Lawrenceville is in southern NJ that has canals that are Amsterdam cute.
Right across the Delaware River is New Hope, a darling town in Pennsylvania filled with darling houses like this one:
We spent a week this past summer visiting Olympic National Park.
We camped at Kalaloch Beach, very convenient to the Kalaloch Lodge which has a really tasty smoked salmon. It’s a great place but next next time I would have booked a new site for each day in the park. It got to be pretty tiring driving back and forth from Kalaloch to each new destination on the Peninsula.
We hopped down to Silver Fall State Park near Salem, Oregon to take advantage of the free admission on Black Friday. This was our first camping trip in Oregon and it’s still amazing and beautiful. The waterfalls are great and the lighting is so beautiful there.
I just came back from a relaxing weekend at Lost Lake, in the Mount Hood National Forest. It is aptly named because you will lose all cell phone and GPS reception to get there (on Lolo Pass from 26 or coming south from Hood River). We didn’t plan on being disconnected from the internet but it was definitely nice to have a break from it all.
This is the majestic view from the north day use area. Lost Lake is actually a privately run campground and you can rent boats. I was able to easily kayak from the boat launch/ general store area to the lakefront by the day use area. The lake is deceptively big, I tried to kayak from the northern part to the other side, close to Mount Hood. I would say Sparks Lake, Trillium Lake, and Waldo Lake are still my favorites but Lost Lake is definitely near the top of the list.
There’s also a 3 mile roundtrip trail around the lake and a steep hike up to the butte where you can see 3 mountains.
Without having the internet to distract me, I had to amuse myself by other means. I did a set of plein air lake studies on watercolor paper:
I normally don’t paint outside, you can’t really in Oregon except in the summer (at least I don’t know how other painters paint in the rain). I had to be much more economical and less fussy- using lake water in a plastic cup, not having a proper palette setup, painting much more directly on the paper. All while having bugs constantly try to distract me from painting.
This past month I splurged on a yoga retreat (yes fancy )to Macheros Mexico. My creative coach Nancy Cuevas and I had been brainstorming travel ideas and when she told me about this magical idea to visit the mountain forests where crowds of monarchs migrate to from North America AND do yoga….I was SO in! I’ve added some of my favorite shots to my print shop. I need to a longer write up about my trip but I wanted to quickly give an update:
We did rooftop yoga! Here’s a black and white film shot:
I love, love the pink bougainvillea that grows in Mexico and California. I wish Oregon was warm enough, I would plant these all over my yard.
Just chillin’ on a hammock with a great view at JM Butterfly BnB. The weather there is perfect nearly all year.
A view from the top of the El Rosario Buttefly Reserve. Yes I galloped on a horse to get there!
These golden wildflowers grow in meadows near the forests and the butterflies love them.
You probably haven’t heard of Wheeler, Oregon. It’s a sleepy town on the Oregon Coast named after some timber baron, and is probably my favorite spot so far on the coast.
It’s got everything- water views, mountain views, and forests.
It’s an estuary, which means it’s ecologically diverse from all of the salt water and fresh water coming together, and is home to all sorts of cool birds like cranes and herons.
You know how I love clouds? Wheeler has fantastic clouds. The mist rolls in so, so romantically
The first time we stayed at this hotel that is lucky enough be right on the bay.
I had the best time kayaking in the bay- it was near sunset, with the golden light shining on us and we were paddling right next to all the ducks and birds.
I haven’t been to Hood River in over a year- it had been too long! We love going to this English pub called Oak Street Pub, although I was bummed that they no longer serve St Peter’s English Ale that comes in the great green glass bottle. This time we found this amazing playground on the waterfront. They just make playgrounds way cooler these days. There was a mini climbing wall which I made a fool of myself in front of little kids who were much more adept at scaling the structure. The colors of the foliage reminded me of Colorado: silvers,yellows, and burnt orange.
As I walked along the water towards the Columbia Gorge windsurfing association rental spot, I spied a snow cap peering over the gorge. Does anyone know what mountain or butte that could be?
I’m so glad I had my water shoes on. There were several paths down to the water and I walked in the river hugging the bank. The most beautiful glowing light filtered through the red twig dogwood and other river flowers.
I love the way the light shimmers across the water and how it illuminates the rolling layers of hills that make up the Columbia Gorge.
I can’t wait to come back to Hood River!
Siletz Bay near Lincoln City on Highway 101 is a great family friendly beach option.
It’s right next to Mo’s Seafood, a restaurant that has got their operations locked down, I mean they get you in and out – fast- and the food is reliably good. Get the clam chowder in a bread bowl. Of course if you have kiddos be warned that even though the wait is only ever 10 minutes at peak holiday times, you will be forced to go through their gift shop to get to your table. Brilliant business.
There’s parking near the restaurant with public bathrooms. The lot does get filled up early, but it was pretty easy to find street parking near there. My definition of easy street parking is a ginormous amount of space that you can pull straight into. No backing up or parallel parking.
And the beach is not windy. I will post about these other beaches on the Oregon Coast where I felt like I was lost in a wild sandstorm, and then had the brilliant idea to lose my iphone. But anyways Siletz Bay is relatively more protected from the beach, and while I usually would strongly recommend bringing some kind of umbrella/tent/ shade, this beach is fine for lounging about with just a towel.
One thing that is very interesting about Siletz Bay is how much it changes from low tide to high tide. Here we are just hanging out on this enormous stretch of sand with no neighbors as typical of the OR coast.
It almost looks like we could just wade across to that peninsula/sand bar that is in the distance. But come high tide, and then the beach becomes a bay.
I was shocked how far inland the water comes in. What was a fun splash through some puddles to get to where we were sunbathing earlier in the day, would have been a full on potential Darwin Award ordeal to ford the bay during high tide.
These changes make Siletz Bay a very interesting place to explore, with these cool pools and ripples that form during low tide.
And speaking of Darwin Awards, my favorite part of Siletz Bay are the three rock formations that are near the road.
During low tide, you can simply walk from the parking lot near Mo’s all the way to this area.
There’s actually another parking lot on 101 that is directly adjacent to this area. But I guess they don’t really want people to hike down this part, because the path is pretty steep and they actually have completely blocked off the entrance with a wooden fence.
I had an awesome time climbing these rocks and perching along side these trees to get a spectacular view of the bay.
But climbing down from there was a bit more precarious than I would have liked.
We liked this state park so much that we went back and camped on Thanksgiving week. Because pilgrim sandwiches and canned cranberries are so much better by the fire on the Oregon Coast 🙂
The entrance to Beverly Beach is actually underneath Highway 101. Neat!
I was obsessed with the way the sand looked at low tide, the ripples and the shimmer.
Because I had anticipated some stormy late autumn weather, we booked a yurt.
We actually had awesome weather. And then we came back to Portland for the start of the rainiest December on record. It rained, A LOT. And it sucked. So I guess our glamping on the beach was kind of like the eye of the storm, tricking us into a false sense of security and bam! rain for days. I’ve never ever seen it rain that hard for so long. But enough of the doom and gloom, check out these amazing views.
And man look at this sunset. The sand was so smooth and endless … I really have no words. And yes this photo was #nofilter, that was all mother nature.
I couldn’t resist..here’s one more:
Road’s End State Park caught me by surprise. It was a last minute addition to my Memorial Day trip and it quickly earned itself a place in my top 5 locations to the Oregon Coast. Impressive.
This beach is very long, and a large stretch is very windy. Bring your hat and sunscreen. Plan on walking over a mile to get to the best part, Road’s End Point. It’s well worth the trip. There the sand turns into a floor of kelp covered rocks.
I remember the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California as one of my favorite childhood trips because of their great interactive exhibits of tide pools. At Road’s End, you can see real tide pools up close. They form in between the rocks and crevices and you can see kelp, barnacles, mussels, crabs, and schools of tiny fish. The only thing missing were starfish.
There’s another beach that’s tucked behind the cove that you need to climb across boulders to get to. I’d recommend making the trip during low tide.
This beach is made of these perfectly tiny pebbles, so smooth and fine grained, like a nice exfoliant.
There were also collections of larger rocks that reminded me of my trips to the rock store in the NJ mall.
So many piles of shiny black rocks, jasper, agate, and other unknown rocks to sift through. I so wished I had a giant excavator to grab all of these great river rock for my front yard.