8 Things I Learned While Visiting Seattle

And just like that I’m officially back from a whirlwind of a week in Seattle and back to the grind at work! If you follow me on Snapchat or Instagram then you probably saw that Chris and I were in the beautiful Emerald City of Seattle last week! We had such a blast and got to see and do so much, and I can’t wait to recap it all for you! But in true Wandering Weekenders fashion I’m going to give you a quick look at our trip and give y’all 8 things that I learned while visiting Seattle! We got home really late Sunday night so I’m linking up this post with these wanderful women for Wanderful Wednesday: Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World, and with Mattie from The Northwest Native and Lex from Lex Be Livin for their Weekly Lessons linkup!

The Wandering Weekenders- 8 Things I Learned While Visiting Seattle

  1. Doing leg day before vacation is a bad idea- Our first day in Seattle was actually not spent in the city, but about 60 miles away in beautiful Mt. Rainier National Park! We got so lucky to be able to go hiking right before the National Park Centennial and that we hiked on such a clear and beautiful day! The only bad thing was that Chris decided to do leg day Monday night which meant that he was pretty sore and had a hard time hiking on Wednesday. So learn from our mistakes and make sure you don’t do leg day before visiting somewhere where you’ll be doing lots of hiking or walking.
    The Wandering Weekenders- 8 Things I Learned While Visiting Seattle
  2. Seattle is very hilly like San Francisco- I didn’t really think that other parts of the Pacific Northwest were super hilly, but man was Seattle hilly! It almost felt like we were in San Francisco instead of Seattle at the rate that we were hiking up those hills! I personally thought that it was a good thing because it meant that we were getting a workout in everyday, which meant that I got to eat more food! Definitely just keep that in mind for your next trip to Seattle!
    The Wandering Weekenders- 8 Things I Learned While Visiting Seattle
  3. Pike’s Place Market isn’t just food vendors, there’s a lot of crafts and things you can buy too- When you think of Pike’s Place Market, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Probably lots of fish vendors, beautiful arrays of fruits and veggies, and probably a ton of fresh flowers too. But did you know that Pike’s Place Market also has a ton of shops that sell a wide array of crafts, souvenirs, and other random odds and ends? You could get a whole lot of different types of shopping done during your one visit to Pike’s Place Market!
    The Wandering Weekenders- 8 Things I Learned While Visiting Seattle
  4. Seattle had a whole underground system that people used- One of the tours that was recommended over and over again on all the blogs that I checked out for this trip was the Underground Tour. After Seattle burned down in the late 1800’s, the city decided to rebuild, but just a little bit higher. The businesses didn’t want to rebuild a second time, so a whole system of underground walkways was built for people to navigate the original business structures underground before having to head back up to the top to navigate home. The underground was used for a few years and reminded me a lot of the tunnel system in downtown Houston, except that they had the help of skylights to help them figure out where they were in the underground system.
    The Wandering Weekenders- 8 Things I Learned While Visiting Seattle
  5. Seattle is a huge port city with a ton of cargo coming in every day- When you think of Seattle, some of the large businesses that you probably think of are Starbucks, Microsoft, and Boeing, but another industry that helps to bring in a lot of economic activity to the city is importing and and everything that goes with it, including unloading all of the huge cargo ships that come into the huge port of Seattle everyday. When we were on our harbor cruise we had the chance to see them unloading one of those huge container ships and it was pretty cool to see!
    The Wandering Weekenders- 8 Things I Learned While Visiting Seattle
  6. The Jetsons houses were based off The Space Needle- One of the most iconic parts of the Seattle skyline is the Space Needle which was constructed right before the World’s Fair came to Seattle in 1962. Later on that same year the TV show The Jetsons premiered with some homes that looked pretty similar to the Space Needle in Seattle. While touring the Space Needle it was so cool to learn more about its construction, but also to see how obsessed everybody was with Space at the time!
    The Wandering Weekenders- 8 Things I Learned While Visiting Seattle
  7. There is good Mexican food north of Texas- While we were in Seattle we went on a food tour with Savor Seattle, to try out a few cocktails and small plates at different restaurants in Seattle. When a Mexican food restaurant was our second stop I was pretty skeptical that I was actually going to like it since I’m pretty much a Mexican food and chips and salsa snob, but I was pleasantly surprised by San Patricio! So if you have a hankering for Mexican food when you’re in Seattle, make sure to stop there!
    The Wandering Weekenders- 8 Things I Learned While Visiting Seattle
  8. The Pike’s Place Market Starbucks is not the original Starbucks store- I actually knew this before we went to Seattle, but I don’t think that many people know that the “original” Starbucks that’s in Pike’s Place Market is actually not the original store. The original store was actually a few blocks away, but they relocated to their current location in Pike’s Place Market just a few years after the original store opened. I even believe that the original location of the store (the one not located in Pike’s Place Market) burned down, so you couldn’t visit it if you wanted to. The “original” store in Pike’s Place is still really cool to visit though!
    The Wandering Weekenders- 8 Things I Learned While Visiting Seattle

