Monday, October 13, 2014

My Fathers Walking Stick

Sometimes Symbolism is Ironic 
A Walking Stick propped in the corner of my room, hand made by my father.
It loomed there like it needed a walk, like it needed to share a trail.
It had a story to tell just as my father would tell.
He knows my heart and my needs and the walking stick is my guide.
I need an older brother's welcoming  hug. 
I need an older sister to still give me wisdom and be the holder of 
shared conversations like a vault. 

When do these two forks merge back on the trail.
Is the walking stick there to guide us back together.
On this Crisp fall morning the leaves dance in the wind and crunch under my boots.
Colors brilliant but yet dying
Branches been stripped bare by the wind. 
As the seasons change, So do families  
They become that path not taken, The path less trodden.


My heart is full of warmth but my soul is restless.
I am mindful of the saying "Blood is thicker than Water"
And the river between the two roads is deep.
I reach across to embrace and reconnect,
cherishing the thought of traveling this path together.
To share a walking stick.
Only to realize they took they other path. 

Since my fathers passing. I have felt more like an orphan than a sibling
Life seems just stuck in one season. No longer do we huddle in the warmth of winter together,
No longer do we wash away our grievances in a spring rain or laugh together under the moonlight of summer.  Siblings choosing to diverge into many muddled paths, everyone taking their own road. Leaving us each vulnerable to what lies ahead.

When do these two forks merge back on the trail 
Is the walking stick there to guide us back to family. 
To return to the other path and maybe take that one .. Together 
Remember it is important to realize that there is no wrong path ..

Robert Frost's poem is not The Road Less Traveled” but The Road Not Taken.” Even as he makes a choice, the traveler knows that he will second-guess himself somewhere down the lineor at the very least he will wonder at what is irrevocably lost: the unknowable Other Path. But the nature of the decision is such that there is no Right Pathjust the chosen path and the other path. 

Reach across that fork in the road. Merge the path while you can
Let family be your compass, your light. But more importantly
Let the Roads of life converge and let the Walking Stick guide you
back to the same road.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


My trip to the PNW would not be complete without a trip to beautiful
Victoria BC. So I grabbed a coffee, a warm sweater and headed off to
catch the CoHo Ferry from Port Angeles for the 90 min ride.

The deck was full of first time and seasoned travelers, all looking forward to a day in the charming, british oriented city of Victoria and the beautifully organic Vancouver Island. Talk of sites to be seen and food to be tasted is a conversation that is heard and might I add, great advise.

The ride across the Strait of Juan De Fuca is breathtaking but nothing compares to the view as you turn the corner and enter the Inner Harbor.
Seaplanes landing, tall ships loom through the fog and the cutest little water taxis scoot around delivering visitors to the piers for a day of adventure.

My adventure begins at Murchies Tea Shoppe as I meet up with the kids to enjoy family and food for a few hours.
No trip to Victoria is complete without a stop at Murchie’s Teas.
Murchies has a classic British influence with tea sets, linens, and 109 types of loose teas.
I grab a Lavender Black tea and we are off to explore.

Even a few rain sprinkles will not dampen the day as we venture into Fan Tan Alley. You might think you just walked into a Harry Potter movie. Fan Tan Alley is a hidden gem. Tucked away in the heart of Victoria's Chinatown, it's a tiny (5' wide) stretch of a walkway between Fisgard and Pandora Streets.
The sweet smell of fresh bread lead us to a small italian bakery La Tana drew us in to taste and buy a treat to cover us until we got to lunch.

La Tana

Lunch couldn't come soon enough as we were headed to
Red Fish  Blue Fish. This amazing wharfside take out stand
is a must place to eat. It is located in an old shipping container right
on the pier of the Inner Harbor. I had the fish and chips and the kids had their fish “Tacones” –  Grilled Fanny Bay Oysters and BBQ Wild BC Salmon wrapped in flat-bread with sweet-smoked chili adobe, pea shoots and lemon pickled onions.
Be patient- the line is worth waiting in.

Courtesy of Red Fish Blue Fish

The rain begins, so time to open up the umbrella and head to the ferry but not before a stop at the magnificant Empress Hotel- The cornerstone of Victoria. The hotel looms atop the harbor in all its floral glory. Most people go for high tea but on this rainy day
the perfect spot to sit and people watch is the Bengal Lounge. It has been serving people for over 60 years. It overlooks the stately gardens and the harbor streets. You step back in time to when
Queen Victoria was also the Empress of India. The decor is rich, the service legendary and the signature cocktails are delicious.

This was an amazing feast for the eyes, the beautiful gardens, the taste of the fresh food, the visit with family but the ferry awaits . I will return to explore and enjoy this magnificant city on the edge of the Vancouver Island again and again.

