Monday, September 28, 2015

With The Family ...
In Poulsbo (pronounced PAULsbo)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The last leg of the westward part of our cross country road trip delivered us to familiar surroundings, not to mention family, in Poulsbo, Washington. That town is on Liberty Bay which is an arm of Puget Sound and lies on Kitsap island directly across the sound from Seattle. It was founded by Norwegian immigrants in the 1880s who replaced the native Suquamish people who inhabited the shores along Liberty Bay for some 5,000 years, hunting, fishing and collecting shellfish in the waters of their shoreline.

Poulsbo  is pronounced Paulsbo. But why? Not some regional pronunciation, but, as the story goes, the fault lay in illegible handwriting. Early residents, naming the town after one in Norway from whence they emigrated, wanted a post office for their new village and registered the name with Washington, DC. Some bureaucrat there misread the application, mistaking the "a" in Paulsbo for an "o." It was never corrected and remains that way today. Except, of course, for the pronunciation which remains decidedly PAULsbo.

Poulsbo is in the upper left on the Kitsap Peninsula.
It's lies across Puget Sound from Seattle.

Dani and Erik, along with our grandsons, Sammy and Ethan, live a ways outside of town in a lovely house with a huge backyard . The house fronts on a quiet cul-de-sac that provides lots of room and a safe place to play, ride their bikes and scooters and hang out with friends on the block.

Ethan rides his bike on a safe cul-de-sac in
front of his house.

My sweet grandson Sammy on his scooter.

We arrived in Poulsbo on Thursday, September 17th and stayed for six days of fun and family. There were lots of good times - just hanging out, enjoying some good home-cooked meals, visiting some local towns and spending the day at the Washington State Fair. Stacey and I also got to spend a day on our own in Seattle, taking the ferry in and out (a wonderful trip in and of itself) for lunch in that city's Chinatown and a trip to the Ballard Locks.

On Saturday we visited a neighboring town of Gig Harbor to see Dani's photograph that was on display in a juried exhibition at the museum there. A nautical fair was taking place as we got there so we perused the crafts as well.

Dani and her juried  photograph on exhbiti in the museum in Gig Harbor.

"Solitary" the beautiful photo by my daugher.

Sammy climbs out of a fish's mouth on
display at the Nautical Fair in Gigs Harbor.

Ethan slides out of the mouth of a fish.

The ham family....hamming it up.

The next day, Sunday—we took a drive to Puyallup (pronounced Pyu-AL-up), a town near Tacoma at the southern end of Puget Sound, named for the native people who used to inhabit the valley surrounding the present day city. The name means "generous people." Perhaps they were a bit too generous and welcoming as they were soon overwhelmed by settlers and eventually forced on to reservations. To this day the grave injustice  of this ethnic cleansing has never been righted.  More of this sad history can be found on the tribe's website here.

Puyallup is also the sight of the annual Washington State Fair which is the state's largest single attraction and lasts17 days each September. I'm not one for these kind of events but it turned out to be a fun day for all of us. My favorite part? The livestock displays: cows, llamas, alpacas, pigs and more, tended to with love and expertise by farmers and their families.

Welcome to the Washington State Fair!

State Fair entertainment dudes.


Let's see how this contraption works.

Kissy kissy.

Sammy tries to ring a rubber ducky and
win a prize.

Ethan whacs-a-mole.

Stacey's getting a little carried away on the bumper cars as Ethan seems to be wondering if he's in good hands.

Lots of fun at the Washington State Fair!

On another day, while the kids were in school, Stacey, Dani and I drove over to the pretty little town of Bainbridge (that's where one catches the ferry to Seattle) for a walk around, some shopping and a light lunch. It was a nice day and the town and the island of the same name that surrounds it has a great ambiance with lots to offer: beautiful parks with hiking trails, galleries, restaurants, shops and cafes. All these make it a good destination.

Dani and Stacey in Bainbridge.

The sign says it all - a nice place to visit and also the ferry to Seattle.

Stacey and I would spend one more day in Poulsbo before heading down the Pacific Coast Highway that meanders along the Wasington, Oregon and California coasts. On Tuesday we drove to nearby Bainbridge once again, but this time to take the ferry to Seattle.

Seattle is surrounded by water. They do a great job getting people
around with an efficient and inexpensive system of powerful
and comfortable feries.

Sail away - we're heading from Bainbridge to Seattle. 

We'd have lunch in the International District which is home to the city's Chinese restaurants. We followed that with espresso and a really great donut at Top Pot  Donuts, housed in a repurposed deco building.

A lunch of oysters with toasted garlic at
Harbor City, a Chinese restaurant in
Seattle's International District.

My roast pork wonton soup. Yes!

For desesrt - Top Pot Donuts on Fifth Avenue just north of downtown Seattle.

Retro  digs for donuts at Top Pot.
After our donut dessert we drove to a Seattle attraction that we've been to once before: the Chittenden Locks. Located in what used to be a hardscrabble blue collar neighborhood of light industry, docks and warehouses, Ballard is now a hip and funky place with lots of cute shops, restaurants and bars - a fun place to explore. But, I wondered, what happened to all the workers who used to reside here? Driven out by increased property values? The same phenomenon everywhere we go.

The Ballard Locks, as they are also called, are an engineering marvel built in 1917. They are the most heavily used locks in the U.S. and carry the name of the engineer who designed them: Hiram M. Chittenden. They perform the task of connecting Puget Sound at sea level to the much higher Lake Washington to the east of the city. What was non-navigable before the locks were built, is now an easy passage for pleasure boats and ocean-going freighters and fishing boats. Lake Washington was an important logging port because it lay at the foot of the Cascade mountains but getting the products from its shores to the port of Seattle for destinations down the west coast was a very difficult matter.  

We returned a second time because the process is fascinating to watch. As boats come in from the Sound or depart for it, the process of raising or lowering them inside the lock's chambers grabs and holds your attention. This is one of Seattle's biggest attractions, attracting over a million people a year.

An interesting sideshow: Salmon once spawned in the streams and creeks that flowed out of Lake Washington. With the building of the locks they'd be blocked from returning to their spawning waters to lay their eggs. Chittenden realized the problem and built a fish ladder that allowed them to bypass the locks and dam that were being built. An added bonus: underwater viewing windows so we humans could watch the fish as they made their way up stream. We were off season for viewing salmon last time we visited. Not so this time.

Here come some boats. Lots of spectators,
including this group of visiting Japanese high school students from Tokyo.
There are two sets of locks. This is the smaller, purpose-built for small
pleasure craft. The other one serves large ocean-going vessels.

After the boats enter the lock, the gate closes behind them,
the boats tie up to a sliding wall that rises with the water that's pumped
in to bring them up to the level of inland Lake Washington, east of Seattle.

Going up! Notice that the back gate is now closed and the level behind it is much lower.
When the level is equal to the water beyond the front gate (i.e. equal to the water level in Lake Washington) the front gate will open and the boats will get under way. Cool! The bridge visible in the back is a reailroad bridge
that's kept open until needed.

A sign explains how the fish ladder works.

Salmon swimming up toward Lake Washington courtesy of the fish ladder.
We get to see them thanks to these underwater viewing windows. Cool!

Look baby....a fish!

As always, our days seem shorter than the amount of time needed for our explorations. It was getting late. So we left the locks, having wanted to explore the adjacent Seattle Botanic Gardens as well. That will have to wait for another visit. We headed back to the ferry terminal for our trip across the Sound to Poulsbo and family. A memorable day! Tomorrow we'd leave for our journey south along the beautiful coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. Check that my next post. (Brooklyn, we miss you!)

Heading back via ferry across Puget Sound.
This is always a breathtaking sight: solitary Mt. Rainier with snow on top.
A daytime moon is visible also. What a ferry ride this is!

A beautiful vista: Puget Sound, the island of Bainbridge and the Olympic
Mountains greet your view as we return home from a day in Seattle.

Tomorrow - on the road again.
Heading south along the west coast on the beautiful U.S. 101, aka
The Pacific Coast Highway. See you on the road!


  1. Replies
    1. I remember our 60's cross country trip....great memories then and now. I don't think I blogged that one, did I?

  2. You know Matt, its as much a slow, appreciative study of a book of fine photography by both you and Dani -- and Stacey -- as it is a travelogue. Brooklyn misses you both. The flavor of the neighborhood is just not the same without the spice of Biggie barking and your greetings and conversations at the stoop. Thanks for taking us all along. All these places I've never been. Makes our day! love, D&R

  3. Looks like a fabulous trip. but you have friends at BFP who miss you.

  4. These are fabulous fotos Matt; and Dani is a super photographer as well with a marvelous eye. So impressive, it will be a memorable trip for you all and preserved in your informative blogs! Always look forward to reading your travelogues and puts me in a good mood.

  5. Wonderful! Creating lots of new memories. There's still an open invitation at the lake if you need a resting spot on your way home. Fall is beautiful there. Miss you both. Shvesta Duba ��

  6. Wow. Some adventure you guys are on! Thanks for sharing.