Olympia, Washington

So, it was my very first trip to the Northwest U.S. ... and it rained every day. ... all day. ... Which is exactly what I expected, so it was perfect!

verything is unbelievably green, green, and greener.

It's always an adventure to see where your sweetheart grew up, to see his/her childhood home, neighborhood, and community. I think it helps you better understand when they cry in the middle of the night, longing for "home." JUST KIDDING.

Anyhow, during our Christmas holiday in Washington state, I met many wonderful family and friends, had an opportunity to explore the quaintness of Olympia, the state capital (did you know that?), share in some traditions, and see Seattle, at long last. It was a city I'd always wanted to visit, even if just for a day.

Everyone I met was so kind, generous, and warmhearted. I know the holiday season can be a tricky one, especially when you are the guest! I felt very included and that meant so much to me! Thank you!

Saturday was a Foody Day, which is, naturally, my favorite kind of day! We started off at Wagner's European Bakery & Cafe, which offers German/European style baked goods and coffee.

We then walked over to the state Capital, wandered up and down it's marble halls and explored the surrounding grounds dotted with various memorials.

Shortly thereafter, we headed to the Bayview Market for fresh clam chowder.

Now, you might think it odd to go to a grocery store in search of great chowder, but this was fantastic. And the views from the dining area were beautiful--Marina, Puget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains off in the distance. The entire store has a "boutique" feel to it and is loaded with great wines and cookware.

If you're a lucky girl, someone might sneak back the next day and buy you the wooden-handled spatulas you were eyeing!
[Thank you, Owen.]

After visiting with family friends, we headed out for the evening's events. If you're looking for an excellent pan-Asian meal, look no further than locally-owned Chopsticks Noodle House in downtown Olympia. I had a great Bento box meal and the Phad Thai was de-lish! Their Garden Fresh Spring Rolls were the largest I'd ever encountered and probably the best, too.

An annual event with Owen's family involves attending a Harlequin Production at the State Theater, which is a lovely renovative downtown building. This year's show, "The Twelfth Night of Stardust," follows a long-running storyline centered around a 1940s song and dance club called the Stardust. The singing and acting were superb, and the story about love, confusion, and crossed identities was entertaining.

I almost forgot! We also hit the Olympia Farmers Market that day. It's the largest local farmers market in the state, and all products, whether they be produce, soaps, jams, and more, are from Olympia.

Sunday was spent browsing downtown Olympia's wonderful boutiques, such as Archibald Sisters, Hot Toddy, Hoopla!, and Compass Rose. Sadly, it doesn't seem that anyone in Olympia has heard of the INTERNET or of WEBSITES. One great link I can give, however, is for Dancing Goats coffee, by Batdorf & Bronson Roasters. You should get yourself some!

Christmas Day was filled with great food, gift-giving, and fun conversation at Beth's house (Owen's mother). There was lots of lounging involved, and I thoroughly enjoyed looking through old photos. While I have in my possession certain boyfriend's childhood photos that could be used for blackmail (think "too-tight lederhosen" and "cut off short-jean shorts"), in fear of retaliation, I won't post them here.

Merry Christmas!!

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