Pacific Northwest

Snoqualmie Bike Ride: Remlinger and Back 0 (0)

I cycled this route years ago, and intended to write about it at that time.

A few things may have changed since then, but it remains a good cycling route with a good stop at Remlinger Farms at the mid-point (when they reopen),

This route is also my first go-round with adding route sharing capacity. If you have a route you’d like to share with readers, you can do it!

Blue Hawaiian Pie at A La Mode Pies Phinney

A Damn Fine Piece of Pie: Where to Eat Great Pie in Western Washington this Pi Day (or Any Day) 5 (1)

This post was written before the COVID-19 outbreak, but I decided to let it run for Pi day as scheduled. In Seattle, we’re eating our Pie on Pi Day at home in Seattle — but when things pick back up these are some great places to go. Put them on your calendar for PIE day, which is January 23.

Whether it’s Pi Day (in March) or Pie Day (in January) you’re likely to see a lot of posts about pie. But any day is a good day for Pie.

So we’re weighing in on our favorite go-to pie spots in Seattle and western Washington State.

Sequim Lavender Festival Bike Kitty Bs Lavender Farm

Visiting the Sequim Lavender Festival: A (Tiny) bit of Provence in Washington State 0 (0)

Sometimes referred to as “America’s Provence,” Sequim sits in the Olympic rain shadow, so it sees more days of sun that some other parts of western Washington State — and grows a LOT of lavender!

Here’s more about Sequim’s Lavender Festival that takes place each July, tips for visiting, information about a few of the farms, and a link to an interative map of area lavender farms you might want to visit.

Seattle Best Bookstores Map Best Seattle Bookstores Elliott Bay Book Company Interior

Best Bookstores in Seattle 0 (0)

Seattle is a literate city — Seattle tops many lists for things such as “most well-read population,” and “most literate city.” And in 2017 Seattle earned the UNESCO “City of Literature” designation. Yes, Seattle is home to Amazon — but Seattle is also home to some wonderful independent bookstoresl. Here are our favorite (independent) Seattle bookstores that we’ve visited — both new and used.

How the Grunge Stole Christmas Almost Live

Seattle Christmas Past: How the Grunge Stole Christmas 0 (0)

I wondered if my dad even knew what RCKNDY was. The small TV in my parents’ kitchen was ever-present and ever-on…and frequently on Almost Live when it aired. The TV show had gone from talk-show format with a few comedy bits to a full sketch-comedy show that, usually hilariously, poked fun at Seattle neighborhoods and suburbs from Ballard drivers to the “Lynnwood Look.” It was where Bill Nye’s science guy got his start, but did you know he was also “SpeedWalker” before that?

Suddenly, a holiday jingle came on the tube (those days it was the regular tube that didn’t care about “You,”) and John Keister’s voice launched in with “all the rockers in the RKNDY bar liked Christmas a lot but the grunge…” and everyone paused to watch.

And, suddenly, a Christmas miracle happened.

When it got to the part where the members of the Seattle heavy metal community launched into the “fahoo fores dahoo dores,” from the 1966 Grinch TV special, my father bust out laughing. Approaching 70, I’m not sure he knew much about Grunge, or about RCKNDY, but he did know the Grinch and, perhaps, for just a moment, he agreed with the Grunge’s realization that “maybe Christmas was more. Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from the liquor store.”

Port Gamble Ghost Tours Walker Ames Mansion with Bleach Bypass

Three Western Washington Ghost Tours To Haunt You 0 (0)

Are you a believer? It’s OK if you’re not. Ghost tours are fun, especially in October when the days are growing shorter and the leaves are falling. And good ones are also a bit of an (entertaining) history lesson. Here are three Haunted Tours in and (relatively) near Seattle to take this Autumn: Seattle, Port Gamble, and Port Townsend

Jimi Hendrix gravesite Jimi hendrix face purple

Famous Seattle Graves (and Where to Find Them) 4 (2)

If celebrity burials are your thing, the number of Seattle’s famous dead denizens does come close to rivaling many larger, and older, cities. But we do have a few here, and they’re worth visiting if you like cemeteries. Here’s more about where to find the graves of Bruce and Brandon Lee, Jimi Hendrix, and Chief Sealth (Seattle), along with a listing of a few others with a more local claim to fame.

A Visit to Underground Hygge: The Hobbit House by the Columbia River Gorge 0 (0)

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

Keep in touch!

Subscribe by Email

If you'd like to keep up to date with things posted on this website, you can use the form below and you'll receive occasional newsletters. Or if you'd like to customize your preferences, you can click the "subscribe" button above.

Share this
preloader