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Three Washington State Spots to Soothe Your Hobbit Soul

I lied, just a bit, about this post. It did cover three Washington State hobbit houses…but I added a fourth that’s on my hobbit house bucket list. If I find any others that fit, I’ll add them as well. Most are places to stay; one’s at a nursery and it’s a bit too small for even an actual hobbit to feel comfortable living in.

This post contains affiliate links. What that means is that if you click a link that is an affiliate link and make a subsequent purchase, I get a small commission that helps offset the costs of running this site.

“You had me at hobbit.”  I wish that this is what I had said, but Jerry Maguire was several years away. Shortly after I met my husband, I remarked on his large, hairy feet.  A Lord of the Rings nut who claimed to have first read the book at age seven (It seems to get earlier in some of his stories…I swear pretty soon he’ll have emerged from the womb having read all of Tolkien, including the Silmarillion!) he did a little hop and said, “I’m a big hobbit!” If you’re also a big hobbit and your version of travel lust includes a pining for the Shire, these three spots in Washington State will temporarily satisfy your hobbity cravings until you can get to Middle Earth or, at least, New Zealand.

The Brothers Greenouses

The Hobbit House at the Brothers Greenhouses Washington State Hobbit Houses

Set out on an adventure to the back of this Port Orchard nursery to find a house so tiny it doesn’t even have a bed.  You can’t rent it and stay, but you can go inside and check out the little fireplace. Check out the rest of the nursery as well for their castles, fairy garden supplies, and an incredible mini shire fairy garden complete with tiny dwellings and a train set. Sadly, the mini shire is not for sale, but it inspired me to start trying to make my own.

The Forest House

The Forest House on Orcas Island

I love this place so much, I wrote about it in TWO posts.

Near Eastsound, on Orcas Island, this magical (And I don’t tend to overuse words like “magical”) dwelling was formerly called the “Hobbit House” until the owner received notification that the word was trademarked.  Now called the Forest House, it’s available for rent on FlipKey by TripAdvisor. The book itself starts with “In a hole in the ground lived a hobbit.” While this house has features that would please any halfling, its location is among the trees and might satisfy some of the citizens of Rivendell. I think The Forest House might be a better name.

Underground Hygge

Underground Hygge AirBNB Hobbit House Washington Lake Chelan Hobbit Inn

Of the Washington State Hobbit Houses listed in this post, this is the winner for most-Hobbitish. Nestled in the hillsides of Orondo, WA, overlooking the Columbia River Gorge, it’s extremely private and has all the right features for living as a Hobbit…

…except that kitchen to make second breakfast or elevensies. We visited Underground Hygge — click here to read my post specifically about this Hobbit House.

For a closer look at the making of this enchanted hobbit dwelling, here’s a video:

The Gnome House

In the snow this looks even more like a little chalet…but the interior features are Hobbity or, rather perhaps, gnomish. I added this one because it’s adorable (even more inside than outside) and is going on my to-do list. It rents on VRBO .

Find Your Inner Hobbit:

If you’d like to view the interactive map, click here or on the map to open it in a new browser tab.

Washington State Hobbit Houses Map

Feeling Drawn to the Water? A PNW Wetsuit Guide

This is a sponsored post about choosing a wetsuit in the Pacific Northwest by evo, a ski, snowboard, mountain bike, surf, wake, skate, camp, and lifestyle retailer based in Seattle, Washington, USA.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest and like to partake in just about any water sports, you’re probably going to need a wetsuit. We like our summers short and chilly, and our water deep and cold here, and boardshorts and a rashguard just won’t cut it for most folks.

But what style of wetsuit do you need? And how thick? And what features really matter? Walk into any surf shop, and somewhere near the wall of surfboards you’ll find rack upon rack of wetsuits in every style, cut, and thickness imaginable. The selection is overwhelming. So here’s a guide to picking out what wetsuit will serve you best here in the Pacific Northwest.

Choosing a Wetsuit in the Pacific Northwest

Type

The first thing to decide is what type of wetsuit you’re looking for. Generally the colder the water you’re dealing with, the more coverage you’re going to want from your wetsuit.

Full Suit

Choosing a Wetsuit in the Pacific Northwest full wetsuit

Surfers looking to chase waves year-round will want a full coverage wetsuit, with long arms and legs, and a hood, along with neoprene booties and gloves. This style of wetsuit will help keep you warm in the coldest waters.

Spring Suit

choosing a wetsuit in the pacific northwest spring suit

For paddleboarders, wakeboarders, and water skiers who don’t spend as much time submerged in the water, and want more maneuverability, a spring suit works well. Also known as a shorty, these wetsuits are basically the short sleeves and shorts of cold water wear. The legs come down to the knee, and the arms cover to the elbow, so you’ve got your core covered and warm, but are able to move more easily. These aren’t as warm as full coverage suits, but are easier to get on and off, and are more comfortable in warmer waters.

Wetsuit Tops

choosing a wetsuit in the pacific northwest wetsuit top

The final option are wetsuit tops. These are a good choice spring through fall for many lakes in the Pacific Northwest. They provide plenty of warmth to your core, while not having to worry about overheating. They come in a variety of styles including pullover, chest zip, and back zip. Wetsuit tops can be used for a variety of activities from swimming to wakesurfing and are very easy to get in and out of. These are perfect for folks who run a little cold, but don’t need the coverage and insulation of a full wetsuit or shorty.

Thickness

Once you’ve figured out what cut of wetsuit will work best for you, it’s time to think about thickness. Thickness is basically how wetsuit manufacturers talk about how well their wetsuits do at keeping you warm. The thicker the wetsuit, the more heat it traps, and the warmer you’ll be. Thickness is usually measured in millimeters, and is composed of three numbers in order for the thickness of the torso, legs, and arms. So a 4/3/3 wetsuit would have a 4mm thick torso, 3 mm thick legs, and 3 mm thick arms.

Of course, thicker suits will only get you so far, a spring suit that’s a little thicker than a full coverage suit with gloves, a hood, and booties, still won’t be as warm. So you want your cut and thickness to work together to keep you the perfect temperature for the conditions you plan on seeing. Everyone’s preferences vary, so use these recommendations as a starting point, and move up or down based on whether you run hot or cold.

For water temperatures under 42° you’re going to want at least a 6/5/4, full coverage wetsuit with gloves and booties, and a hood. This is cold water, and you need as much insulation as you can get.

choosing a wetsuit in the pacific northwest wetsuit booties

For water in the 43°-58° range, a 5/4/3 suit, again with gloves, booties, and a hood will be the right call for most people. If you run cold at all though, don’t hesitate to go for a thicker suit.

In warmer water, from about 58° to 63° a 3/2 suit will work for most folks, although, again, if you run cold, a thicker suit may be a good call.

For temperatures above 63° most people will be happy in a 2 or 3 mm shorty suit. In warmer water temperatures less coverage, and a thinner wetsuit will help keep you comfortable and happy all day long.

So figure out what cut of wetsuit will work best for you, and how thick it’s going to need to be, and then get out there and tame these Pacific Northwest waters. We promise it will be worth it.

A Visit to Underground Hygge: The Hobbit House by the Columbia River Gorge

We finally visited Underground Hygge: the AirBNB Hobbit House in Washington State that you can rent. While we loved it, you should know a few things before you book. What follows is my review and my attempt at a video.

And, if you’re interested in Middle Earth-type lodgings and places to visit, you can read my original post on Hobbit Houses in Washington State. If you want more photos I’m in the process of attaching a gallery of images here.

Nestled in a hillside overlooking the Columbia River Gorge is a little house fit for a Hobbit. This “hole in the ground” was built by Kristie Wolfe, who also constructed an AirBNB treehouse in Idaho and is for rent on AirBNB.

You can view a video about the making of Underground Hygge here or on my original Washington State Hobbit House post.

However, this AirBNB hobbit house is so popular that it generally reserves out at least a year in advance. My husband, Ted, is a huge Lord of the Rings fan so reserving this was a “must-do,” and I finally got to stay a few days in this magical dwelling with my big hobbit.

Joys and Challenges of Hobbit Living

Overall, Ted approved of Underground Hygge. His only caveat was that including a kitchen would have made it much easier to prepare breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, supper, dinner…and whatever other meals hobbits like to eat.

The house is off the grid — water is brought in, power is solar, there is no kitchen, and you should intend on making this a disconnected getaway as there isn’t much wi-fi service here except, possibly at the base of the hill. Hobbits don’t use electronic devices anyway!

We did run out of power one evening, but the hosts provide a generator to recharge the battery, should that happen to you.

