night meal out. After dinner, we drove out to “The Spit,” a man-made hook of land enclosing the Port Angeles harbor. This popular spot to end dates has the perfect view of the town and the mountains beyond. This evening, the water was opalescent and glassy and the tankers were humming and the snowy mountaintops were pink in the waning sunlight. We skipped rocks and played with sand.
The next morning, we awoke to more beautiful weather and views. Elliot ate cereal at the same table I’ve been eating cereal at since I was her age. After church, we had lunch and then made an afternoon trip to nearby Lake Crescent and enjoyed the stunning views, more rock skipping, driftwood boat building and a short hike to Marymere Falls.
After spending a second night camping out in Grandma’s half-empty house and waking up to another beautiful day, we went out to Crescent Beach (no relation to the lake) and had a picnic lunch. We sat at a picnic table on a grassy bluff overlooking the strait and watched ships passing and tried to find Canadian and San Juan Island landmarks through the binoculars. We then hiked down to the tidal beach before seeing Grandma off and heading back to Bellevue.
Our last night in Bellevue was spent staying up too late playing hearts—by the end of our time with Meema + Dampa, we’d played four games of hearts and each won one! Before leaving, on our final day with Meema and Dampa, we went and visited Meema at Microsoft. Her colleagues all seemed to enjoy seeing Elliot, already quite familiar with her from the photos on a certain doting Meema’s office door.
Then, it was on to the second half of our trip: Federal Way to stay with Mimi + Pop and play with cousins!