Loading...

Follow Tracie Travels | Travel Blog. Travel Photograph.. on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

NOTE: the images in this feed have been downsized or removed for copyright reasons. To see them in their unmodified state, please view the original post by clicking here.

That’s right! Tracie Travels now has a storefront!

It’s been a while since my last post, but there is a good reason for it…

Not only am I recently back from a month long trip to Greece and Malta, but I’ve just opened up my own shop!

Technically it’s a pop-up shop for Tracie Howe Photography, which is the umbrella under which Tracie Travels resides. It’s only open until the end of the year, so it’s kind of a fun experiment to see how things go. I’m selling my landscape and travel photography, with a lot of images from the Pacific Northwest since that’s where it’s located.

Having a storefront requires a lot of work that is different to blog posts and social media, though truly those should be a part of it too. I’ve been busy since I’m still setting things up, but my shop is open! I have to be there to sell anything though, so I’ve got to go now to (wo)man my pop-up shop!

Before I go, I should probably tell you how to find it, right? If you’re a Seattle area local or visitor to the area, you’ll find my shop at Country Village Shops in Bothell, WA. My shop is in the Artisan Market, which is a central building right in between the two playgrounds.

I can’t be there every day, but someone should be in the building if you stop by. You are always welcome to take a peek when I’m not around. However, if you want to say hi, buy something, make a custom order, or even commission any work, my hours tend to be Wednesday-Friday afternoons, and most of the day on the weekends, all within the Country Village Hours. They vary a little bit each week, but if you inquire about a certain day or time, I’ll be sure to be there!

The Country Village hours and location, as well as events (all of which I try to attend), can be found on their website: www.countryvillagebothell.com .

Remember, I’ll only be there until the end of the year, so be sure to stop by before then! And if you haven’t heard the sad news, Country Village is supposed to be torn down by April, so you’ll definitely want to visit sooner than later.

I’ll be waiting for you, along with the ducks and chickens! ;)

The post Tracie Travels storefront! What?! appeared first on Tracie Travels.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

NOTE: the images in this feed have been downsized or removed for copyright reasons. To see them in their unmodified state, please view the original post by clicking here.

Moving to Seattle NorthCountry

The view from my backyard on one lovely fall afternoon.

Snohomish County is Seattle NorthCountry and now the place that I call home. If you’ve been following along on social media, you may have noticed a few posts from this area since I moved here in November. It has taken a while to settle in at our new house, in a new town, and with a new dog! But now that I have, I wanted to introduce you to not only Seattle NorthCountry, but to the north Puget Sound area. Also, to my dog. Cuz, he’s my newest travel buddy, and he’s pretty cute…

Snohomish

My dad and stepmom have lived in Snohomish since I was in college, so when I moved here I was already vaguely familiar with the cute little downtown area filled with antique stores, boutique shops, cafes, and pubs. However, besides the adorable downtown Snohomish, I didn’t know about much beyond the pretty surrounding farmlands.

Panoramic view of Snohomish farmland near my house, stretching off to the distant Cascade mountain range.

It turns out that Snohomish County is huge! Much larger than I realized. Snohomish County stretches west to Edmonds and east on Hwy 2 almost to Stevens Pass. The border goes as far north as Stanwood and Darrington, and south practically to Woodinville.

This wild backcountry runs the gamut when it comes to outdoor adventures and activities! The opportunities seem endless, from everyday options like hiking and fishing, to once-in-a-lifetime experiences like skydiving and hot air ballooning! I’m so excited to explore the possibilities and share what I experience.

I am a bit limited to what I can do right now though, since adopting our pup, Chex. He is now 5 months old and not a fan of riding in the car. We haven’t traveled much beyond local trails and dog parks together, but that will change! ;)

Chex exploring a trail with our friend’s daughter. Fortunately, she likes to walk him so I can take breaks for photos. :)

Chex hiding between ferns and Dave’s legs.