To solve the dilemma of hobbits’ unique meal habits, we brought a camp stove, and my spouse dragged our Yeti cooler up the hill. If it had just been me, I would have brought a small cooler and made more frequent trips.- Advertisement –

We supplemented our meals with going into nearby Chelan for luncheon. The hosts of Underground Hygge supply their visiting hobbits with a nice, Middle Earth style map, instructions, and list of meal recommendations. Of the places we tried, I’d recommend The Fox and The Quail in Chelan. It’s a charming cafe with a comfortable outdoor seating area and the Ahi tuna I had there was excellent.

Bring a Soundtrack

But overall, we loved it. My husband spent time re-listening to the BBC Radio broadcast of Lord of the Rings   and The Hobbit  , as well as the soundtracks from the movies  . Watching the evening light move over the landscape here is lovely. We were amused one evening by large groups of grouse running down the dirt road below. And, though you can see other houses in the distance, you kind of get the feeling you’re the only ones in your own little world here. It’s a great couples retreat, but it would also be a great getaway if you wanted to be a hermit for a bit.

But, that may change. You can see another, partially built hobbit hole nearby and the guest notebook describes plans for three hobbit houses and a community kitchen. So, instead of it being a private getaway, it may, eventually, be a sort of mini-Shire.

Hobbity Perks we Loved:

In addition to the sheer charm of the place and the things I’ve already mentioned, here are some touches the hosts added that I loved:

Reading Material

Though my spouse came prepared with his own fancy copy of The Hobbit, we found the house (as it should) already had one.

A hobbit house also needs a riddle book, and…just so.

But my big hobbit was pleased that I did not discover the box with Table Topics cards until near the end of our visit.

The Workbench

The workbench includes wood, tools, and instructions to spend your time whittling an owl. We didn’t whittle; perhaps Ted would have had the motivation if he could have whittled a Gandalf-style pipe.

The Front “Lawn”

The hobbit house is enhanced by its front patio area. The “lawn” seems to be high-quality astroturf — so it stays green in the dry Summers.

The Amplifier Stump

You’ll find what looks like a little tree stump on the nightstand. This is actually a music amplifier. Set your phone on it to enhance your listening if you didn’t bring a speaker.

The Door

The door is stunning. It’s made from a large spool, with decorative metalwork. I want this door in my house, but I don’t think it would look right!

Some things you should be aware of before visiting the AirBNB Hobbit House:

We loved our stay at Underground Hygge and would go back, though definitely in the Summer. While the house would look charming in the snow and the propane fireplace would be cozy, Winter would bring its own challenges with navigating the dirt roads and with power issues.

Here are a few things to know before you go:

Bring a Stove and a Cooler

There’s no kitchen; the hosts will provide you with a few special treats for elevensies, an electric hot water kettle, and coffee/tea, if you want to cook, you’ll need to bring your own supplies.

Get ready to do a bit of climbing

Underground Hygge is about a 100-yard hike up a winding trail to get to the hobbit house. Nicely, rustic walking sticks are provided at the head of the trail.

Off the Grid

Power is supplied by solar panels, but the hosts provide a generator should you run out and the tap water is non-potable, but drinking water is brought in and delivered in a cute wall-keg.

I also found that the hot water ran out rapidly — too rapidly for me to finish taking a warm shower or filling the lovely deep bathtub. The house manual says that you can use the hot water kettle to heat up water. If you do this, be aware that the electric water kettle sucks up energy and you’ll have to end up using the generator. If I were genuinely motivated to fill up the tub to take a hot bath, I’d use my camp stove to heat water.

Keeping Cool

Orondo gets hot in the Summer! However, we found that an earth dwelling stays cool. Keep the door closed during the day and there’s no need for air conditioning.

For You Hammockers

There aren’t any good hammocking trees in the nearby vicinity — but there was room down the hill for setting up a hammock stand for lounging around.

The Roads

Getting there is uphill on dirt roads; some of them are rough. Our Subaru handled it just fine. However, in the winter I’d want to bring a 4 x 4 vehicle.

Bees and Other Guests

In the Summer, you’ll be visited by many yellowjackets and wasps, but they quiet down toward evening.

You might also find a few grasshoppers if you shake out the blanket. Their “music,” however, I find comforting in the evening.

Orondo Hobbit House Photos

I’m working on adding to the gallery of photos I took at the Hobbit Inn. You can click here to view the gallery.

Underground Hygge: AirBNB Hobbit House Washington State Map

Click here or on the map to view the interactive version of the map for the Hobbit Inn in Orondo

In the Trees: Your PNW Treehouse Bucket List

A painted rock from Free Spirit Spheres treehouse rentals British Columbia I am Most Alive in the Tall Trees

“Be in a Tree”…

…says treehouse builder, Pete Nelson.  His show, Treehouse Masters, has popularized treehouse “glamping” for kidults. This article is about treehouse rentals near me — that is treehouse rentals in Washington as well as treehouse rentals in Oregon, Idaho, and BC (to a lesser extent).

I visited the Nelson Treehouse Company’s Bed and Breakfast, Treehouse Point, along with a couple of other in-the-tree locations (Free Spirit Spheres, the Forest House and — at least in spirit — the treehouse at Doe Bay) in the Pacific Northwest.

Let’s visit those places followed by a long list of other treehouse rentals in the Pacific Northwest!

This post or page may contain affiliate links.  That means if you click on a link that is an affiliate link, and then make a subsequent purchase, I get a small commission, at no additional cost to you, which helps me support this website.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here is something about being in the trees.  Perhaps it appeals to our primal nature, or a desire to revisit childhood. Memories of summers spent climbing trees, trying (unsuccessfully) to collect junk and boards around the neighborhood to build a tree fort, playing pirate – and sometimes falling and skinning a knee.

Perhaps your tree-climbing days are over, but now, fortunately, you don’t have to risk falling or skinning a knee to get up close to the leaves. “Glamping”—upscale camping – is in vogue these days as many of us aging children like to feel like we’re “in nature,” without actually roughing it.

Pete Nelson’s show “Treehouse Masters” has popularized treehouse glamping. More and more resorts, hotels, and Airbnb’s are offering treehouses – many of them upscale – as an option.

I revisited my childhood treehouse fantasies last summer by staying in a few of the best treehouses located a (relatively) easy distance from Seattle. Here they are, with a bunch more treehouses that I’m adding to my treehouse bucket list.

Here’s a lowdown on the high-up places we stayed followed by a listing of other treehouses around the Pacific Northwest that you can rent, including treehouse rentals in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and a couple in BC.

If you’re interested in viewing more photos of the treehouses we visited, there are links to galleries at the end of each section. Or you can click here to see a gallery of more photos from our treehouse visits.

Treehouse Point

Treehouse rentals near me Treehouse rentals Washington State at Treehouse Point

First stop: Treehouse Point. That has to be your first stop if you have a goal of visiting treehouses, as it’s the prime spot for treehouse rentals in Washington. “Tree Whisperer” Pete Nelson’s treehouse B & B, Treehouse Point is situated on four acres in Issaquah/Fall City, WA near Snoqualmie. Treehouse Point offers six treehouses available for rent. One of them – Trillium – was closed during our stay.

The treehouses themselves have composting toilets, but the nearby bathhouse has cozy cedar-lined bathrooms fitting with a rustic, PNW, treehouse-y theme.

The Nelsons have owned the property on which Treehouse Point sits since 2004. Formerly an auto repair shop, the main lodge now serves as both breakfast hall, gathering space, and also offers non-treehouse accommodations upstairs. On a cold, rainy, night you may even want to descend from your treehouse to sit by the fire with cocoa and a good book.

In 2020, the Nelsons will be opening another treehouse Bed and Breakfast – Treehouse Resort and Spa – an immediate add to my treehouse bucket list.

The Treehouses of Treehouse Point

 

Let’s look at the treehouses first, then we’ll get to tours and reservations:

Treehouse Signs at Treehouse Point Treehouse rentals near me treehouse rentals washington state

Temple of the Blue Moon

Temple of the Blue Moon Treehouse at Treehouse Point PNW Treehouse rentals near me treehouse rentals washington state

Inspired by the Parthenon, this “temple” is the one that always gets pictured when you see Treehouse Point. Blue Moon is a favorite for Instagram shots due to its suspension bridge leading to the treehouse.

Trillium

Treehouse at treehouse point treehouse rentals in Washington State treehouse rentals near me

Trillium closed during my visit, so I didn’t get to see the interior, but what’s striking about this treehouse is its height – 16’.

Upper Pond

Upper Pond Treehouse at Treehouse Point PNW Treehouse Rental Washington State Treehouse Rental

This one boasts the most significant capacity of any of the treehouses, housing four.  During our stay, a family was staying there who was kind enough to invite us in for a closer look. The bunk beds are popular with the kids, and it features a rope pully to get your luggage up – because to get up in the treehouse, you’ll need to climb a ladder.