PS: If you do get to stay overnight,
I highly recommend The Beaconsfield Inn.
It is an award-winning Edwardian Inn in the heart of quiet Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
From the nine guest suites to breakfast to the edwardian gardens - this is an exquisite stay only four blocks from downtown.
I maybe biased. The Beaconsfield Inn is where I began my innsitting career and I adore it. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Keep Calm and Make your Own Carmel Sauce

Apple Farms

Apple Picking

Apple Pies

Fall is here and so are Apples
Macintosh, Red Delicious, Pinklady
and Minnesota's own Honeycrisp

After a day at the Apple Farm,
I usually run out to get some carmel
because what apple is complete without Carmel

Not anymore-- I decided to make my own
and I am only sharing it because - well it worked!!

Ok Really  10 Minutes and you will have

Sea Salt Carmel Sauce

1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons salted butter - cubed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp sea salt


Heat granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat,
stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. Seriously-
Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored
liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.

Once sugar is melted, add the cubed butter.  The caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added. Don't get scared - It won't run away
Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.

Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream while whisking. I forget to pour slowly- it turned out anyway.
Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added.
Boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt.
I used more salt - just because I don't like to follow rules!
Allow to cool down before using.
Cover the caramel tightly and store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Warm the caramel up for a few seconds before you use
Unless you just eat it by the spoonfuls !!

That is right- there was no thermometor harmed or used in this recipe.


Monday, September 22, 2014

A Tourist in My own Hometown

A trip to my hometown of Anacortes,Wa was truely a Ferrytale
I came back home for my 40 class reunion to revisit, reconnect and reunite with classmates and the beauty of the San Juan Islands.

Growing up in this beautiful island (Fildago Island) was like growing up in the enchanted forest with its stunning landscapes and mezmerizing views of the Puget Sound.

Not only is Anacortes rich in seafarer and fishing history, you will find an open kindness and friendliness from the locals. You will be treated to mouth watering cusine and luxurious accomodations.
Seafood right off the boats and eateries that reflect the flavor and
taste of the people of Anacortes. A must stop is Geri Deli for a sandwich,Calico Cupboard for a cinnamon bun not to be missed and Anthony's Cap Santefor an outdoor fireside bar with a stunning harbor view to eat, drink and be merry.

My stay in Anacortes began at the Majestic Inn and Spa in Old Town

While growing up it was an retail store but with careful restoration it has been transformed into a pillar of the city. The owners have mixed old history with new amenities from the stunning entrance and the carved staircase to the comfort of the modern 52 rooms. Most rooms have some water views.
I was welcomed by a friendly and gracious staff and treated to a room that overlooked Cap Sante.

From the rooms to the resturants and the rooftop bar-
the Majestic Inn and Spa is truely majestic. A must stay
if you are staying downtown and enjoying the historic town of Anacortes.

Coming home to some can be a dissapointment because of changes
or circumstances but this visit exceeded every expectation I had.
With every hello to each genuine hug to just a simple drive to a
sacred spot that held many memories- Anacortes will not and did not dissapoint.
Now that I have shared my little secret spot in the Pacific Northwest, you must be sworn to travel secrecy. It is a hidden gem only to be discovered by those who truly appreciate beauty.
I do- Can't wait to visit again

My Apron travels next to San Juan Island..

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A FerryTale Visit to Anacortes

My Apron Traveled to many beautiful places this summer but the one I was most excited about was the quaint, picturesque town of Anacortes, Washington.
Not only is it charming- it is where I got to grow up  and be from.
Yes  It is my hometown
Being back home for my 40th class reunion gave me the opportunity to not only get reacquainted with classmates but with the charm of this intimate harbor town.

Most people drive through this beautiful gem of a city on their way to or from the ferry.
Taking a turn at the light and heading to the ferry terminal...Missing the heart of the town.
But those who take the time to stop, explore and discover the beauty of Fildago Island and especially the historic town of Anacortes, The Gateway to the San Juan Islands get to take in a little slice of Heaven on Earth.

Whether you arrived by ferry

or perhaps the breathtaking Deception Pass Bridge

Photo Courtesy Derek Farmer

You are in for a visual feast at every turn.
I may be biased but with each corner of the town, 
the view is stunning, organic and unforgettable.
From the harbor to the loop road and to the beach for 
amazing sunsets, every inch of this island is a postcard.
Photo Courtesy Marcia Springer

Anacortes is a destination for adventures, shoppers, and foodies. 
There are alot of places to stay but few as great as the ones I found.
As a professional Innsitter (interim Innkeeper) I choose to stay in small, local inns or Band B's when I travel.
I was able to find two amazing lodging opportunities that fit in
with my search for Hip and Fresh Bed and Breakfasts. 
A must stay in Anacortes , The Gateway Bed and Breakfast
What a find, I was lucky to get the last available room on a Saturday night and I was not disappointed.
Sitting high on the bluff on Cap Sante, this new victorian style B and B was perfect in every way.
From the location close to down town, to the wraparound
porch perfect to sip coffee or wine and watch the sunset of the Guemes Channel, this B and B is enchanting.
As winter comes, the inside is enhanced by the outside elements peeking through the large windows of a warm and cozy sitting area.

