I’m in the midst of preparing an itinerary for a last-minute trip to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park for this weekend! I found the cutest studio cottage for only $60 a night–10 miles from Gatlinburg, situated on 2 acres–with a pond. Here are some photos from the owner’s site…
Today was a 13 hr. day. I decided to drive the full loop (rather than just drive to Paradise…by way of the Nisqually entrance) around Mt. Rainier. Some of the drive was on windy roads with steep drop-offs. Our first stop was Sunrise, on the Northern side of the mountain. It was in your face rugged beauty.
Next we drove to Silver Falls, a short hike to a beautiful water fall.
We ate our packed lunch and stopped at Reflection Lake next.
From there it was a short drive to Paradise, where we wanted to hike. The trails were shut down due to late snowfall, so we drove to Longmire and hiked the 5 mile Rampart Ridge trail, which took about 2 1/2 hrs.
Notice the bee on the flower…
We didn’t see any bears…but some cute deer!
Just outside of the National Park we found the Copper Creek Inn for dinner. The food was good and the yuppy rustic ambiance was cool!
If you want to keep costs down and get some exercise when visiting downtown Seattle, park at Amgen Co. There is a free public lot right next to the sea wall. It’s about a 40 minute walk to Pike Place Market. We got an early start and arrived to the market around 8:15am, as the vendors were setting up.
I got a photo of the “famous” fish throwing guys! The guy next to me threw the fish to the guy on the right.
This is a large art piece near the bottom of the Space Needle.
On the walk back to the car…I took photos at the Olympic Sculpture Park.
This is a metal tree…
It ended up being a $7.50 day…purchase of donuts at the market and the monorail charge!
We grilled steaks back at the house for lunch and took a nap. Discovery Park is only a 10 minute drive from the house, so we took a nice 2 mile walk on the trails.
I was told this is a weather Doppler radar.
Have you ever gone on a vacation and everything was perfect…the weather, the train pulls up just as you walk to the platform, the locations you chose to stay in, the traffic is light, the whale comes within 20 feet of your whale watching boat! This was one of those trips. I fell in love with the VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) in Seattle. As you can see from the photos, the views were spectacular.
You could walk down to the beach…
The location is only a 10 minute drive from downtown Seattle and situated on the Puget Sound, in a neighborhood called Magnolia. The first day was a little cloudy, so I was very surprised and in awe the morning of Day 2, when I looked to the South from the picture windows and rising, like an apparition, was Mt. Rainier, in all of its glory. I had no idea it would be so dramatic and spiritual in nature.
We had dinner at Palisades Restaurant, which also has a lovely view. If you have reservations for 5pm seating, it’s only $29 for a 3 course meal. The food was good…not great.