North Puget Sound

I am also keen to travel to areas beyond Snohomish county now that I’m on the north side of Seattle. Everything up here seems so much closer when driving through Seattle traffic is no longer an issue! I’ve been to places like Camano Island and Stevens Pass many times, but now that they seem more accessible I hope to become more familiar with them. And of course, there are so many places that I still haven’t been! Most of the destinations I have in mind to visit outside of Snohomish are within about 1.5 hours and can easily be made into a day trip.

Just recently we pushed Chex’s car limits by going a little farther afield to Leavenworth, about 2 hours away. We stayed for the weekend at a Tiny House Village near Leavenworth and he seemed to adapt pretty well… once we were out of the car. So we’re making progress! Keep an eye out for that upcoming post, and stay tuned for updates on more from Seattle’s Northcountry and beyond as I continue to explore!

The post Moving to Seattle NorthCountry appeared first on Tracie Travels.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

NOTE: the images in this feed have been downsized or removed for copyright reasons. To see them in their unmodified state, please view the original post by clicking here.

I do things a little differently here at Tracie Travels. Sure, I like to check out the must-do things when I visit a place, but I’m also very drawn to the more offbeat things that a place has to offer. After all, there are often pretty interesting photography opportunities to be found in such places!

From stores brimming with funky treasures to weird public street art, there are countless quirky things to do and see in Seattle. Being fond of such things, I am happy to live in a place where being different (and maybe a little weird) is not only accepted, but openly embraced. In fact, I’ve been living in quirky Seattle for so long, that many of the oddities actually seem pretty normal to me. I can’t possibly list them all, but here are a few of my favorites…

The better known quirky things to do in Seattle Even some of Seattle’s biggest attractions are a bit quirky. I mean, the Space Needle is basically an elevator up to a space ship, right?

We’re all familiar with this Seattle landmark. It was built for the World’s Fair in 1962 and remains Seattle’s most beloved icon. Recent renovations at the Space Needle showcase views of the city like never before – through floor to ceiling glass walls! I hear there will also be a glass floor worth checking out soon! ;)

Tucked away in an alley beneath Pike Place Market, this gross display of used gum can be avoided by germaphobic visitors of the market…. but they’d be missing out. Though a bit disgusting, it’s also a collaborative public art piece if you think about it! Why not bring your own gum and add your own “flavor” to the mix? ;P

The beloved troll is hard to find if you don’t have a good map. I know this because I used to live nearby and people were always staring at paper maps trying to figure out how to get there. It’s under the bridge (because that’s where trolls live!). Use Google Maps and you should be fine. ;)

One must play at the troll to get the complete experience!

Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture, MoPOP for short, is funky from the outside in. The architecture is so over-the-top that it’s hard not to appreciate the crazy curves and shiny colors that make up the exterior. Inside is a heaven for sci-fi/fantasy geeks and music lovers alike, with permanent installations and special exhibitions on display.

Seattle’s unusual history is revealed in this underground tour, where the city streets used to be. It’s a dark and mysterious window into the past that shouldn’t be missed during a visit to Seattle!

Furry Libations Seattle adores its animals, but a few fur-loving proprietors have gone a step beyond “dog-friendly” outside seating.

Norm’s is one of my favorite places to eat in Seattle. Not only is the food great, but the company is exceptional. Even inside! Dave and I, formerly residents of Fremont and dogless, would eat there often to get our dog and hamburger fix.

The Seattle Barkery is a food truck for dogs! This truck parks wherever the dogs go, including off-leash dog parks and farmer’s markets around town. They even have a permanent treat bar set up at the Dogwood Play Park, an indoor/outdoor dog park and bar… for people too.

Chex checking out the bar scene at Dogwood.

Here’s one for the cat people! Seattle Meowtropolitan offers a cafe along with reserved cuddle time with resident kitties. Adopting is an option too! You can also sign up for cat yoga classes if that’s your thing.

Activities

Seattle is the home of the original geocache – a techy version of Letterboxing… if you’ve heard of that. The headquarters are in Fremont (no surprise there!), and while there are geocache adventures (essentially mini community treasure hunts) to be had around there, Seattle is full of Geocaching opportunities! It’s a secret world if you know where to look. Check out apps that pinpoint geocaches in Seattle and places all around the world!