Nest

Nest at Treehouse Point PNW Treehouse rentals near me treehouse rentals washington state

Nest was our nest at THP.  Bird themed, as its name would suggest, it’s the smallest of the treehouses, but would make a great solo writers’ retreat or a cozy “nest” for you and your lovebird. There is a tiny composting toilet outside the treehouse in case you have a nighttime emergency, but otherwise, you’ll want to climb down and go to the plumbed bathrooms.

Bonbibi

Bonbibi at Treehouse Point Pacific Northwest Treehouses Washington State Treehouses

Bonbibi was a Hindu guardian of the forest and, I suppose, you can act in her stead and guard the forest in this high up gem which features a lower deck.

The Burl

The Burl at Treehouse Point Washington State Treehouses Pacific Northwest Treehouses

This one is popular with the honeymoon crowd both because of its river view but – I think more importantly – because it has a half bath with an actual plumbed toilet. The climb up to the bedroom is steep, but there is no need to make a nighttime choice between a run to the bathrooms or using a composting toilet.

The Hermitage and Bird Blind

THP removed these treehouses of the past because their proximity to the river didn’t comply with King County codes. But the sign for the “ermitage” can still be found in the forest near the river.

Hermitage Sign Treehouse Point Pacific Northwest Treehouses Washington State Treehouses

Staying at Treehouse Point

Reservations

Staying in a treehouse doesn’t come cheap – prices aren’t available on the site; they ask that you email them for current availability and price details as availability and prices vary.

Be sure to book early. Treehouse Point is the prime location for treehouse rentals in Washington (and well beyond WA as well). Reservations fill up rapidly and, especially during the summer, weekends fill up for weddings, especially if you’re interested in booking The Burl.

For us, one night in Nest was in the $300 range and we were very fortunate to find a one night reservation at the last minute.

Tours

Treehouse Point Tour Group Treehouse rentals washington treehouse rentals near me  Pacific Northwest Treehouses Washington State Treehouses

However, if you want to check out the treehouses at Treehouse Point without staying the night, you’re in luck – they offer small group tours. Tours are popular and draw visitors from all over (I was one of the few locals in my tour group), so reservations are a must. The cost is $25 for a one-hour tour. New tour dates for the month open up at 2 PM Pacific Time the first Tuesday of the previous month.

WiFi

Free Wi-Fi is only offered in the lodge. Make this a time to unplug and disconnect from your devices (though you’ll be very tempted to Instagram here) and practice some “mindful travel.”

Food

You’ll have to get dinner in town. Fortunately, there are plenty of restaurants in nearby Snoqualmie (see below). But there are snacks, cocoa, and a basket for making (indoor) S’mores in the lodge in the evening and breakfast in the morning is delicious, served up by our gracious host, Bird. Breakfast is served at the grand table in the lodge with other treehouse-dwellers. I would provide photos, but I had my spouse reminding me to be polite and put away the camera.

Toilets

Cedar Lined Common Bathroom at Trehouse Point Pacific Northwest Treehouses Treehouse rentals in  Washington State Treehouses

The call of nature is a concern at many of the treehouse locations as plumbing a treehouse presents its own set of challenges. Only one of the treehouses at THP has a plumbed toilet. Most have composting toilets so it’s best to use the main toilets as much as possible, especially if staying in Nest.

Fortunately, the bathrooms are lovely, cedar-lined things, fitting with a rustic treehouse resort.

The Lodge

Though you’ll want to spend most of the time hanging out in your treehouse (that’s why you came, isn’t it?) the lodge is a comfortable place to sit by the fire on a cold evening, read a book, play a game, and have a cup of cocoa or tea.

Other Services

If you’re into Yoga or TaiChi or want a massage, all are available – but you’ll need to check the schedule and arrange it in advance.

Yoga Sign at Treehouse Point Treehouse rentals washington state

In Town

If hanging out in your treehouse, sitting by the pond or hiking down by the river isn’t enough, there’s plenty to do in nearby Snoqualmie.

For dinner, we’ve eaten at Woodman Lodge, a restaurant that’s situated in a 1902 fraternal hall and has mid-priced casual American fare. If you want pub fare, the Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom is the place to go. If you want fine dining, you can head over to the Salish Lodge (another one of my favorite PNW luxurious getaways). The Salish Lodge also offers the traditional Snoqualmie Falls Lodge breakfast (though it appears they’re not calling it that anymore), but you’ll be wanting to eat at the Treehouse Point Lodge during your stay – put that one on the to-do list for another time.

For more hiking, take the hike down to Snoqualmie Falls or, if you’re into trains, visit the Railroad Museum which offers train rides on weekends during the summer. We’ve also taken summer bike rides from Snoqualmie to Remlinger Farms and back — time it right and you can stop and pick berries enroute.

Related Reading (and Viewing)

 

If you’re interested in Treehouse Point, the documentary…Treehouse Point chronicles Pete Nelson’s efforts to build the treehouse resort. You can watch it on Amazon Prime.

And if you’re more of a reader and/or a DIY-er than a watcher, Pete Nelson’s own book about the basics of treehouse construction can be fun to peruse — even if you don’t aspire to build your own treehouse.

Free Spirit Spheres

The Free Spirit Spheres Office Round Treehouse rentals in British Columbia

If you want to stay in a truly unique treehouse, this is your place! The spheres live in a magical wooded facility in Qualicum Beach, BC near Nanaimo. I understand, though, that they are looking to relocate to a larger property to expand, so this article may need an update shortly. Franchising is also, apparently, in the works, for those who want to open a sphere resort of their own.

The Spheres

 

There are three spheres with free spirit here: Melody, Eryn, and Luna.

Melody

Melody Sphere at Free Spirit Spheres Treehouse rentals near me treehouse rentals british columbia

This fiberglass sphere was our sphere-of-choice due to availability and the fact that she could house both of us, though space is, of course, a bit cramped unless someone accompanies you with whom you feel very comfortable. The fold-down Murphy bed was very comfortable, and the window seat by the round window make a cozy place to sit, write, and listen to the rain come down.

Melody, I think would make a great writing space for a solo writers’ retreat – she features built-in speakers and fold-down tables for eating or writing. However, I did find wi-fi (and LTE) coverage spotty here so that it would be an excellent place for a disconnected, device-distraction-free, writing retreat.

What’s it like staying in Melody? I am frequently comforted by the sound of rain, and visiting in Melody during a rainstorm gave Melody the chance to live up to her name. In a gentle wind, or with motion, Melody gently rocks which is, at first, a bit disconcerting but then you get used to it. They do give rules about conditions that will necessitate getting down from the sphere.

Nearby there is an outhouse.  Graffiti here offers some good advice:

Eryn

Eryn at Free Spirit Spheres British Columbia Treehouse Rentals

Eryn is a wood sphere with a spiral staircase which can sleep two, and potentially, a third in a loft bed.

Luna

Luna is the newest sphere – I was fortunate to be able to take a peek at it before the next inhabitants arrived. This one is a gem, featuring a bed with a hydraulic lift, though we didn’t find it too challenging to get Melody’s down.

The Property

Like Treehouse Point, the spheres’ property has a pond which makes a nice area to get out and walk when It isn’t raining.  When it is, the covered porch by the bathrooms makes a nice place to sit, watch the rain, and, if you’re lucky, watch baby birds in a hummingbirds nest (though that was likely to be a special treat that happened to occur during our visit).

However, this may be out of date soon as when we visited they were looking to relocate in the near future.

Each sphere has a comfortable, individual, bathroom in this building, so you don’t need to worry about sharing or hogging a one during your stay.

Reservations

You can check their calendar online to start the reservations process – but actual reservations are made by phone. They telephoned to let me know when reservations would open up for summer (in the spring), but reservations fill up fast, so you need to call them back promptly to get your first choice.

In truth, I was booking because I wanted to stay in the spheres, but it happened to be close to our anniversary, so I booked a package with a treat basket. There was a LOT of food, and it got us through our first night in the sphere, and breakfast too. 

Dining

Cuckoos Trattoria in Coombs, BC

But, otherwise, there is no restaurant by the Spheres, so you’ll need to go into town to eat. We didn’t stay long enough to sample every restaurant in town, but for dinner, a restaurant we’d recommend is Cuckoo Trattoria and Pizzeria in Nearby Coombs. It’s located in the lovely Old Country Market — so you might want to budget some time for shopping.

While you’re in Coombs, you might want to visit Goats on the Roof. Yes, it’s a touristy gimmick, but it also has a grocery with a good cheese selection and a store with a bunch of various (and reasonably priced) household items and toys. I didn’t see any goats initially and almost asked where they were. I’m glad I didn’t. They are precisely where the name implies.

If you’re interested in fine dining during your stay, Bistro 694 in Qualicum beach was excellent, both in menu and atmosphere. We arrived early and were lucky to be able to get in without a reservation – but you should make one as tables fill up fast.

In The Area

Other than goats on a roof, while you’re staying at the Spheres you might also want to visit Qualicum Beach if weather permits, go hiking in Heritage forest, or visit the town of Qualicum beach if browsing shops is your thing.

