Expat Escapades February 2017

Expat Escapades February 2017 - hiking Washington Park Anacortes Burrows Pass - Live Recklessly

February was basically the antithesis of January’s crazed travels and adventures. This month featured plenty of time home in Anacortes without international excursions. And we only hosted one group of Aussie visitors – so very quiet!

Because after the year kicked off with two destination weddings, and 10 day jaunts to both the UK and Eastern Canada I definitely needed a break.

Snow was again the theme of the month, and while winter should be quietly coming to an end it currently shows no signs of abating. Washington State has been experiencing one of its coldest, snowiest winters in decades so I have a feeling I’ll be enjoying the best of Jack Frost and skiing well into March.

Snow in Anacortes

As I alluded, plenty more snow fell in Anacortes this month – in fact, on several occasions! One afternoon saw three inches dump in as many hours. Basically a blizzard for our town where this type of weather is usually uncommon.

Snow still hasn’t lost its novelty for me, and I’m ecstatic every time I see those flakes fall: using it as an opportunity to walk in the woods, visit the coastal parks and take photos of the town in its beautiful blanket of white.

Expat Escapades February 2017: Snow in Anacortes Fidalgo Island Cranberry Lake - Live Recklessly

Expat Escapades February 2017 Snow in Anacortes Heart Lake - Live Recklessly

Expat Escapades February 2017 - Snow in Anacortes Cranberry Lake - Live Recklessly

Expat Escapades February 2017 - Snow in Anacortes Deception Pass - Live Recklessly

 

Adventures in British Columbia

There was actually one international adventure in February – though entering Canada by road never quite feels international after having grown up in Australia where you have to leave the continent to visit another country!

Some friends invited us to Whistler for a ski trip, which is pretty much an offer we couldn’t refuse when the snow has been so epic this season. Accommodation in Whistler was astronomical (like $600 per night) so we cut costs by staying in Squamish, about a 45 minute drive south of the ski fields.

This definitely worked in our favour and saved us hundreds of dollars for relatively little hassle. After a day skiing at Whistler Blackcomb we enjoyed some gin cocktails and charcuterie at Bar Oso, and then made the short drive back to Squamish. This small town has a huge adventure scene in its own right that I’ll have to take advantage of another time – especially the renowned rock climbing areas. Our adventures this trip were more of the culinary variety, enjoying awesome beers and bites at both Howe Sound Brewing and Copper Coil Still and Grill. Zephyr Café offers healthy vegan, vegetarian and raw dishes along with awesome espresso – I’ll definitely be back for another breakfast here!

Expat Escapades February 2017 skiing Whistler BC - Live Recklessly

Expat Escapades February 2017 - Whistler and Squamish dining Live Recklessly

Expat Escapades February 2017 - Squamish BC Live Recklessly

 

Skiing at Mt Baker and Stevens Pass

One of my goals this winter was to visit some of Washington’s other ski areas, and until the last weekend of this month I had been failing miserably. I’m incredibly loyal to Mt Baker: its super local vibe and very chill atmosphere can’t be beat – not to mention the awesome intermediate and advanced level runs.

But I finally made it to Stevens Pass! While I much prefer driving the country roads to Baker rather than crowded I-5 to Stevens, I did have an absolute blast. It was a quiet Monday on the mountain so Tom and I skied directly onto the chairlift each time. We were able to explore most of the trails on the Stevens Pass side as well as a few runs down into Mill Valley.

I’ve been struggling to break my new ski boots in properly this season but that day I finally felt comfortable, confident and able to tear down some black runs. Added bonus: the lodge has outdoor fire pits – the perfect spot for post ski beers!

Expat Escapades February 2017 - Mt Baker skiing views Washington - Live Recklessly

Expat Escapades February 2017 - ski Stevens Pass Washington - Live Recklessly

 

Red wine and chocolate

The yummiest day of the month was on the Whidbey Island Wine Trail for the Red Wine and Chocolate Festival. Over a sunny afternoon we visited four wineries and one distillery, pairing liqueurs and red wines (as well as a few whites!) with some locally made chocolates and sweets. It was the perfect opportunity to visit the wineries I had been meaning to go to for a long time, and I’ll definitely be back to visit again soon!

Read more about my day in the vines here!

Expat Escapades February 2017 - Whidbey Island Wine Trail - Live Recklessly (1)

Expat Escapades February 2017 - Whidbey Island Wine Trail - Live Recklessly (2)

Solo hiking on the islands

Tom was travelling internationally for a big chunk of February, but despite my solo status I was eager to get out and enjoy the few sunny days we had.

Lowland hiking is perfect during winter, so I took advantage of many of the coastal and lake trails on both Fidalgo Island and Whidbey Island.  Any locals looking to head outside in winter should try a few of my favourites: Washington Park (walk the trails rather than the Loop Road for the best views), Little Cranberry Lake, Whistle Lake, Sares Head (from Sharpe-Montgomery Park) and of course, Deception Pass State Park!

Expat Escapades February 2017 - Hiking around Anacortes Cranberry Lake - Live Recklessly

Expat Escapades February 2017 - hiking Washington Park Anacortes - Live Recklessly

New blog posts this month

Alaska in Photos: Adventures in the Last Frontier

Why I prefer off season travel

Learning to take a break: a postcard from Deception Pass State Park

Red wine and chocolate overload on the Whidbey Island Wine Trail

A winter getaway to Leavenworth, Washington

How to rock a red eye flight

 

Coming up in March

My focus for March is again on Washington State. This weekend we’re partying in Seattle with some Aussie friends who are in the midst of their own US travels, and plan to ski a day at Mt Baker.

I’m keen to visit some new restaurants during Dine Around Seattle and hope to spend some time in Langley on Whidbey Island – my introduction during the Red Wine and Chocolate Festival has compelled me to see more of this seaside town!

Catch all of my monthly wrap ups here.

Expat Escapades is a monthly series here at Live Recklessly. I’ll recap my latest adventures in the USA, new Seattle favourites in food/drink/culture/activities, and uncover more of Anacortes and the Pacific Northwest region.

If you have any suggestions of where I should visit, let me know in the comments below!

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