Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

Coming Home

Coming to Seattle is never like visiting other places. There's always this feeling that we're going back to the place where everything is at ease, even when we stay in other people's houses or live out of suitcases, for Rosty and I it feels... different.

Both of us talked about how homesick we were for the Northwest when we were driving through the woods in the mist with the Olympics on one sides and the sea on the other.

Then Jet grumbled, "I'm homesick for our house, not for this."


We were up at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, got to the airport in plenty of time for our flight, which went nice and smoothly and Isabel and George, John's parents, came to pick us up at the airport. We got a little time to catch up with them and have some lunch. I also packed a box of cookies for shaterri, and we went to the local post office to mail it and to get a card for the wedding gift.

When we got out of the mall it was already 2:35, so we thought there would be no time to make the 3 p.m. Bainbridge ferry, which leaves from the heart of the waterfront in downtown. With construction detours and a wrong turn, we still managed to make it to the terminal by 2:55; and they were loading the 3 p.m. ferry when we arrived. The lane we'd expected to wait in for the next ferry then started to move and only three cars were loaded on after ours. So we waited nearly no time for the ferry itself... and got across to Bainbridge Island in less than an hour from Bellevue. Very good time...

We headed up to Port Townsend, which is near where tallcedars built his house along with his partner, Carla. His user name is very appropriate, as the property has enormous cedars everywhere around it. Their builder had finished the basement guest room on Monday, given the news that we were arriving on Wednesday. It seems that that is just how he worked, but we were very grateful that he hit his deadline, as their house was just beautiful, fit in beautifully with their surroundings, and had a very nice little guest room and bathroom for the three of us. We got acquainted with them and their two big dogs, and caught up for a while before heading out into the lovely little town of Port Townsend for our dinner.

Fins was a very nice restaurant with our prerequisite seafood, and they were quite accommodating of our informal attire as well as the fact that we had Jet with us. I think it helped that a family of four with two screaming kids were by the windows.

The food was wonderful. The oysters on the half shell were sweet and crisp. Carla tried one and was okay about it. John really loves them so he had the three, and I enjoyed my two. He got the fettuccine special, which had far more seafood in a garlic cream sauce than actual pasta. I got the bouillabaisse made with local seafood, and the light broth was excellent and had far fewer tomatoes and a lot more garlic and butter than I'd been expecting; but it was nicely balanced and had lots of lovely clams, mussels, salmon, shrimp, creamy scallops, and a white fish as well. Carla got a gorgeously roasted slab of salmon that was beautifully golden and crisp on the outside. Jet's fish and chips were hot, crisp and fresh and he ate quite a lot of them, and I'm amused to say that I can't even remember what tallcedars got because I was too busy with my own dinner.

It was in a tiny mall with a puzzle and game shop, a quilt shop, and a paper specialty shop. The puzzle shop so intrigued Jet that the next morning, after a lovely breakfast with waffles, blueberries, raspberries, and giant Marionberries, we went back to town to explore the shops. I nearly had a yarn accident in the local yarn shop when I discovered wheels of unspun Icelandic and recycled silk sari yarn; but we splurged a little at the puzzle store, and got intrigued by several of the board games there as well. A local ice cream shop had cardamon ice cream, so I had to have that, and Jet got a lemon cream, everyone got what intrigued them, and they only charged by the ounce!

Then we ate our cones in a small park by the shore, and the boys got to throw a few rocks before we went back to the house to dress up for the wedding. As much as Jet complained about his dress pants, he put them on easily and looked great in them.

From there we drove the hour back to Bainbridge Island, and the Kiana Lodge where blackwingedboy and streamsandpools were to be married. We got there more than half an hour early as we'd planned for problems, so we were able to wander the grounds. They were just gorgeous! They must have a huge team of gardners that work on the lawn, the flowers, and the baskets and decorations all the time. The whole place looked like it was in bloom, with far more flowers than I could identify. But I loved the tiny tear-drop sized fuchsias, the giant ball chrysanthemums and other mums, the tiger lilies, the lavender, and all kinds of snapdragons and... just... wow.

There was an enormous willow by the edge of the lawn, that was a great grandfather tree, spreading shade that easily accommodated a dozen Adirondack chairs and tables to put by them for drinks. It was gorgeous.

And all along one side was Agate Passage, the water gently lapping along the shore, and the ground was completely littered with clam shells, mussel shells, and sand dollars. Jet was very happy to walk along there, and pick up barnacle encrusted rocks to find crabs scuttling by underneath. They picked up a lot of little crabs.

A black and white tuxedo cat came to investigate us, and when we were done along the shore, it followed us back to the lawn and the wedding set up right on the shore. That's when it promptly curled up under the table that held all the elements of of the wedding ceremony and took a nap.

Jet whispered, "Should we chase the cat away?"

writeanya, who was officiating the wedding, said, "No."