The Forest House

The Forest House on Orcas Island Like a Treehouse and You can rent it

The Forest House on Orcas Island (I love it so much I also mentioned in this post) is, hands down, one of my favorite places to get away from it all and relax. Currently, it’s renting on Trip Advisor for $175 per night.

Until 2016, this gem of a place bore the name “The Hobbit House” for its distinctly…hobbity…features. But, unfortunately, the word “Hobbit” turned out to be trademarked by Middle Earth Enterprises, and Suzanne, who owns the Forest House (Can I buy it? I want to live there.) had to change the name.

 

But hobbits live in holes in the ground, and this place is, distinctly, in the trees. Perhaps, it would be better suited to inhabitants of Rivendell, and a name change was in order. Technically it’s not an actual treehouse. Pillars support the structure, but its place among the trees at least earns it at least the title of an honorary treehouse. It earns it’s place as one of my favorite treehouse rentals in Washington State!

Kids will appreciate the tower, as will kidults who still have a Disney princess fantasy.  Writers looking for a retreat will also enjoy the tower, which has a desk area with computer hookup.

Tower Deck at the Forest House on Orcas Island pacific northwest treehouses

The tub room features a deep sunken tub, perfect for a bubble bath, with a high ceiling, surrounded by plants.

The Tub room at the Forest House on Orcas Island

The kitchen is small but as charming as the rest of the house, and we spent plenty of time on the large wraparound deck. And the house is mostly very private – except that I encountered a drive-by photographer, who apologized when I walked out and quickly drove away.

In The Area

You’ll probably want to do some cooking in the full kitchen at The Forest House.  Fortunately, there’s a grocery store in Eastsound. But while you’re on Orcas, you’ll probably want to sample some of the local restaurants. Here’s the lowdown on where we ate and what I’d recommend (I’ll probably write another post sometime on just this subject, but for now here’s the skinny):

 

Restaurants

ÆLDER/Hogstone Wood Oven

We had no specific dinner plans on our trip, but we got lucky.  Walking around in Eastsound, a sign on a small restaurant boasting “Agrarian Cuisine” drew me in. Despite the price tag, I was curious and wanted to sample this agrarian cuisine and was able to get a reservation for that night. I’m glad I did.

Ælder shares space with Hogstone Wood Oven – a woodfire pizza restaurant. Both restaurants are owned by Jeff Blackington, a farmer and chef offering farm-to-table cuisine. The multi-course meal was nicely presented and, in addition to its more creative cuisine, also provided a slice of the woodfire oven pizza along with a special surprise that I  won’t reveal, but might delight you if you grew up near Seattle.

Mia’s Café

Mia’s was a good place to get a latte and breakfast in the morning.

I like the funky artwork and the purple walls – a cheery place to get going in the morning.

The Madrona Bar and Grill/The Loft at Madrona

If you want to dine outdoors, the Madrona has an outdoor seating area with beautiful views overlooking the water. The seafood was adequate the price was reasonable, and the view was stunning.

Mijitas Mexican Kitchen

Mijitas gets an honorable mention, since we didn’t eat here – but plan to next time. The outdoor courtyard attracted me, lit up at night with string lights.  And, I understand, the food is good as the atmosphere.

New Leaf Cafe

I ate here more recently as a Mother’s Day treat — nice French cafe breakfast and a light dinner.

Things to do near the forest House

You’ll want to stay and enjoy the Forest House itself and walk on the nearby beach…but there are plenty of other things to do on Orcas. 

While you’re on Orcas Island, besides shopping and eating in Eastsound, you might want to visit Moran State Park (this was one of our favorite spots to camp with the kids when they were younger), take a hike up Mt. Constitution, go on a whale watching trip, or go kayaking. Though I own a kayak, I’d be careful to only use it in areas I know to be very protected. For other areas, or to go on an orca viewing kayaking trip, I’d go with an experienced guide.

Honorable Mention: The Treehouse at Doe Bay

The only reason this is getting “honorable mention” is that I haven’t been able to stay here. You have to book way in advance to get into this favorite treehouse.  At the time of this writing, it appears that it’s scheduled through the summer of 2019, at least.

But I have been to Doe Bay, though not for several years – and I want to go back. Doe Bay is a great area for camping, offering tent sites, or upscale yurts, if treehouse glamping isn’t your thing or the treehouse is full.

And it has a nice hot tub and sauna area. But be warned: when I went there in the past, the hot tub and sauna was clothing-optional (and, apparently, still is), and people do choose to take a dip in the altogether, which made some moms I knew uncomfortable about going near the hot tub with kids.

I’m hoping to revisit Doe Bay this summer…but it won’t be in the treehouse this year.

Other PNW Treehouses

These are treehouses in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or lower British Columbia that I haven’t had the opportunity to stay in (yet) in so I can’t give them my personal review and the image sources are from their individual sites.

Right now there’s a heavy emphasis on Washington but I’m planning on continuing to update this post. If you know of a treehouse that you think should be listed let me know.

Likewise let me know if you find something that’s no longer current. Stayed at one of these treehouses? Share below in comments.

Jump down to the treehouse listings or treehouses in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or BC.

Treehouse Rentals in Washington

Hilltop Treehouse Retreat

Lopez Island
This one is near the top of the PNW treeehouse bucket list as it’s in the San Juan Islands. It’s one treehouse, maximum three guests. It looks charming and the views appear spectacular.
More Information
It rents on AirBNB for $249 per night. It’s located near the north of Lopez Island. As it’s an AirBNB, exact address is provided on booking.

Private Treehouse Retreat

Stevenson, WA

This one looks like a definite treehouse bucket list add if you want a couples retreat. It’s definitely a real tree house –the trunk runs smack through the center of the house. It’s also located in Stevenson, WA near the Columbia River gorge. 

More Information
This treehouse books through Glamping Hub from $351.26 per night.
It’s in Stevenson, WA but, because it’s a private retreat, address is available upon booking.

Riverside Treehouse

Washougal, WA

Another treehouse near the Columbia River, this one’s situated on the Washougal River. Cozy spot for two, riverside hammocking, and a price tag of under $100 per night. What’s not to like?

More Information
This one rents for $95 per night through Air BNB. Because it’s an AirBNB rental, the location is only disclosed on booking, but it’s right on the river in Washougal, WA.
It’s in Ferndale, WA but, because it’s a private retreat, address is available upon booking.

Gig Harbor Treehouse

Gig Harbor, WA

This looks like a tiny, but charming treehouse with a tree coming right through the deck and it features both kayaks AND a hot tub to sit in after you come back from paddling. I love both, so this one goes on the bucket list!

More Information
This treehouse rents for $115 per night on AirBNB. As it’s an AirBNB exact location is only available on booking, but it’s located in Gig Harbor, WA, apparently on Dutcher Cove.

Skamania Lodge Treehouses

Stevenson, WA

The Skamania Lodge Treehouses appear to be elevated cabins and not actually built into the trees. But I definitely would want to go, as they’re near the Columbia River gorge in Stevenson and I’ve been past Skamania lodge and it, itself, is on my list of places to stay.

More Information

These go into the luxury treehouse category and start at $419 per night.

Address:

1131 SW Skamania Lodge Way
Stevenson, WA 98648
844-432-4748

Sir Cedric's Cedar Treehouse

Ferndale, WA

Sir Cedric’s looks like a cozy rustic retreat for two with a high, beamed ceiling and a four-foot wide red cedar that runs straight through the house. This one is moving up near the top of my treehouse bucket list.

More Information

It’s in Ferndale, WA but, because it’s a private retreat, address is available upon booking.

 

Whidbey Island Treehouse

Freeland, WA

This is a 250 sq. ft. octagonal treehouse in the woods — does not appear to be on the water, but close enough to Mutiny Bay (hey, it’s on an island so surrounded by water) to be easy to get to the beach.

More Information

This treehouse rents for $130 per night on AirBNB. As it’s an AirBNB exact location is only available on booking, but it’s located on Whidbey Island in Freeland.

 

Treehouse Rentals in Oregon

Out 'N' About Treesort

Cave Junction, OR

OK, Out ‘N” About Treesort is a “must-add” to the bucket list as it is another full resort dedicated to staying in the trees.  This place has 18 treehouses, a swimming pool, a river, horses and chickens, swinging bridges and ziplines.

More Information
Treehouses rent from $150 a night for two people in the Elementree up to $330 for up to four people in the Majestree and includes breakfast.
Address

Out ‘N”About is located at:
300 Page Creek Rd
Cave Junction, OR 97523
541-592-2208

The Bluebird House

Gold Beach, OR

The Bluebird House is located on the Oregon Coast in Gold Beach, OR and houses up to four guests. While I’m not sure this one is actually built in the trees, it’s at least elevated, and classified as a treehouse by AirBNB. One unique aspect of this property is that the owner has miniature donkeys.