Well there you have it, eight weird and quirky things that I learned during our trip to Seattle! We really did enjoy our trip so much, and I can’t wait to tell y’all all about it! I just have to recap a few more trips before then!

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The Wandering Weekenders- 8 Things I Learned While Visiting Seattle

Beyond Words: Salt To The Sea

One of the things that I’ve really loved about being involved in book clubs is that it’s made me read some books that I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise, it’s encouraged me to read more, and it’s helped me to read books that I’ve wanted to read that I haven’t made time for yet. The last point was definitely applicable to last month’s Beyond Words: A Blogger’s Book Club’s, headed by Christy and Carolann, selection of The Light Between Oceans, and this month’s selection of Salt To The Sea is the exact same.

The Wandering Weekenders- Beyond Words A Blogger's Book Club

I’m a huge fan of WWII fiction, so Salt To The Sea had definitely peaked my interest with the description, but also because a few fellow bloggers had mentioned it before so it was added to my ever growing TBR list. It might have gotten lost on there for a while, so thank goodness it was chosen this month for book club!

The Wandering Weekenders- Beyond Words: Salt To The Sea

Salt To The Sea follows four young adults and teenagers who are caught up in the tumult towards the end of WWII. In 1945 the Nazis are being pursued by the Russians from the east and the Americans and British are pushing in the west. Thousands upon thousands of refugees from Prussia, Lithuania, and Poland are fleeing the oncoming Russians and their brutality, and their only hope for survival is to board one of the few ships in a port city to escape back to Germany. Each of the teenagers has a past that is currently haunting them and on their journey towards escape from the Russians, they each must come to terms with their demons.

This book is a young adult book, so it read very fast, but oh my goodness does this book deal with some very adult and heart wrenching topics. In the author’s note at the end of the book, Ruta Sepetys said that she wanted to write this book from the eyes of young adults and teenagers because they were the ones that were most effected by the war, and I couldn’t agree more with her. Not only did the point of views work really well in this book, but that generation lived with the effects of WWII for the rest of their lives.

Obviously war is something that will always have casualties and will always be brutal, but just to hear about all the atrocities that were happening to innocent civilians on both sides was so horrible to me. One part of the book described how many refugees were trying to cross a frozen over lake and as they were trying to cross Russian planes fired into ice causing many people to fall into the water and freeze to death. All they were trying to do was survive and escape the brutality that was coming, but obviously they were viewed as the enemy by the Russians.

Once the characters have made it to the port city, they’re all granted passage on one of the ships making its way back to Germany. They all view this as their chance to be saved until the ship that more than 10,000 injured soldiers, refugees, and other soldiers is hit by torpedoes from a Russian submarine causing the most devastating loss in maritime history.

The Nazis really were trying to save as many people as possible from the oncoming Russians, so they had way more people packed onto the ships than they should have. When the ship was hit it caused a widespread panic amongst the passengers, and Ruta Sepetys did a fantastic job of bringing that chaotic scene to life. I felt like I was really transported back to that scene, and I could easily see many of the things that she described happening.

I personally don’t have that much knowledge about what happened in Eastern Europe during WWII, but this book made me want to learn more. Everybody knows that the Nazis murdered millions of Jews and homosexuals and gypsies during the Holocaust, but I had no idea that many other nationalities like the Poles and Czechs were also viewed as sub human and brutalized as well. One of the characters was Polish and it was sitting on pins and needles during certain points during the book when we thought that her nationality might be revealed to the Nazis.