  • Flying Trapeze

Have you ever secretly dreamed of running away to join the circus? I haven’t either. But if you have, now you can get a taste of that life without being disowned by your family! Learn how to fly on the trapeze, hang from silks, or just catch a fun show at Emerald City Trapeze. You can hold an event at this unique venue as well!

From a wedding I photographed there.

  • Gaming bars and cafes

We have several of these all over the city to indulge your inner geek! Some provide coffee and tea while others also serve alcohol and food. Each place offers a massive collection of board games to try out while you partake in your beverage or food of choice. I prefer West Seattle’s Delridge Gameporium, connected to Uptown Espresso – another personal favorite of mine!

Bring your earplugs, but leave your change behind! Seattle’s Pinball Museum gives you access to all (well, most) of the games upon admission. Museum it truly is, with games dating back to the 60’s!

Shopping

Since 1899, this delightfully odd gift shop has been a Seattle favorite. It’s location on the beautiful waterfront makes it a convenient place to pop in for souvenirs or a gawk at the oddities. You’ll find everything from mummies to a coin-operated fortune teller, all right next to the Space Needle postcards!

If you’re looking for something equally obscure to take home from Seattle, you may very well find it here! Archie McPhee carries novelty gifts and the quirkiest of items for anyone with a fun personality. Here you can find all things unicorn, rubber chicken, or even underpants! The sky seems to be the limit at Archie McPhee!

From one of my more unique engagement shoots!

Check out Seattle’s other unusual things:

Fremont Solstice parade (particularly the nude Solstice Cyclists)

Whirlyball

Amazon spheres

Edith Macfield’s house

Fremont Rocket

Seattle certainly is weird and wonderful, but every city has a quirky side. What are some oddities that your city has to offer? Or, perhaps there are other quirky things to do in Seattle worth mentioning? Share it in the comments!

*As always, all opinions are my own. All photos are my own unless otherwise noted. I have not been compensated for this post. *

The post Quirky things to do in Seattle appeared first on Tracie Travels.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

NOTE: the images in this feed have been downsized or removed for copyright reasons. To see them in their unmodified state, please view the original post by clicking here.

Written by Jen. Photographed by Tracie.

The week-long Alaskan Cruise that Tracie and I recently took was full of fun and over all too fast. It seemed that just when we were really getting into the swing of cruise ship life it was time to prepare for disembarkation in Vancouver, B.C.. We spent our final day at sea packing, hanging out with our friends Scott & Inge, and enjoying all of the ship’s amenities for the last time.

A day in Vancouver

The Volendam arrived in Vancouver bright and early on a sunny Wednesday. We awoke in a bit of a morning fog. Tracie and I dragged our luggage down the gangway, saying goodbye to crew members as we went. We checked our luggage in the terminal so we would be free to roam for the day, then we met up with Inge to eat at one of her favorite breakfast spots. The De Dutch pancake house was a perfect choice as Inge is Dutch and with the Holland America connection, even more so. Tracie and I had both developed a love of Dutch pastries and pancakes (known as pannekoeken) during our years sailing with Holland America and travels in The Netherlands. The food was tasty, and filling. We hugged Inge goodbye with full bellies.

With hours to go before our train home to Seattle, we decided to rent bikes and soak up some sun in Stanley Park. The weather was perfect for biking and Stanley Park is a fantastic place to explore whether by bike or on foot. There were quite a few other folks riding in the park, and I was glad we were not there on a sunny weekend day, which would surely be a bit too crowded for our taste. The massive park is the oldest in Vancouver and a top tourist destination. It boasts stunning scenery, an impressive trail network, a renowned aquarium and First Nation Artwork – including totem poles and Coast Salish Gateways. We managed to circumnavigate the entire, massive park before our 2 hour time limit on the bikes ran out.