So we left the cat to be admired by all the photographers, including us. *laughs* And the cat became a very memorable part of the ceremony. As was the lovely little flower girl, Maeuve, writeanya's daughter, who was just three, and cheerfully tossed flowers until she found no more left. Jet liked that a lot.

The ceremony was heartfelt, beautifully written, and done with full presence of all involved. That was impressive and wonderful. The audience was small but devoted, and it was great, afterward, to have everyone very relaxed and cheerful and totally enjoying the whole experience, rather than any of the possible dramas that can exist at weddings. We found another couple with two children about our age who were happy to sit with us. The photographer found a spot at our table as well, and we had a great conversation.

I love being in a group of people where that can happen.

The toasts were wonderful. The first was by streamsandpools' stepfather, who had that wonderfully dry British Humor. The second was by blackwingedboy's older sister. And the last was a song by the theblondeswedes, i.e. blackwingedboy and drshorn that was a rewording of "If I Had a Million Dollar" that even got Jet to crack up. He still sings bits of it now. Dang it's useful having nearly everyone involved on LJ. *laughs and laughs*

The reception was fun. It was great to see outintexas again and hug him solidly and just talk. The cake was astonishingly good. The bottom tier had five layers of chocolate cake with four or five different flavors of gradually darker and darker buttercream. The top layer was an "amaretto cake" with almonds all through; rich and nutty and buttery and lovely. And I got a really good laugh a seeing the box of PG Tips by the hot water on the coffee and tea service. THAT was really good.

The party ended by the shore. There was a huge bonfire built on a stone fire place, and we all just sat there watching the water slowly move by until the shuttle came to take everyone away to the ferry to Seattle.

We headed back to tallcedars, getting there at 10, where we all promptly fell into bed. We still hadn't caught up on that 5 am start, I think...

John got up first, though, then Jet asked to take a shower in the guest room shower, which had lots of big, flat pebbles set into the floor. He loves that shower, and really wanted to wake up that way. So I set him up and went back to sleep, and he managed to get the shower off and dry himself off and get himself put together, otherwise all on his own. I headed up after 8:30 or so, and found them playing board game and working on a puzzle together.

Carla fed us a first class breakfast of zucchini quiche and 'berry' muffins, with an lovely assortment of the berries we'd had for breakfast the previous day in them.

When we were all content, we packed up, loaded everything into the car and headed out to Fort Worden, a state park right by Port Townsend, which has beaches, old gun placements, and a light house on the very point it was built to protect. We walked the beaches with our hosts, picking up beautiful green rocks, seeing the light house and fishermen plying the waters, and talking a bit more. They had to leave before 1, and we stayed a little longer. The Fort was originally built to protect the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the main waterway into Puget Sound and the shipping afforded to Seattle. The huge concrete gunsites were enormous, and we climbed all over them. Kids from the campsite just at the foot of the placements were running around with head lamps and flash lights, slamming the huge metal doors whenever they could to enormous, loud echos through the structure.

It was a little too loud for all of us, so we left after climbing around to see it.

There was a tiny little food shack at the entrance to the beaches and light house road that served burgers, hot dogs, and I was surprised to see a "panko crusted cod" listed as either a basket or a sandwich. I wanted a sandwich, so I asked for it, and John looked a little surprised when they asked if he wanted a white or wheat bun of his miniature burgers. It turned out that for a really reasonable amount of money, the food was really, really good. My sandwich was wonderful, with a lightly butter toasted bun, a perfectly green leaf of lettuce, and hot, crisp, juicy cod. I was able to apply my own tarter sauce, and the fries were solid enough to stand up to a good slathering with malt vinegar. Jet really enjoyed his grilled hot dog, and John's burgers had tomato, onion, pickle and that deep green lettuce ruffle as well. It was really great.

From there we just headed back to the ferry terminal, uncertain of exactly when we'd manage it, and trying to avoid the rush hour rush from the islands into Town for a Friday night. We made it. Both Jet and I crashed out in the back on the way there, and Jet was so zonked out he needed a hot chocolate, which he chugged, when he was on the ferry to get even close to coherent again. The ride was swift and the sun came out as we came close to Seattle, so I think I got some good shots of the city from the water.

We stopped by World Spice, since we were there, and I picked up some green cardamon, cassia chips, Turkish bay leaves (I hadn't known HOW MUCH an ounce of Bay leaves actually was... it was just enormous! so I was glad that they "let" me buy just half an ounce), and some Valhrona cocoa because it was there. The cocoa at least. I'd been planning on the green cardamon, since I can buy it by the ounce there.

From there we headed back to John's parents' house, where they had dinner all set for us, and we were able to settle in an unpack. Jet was very happy to be back, and even happier to be set on a puzzle in the livingroom. We spent the evening just talking and catching up and sharing our adventure while away. The enormous New York Times crossword puzzle jigsaw puzzle was all done but for the last piece by the time we went to sleep. We're saving the last piece for Jet.

The rest of the week is booked solid, including John's and my anniversary tomorrow. *laughs* It should be fun.
Tags: seattle, travel

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