More Information
This treehouse rents for $145 per night on AirBNB. As it’s an AirBNB exact location is only available on booking, but it’s located in Gold Beach.

 

Vertical Horizons Treehouse Paradise

Cave Junction, OR

Is Cave Junction, OR Treehouse City? Here’s another treehouse resort in Cave Junction, OR.  Vertical Horizons Treehouse Paradise is another treehouse B&B featuring four treehouses. They feature disc golf, catch and release fishing (seasonal) and tree climbing.

More Information
Treehouses rent from $280 per night for two people in Calypso up to $760 per night for six people in the Excalifur suite.
Vertical Horizons is located in Cave Junction, OR. Location is given out at time of booking.
541-592-4751
Email

 

Mt. Hood Treehouse

Mt. Hood, OR

The “Beautiful, Magical Treehousedoes appear to be beautiful and magical. This 16′ x 16′ treehouse is truly a treehouse, so prepared to do some climbing up the spiral staircase. Apparently, it’s situated on 20 acres and has a pond, a boat, horseshoes, trails…

More Information
This treehouse rents for $140 per night on AirBNB. As it’s an AirBNB exact location is only available on booking, but it looks like it’s located near Sandy, OR.

 

Treehouse Rentals in Idaho

Lake Pend Oreille Treehouse

Sandpoint, ID

OK, next time I go to Idaho, I’m staying here. This treehouse and the property look lovely. It’s right on the lake and there appear to be kayaks, so I’m in. 

More Information
This treehouse rents for $195 per night on AirBNB. As it’s an AirBNB exact location is only available on booking. It’s located in Sandpoint, ID on Lake Pend O’reille.

 

Treehouse Terrace

Coeur DÁlene, ID

This looks to be a cozy 12′ x 14′ treehouse. And, the owner points out, like many real treehouses the bathrooms are outside of the main treehouse.

More Information
This treehouse rents for $175 per night on AirBNB. As it’s an AirBNB exact location is only available on booking. It’s located in Coeur d’Alene.

 

Crystal Peak Lookout

Fernwood, ID

This would be a great snowy getaway.  The 13 acres of woodland allows for snowshoeing and it looks like you’re met in town by the caretaker and transported up to the lookout in a revamped 1960s Thiokol Snowcat.

The lookout is another property of small-home enthusiast Kristie Wolfe who created the Hobbit house in Orondo, WA I mentioned in the Hobbit House post as well as a post I wrote about our visit to her Hobbit Inn in Orondo, WA.

More Information
This treehouse rents for around $180 per night on AirBNB. As it’s an AirBNB exact location is only available on booking.

 

Treehouse Rentals in British Columbia

Oceanfront Treehouse

Salt Spring Island, BC

Salt Spring Island is located off Vancouver Island in BC. This one looks like it has a deck with amazing sunset views over the water. Max two guests. At a current $86 per night, this is more affordable than some of the treehouse destinations.

More Information
This treehouse rents from AirBNB for $86 per night.

 It’s in Salt Spring Island, BC, on the west side of he island but, because it’s a private retreat, address is available upon booking.

Secret Cove Treehouse

Halfmoon Bay, BC

Secret Cove offers a cozy cottage or suites with prices ranging from $199 for either in the off season up to $538 per night for up to four guests in both the cottage and suite during the height of summer.

During summer months, they also have a canoe available, in case you feel like paddling on the bay.

More Information

Treehouse Map

Here’s a map with the treehouse places we stayed. Click the map image to open the map in another tab. In the list, I’ve tried to include addresses and a link to the Google map for places that have addresses available without reserving.

Treehouse map treehouse rentals in washington

That’s a LOT of treehouses! Do you have any more suggestions for this list? Have a favorite (or least favorite?) Share in the comments below.

Visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

While I’m writing this, it’s April 16, 2021, and the tulips are springing into bloom in the Skagit Valley. Not full bloom yet — next week will probably be a prime time to see them this year. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is back this year — almost in full color. The two main farms that comprise the festival are selling timed tickets online in advance. This is to keep crowds down and enable better social distancing.((Though I noted that one was actually selling tickets at the door which annoyed this “socially distant timed ticket holder who would have arrived earlier had she known it was an option” just a bit.))

If you’re a reader of the future coming across this post, I hope you are living a wonderful post-pandemic life. Know that the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival happens every April. That does not mean, however, that the blooms are out throughout the month. Tulips bloom on their own schedule according to weather conditions, so the dates for best viewing vary year to year.

Here’s more information about some of the main venues for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and some photos of tulips and daffodils. At the end of this post, you’ll find a link to our interactive, user-map-pin-submitted map page.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Farms

Tulip Town

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Tulip Town Barn

Tulip Town features fields of flowers, a tractor ride around the fields, a lovely barn, and a covered but spacious area with shopping, food, conical tulip displays, and an outdoor area for eating your food.

The tulip field isn’t so vast that you must take the trolley, its easily walkable for most.

If you’re a photographer and willing to pay the fee, you can sign up for a photographers pass to get access to the tulip fields during sunrise or sunset. Then hope that you’re greeted with a lovely sunrise or sunset the day you sign up.

Roozengaarde

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Roozengaarde tulip field

Roozengaarde’s fields seemed, to me, a bit more vast than those at Tulip Town. The gardens were also more crowded than those of Tulip Town, and keeping distance more difficult.

Roozengaarde also has shops and outdoor food. Pick up their catalog for fall ordering from their vast bulb selection.

They had some quite interesting varieties of tulips here.

Don’t miss their lovely display garden! I preferred it to the tulip fields.

Garden Rosalyn

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Garden Rosalyn

Instead of vast tulip fields, Garden Rosalyn featured some lovely manicured displays of tulips. That, as well as some kids’ playthings, and a duck and goose pond.

What it did not have, also was the crowds. It was $10 cash for admission. Go if you just want to appreciate some tulips and perhaps get some close-ups of flowers. And do it without the crowds.

Other Fields

Daffodil Field near Tulip Town during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

If you drive (or bike — I wish I’d brought mine!) around the area during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, you’ll see other fields. Many are private. However, this didn’t stop people from pulling over to snap photos.

A private tulip field during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Tulip Fields Map

Click the image to open up the interactive map page in a new tab.

We love keeping maps on this website! We’ve added one here (or click the map image above) to open our map page in a new browser tab. You’ll find, to begin with, the locations of the main sites for the tulip festival. However, we’ve created this map to be user-generated, as we likely missed some prime tulip-viewing spots. So you can add your own marker if you know of a tulip farm or field readers should visit.

Note that the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival keeps an interactive map on its website. However, we found its format a bit frustrating to use ( we like a good map pin!). Additionally, we found our connection very spotty in the Skagit Valley. Therefore, we’d recommend printing either addresses or their printable map in advance.

Have you been to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival? Consider leaving a comment or suggestion to help future readers.

Where to View Salmon Spawning in Kitsap County This Autumn

Every year Washington State University Kitsap County extension sponsors Kitsap Salmon Tours: a day of salmon viewing during spawning season. In 2020, however, for safety, they’re coming up with a calendar of virtual events. But the salmon are still here, and you can view them on your own around the various salmon-viewing sites in Kitsap. Just a note: the featured image here is from Julie on Flickr; a beautiful piece of art called “Spawning Salmon” under a Creative Commons 2.0 License.

Kitsap Salmon Viewing

During the fall in the Pacific Northwest, salmon return from the ocean up the rivers to spawn. Salmon are an anadromous species, which means they begin their life in freshwater, and then swim to saltwater, where they mature. Some salmon can stay in the ocean for up to seven years.

After that, the salmon will swim back to its home stream, lay eggs, and die. A useful resource for reading more about the salmon’s life cycle is here. In Autumn, you can see spawning salmon around the area at local rivers, creeks, and fish ladders.

In Kitsap County, Washington State University Kitsap Extension sponsors Kitsap Salmon Tours every fall, usually in early November. It’s a great event for kids who enjoy seeing the salmon swimming in the creeks. At the end of this post are the locations and date for this year’s salmon tour events…but you can go on other days as well to catch a glimpse of the fish.

Below is an infographic about what types of salmon you can find in the Pacific Northwest. During November, in Kitsap streams, you’re most likely to find chum and coho salmon spawning.

Kitsap Salmon Viewing Salmon Infographic

Some Considerations When Viewing the Salmon

  • Bringing polarized sunglasses will cut the glare and give you a better view of the fish.
  • Check pet restrictions for the area you’re visiting. You may need to leave Fido at home, but at least have him on a leash and keep him quiet.
  • Kids can get excited about the fish, but remember to keep them from disturbing/trying to touch the fish.
  • Remember to prepare for the possibility of wet weather around here in November. Even if it doesn’t look like it might rain, you might be surprised. And, even if not, you may encounter some boggy, slippery ground near streams.

