San Juan Islands & Seattle

We got up early on Friday to head north for whale watching.  We bought a groupon for a whale watching tour before leaving home. This allowed us to go for half-price.  Our goal was to be on the road by 7am.  Surprisely we actually left about 6:30.

Google maps told us it would be a little over 4 hours, but with the road going up around Mt. Rainer national park, we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to make the ferry in Anacortes. We had to be on the 11:55 ferry headed to Friday Harbor. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t have time to drive our car on the ferry, but my first ferry experience was cool nonetheless. They unload people first, then cars, and we only had 10 minutes to get to our tour from the ferry once in Friday Harbor.

The whale watching tour was really neat. We were on a 50ft boat that took us out about an hour away from the port. The main attraction was to see an Orca Whale (Killer Whale), which is the black and white whales that you see at Sea World. We saw nearly a half dozen Orka’s and we also saw a humpback whale which was really neat too. Our boat driver didn’t want to disturb them, so we weren’t able to get too close to them.

Our first whale spotting.
Our first whale spotting.
Lots of my pictures look like this one with no whales!
Lots of my pictures look like this one with no whales!
This whale's nickname is Mega (for his mega tall fin)
This whale’s nickname is Mega (for his mega tall fin)
Humpback whale exhaling
Humpback whale exhaling
Humpback whale's tail before going down for a deep dive.
Humpback whale’s tail before going down for a deep dive.

After our tour, our plan was to drive back to Seattle for dinner, but the tour finished at 5:30pm and the ferry back to the mainland didn’t leave until 6:30pm which would have put us having dinner in Seattle at 9 o’clock. Since Josh and I were starving we stopped at local place called Cask & Schooner for a small meal. The girls had salads and the guys had clam chowder.

On the ferry we found a table that someone had started an 1000 piece puzzle, so we worked on that to make the time pass quickly.

Back on the mainland, we decided to stop for dinner instead of waiting until we got to Seattle. We stopped at the Rockfish Grill and enjoyed some local fish entrees and a live band. Then we got back in the car for a 90 minute drive to Seattle. We stayed near Lake Union. Our hotel had a great location and it was a bit cheaper than staying in the downtown area itself.

On Saturday morning, our first stop in Seattle was the World Famous Pike’s Place Market. They had tons of local vendors who were selling things from art, to clothing, to produce, to fish. Plus the majority of the stands were giving away samples. We enjoyed samples of peaches, nectarines, jam, honey, blueberry vinegar and organic apple chips! Since it was the last day of our trip, we decided to not buy any produce since we didn’t want to carry it around all day nor did we have room to take it to the airport with us.

Pike's Market
Pike’s Place Market
The fish looked incredible good!
The fish looked incredibly good!

Plus, from the Market, you could see the summit of Mount Rainier. Even though it’s more than 100 miles away, you could see it’s peak in between the clouds. This was the first time we could see the peak on the trip.

Mt. Rainier in the distance behind the stadiums.
Mt. Rainier in the distance behind the stadiums.

Then Melody and I went on the Duck tour, it was a little bit corny….but a travel hacker site said it was a great way to get out on Lake Union and have a view of the city/houseboats. Our tour was redirected a bit due to the Rock and Roll Marathon that morning. We captured some pictures of the city from the water. It was an amphibious vehicle, so we were able to drive around town, then we drove right into the lake, it was definitely pretty cool!

Our land / lake vehicle.
Our land / lake vehicle.
Seattle's skyline from Lake Union.
Seattle’s skyline from Lake Union.

Josh and Sarah went on the Underground tour, which explored city blocks that are currently beneath where the street is now.

We met up at the Space Needle for lunch. We thought we were being smart and would go to the restaurant (then you didn’t have to pay admission) order the minimum required food (which is only a few dollars more than the ticket up) and then find cheaper food elsewhere if we were still hungry. It turned out to be on Saturdays/Sundays they only serve a 3-course fixed price brunch. We were already up there…so we decided to splurge and make it lunch/dinner.

View from the top of the Space Needle. Can you see Mount Rainier in the background?
View from the top of the Space Needle. Can you see Mount Rainier in the background?

Before leaving downtown we wanted to see some glass blowing. Seattle is famous for glass blowing and has the most studios and artists in the world outside of Murano, Italy. The most famous place is Chihuly Gardens, but since we splurged on the tour/space needle we decided we needed to stop spending money. So we stopped by the Seattle Glass Blowing Studio instead. They made traditional items like bowls and vases and they also made some really cool lawn ornaments.

Glass lawn ornaments.
Glass lawn ornaments.

We had asked our waitress if she had six hours left in the Seattle area before having to go to the airport, what would she do, she suggested Snoqualmie Falls. The hiking trails were closed to get a good view from the bottom but we had a great view from the upper observation decks.

Snoqualmie Falls

We still had a few hours to kill before heading to the airport. We ended up doing a little shopping and all of us found at least one deal at Half Price Books.

Our plane took off at 11:15 pm PST, luckily we both were able to get some sleep on the plane. We had a short layover in Chicago and were back to Dayton by 8:30am. After a few hours of napping we are up trying to stay awake again until bedtime. We both have to get back to work tomorrow, hopefully we adjust back to EST as quick as possible.

Thank you all for following our journey this summer, we enjoyed sharing it with you. We have a couple days of beach time planned in late July…but other than that we don’t know where the next adventure will take us, we are always up for suggestions!

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