Expat Escapades November 2016

Expat Escapades November 2016 - LiveRecklessly.com

It’s 6am and I’m sitting bright eyed at my laptop with a hot cup of coffee.

It’s unusual for me to be excited about anything this early on a Monday, but today is special: we’re expecting the first snow of the season!

Snow is quite a rarity in Anacortes as the town is so close to sea level and has pretty mild temperatures. So I’m absolutely embracing the novelty! I even woke up about six times after midnight to keep checking if it had started snowing yet.

Given I’m awake, there’s no time like the present to wrap up the Expat Escapades November edition.

So many Christmas puns. Forgive me, it’s early.

Birthday fun!

I turned 28 at the beginning of the month. I can confidently say that life keeps getting better and better, so I’m looking forward to the year ahead and the adventures that it brings.

And my family sent me a giant box of Tim Tams, so life is really good!

Expat Escapades November 2016 - LiveRecklessly.com - birthday timtams

Seattle Escapes

Tom and I celebrated my birthday weekend in Seattle, with plans to visit spots we’ve been wanting to go for ages, but haven’t had the time for.

Friday night began with Belgian beers at The Blind Monk, followed by a yummy Malaysian dinner Kedai Makan. We brunched at sunlit café Oddfellows, and Nue (the most versatile brunch menu I’ve seen – these guys epitomise international cuisine).

We imbibed at two downtown breweries – Old Stove and Cloudburst – before enjoying the happiest of hours at latin-sushi hot spot Japonessa, complete with Chai Whiskey cocktails. Then we finally made it to Canon, which is frequently listed one of the top whiskey bars in the USA.

In happenings unrelated to food and beverage, we visited the Seattle Art Museum, saw comedian Dylan Moran perform at the Neptune Theatre and caught the city skyline from Fremont.

I returned to the city another three times this month: to see The Struts, grab lunch before a Huskies game, and show some Aussie friends around at the beginning of their own US adventure.

Of course, a good introduction to Seattle included drinks at Capitol Cider and industrial-chic Optimism Brewing, dinner at Radiator Whiskey and brunch at Café Pettirosso. AND a personalised tour of Pike Place Market, complete with gum walls, fish throwing and the world’s largest collection of giant shoes!

Expat Escapades November 2016 - LiveRecklessly.com seattle-skyline-from-fremont

Expat Escapades November 2016 - LiveRecklessly.com - seattle-brunches

Expat Escapades November 2016 - LiveRecklessly.com seattle-huskies-game

Expat Escapades November 2016 - LiveRecklessly.com - The Struts

Mt Baker Film Festival

The 17th Annual Mt Baker Film Fest was held in Bellingham this month, showcasing local and independent filmmakers. It was such a fun night that made me really appreciate the local ski community. I’m so excited for the season to begin!

Another snow related highlight for November: I bought my very own ski boots! If you’re in the Seattle area I highly recommend the team at Evo – the staff is super helpful, I got an on-the-spot fitting with boots customised to my oddly shaped feet. After years of painful rental boots it feels like I’m walking on clouds!

Expat Escapades November 2016 - LiveRecklessly.com - Mt Baker

Eastern Washington Adventures

Determined to have one more camping trip this year, we set off on a weekend road trip to Eastern Washington. My theory that eastern Washington would bring warmer weather quickly proved incorrect, as we were met with frigid temperatures and near constant rainfall. That’s November for you!

En route east we stopped at the impressive Snoqualmie Falls and North Bend (Brickyard Brewing has an awesome selection of beers for those interested!)

The next two days embraced the dramatic landscapes of Eastern Washington – Yakima Canyon, Frenchman’s Coulee and Echo Basin, the Gorge, White Bluffs and the rolling hills of Hanford Reach National Monument.

We camped at Potholes State Park, a pretty spot on the lake that graced us with an epic pink sunset. What I didn’t know was that the area is a popular spot for duck hunting in November. Waking up to gunshots early in the morning was harrowing – but now hilarious.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip east without some wine! We stopped at the small Ellensburg Canyon Winery and then super scenic Cave B Winery, where vineyards sit atop the cliffs overlooking the Columbia River.

Expat Escapades November 2016 - LiveRecklessly.com snoqualmie-falls

Expat Escapades November 2016 - LiveRecklessly.com - Yakima Valley

Expat Escapades November 2016 - LiveRecklessly.com frenchmans-coulee-echo-basin

Thanksgiving in Chicago

Without family to celebrate Thanksgiving, Tom and I visited Chicago for the four day weekend (flying on Thanksgiving Day for the cheapest flight!).

We based ourselves in the funky Wicker Park neighbourhood: impressive bars and restaurants were right at our doorstep and downtown attractions were just a short metro ride away.

Highlights of the trip included a day of cycling Chicago’s lakefront pathways, drinking Glühwein at the Christmas markets and seeing the hilarious Second City Mainstage Review. I now absolutely understand why so many comedy legends began their careers at this company.

Full trip details to follow, including a fab dining guide!

Expat Escapades November 2016 - LiveRecklessly.com - Chicago-skyline

Expat Escapades November 2016 - LiveRecklessly.com - Chicago street art

Expat Escapades November 2016 - LiveRecklessly.com - bike rides in Chicago

New posts in November

Sampling Stumptown: finding the best food and brews in Portland

Thoughts on today and the future

Halloween in Anacortes

Glaciers and golden larches: hiking and camping in North Cascades National Park

America does have a great coffee culture, I promise – a practical guide to java in the USA

Coming up in December

Early December will include Christmas Tree shopping, decorating the house and squeezing in a few early season ski days at Mt Baker. For the rest of the month we’ll be resuming our Tour Guide duties and welcoming Tom’s family to Anacortes. There’ll be plenty of adventures around Washington as we introduce them to our favourite places.

After Christmas we’re off to London for a family wedding!

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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