Kitsap Salmon Viewing Places and Salmon Tours Times

As mentioned above, the WSU events are virtual this year. Previously, we had a list of all of the event sites and times on this post. Please visit the WSU Salmon tours webpage for the list of locations to view the salmon. We may list the virtual events on this post as they come up. Or, you can visit their calendar.

King by King: The Choir Screen at York Minster

As medieval cathedral choir screens go, I think the York Minster Kings Screen is definitely the most memorable.  As I was initially writing the post about things to do in York, I realized I’d taken at least one photograph of every king on the York Minster choir screen. Here’s a post devoted specifically to them, with a photo gallery and a description of each king. We also have another post about things to do and see at York Minster.

This post or page may contain affiliate links.  That means if you click on a link that is an affiliate link, and then make a subsequent purchase, I get a small commission, at no additional cost to you, which helps me support this website.

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]edieval cathedrals commonly have a choir screen (sometimes called a rood screen) separating the nave from the choir area. To our modern ears “screen” may sound like a flimsy partition, but in a medieval cathedral, the choir screen is commonly made of stone or metal and is ornate.

York Minster’s choir screen is the most memorable choir screen that I’ve seen.

The screen includes fifteen expressive carved stone kings ranging from William the Conqueror to Henry VI: seven to the left and eight to the right.

Henry V originally commissioned this fifteenth-century rood screen.

However, he died before its completion. William Hindly, the master mason at York Minster at that time, completed the screen during the reign of Henry VI.

According to this post, the statue of Henry IV has a fascinating history. The original was destroyed in the late 15th century as people had taken to coming to the cathedral to worship the statue, praying and lighting candles to it — unwelcome behavior to the archbishop! Finally, in 1810, a new figure replaced the old.

The Kings of the York Minster Kings’ Screen

Below the big photo of the entire screen (which is, unfortunately, blurry) are individual photos of the kings in order from left to right. You can click on a single picture to open the lightbox to navigate through the images or to read more information about each king.

York Minster Kings Screen York Minster Choir Screen

King by King: The Kings of the York Minster Choir Screen

Here are the kings of the York Minster choir screen from left to right.  You may click on the name to open a single image, or you can jump down to the gallery, which has more information about each king.
  1. William the Conqueror (1066-1087)
  2. William Rufus (William II) (1087-1100)
  3. Henry I (Primus) (1100-1135)
  4. Stephen (1135-1154)
  5. Henry II (1154-1189)
  6. Richard I (the Lionheart) (1189-1199)
  7. John Lackland (1199-1216)
  8. Henry III (1217-1272)
  9. Edward I (1272-1307)
  10. Edward II (1307-1327)
  11. Edward III (1327-1377)
  12. Richard II (1377-1399)
  13. Henry IV (1399-1413)
  14. Henry V (1413-1422)
  15. Henry VI (1421-1471)

Thule Hullavator Demo and Review

I was fortunate to purchase two Thule Hullavators (if you need clarification, that’s two pairs of Hullavators — it takes a pair to lift a kayak) used a few years ago. From what I can see, there’s little difference between my Hullavators and the Hullavator Pro model that’s currently being sold.

Some of the issues I’ve had with my Hullavators may stem from them being older, but it gives you a general idea of some of the problems you may face over time. After all, if you’re spending in the $500-$600 range just to lift one kayak, you want to make sure the product you’re purchasing is durable. Mine has just a bit of rust, but they’ve been repeatedly exposed to the elements, and except for the occasional episode of finding one unit is not locked down fully when I go to lift the kayak off, they’re still working pretty good after years of use.

How it Works

The Hullavator is a side-loading kayak lift that has a gas-assist mechanism that assists with lifting up to 40 lbs of the weight of your boat. It’s easy to strap the kayak onto the rack once it’s on there using the provided straps and the tie-downs are easy to use as well. The downside is that you need to get that kayak up on the rack before the Hullavator helps you lift it overhead. On my Subaru Outback, that’s about waist-high for me — it was even more so when I was using the Hullavator atop a minivan. I’m able to do so with my 44lb kayak, but don’t take my preferred 16′ kayak out by myself because, for me, the weight is prohibitive. I’ve tried sliding the kayak onto the Hullavator from the back, but I find that there’s some wiggle, I find it challenging and awkward, and I worry about doing damage to the Hullavator. So I end up doing a deadlift onto the rack.

Thule Hullavator Review: Hullavator Joys and Thule Hullavator Problems

What We Like:

  • Provides substantial assist with lifting the kayak onto the roof.
  • Comes with easy-to-use straps and tie-downs; securely fastens the kayak to the car roof.
  • Sideloading. This means I can park on the street at my favorite launching spot and, if someone parks behind me, I can still get the kayak back on the car.
  • It has a high profile, but this helps me to locate my car in busy parking lots. This may beg the question if I should even be kayaking if I can’t find my own car. We refer to this as “wearing the horns” and bow to other passing vehicles also proudly sporting them.

What We Don’t Like:

  • The Hullavator asks me to deadlift the entire kayak to get it onto the lowered Hullavator bars — easier if you are putting it onto a low car, but harder if you have a high roof.
  • Due to the extra height, many parking garages are off-limits.
  • I’ve had some trouble with one of the Hullavator units that do not consistently want to lock down, likely an issue as my Hullavators are older. I’ve learned from awkward experiences getting my kayak off the rack that I need to double-check this unit carefully before I attempt to remove the kayak.
  • Though I’ve read it’s “easy to install,” we didn’t consider installing it that easy, and I so proudly carry my “horns” atop my car for most of the season.

Installation

Click here for the product manual/installation instructions from Thule. If you’re wondering how it installs, here’s a video from Thule:

Specifications:

Here are some things I’ve learned by experimenting with the Hullavator on racks over the years:

  • Works with Thule square bars.
  • I can confirm by experience that the Thule Hullavator works with Yakima Round Bars. Lately, I’ve been using mine on a 2019 Subaru Outback with Skyline Towers. For this setup, you also need Yakima Landing Pad 15 and the SL Round Bar Adapters. I was a bit worried at first as this setup seemed to be less stable than the square bars, but it’s been doing just fine with safely towing my kayaks around.NIt does NOT work with Yakima aero style bars. My video may be slightly incorrect in saying it does not work with ANY aero bars (that was my husband’s impression). I’ve heard of them being used with aero-style Thule bars with modifications.
  • The bars you use must extend out from the car a bit — it will not work, for instance, with the integrated Subaru Outback bars. On my Subaru with Yakima bars, the 58″ bars do the trick!
  • If you have a tall vehicle and you’re short (or just a wimp, like me), you might need to bring a step-stool!

Brief Instructions:

I said this would be a “how-to,” and a Thule Hullavator review. If you want installation instructions, it’s best to watch the video above and actually read the directions that come with your Hullavator. But as far as using it once it’s on your vehicle, here are the steps. It’s pretty easy:

  1. Remove the pins! I can tell you that on a bad day, I’ve failed to remove a pin and then wondered why my Hullavator wouldn’t release.
  2. Squeeze the handles on both Hullavators and pull them out and down until they lock into place.
  3. Put your kayak on the Hullavator. It should be evenly centered. I think it’s best if it’s positioned so the straps aren’t going over the cockpit, but on some kayaks, this is unavoidable to some degree.
  4. Thread the provided straps through the big loops at the top and bottom of the Hullavator. Then thread the end of the strap through the cam buckle and pull tight. The Hullavator has a pocket where you can tuck in the loose end of the strap.
  5. Squeeze both handles at once and the Hullavator will assist you in lifting your kayak STRAIGHT UP. When I’ve allowed people to use my Hullavator, I’ve found that often they expect it to just flip the kayak right up onto my car and try to force it to do so. No! This is a two-step process. The kayak goes straight up and then stops there.
  6. Now it’s time to flip the kayak onto the top of the car. Squeeze the handles again and rotate them to get the kayak to flip down onto the top of your car. Make sure the Hullavator has locked into place.
  7. Replace the pins. This is a very important step!
  8. Now you can use the tie downs. They have a locking pulley to make it easy to tighten them. Make sure you find a secure location on your kayak and a metal, not plastic, location under your car. On one car I had, I couldn’t do this so I fashioned a rope loop that went through a metal hole under the hood then came out through the hood when I needed it. This was a perfect location to tie down the kayak in front.

Thule Hullavator Review Summary:

Would I recommend the Thule Hullavator? In one word: YES! If mine broke, I think I’d repurchase one. I haven’t tried all of the other kayak racks out on the market (and there are other side-assist racks out there), but I suspect that the Hullavator, with its gas-assist mechanism, beats them all.

Famous Seattle Graves (and Where to Find Them)

This post takes a look at where to find famous Seattle graves, including the Chief Seattle gravesite, the Bruce Lee gravesite (as well as his son Brandon’s), and the Jimi Hendrix gravesite — all located near Seattle, WA.