The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying coffee in the sun and catching up with our friend Phil, who used to work on ships and now lives in Vancouver. We arrived at the train station with time to spare, and much to our a delight, a farmer’s market was in full swing right in front of the train station. We tried some locally made, uniquely flavored popsicles and picked up some baked goods for the train ride home. The train from Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle

Our return journey with Amtrak Cascades began with a painless boarding procedure that we both appreciated.  As you journey from Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle, the train has an awesome vantage point for viewing the sunset over the water. Despite leaving well before sunset, we were unfortunate in missing most of the spectacular views due to having to stop for a long time to wait for another train to pass. Luckily, Tracie snapped quite a few scenic shots on the morning train we had taken to Vancouver, and still managed to get just a few late sunset shots on the way back.

Such delays are not uncommon, and are part of the charm of riding the rails. Sure, it can be annoying to be held up, but then again, on the train you have a bar within a couple of cars, and a glass of wine or beer while you travel certainly beats sitting in traffic without the freedom to relax.

Through the train window we see cars waiting at the Peace Arch border crossing.

A peek-a-boo view of sunset from the train.

The fading colors of sunset as we passed Bellingham Bay.

Tracie and I both found ourselves wishing we were on a longer train trip, one that would require a sleeper car, allowing more time to enjoy the romance and nostalgic magic of train travel. So many travelers have trained this way in foreign countries, but extended train travel in the U.S. doesn’t seem to be as common. A longer train adventure – possibly to California, or out to Chicago is now on our travel wish list. Our friend Scott took an Amtrak train from Seattle to the Mid-west a couple weeks after our cruise, when he finished his contract. He absolutely loved his multi-day train adventure, and hearing about it made me all the more keen to take a longer trip on the rails.

After the sun fully set and we were free of scenic distraction, Tracie and I spent some time discussing the blog posts we’d be doing about our Alaskan Cruise adventure. With our hands and minds free we used the time to review photos, read, drink and nosh, listen to podcasts and nap. The trip had been so exciting and full of fun that we were both exhausted and ready to get home and recover. Of course, that would only take a couple days and then we’d be itching for more adventure, whether by boat, plane, train or automobile.

*All opinions and photos are our own and based on our experience aboard Amtrak Cascades from Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle. We were not financially compensated for this post. 

Written by Jen. Photographed by Tracie.

The post Jen & Tracie Go – Amtrak Cascades from Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle appeared first on Tracie Travels.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

NOTE: the images in this feed have been downsized or removed for copyright reasons. To see them in their unmodified state, please view the original post by clicking here.

Written by Jen. Photographed by Tracie.

Our third day on the Alaskan cruise was also our first port of call – Juneau. Tracie and I met up on deck for the afternoon sail into Juneau, which is gorgeous. Mountains surround the quaint city, and float planes take off and land as the ships come and go. The weather was decent and had been every day of our trip thus far. Three days into an Alaskan cruise without rain, and with sunshine is not to be taken for granted. We had both spent really rainy weeks in Alaska in the past.

The afternoon arrival meant that nearly everyone on board wanted to get off the ship as soon as the gangway was lowered. We took our time getting ready and waited for the rush to be over. We were signed up for a Discover Alaska’s Whales Tour with Gastineau Guiding, and spent the half hour or so we had to kill before it started wandering the town center. It was another trip down memory lane for us both. We had to laugh as passengers flocked to the infamous Red Dog Saloon, and the plethora of jewelry shops that seem to line the main street of nearly every port in North America. With zero interest in diamonds and tourist traps, Tracie and I admired the natural beauty that surrounds Juneau and enjoyed the fresh air.

We found the Gastineau Guiding team amongst the many tour companies lining the dock and checked in for our whale adventure a few minutes early. Our excitement was palpable. I don’t know that either of us could ever tire of seeing whales, they are such majestic, beautiful creatures. The small boat we boarded for the tour was much smaller than boats I’d been on in the past for whale watching and we snagged two seats up front. Whale watching always feels like buying a lottery ticket or some sort of gambling to me. You play and hope to win big. And even if you don’t hit the whale jackpot, you usually still win on an Alaskan whale watch, as they guarantee whale sightings (On rare occasions when no whales are seen, customers are refunded $100).