In my Goodreads review of this book, I described this book as “another beautifully told but haunting story of WWII,” and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a wonderful story, and even though it’s very heart wrenching, I feel like everybody needs to know how these thousands of people lost their lives. I gave this book a 5/5 stars and I’m already looking forward to reading more books by Ruta Sepetys, but I think I might need a little break before I start another one!

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The Wandering Weekenders- Beyond Words: Salt To The Sea

Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

For our last day in Portland we actually decided to venture out of the city again to do some wine tasting. Willamette Valley is an area about an hour south of Portland that is well known for their Pinot Noir, and we all know how much I love wine tasting, so we thought that it’d be the perfect way to end our trip in Portland!

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Left Coast Cellars

Our friends Brett and Lauren have a winery that they absolutely love that is actually located in the Willamette Valley, so that was our first planned stop of the day, Left Coast Cellars. It also made sense to stop there first because it was the furthest south from the city.

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Since we were visiting Memorial Day weekend, several of the wineries were having some special tastings on their properties and Left Coast was no exception. For Memorial Day they were hosting a Sip & Stroll where you got to walk around the property to different locations that they have set around the property and try 5 or 6 different types of wines.

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

I really enjoyed being able to try a wide variety of wines from Left Coast, including their White Pinot Noir and Rosé, but I also really enjoyed being able to see Left Coast’s beautiful property. There was just a ton of rolling hills of vineyards and so many flowers blooming, not to mention that it was a cool 70-something degrees while we were there which made it an even more beautiful day!

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Everything about our experience at Left Coast was amazing, but the coolest part of our whole visit to Left Coast was the fact that we got to meet the owner! Brett and Lauren started talking to one of the Left Coast employees about how tbsp found out about the winery and how much they loved the wine that the employee ended up pulling them over to meet the owner! They talked for a few minutes and the owner even made us a pizza for us to have while we drank a bottle of wine before we left!

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Our experience at Left Coast couldn’t have been more perfect! Even though it was a larger winery that produces wine that’s even sold in Texas, it still had the smaller more family owned and operated feel to it. Left Coast was definitely our favorite winery of the day, and I can’t recommend a stop here enough if you’re in Portland!

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Address: 4225 North Pacific Hwy N, Rickreall, OR 97371
Price: $10/flight or $20/seated flight

Namasté Vineyards

Before we left Left Coast we asked one of the employees if they had a recommendation for another winery to visit in the area and she recommended a smaller winery called Namasté Vineyards.

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

We traveled a little bit further south and arrived at Namasté to realize that we were the only people there. We enjoyed a tasting, and while it was fun to be the only people in the tasting room, we all just really enjoyed the wine and our experience at Left Coast more. The location of Namasté was pretty though and we were able to get some pretty pictures with the vines before heading to our next winery.

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Address: 5600 Van Well Rd, Dallas, OR, 97338

Stoller Family Estate

Our last winery of the day was one that I had read about online and that I was pretty excited to visit, Stoller Family Estates.

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Stoller was having a special event going on for Memorial Day like Left Coast where they had cracked open some of their reserve wines and you got to walk around their fermentation room and taste a wide variety of wines. We enjoyed the wine at Stoller a lot more than Namasté, although I wish that we’d been able to walk around their beautiful property like we had at Left Coast.

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Once we were done with our tasting we decided to share a bottle of wine and some cheese and crackers before heading back to the city. Stoller had a huge patio where a lot of people were sitting and enjoying the beautiful weather. The cool thing about Stoller was the fact that there were a lot of families there. It reminded me a lot of Pedernales Cellars in Texas where the kids were out playing in the fields while the parents were sipping on wine and enjoying themselves too.

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Although Stoller wasn’t as much fun as Left Coast was, it was another great winery that we visited during our trip, and I definitely recommend a stop here if you’re wanting a wine day during your trip to Portland!

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

Address: 16161 NE McDougall Rd, Dayton, OR 97114
Price: $15/flight

With the Oregon wine country only being an hour away from the city of Portland, a day trip out here would be the perfect thing to add to your list of things to do during your visit. Even though Pinot Noir is what the Oregon wine country is known for, we really fell in love with their Rosé while we were tasting, and didn’t taste a bad wine! I hope that you have the chance to visit Willamette Valley soon to taste some wine! I’m linking up with these wanderful ladies for Wanderful Wednesday: Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World.