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]amous cemeteries like Hollywood Forever in Los Angeles, Pere Lachaise in Paris, or London’s Highgate, attract people whose idea of an enjoyable trip includes seeking out the final resting place of celebrities.

Seattle doesn’t come to mind when you think about famous celebrities or celebrity burials. Of course, there are plenty of locally famous Seattle graves to visit. Many of Seattle’s founders, from the Dennys to Doc Maynard, are buried in beautiful Lakeside Cemetery on Capitol Hill.

However, we do have a few gravesites of individuals well-known outside the Puget Sound area.

Here’s a look at a few famous Seattle graves. Our itinerary includes the Chief Seattle gravesite, the Bruce and Brandon Lee gravesite, and the Jimi Hendrix gravesite. We’ll also look at some other, more locally famous, graves you can visit when you’re at Lakeside.

Chief Sealth (Seattle) (1786-1866)

Famous Seattle graves Chief Seattle gravesite

The soil is rich with the life of our kindred.

-quote from Chief Sealth gravesite

Chief Sealth was a Suquamish/Duwamish chief who developed a relationship with Seattle’s white settlers. He is well known for his importance in Seattle’s history, as its namesake, as well as for the words of a beautiful speech he never gave.

Where is he buried?

Chief Sealth is buried in the tribal cemetery in Suquamish, WA, not too far from where he was born.

Although he died in 1866, his tombstone was placed by some of Seattle’s founders in 1890.

In the past there, was a wooden canoe memorial, but it was rotting, and the gravesite is now flanked by two cedar totem poles placed there in 2011.

According to this article, the left pole represents Sealth as a warrior and as a wise elder, giving a speech. The right pole represents Old Man House in Suquamish — Sealth’s birthplace, and his spotting the sails of George Vancouver’s ships at the age of six.

A concrete ring surrounds the gravesite, engraved with quotes honoring the chief.

To get to the Chief Seattle gravesite, you’ll need to take a ferry if you’re in Seattle. The best way is to catch the ferry to Bainbridge Island, then proceed off the highway up 305. Right after you’ve gone over the Agate Pass bridge and see the Clearwater Casino on your left, take a right onto Suquamish Way. Go all the way down Suquamish Way until you start to see the water, cultural center, etc., and swing a sharp left onto South street. You’ll see signs there to turn to the left to get to his gravesite.

Click here to access the interactive map or here for Google map and directions.

Chief sealth gravesite minimap
Famous Seattle graves chief Seattle memorial
side of Chief Seattle memorial
famous Seattle graves back of Chief Seattle Gravesite

Bruce Lee (1940-1973) and Brandon Lee (1965-1993)

How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty, and yet it all seems limitless.

-from Brandon Lee’s gravestone

Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco but raised in Hong Kong. However, he lived and worked in Seattle when he first came back to the US, attending UW and opening his first martial arts school here.

Bruce died young, and Brandon moved to Seattle with his family. Like his father before him, Brandon Lee also died too young, while filming The Crow in 1993.

Where are they buried?

Bruce and Brandon Lee’s gravesite are next to each other at Seattle’s Lakeview Cemetery.

Both have moving words inscribed on their stones, and people still come to leave offerings regularly.

Also at Lakeview:

Lakeview is a lovely cemetery just to take a stroll, with a view of the lake (as the name implies) and blossoms in the Spring. It’s also the resting place of many of Seattle’s founders. Look for:

  • Princess Angeline, Chief Sealth’s Daughter
  • Thomas Mercer
  • Henry Yesler
  • The Denny family
  • “Doc” Maynard
  • Mary and Conklin and Lou Graham, who were both known for running brothels in Seattle’s wild early days.

I also enjoyed a little bench in this cemetery with a sayings on each of its four sides marking things in each direction the departed enjoyed. When it seemed familiar, beyond my, perhaps, having seen it there before, I remembered that Robert Fulghum wrote of it in one of his wonderful essays.

If you want to get to Bruce Lee’s gravesite, it’s best to get GPS directions if you’re not familiar with Seattle. Yet, it may steer you wrong! The main entrance to the cemetery is on 15th Ave E. Apple maps may try to confuse you by taking you on Howe street and telling you to turn down something called “cemetery road.”.”

Once you get to the entrance of the cemetery, you can drive-in. Cars just pull over to the side of the road when they reach the area they want to stop.

Click here to access the interactive map or here for Google map and directions.

Bruce Lee gravesite closeup
Brandon Lee gravesite closeup

Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)

I’m the one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.

-Jimi Hendrix, Bold as Love

When Jimi died of a drug overdose in 1970, his family only had funds for a modest stone for him. A cemetery volunteer or employee recounted some vandalism going on at Jimi’s grave in the early years, as many fans flocked to the cemetery to pay respects.

Jimi’s father, Al, later got the rights to his son’s musical catalog, and the family purchased a large family plot and then erected this memorial in 2002.

Where is he buried?

Hendrix is buried at Greenwood Memorial Park cemetery in Renton (south of Seattle).

His memorial now features a large pergola with a central guitar surrounded by frescoes of Jimi, his family, and his song lyrics. A giant sundial sits to one side of the pergola. A nearby sign from the family reminds fans to be respectful, keep the memorial tidy, and “stay experienced.” And it seems that fans do. Fans always need to leave something behind, it seems, and, for Jimi, they offer guitar picks stashed in the “strings” of the bronze guitar.

Seattle likes to memorialize one of its most famous residents — it’s home to several Jimi memorials, though this is his final resting place. Busts of Jimi are also located:

  • Near Seattle College on Capitol Hill, at Woodland Park
  • Near the African Savannah
  • At my alma mater of Garfield High School (where it even sat in my day).

To get to the Jimi Hendrix gravesite from Seattle, take I-5 southbound, take exit 154 A toward I-405 northbound, then take exit 4 toward Bronson Way/WA-900 W.  Then take a right on 3rd street and go until you see the cemetery. There’s a parking area near the main building, and it’s not hard to spot Jimi’s memorial once you get there.

Click here to visit the interactive map on this site or here to access the Google map and directions.

Famous Seattle graves Jimi Hendrix gravesite
famous Seattle graves Jimi Hendrix gravesite guitar statue and guitar picks

But Where Are Other Famous Seattle Graves?

Seattle has other famous deceased residents, no? We’re generally focusing here on people famous worldwide, not just locally, but a few people, including local celebs, immediately spring to mind:

  • Kurt Cobain: Only his family knows for sure where the ashes of the Nirvana lead are.
  • Ivar Haglund: Ivar’s a local celeb. But nobody really knows where he is. Perhaps keeping clam scattered across Elliott Bay?
  • Jeff Smith: The “Frugal Gourmet’s” gravesite is listed as unknown on “Find a Grave; ” his obituary from the Seattle PI said he would be buried in his family parish church.
  • Emmett Watson: Another local celeb, writer, and “Lesser Seattle” founder, his ashes were scattered over the water as I imagine Ivar’s to be. His oyster bar by the Pike Place Market is still with us!
  • And, of course, there were those celebs who were not from Seattle, but died in Seattle and are not buried here: Carl Sagan, Octavia Butler, August Wilson are some of the better known.
Famous Seattle graves map image

Click here or on the map to open the interactive map in a new tab.

Sound Fall Fun: Things to Do This Autumn in Seattle and the Puget Sound Area (2020 COVID-19 Edition!)

Wow! What the year 2020 has been, and here we are in Autumn again. I had so many plans for this fall! Some of the activities I was planning to attend are still happening on some scale, with distancing measures in place (like Halloweentown in Oregon). I had toured a bunch of Pumpkin farms last year, and I had video clips I was intending on editing together for an overview of some of the choices — but things are likely to look very different this year, even at places, like open pumpkin patches. This post covers some Puget Sound Autumn activities in 2020.

At the time of this writing, Jay Inslee has relaxed some of the rules for “agritourism” a bit, and animal viewing, hayrides, corn mazes, and the like are once again allowed if the farm meets specific requirements. I’m not sure I’ll be jumping on that tractor this year, but the thought of a walk in the pumpkin fields on a brisk Autumn day is calling me.

So I’ve deconstructed this post for 2020, and I’ve been looking into what types of Autumn activities are available right now. You might find that your Oktoberfest needs to be virtual this year. Doing a “virtual Oktoberfest” might be a great way to support a local community business or organization. However, while I’m thankful that we have things like Zoom, drinking your beer while looking at a screen seems a bit…enttäuschend (disappointing.)

And I’m avoiding trick-or-treat as the thought of multiple small hands dipping their hands into a candy bucket seems to be the opposite of physical distancing. And kids will hate me if I string up individual toothbrushes on the porch! (How are you handling trick-or-treat this year?)