The Gateway Bed and Breakfast has 4 rooms currently available and each one is appointed to fit the elements of Anacortes- 
Coastal, calm and comfortable.
On the cleanliness chart, it was off the chart.
I had a quiet room in the back with a private sitting area, spa like amenities in the oversized bathroom and best of all .. Coffee in each room. 

What I love about B and B's these days is that around the breakfast table are people of all walks and ages of life. The morning was shared with newlyweds,an adventurous couple and 2 solo women. Me being one

Mike and Nancy know how to be available, gracious and inviting hosts.
Believe me, it feels so comfortable while you are a guest
you feel like you are home.
Not to be missed is the breakfast part of this B and B
Mike was serving fritta and crisp bacon which was as delicious as 
the granola and fresh berries. The bowls of  fresh cracked dungeness crab was the creme de la creme.. Loved the breakfasts
The Gateway Bed and Breakfast is at the top of my list for 
HIP and FRESH places to stay while in Anacortes.

Photo Courtesy Carl Nickerson

So as many seafarers have been beaconed home to Anacortes,
you find your adventurous spirit drawing you to the tip of the Pacific Northwest, to the gateway to the San Juan Islands, for a ferry to Victoria, Guemes Island or beyond BUT
Before you take off to the rest of the beautiful San Juan Islands- 
Make this Ferryland your destination.. It is a true Sparkling Gem

Part 2  TBA The Majestic Inn and Spa

Friday, September 12, 2014

ReUnited - 40th Class Reunion

Was it the trepidation of a visit to my hometown or seeing classmates after 40 years. Both were creating a wave of anticipation and excitement as I traveled to the beautiful Fidalgo Island and Anacortes to take part in a weekend of gatherings for the Class of 1974
I was about to be reunited with classmates from all walks of life. Fisherman, Business exec, creators, game changers were about to embark on 3 days of sharing their lives with 120 classmates 40 years later.

As I enter town, a flood of emotion comes over me as I turn the corner on to Commercial Ave. The sheer beauty of Anacortes,Wa takes my breathe away.

Memories of listening to Bachman-Turner -Overdrive with the friends I was going to see made me smile. I know some classmates arrived with anxiety and uncertainty but that quickly went away as
Friday night came with a gathering of classmates only at the local H20 Bar.

The amazing committee had done their homework and with a little help from friends more than 60 alumni were welcomed with open arms, handshakes and even a few girl shrieks. Yes, after 40 years girls can still shriek when seeing an old friend.
How quick we revert from professional to high school.
Now that it is over, people can go back to their real names but some will always be Kandi,Bimbi and Suzy to me

From a beachhouse welcome, to a walk along the loop in Washington Park,  finding a special classmate who was reflecting on the bench, it was evident that 40 years had softened us all. Compassion, healing, acceptance and genuine care for each other was so evident . It was clear that life had granted us this time to show our deep appreciation for the friends that we had lost connections with over time.
The reacquaintance brought laughter - even the deep silly - gonna wet your pants kind, it brought tears of compassion for classmates that needed hugs and acceptance.
Love, the kind of love that you share with those who you have known for years but distance and life had seperated you, was in the air.
 Deep Pure Acceptance Love

We had grown up. Life had been good to us, but not without challenges and struggles. We all cherished our time together to reconnect, be refreshed and find laughter in 3 days of events.
But it was with somber thoughts that we also missed not only those who couldn't attend but those whom had left us on this earth. 14 souls were missed and acknowledged by a beautiful SONG sung by a classmate Brian and a slideshow presented by Suzanne. Classmates sat a little closer to loved ones, held hands with old friends and shed a tear in rememberance..We lost them too early but I truly felt they were sharing that precious moment with us.
(Please click on SONG link to hear this beautiful song)

Whether is was the cocktail party, the gala event or the final goodbye at the park, the friendships were rekindled, the reconnections had been made and talk of not waiting so long for the next one warmed everyones heart. Well and with a little help from Wes and his amazing food. 

I could continue but the truth was we all took the time, and it was fun. It was due in part to the organizing committee which made this possible- They are the glue to this incredible event but mainly because of the effort to stay in touch with the past and watch where the future will take us all.

So if you get an invite to your 40th class reunion, my reccommendation is that you pull on your Spanx (or not), color in your eyebrows (yes even the ladies) and just Let it Go .. Enjoy 
It truly was the time of our lives.

This is dedicated to each member of AHS Class of 1974