Tour companies lining the dock in Juneau.

We sailed out maybe 15 minutes before we started seeing the spouts of humpbacks. As they got closer, the awesome sound of them breathing out got louder and louder. The captain turned off the boat and we drifted amongst eight or nine whales, some together and some solo. They were swimming and diving and would come up in various spots all fairly close to us, and extremely close a couple of times. It seemed to make everyone’s heart stop when they’d get within 25 meters or so of the boat. You’d hear a collective gasp from everyone on the tour – another great sound. Whales are magical. I don’t care how cheesy it sounds, it is true! Tracie and I were hoping to see Orcas, a breach, and we really wanted to see bubble net feeding. No dice this time around, which is fine. Any encounter with whales makes Tracie and I both giddy. There were some lovely gentlemen from Quebec in our group and we bonded over our passion for whales – all working as team to spot them, calling out when they’d surface.

Whales were by far the stars of our excursion, but we also saw sea lions, one playfully hung about while we were in the thick of the whale zone. He was cute but of course played second fiddle to the humpbacks. An eagle also came onto the scene, swooping down into the water, catching a fish. We were both pretty whale focused but have to admit that the eagle catching a fish was an impressive sight. I think we would’ve been content to stay for many more hours watching whales, but the tour only lasted about 3 hours. We made our way back to shore, stopping to see a few more  sea lions and eagles along the way.

Tracie and I split up once back in Juneau as she was keen to get to the top of Mount Roberts for a scenic hike and photography session. I met up with Scott and Inge and had dinner at Tracy’s King Crab Shack. Located on the docks, right near the ships, Tracy’s is a favorite amongst the crew, guests and locals. For a second night in a row we feasted decadently. I opted for the crab combo which consisted of crab bisque, crab cakes and a king crab leg. Inge got the same and an order of snow crab for us to share. It was all mouthwateringly delicious. We drank local beer from the Alaskan Brewery and a Washington State rosé, which both paired perfectly with the crab. Tracy’s seating is all outdoors, and has a rustic, western feel.

Tracie did make it to the top of Mt. Roberts via the tram, though she nearly didn’t. When we parted ways I had gone directly to the crab shack and she hopped back on the ship to drop off a few things. While she was heading up the gangway her ID card slipped and fell over the side of the gangway, and got caught in the net below. It had nearly gone in the water! When she asked security what they would do they said she’d have to stay on board and get a new card made to use for the rest of the cruise. Luckily she bumped into a high ranking officer who took pity and had some crew members raise up the net to get her card. Left with very little time, she wasn’t sure if she’d still be able to make it to the top and back. But having been given her card back, she decided to go for it and rushed to the tram. Once at the top, Tracie ran up the trail to see the epic view that she had remembered from so many years ago… She even managed to snap a few night shots in town as she rushed back to the ship, keeping a close eye on the time.

Tracie and I met back up on board in the OB (Officers’ Bar) and shared stories of our day with our friends. We were beginning to feel right at home, just like in our old cruising days.

Written by Jen. Photographed by Tracie.

The post Jen & Tracie Go cruising – Whale Watching in Juneau appeared first on Tracie Travels.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

NOTE: the images in this feed have been downsized or removed for copyright reasons. To see them in their unmodified state, please view the original post by clicking here.

Written by Jen. Photographed by Tracie.

Some friends who work for Holland America cruise line recently invited me and a guest to join them for a week-long Alaskan cruise. I of course decided to invite Tracie, who hadn’t worked on a ship since the mid 2000’s. We thought it would not only be a great vacation, and blog opportunity, but also an interesting journey back to our sailing roots. Ships were a huge part of both of our lives for a very long time. It seemed perfect to get back on a ship together- after all, we met working on a cruise ship in Alaska in the summer of 2001.  The friend on board perk was not offered until a few years ago, towards the end of my sailing career and after Tracie had left ships. Sailing as “Friends on board” is sort of like being a hybrid of a guest and a crew member. It is a bit strange, and awesome, and naturally we jumped at the opportunity to do it. We thought sharing this experience would provide a unique perspective on cruising.