Puget Sound Autumn Activities in 2020

I’ll be trying to lift my spirits and enjoy this autumn by:

  • Going to a small pumpkin farm, taking a stroll, picking a pumpkin, and carving it. I may add to this fun by trying to transport the thing home on my e-bike. We’ll see.
  • Sampling some local ciders. I might miss the Gig Harbor cider swig drive-through tasting box, but I may make my own collection from the store and have a mini-tasting at home. Some of my favorite local ciders I’ve tasted in the past were a pumpkin pear cider (I think from Pear Up), and most of Finn River’s ciders.
  • Taking a walk in the fall leaves. I’m going to force myself to get outside on a lovely autumn day, find a park, and do some serious leaf-stomping this year.
  • Virtual turkey trot. I hate to say it, but I’ve not used this “opportunity” to get into better shape. But it’s time to start. I can do a virtual turkey trot at turtle-pace without feeling any shame.
  • Virtual craft shows and fairs. Not sure if I’ll do this or not — but if you like to shop for handmade gifts, some annual craft fairs are taking their show virtually, so you can still shop online for indie craft items.
  • Trying to go to a local park to try to view the salmon. In Kitsap county, WSU usually holds salmon tours. This year, they’re hosting virtual events, but that doesn’t stop one from going to try to view the salmon on your own.
  • Other than that, I’ll be celebrating fall by making some seriously yummy butternut squash soup, blogging, finding a good book to read, taking a bike ride.

What follows below is an edited version of the “post-previously-appearing-in-this-spot.” It includes notation of some events that have been cancelled (I completely deleted the seafood festivals, which are all off) and changing some events to virtual versions.

I may be listing more events this Autumn on our events calendar which may not show up here as I’ve made a significant change to the events calendar here and haven’t yet worked out a system for auto-listing events on a post. If you know of events that readers may be interested in, consider adding it to our calendar.

Do you have any suggestions for things to do this year for Halloween, Oktoberfest, or other usual Autumn activities?

Leave a comment, or discuss it in the forum.

Oktoberfest

For 2020, most Oktoberfest activities have been cancelled as they involve large groups. This includes:

  • The Great Wallingford Wurst Festival
  • Fremont Oktoberfest
  • Oktoberfest Northwest

However, Edmonds is keeping the spirit alive with a Virtual Oktoberfest which benefits community projects.

Edmonds Oktoberfest Virtual Event Puget Sound Autumn activities 2020

Cider Time

Autumn’s a great time to taste local ciders. Here are a few socially-distant ways to enjoy this year:

The Gig Harbor Cider Swig – Drive-Through Edition

Gig Harbor Cider Swig virtual edition Puget Sound Autumn activities 2020

Usually held at Sehmel Park, the Cider Swig has a Drive-through edition late September this year. But wait until you get home to taste the cider.

Finn River Farm and Cidery

Chimacum

It’s worth a drive to Chimacum just to go to this cidery and farm on 80 acres. Finn River IS open Fri-Sun from 12-8 with safety measures in place, but please check in advance for any changes.

Olympic Peninsula Apple & Cider Festival

Various Locations

This annual event is still happening in modified form. Several locations around Jefferson county are offering pick up boxes, ciders, and there’s a live-streamed dance party (dance at your own home.) October 9-11.

Go Pumpkin Hunting

Pumpkin farms are mostly open; some may not have their usual festivities in place.

Remlinger Farms Pumpkin Festival

Carnation

Remlinger Farms Pumpkin Farm Festival Puget Sound Autumn activities 2020

Remlinger Farms is holding its annual Pumpkin Festival. This year, it’s only on Saturdays and Sundays from September 26 until Halloween, masks are required and admission is via timed-entry ticket, which you must purchase in advance. Pony rides must also be purchased in advance and ride tickets are limited to 5.

Northwest Glass Pumpkin Patch

Instead of having eight small glass pumpkin patch events, Tacoma Glassblowing has rented a large space in Tacoma and is having one BIG shop where you can buy glass Pumpkins this year. Tickets are by reservation. Click here for more information.

Pheasant Fields Farms

Silverdale

There are plenty of little pumpkin patches and farms in Kitsap (closer to Valley Nursery is Scandia Patch — recommended if you want to visit a small historic farm), but one of my favorites is Pheasant Fields. Their pumpkin patch and corn maze are open daily October through November 1, and the farm includes various farm animals and a corn maze. Masks required to enter the farm.

Carleton Farms Fall Fun

Lake Stevens

This pumpkin farm has events that aren’t just for the kids! Yes, there are pumpkins, farm animals, and a corn maze. However, there are ALSO fire pit rentals, zip lines, a pumpkin cannon, a giant Pumpkin Pad, and a haunted house. The pumpkin patch and corn maze are open daily — the other activities are reserved for weekends. Late September through the end of October. They’re open, but activities are available by appointment only.

Paranormal Adventures

Autumn glows but also lends itself to ghost stories. If you want to learn more about PNW hauntings, or are a Bigfoot Believer, here are some Puget Sound Autumn events to satisfy your supernatural inclinations.

Port Gamble Paranormal BootCamp, Ghost Conference, and Ghost Walks.

Port Gamble Virtual Ghost Conference Puget Sound Autumn activities 2020

Normally, by October, the ghost tours in Port Gamble are in full-swing on weekends. This year, of course, things are different…but I’m assuming the ghosts are still there if you want to take a nighttime stroll on your own. But it looks like they’re still having the annual ghost conference — virtually this year — from November 6-8. I haven’t been able to get more information about tickets as of yet. Ghostly Zoom meeting, anyone?

Sasquatch Summit

Quinault Beach

Sadly, bigfoot believers will have to wait this year. The annual sasquatch summit has been postponed for 2020.

Ghost Tours

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about ghost tours. However, the ghost tours I researched had been cancelled due to COVID this year.

Halloween Festivities

Except for Pumpkin Farms, large events such as Halloween parties, haunted houses, and the like have been canceled. If you want a drive, I did note that Halloweentown in St. Helen’s, OR was still going on this year, only with timed admission tickets. I’ll put that one on my to-do list again for next year and keep my hopes up.

Trick or treat

The CDC has recommended against traditional trick-or-treating in 2020 due to COVID. Having multiple kids reaching into a vat of candy isn’t exactly socially distancing. This year, we’ll probably just carve pumpkins and make cider at home.

Still, I’m looking for alternative Halloween activities — virtual events and the like — and will update this post if/when I find them.

Thanksgiving

How to spend Thanksgiving Day? Watching football or parades, overeating and falling asleep?

Many people go volunteer on Thanksgiving — so much so that usually shelters and food backs are overrun with volunteers. Food banks and other service organizations still depend on volunteers — check first to see what changes they’ve made due to COVID-19. If you want to help, are unable to volunteer and want to help, donations to your local food bank — nonperishable food or money — is a way to help. But consider that they may need your help just as much or more at time of the year that are NOT Thanksgiving.

Turkey Trots

Turkey trots are one thing that CAN happen this year — at least virtual ones!

Craft Shows

Seattle Autumn events include the beginnings of holiday craft shows, in case you want to get a head start on your holiday shopping.

Here are a few that we know of so far:

Tacoma Holiday Food and Gift Festival

Normally, this event helps you do your holiday shopping early — in late October. Due to COVID-19, the organizers have had to cancel the in-person event, but they’re working on an online presentation of items to present over the same weekend that the show was planned — October 22-25.

Gobble Up Seattle

Gobble Up 2020 Puget Sound Autumn activities 2020 Puget Sound Autumn activities 2020

Gobble Up Seattle, Urban Craft Uprising’s annual craft food fair, has gone virtual for 2020. Vendors will have their own virtual booths where you can purchase their wares and have them shipped on time. Preregistration is required, though the event is free (except for the stuff you buy, of course.)

Some Other Miscellaneous Ideas for Puget Sound Autumn Activities in 2020

Here are some other miscellaneous ideas for Puget Sound area and Seattle Autumn events to to this season.

Cultural Festivals

Usually, throughout the year, the Seattle Center holds its Festál series of cultural events. For 2020, they’ve been either canceled or turned into virtual events. The popular Dia de Muertos festival is one such event. On November 1, there will be a virtual presentation all day.

Fall Colors

Though perhaps Seattle doesn’t have the fall colors of New England, there are places to catch autumn colors around here. Perhaps the best place is the Washington Park Arboretum. The Japanese gardens, in particular, show stunning fall foliage. While I haven’t been there for many years, in my younger days, I recall frequently stomping through maple leaves in Autumn on the trails at Carkeek Park.

Welcome Fall with Luminata at Greenlake Home

Usually Fremont Art Council’s procession of luminous art happens at Greenlake around the Autumnal Equinox. For 2020, it’s a virtual event on October 10. Show off your own lanterns and see those of others.

Wishing you a lovely and safe Autumn 2020.