Other Portland Posts:

6 Things I Learned While Visiting Portland
Portland Food Cart Tour With Eat Adventures
A Walking Tour Through Portland
Exploring Multnomah Falls
An Afternoon At Washington Park

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 The Wandering Weekenders- Wine Tasting In Willamette Valley

A 40th Birthday Party Weekend

Another end to the weekend means another Monday, another start to the week, and another weekending recap with the lovely Biana! This weekend was all about family time as we celebrated my BIL’s 40th birthday in Dallas! So here we go with the recapping!

The Wandering Weekenders- A 40th Birthday Party Weekend

Friday

Last week was pretty busy at work with conversion stuff and finishing up month end close, so I was pretty happy when Friday rolled around! I met Chris back at my bus stop and then we headed out of town to Dallas. They just opened up a new section of highway in Houston that shaves an hour off of our trip to Dallas, so it was pretty awesome that we were able to get to Dallas way earlier than usual. Of course our road trip wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Buc-ee’s! I swear I need to write a post about Buc-ee’s sometime soon so that all of y’all that don’t live in Texas can fully understand the awesomeness that is Bucees!

Saturday

Party day was Saturday but we still had the whole morning and part of the afternoon before the party started so we relaxed with our nieces and nephew and brother and sister in law for most of the morning. One of our niece’s birthdays falls right before our Europe trip so we’re not going to be able to make into town to help her celebrate. To make it up to her for missing her birthday, Chris and I took her shopping at Toys R Us for her birthday present. We had a lot of fun walking down the aisles with her before she finally decided on her toy. She was really excited about it and could barely wait to open it up once we got back to the house.

The Wandering Weekenders- A 40th Birthday Party Weekend

By the time we were done with shopping it was lunch time so we headed to a fun burger place near the house called Dugg Burger. Basically they hollow out the top of the burger and put all the toppings you want in the hole on the top. It’s a really fun concept, and they made a really good burger! If you’re in the Plano area I definitely recommend a stop by!

Being the bad aunt that I am, I might have promised my niece and nephew that we could get ice cream later on in the day, so we stopped by a gelato place after lunch. The gelato was so delicious, and of course all I could think about was that we’d be eating gelato in Italy in less than a month! We spent a few more hours relaxing at the house after ice cream before heading over to our other brother and sister in law’s house for the birthday party!

The Wandering Weekenders- A 40th Birthday Party Weekend

Chris and all of his brothers are all 5 years apart, so when Chris turned 30 this year, that meant that his older brother turned 40. They threw a big 40th birthday bash to honor him this year, and we had such a blast just hanging out with friends and family, drinking some beer, and eating some delicious food! Of course, the birthday party wouldn’t have been complete without cake, especially when there were trick candles involved!

Sunday

It always seems like our weekends go back super quick when we’re visiting family, so of course, Sunday rolled around way too quickly! We relaxed in the morning before grabbing an early lunch at Torchy’s with the family. Before we knew it, it was time to pack up again and hit the road, so we swung by and saw my grandmother before driving back home!

The Wandering Weekenders- A 40th Birthday Party Weekend

We always have a great time visiting our family in Dallas, but this weekend was really special because we were celebrating a big milestone for my brother in law, but we also got to see all of our nieces before they started back to school. I keep saying that time is flying by too quickly, but it especially feels true right now because our oldest niece is going to be in middle school this year! What? I keep telling myself that she can’t be old enough to be going into middle school, but I guess that I’m wrong!

Overall we had a fantastic weekend, and I’m already looking forward to our next trip back to Dallas!

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The Wandering Weekenders- A 40th Birthday Party Weekend

CG Swaps- Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you’ll probably notice that I really love a few things, and two of those things are swaps and books! So when The Chaotic Goddesses wrote about their twice a year swap called Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap, I knew that I wanted to participate! 

For this swap you send your partner a book that they want, a book that you love and recommend, another book you like, and all other things bookish! Even though I have a growing pile of books on my TBR, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join in this swap and get my partner a lot of goodies! I can’t wait to see who my swap partner is so I can get started on buying them all sorts of book goodies! 

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