Leaving Vancouver behind on the way to Alaska

We joined my friends Inge and Scott (The Shore Exursions Manager and Techspert, respectively) in Vancouver on the MS Volendam. A model of ship Tracie and I had both worked on numerous times, we immediately felt right at home, even though so much time had passed.

We spent a fair amount of time touring the ship, which involved a lot of traveling down memory lane and déjà vu moments. I was delighted to find that I knew quite a few crew members on board, and sad that Tracie discovered no one she knew from the old days. I am confident that on other ships she may have known several people, but you just never know who is going to be on what ship and it is the luck of the draw. There were plenty of new people to meet as well, and the crew on ships tend to be very social and welcoming. It felt a bit odd to not have work duties, after so many years working at sea. We both got the hang of it though, and made peace with our strange status on board.

A cheesy snap by Scott as we lounge in our crew cabin for the week.

Embracing our status on board by wearing jeans and flip-flops in public areas

Not having to work meant that we could have fun and take advantage of the activities and amenities on board while Scott and Inge were working. Tracie spent a lot of time taking photographs and enjoying the nature viewing from the ship. I joined her a couple of times for some photo shoots, but spent most of my time between the gym and wine tasting events. We sailed through scenic Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay. The weather was not ideal for photography, but it was stunning to see, even having been through both areas before. Massive glaciers are so beautiful, they can take your breath away. And seeing and hearing them calve never gets old, much like whale sightings.

I set up this shot of us “playing” shuffleboard… not exactly how you play, but I love the shot! -T

Another set up shot of us sailing through Tracy Arm with our coffees.

The bow of MS Volendam, sailing through Glacier Bay.

Nearly every evening on board involved dining with our friends. This was done mostly at the buffet restaurant, though we gave room service a whirl one evening. On a formal night Scott and Inge treated us to a dinner in the Pinnacle Grill as well, the ship’s 5 star restaurant. (As if they hadn’t spoiled us enough already with the cruise!) Excellent wine flowed, and multiple courses of savory, Northwest inspired cuisine were enjoyed with lively conversation and more catching up.

Nightlife on board tends to involve a decent amount of time in the bars and lounges, whether or not one is drinking alcohol. Most feature live music and a nice setting to visit. We had drinks in nearly every bar over the course of the week, and nearly every night ended in the crew bar, the OB (Officer’s Bar). The OB is the hub of nightlife in the crew area of this ship. I explored the wine selections and Tracie enjoyed games of darts – her favorite ship past time. There was a crew party during our week on board as well. They happen about every two months or so and are a perfect opportunity for a night of dancing and hanging out with crew members from all the departments on board. We checked out a couple of the entertainment shows, including a classic, cheesy/ Vegas style cast show. The best show we saw was the comedian Julie Barr, an old friend I’d lost touch with and was delighted to reconnect with on this trip.

With our hosts after a show.

A rare look at us all gussied up! Thanks to friends for this shot and the one above!

On our last night on board, Inge suggested we take a bottle of wine and watch the sunset on one of the more quiet decks on the back of the ship. As we sailed through BC we were treated to stunning, sunny scenery. Tracie was off taking photographs, but fortunately found us before the sun set and captured one of my favorite photos of the cruise.  We toasted Inge and Scott, and thanked them again for an amazing Alaskan cruise vacation. The week flew by and just as we were really getting into the swing of life back on board, it was time to pack and prepare for the journey home. You’ll hear no complaints from Tracie or I though, as bizarre as it is to sail as part guest and part crew member, I’ll happily keep doing it for as long as my friends still working on ships will have me.

Scott and Inge, thanks so much for having us!!

Our Holland America cruise included three Alaskan ports. Stay tuned for posts featuring Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan!

Written by Jen. Photographed by Tracie.

The post Jen & Tracie Go cruising – former Holland America crew back on board appeared first on Tracie Travels.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview