Tonight as I sit down to finally get these blog posts rolling, all that keeps going around in my head is that little girl from Annie who says 'oh my goodness, oh my goodness'! because honestly I don't know where to start! We had the most amazing visit from my mom and mara which nearly didn't happen at all thanks to stupid British Rail and a points failure on the train they were travelling on to Gatwick Airport! So a missed flight later, lots of tearful phone calls/skypes, and after 2 new booked flights they finally made it to Vancouver! I was determined I was going to give them the best trip ever after everything they had been through! 1500 photos later and so many amazing (and hilarious) memories to last a lifetime, that I'm going to be blogging about it for weeks to do the trip any justice at all!
So we kicked off the 'holiday of a lifetime' as my mom keeps calling it with an action packed day stateside! I had to be ruthless in the photo selection for this blog post...and managed to condense it down to just 60 photos, which was a struggle! So don't say I didn't warn you...
We headed to the Skagit Valley first, to check out their annual Tulip Festival.
We were amazed at what we found! Hundreds and thousands of tulips everywhere, in every colour and kind imaginable!
Most of the kinds we came across we had never ever seen before!
and I was loving all their names!
Mom loves flowers more than anyone else I know, so she was in her element!
I think the fact that we had snow capped mountains as a backdrop made the seas of tulips even more spectacular!
These ones with the stitched looking edges were my fave!
We also couldn't have been more lucky than the weather! Washington state is as notorious for it's rain as Vancouver, and so our sunny weather was pretty rare!
We all know of my love for cherry blossoms so I was loving the tulip/blossom combo!
After we checked out the extensive display gardens, we just drove past the farmers fields which I think I liked even better than the display gardens because there was just row upon row of tulips...
and the further back the tulips grew the more the flowers just blended into a huge block of colour!
It was breathtaking! We probably could have easily spent the whole day wondering around the tulips, but Seattle was calling so we hurried on!
After a quick stop off at the Outlets for a spot of bargain shopping, we arrived in Seattle...and headed straight to Pike Place Market.
I'm a little bit in love with their turquoise fruit cartons!
and I had never seen such pretty looking potatoes before!
We made friends with the guy on this fruit stall, he sold us the most delicious tasting apples and oranges we'd ever had! and he was also putting the moves on Mom too!
It didn't take us long to sniff out our first (but by no means last) sweet treats of the day!
This cute little cheesecake shop had little cheesecake bits on popsicle sticks!
and the most delicious flavours! mint cookie cheesecake? yes please!
We chowed down at Pike Place Chowder! because I had read amazing reviews of their food, little did I know how obsessed Mom would get with clam chowder!
She still claimed that this was the best chowder of the trip though, and I should think so too after winning 1st place at the west coast chowder competition!
The last time we went to Pike Place Market over Christmas, I didn't get the hype. This time around with the sun belting down, and everyone in high spirits and the non stop good food I could definitely see why people love it so much!
We also got around to finally trying Cupcake Royale. I have had this place of my radar for like 4 years, so I had a lot of high expectations!
Fortunately, their cupcakes were amazing! and their shop was so cute too!
They even had a new ice cream section which was incredibly tempting...but I knew of all the sweet treats that lay ahead of us so just stuck to a cupcake!
and of course I had to purchase the souvenir t-shirt!
Lime and coconut and chocolate compost were the order of the day! and worth every cent!
If you don't believe me when I say everything about Seattle is cool, then just look at their trees! You can't get cooler than blue trees!
I love playing the tourist!
I was super excited to just stumble across the gum wall! I had read about it but hadn't planned to check it out on this trip so that was a happy accident! Mom was disgusted and so walked on without us!
I brought my own gum, and left my little mark on the wall!
We nearly never made it to the Space Needle because the car park we tried to stop in was ridunculously expensive! and I had a list of 12 different things I wanted to visit/eat in Seattle and beyond and it was getting later and later in the day...so I knew we might have to skip some!
Fortunately, just around the corner we found a cheaper car park which I was so happy about because going up the Space Needle was incredible!
We would have missed out on views like this! That's Mount Ranier peeking through behind all those skyscrapers! Isn't it just awesome!
and if you look really close you'll see houseboats surrounding the water. Our guide in the lift on the way up told us that is where Jonah's houseboat from 'Sleepless in Seattle' is! If only we'd known, we loved that film growing up! Maybe next visit we'll have to stop by!
and yes I co-ordinate wearing my patriotic tees on days I know I'll be in America (because I'm not sure how much Canadians would appreciate them!)
I had always thought of Seattle as a cool and trendy city, but it was not until we were on the top of the needle did I realise what a beautiful city it is! Surrounded by parks, and open water and snow capped mountains!
There was some amazing blown glass exhibition happening just next to the Needle, we were able to see some of the larger exhibits as we strolled by! but we had places to be so couldn't stop!
Especially for my scrapbooking mad sister, we drove out to Issaquah and stopped at this scrapbooking shop.
It was seriously impressive inside! and Mara got a good haul!
The fact that Krispy Kreme was around the corner was an added bonus! We went through the drive thru to pick up these key lime pie flavour specials of the month!
As we pulled off the highway we were met with this amazing view of the setting sun on the skyline so I had to pull over and snap a shot!
and then just around the corner we stopped in to the Seattle Temple.
It was lovely to be able to be there and wonder around the grounds.
It was so beautiful surrounded by my fave cherry blossom trees!
As we drove back from the Temple, we stopped in at Bellevue Mall and of course had to go to the Cheesecake Factory!
Choosing what flavours we wanted was probably the hardest choice we'd made all day! They have sooooo many delicious ones! but Mango Key Lime won out...
along with chocolate coconut cream cheesecake! By this time we had eaten so many sweets, that we saved them for another day!
and after a late night Oreo stop at Target we headed back to Vancouver!
We only got home after 1am! but being on a sugar and tulip high it didn't seem to matter much that we had to get up in a few hours to catch an early morning ferry to Vancouver Island!