Living abroad certainly has its challenges, and being separated from family and friends is the biggest one for me.
Needless to say, one of the absolute perks is having loved ones visit! Fresh off the back of an epic west coast road trip, this month I was lucky enough to host not only my sister, but my parents too! Cue a month of total tour guide activities.
I showed off the best of Anacortes and the wider Fidalgo & Whidbey Island area, before we all headed to Vancouver to explore and wish my parents bon voyage as they boarded an Alaska Cruise.
June was another stellar month of adventures. Here’s the highlights reel.
Every time I visit Vancouver I find more to love. More fantastic restaurants, lively cocktail bars and fun outdoor activities to boot.
With just two days to introduce Hailee the city, we had to be selective. First, a bike ride along the 8 km seawall which wraps around Stanley Park – the city’s largest park. Then a lunchtime feast while exploring Granville Island Public Market, and at trip to the suspension bridge and trails at Lynn Canyon (a little too crowded in June – go early!)
Nosh included rum punch and Caribbean classics at Calabash, tea-infused tipples at Chill Winston, and gin martinis at L’Abbatoir. Lured by the call of Belgian waffles, Sunday’s pre-hike fueling landed us at brunch at Chambar. On my next visit I plan to get out of Gastown and sample more of the city’s culinary offerings, but the density of great bar and dining venues in Gastown can be hard to beat!
Orcas Island Camping Trip
No trip to the Pacific Northwest is complete without a camping adventure. Keen to give Hailee the best experience, we set off to Orcas Island for a back-to-nature weekend.
We entertained ourselves with a long hike up Mt Constitution (the tallest mountain in the San Juan archipelago) along with shorter hikes to Cascade Falls and Sunrise Rock. There was also a lot of time scheduled for reading by the fire, shooting the breeze, and eating giant bags of M&Ms. Before boarding the ferry back to Anacortes we had a brief stop in Eastsound, the island’s biggest town. I happily swapped camp food for a croissant and coffee at Brown Bear Baking, before picking up some gourmet Kathryn Taylor chocolates to take home.
Hiking in the North Cascades National Park
Two fantastic days hiking in the North Cascades! With miserable weather forecast, we ditched camping in lieu of a night’s stay at BASE Camp at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Centre, which rents out dorm rooms when classes and other programs aren’t in session.
This turned out be the best decision, as not only did it pour with rain that evening, we got to join a guided canoe tour on Diablo Lake the next morning. Diablo Lake is as gorgeous as the photos suggest – and Hailee was thrilled when it began to lightly snow as we reached the Blue Lake Trail!
Seattle’s Summer Solstice Celebrations
I had tried to describe to Hailee the quirkiness of Seattle’s neighbourhoods, but decided it was best to show her instead. Which is why we found ourselves cheering on hundreds of stark-naked cyclists at Fremont’s Summer Solstice Parade. Certainly an experience to remember!
Before Hailee caught her flight back to Sydney (tear!) we dragged her around Seattle’s most iconic destinations: the EMP, Capitol Hill, Pike Place Markets and spectacular harbor front. Of course, I also introduced her to some of our favourite foodie stops: Biscuit Bitch, Toulouse Petit, La Marzocco, Capitol Cider, Schilling Cider, Shug’s Soda Fountain, and Rumba.
No city stay is complete without trying somewhere new – and my enthusiasm was rewarded at Marrakesh in Belltown. Authentic Moroccan food served over five courses, complete with floor-cushion seating, mint tea and traditional dancers. It’s a fun dinner option, particularly if you have a group!
Entertaining family and showing them around my new home was so much fun. It was fantastic to see the same reactions from my parents and sister that I had when I first arrived in Anacortes: total awe at the landscapes and wildlife, and refreshed by the sense of community. We filled our days with visits to nearby Coupeville and La Conner, hikes around Deception Pass and Cranberry Lake, strawberry picking at local farms, and taking in the views from Mt Eerie and Washington Park.
As a special treat for my family, I organised a whale watching tour around the San Juan Islands. It was such a beautiful day on the water, and we were lucky enough to sight a humpback whale! For all the photos, read the full story.
July’s Expat Escapades will be live shortly, covering my latest local and international adventures!
Expat Escapades is a new series here at Live Recklessly. Each month 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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