Sweet Home Rocks! Part I – Petrified Wood

Petrified Wood, Holleywood Ranch, Sweet Home, Oregon

Petrified Wood at Holleywood Ranch

The Sweet Home, Oregon area is known for Holley Blue and other agates. But did you know you can also dig petrified wood and gather pyrite? Now I know some people say, “Pyrite?! Who wants Fool’s Gold?” Well, this is very pretty, nicely shaped Fool’s Gold.

Jerry and Jessica ready to dig petrified wood, Holleywood Ranch, Sweet Home, Oregon

Jerry and Jessica ready to dig

On this day, my little brother, Jerry, his wife Marilyn, and daughter Jessica, headed up to Sweet Home to check it out. We first arrived at Holleywood Ranch just outside of town, to dig for the petrified wood. We saw the sign showing we were at the right place, but no one was in sight. It turns out you should always phone ahead because the owners live on a hill behind the field where the digging takes place, and so they aren’t always in the field. There is a white house next to the fields but that is rental property, so please don’t bother the renters.

Petrified Wood Field, Holleywood Ranch, Sweet Home, Oregon

Petrified Wood Field

We met up with owner Brad Newport, and he showed us the wagons and probing tools and told us to head on out to see what we could find. The top of the ground was literally littered with pieces of petrified wood. It’s tempting to reach down and pick up several pieces but even more tempting to see what we could dig up for ourselves. We saw several trenches where other people had dug so we checked them out and found several pieces nice enough to keep. Most pieces were rather small, but there were some pieces in the field that were simply too big to pick up!

Jessica standing on large piece of petrified wood, Sweet Home, Oregon

Jessica standing on large piece of petrified wood

After choosing several pieces we headed back to the gate where there was water available to clean our finds and decide which ones to keep. The details really show up when the rocks are wet! Then we took them up to Brad’s house to pay for our keepers.

Petrified Wood from Holleywood Ranch, Sweet Home, Oregon

Petrified Wood from Holleywood Ranch!

When we walked into his shop, we were enthralled! Petrified wood everywhere! Limb casts, huge pieces, colorful pieces – it was a rockhounder’s heaven. We had some time to talk to Brad, an extremely pleasant gentleman, and he told us how he bought the property not knowing the petrified wood was on it. And when he did find out, he nearly wore himself out digging every day after work. I could completely understand, I would have done the same thing!

Brad Newport, Owner of Holleywood Ranch, Sweet  Home, Oregon

Brad Newport, Owner of Holleywood Ranch

He didn’t plan to open his property to the public until the Travel Channel Cash and Treasures show called him and wanted to visit. One of their requirements is that the property be opened to the public so he decided to try it. He had a great time telling us the story of the filming of the show, and some of the funny highlights. Holleywood Ranch has also been featured on Grant’s Getaways!

Holleywood Ranch is open for digging every day (weather permitting), just make sure to call ahead to 541-401-0899 or 541-409-6047. The digging is easy, the ground is soft and flat so no hiking, just a simple walk out into the field. You only pay $1.50 per pound for the pieces you choose to keep.

 

More gorgeous petrified wood! Holleywood Ranch, Sweet Home, Oregon

More gorgeous petrified wood!

You can find Holleywood Ranch online at http://holleywoodranch.com/

The link to the episode on Cash and Treasures, as well as Grant’s Getaways can be found here: http://holleywoodranch.com/claim-to-fame/

Come back next week to find out more about how Sweet Home Rocks! Part II – Pyrite.

Categories: Oregon, Outdoors, Roadside Attraction, Rockhounding/Gold Panning | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uphill Both Ways – Latourell Falls, Oregon

Family at Latourell Falls

Brandy, Josh, and Anden at Latourell Falls

One Saturday recently we went to Oregon with my daughter, Brandy, and her family (son Anden, boyfriend Jason). We intended to go on a hike around Multnomah Falls. We didn’t think to check any website to see what might be going on that day. Apparently it was the 100th anniversary of the building of the Benson Bridge that crosses over the lower Multnomah Falls. How many visitors show up when it’s the 100th anniversary of this iconic bridge? Hundreds, maybe thousands. How many parking spots are there are Multnomah Falls for these hundreds, maybe thousands of people? Much less than that.

Now, I will say that I’m glad the falls gets so many visitors, but sad it was on the day we decided to go. So we headed west on the Historic Columbia River Highway hoping to find someplace else to hike and then suddenly we see a parking spot with a sign that said “Latourell Falls” and there were a couple of parking spots! We needed two, so we grabbed them. We saw a walkway heading downhill that looked like it went to the lower falls, the one we could see from the road, and so we headed down it. It was a nice, short walk, and the falls were beautiful! It was a short walk back to the parking lot, short enough it just gave us a taste of hiking and we wanted to go more.

Let's all take pictures! (Anden, Brandy, & Jason) Latourell Falls

Let’s all take pictures! (Anden, Brandy, & Jason)

So we decided to head to the upper falls. Now, looking at the map, to me, it’s never very clear how far or how strenuous the walk is, but what the heck, right? So off we headed – uphill. Steeply uphill. Both ways. OK, kidding – sort of. Brandy, Jason, Anden, and Josh took off ahead of me and David. Bless David’s heart for staying with me and my slow pace. I think he just didn’t want to have to carry me out of there…

Unofficial Lookout Point, Latourell Falls

Unofficial Lookout Point

View from Unofficial Lookout Point, Latourell Falls

View from Unofficial Lookout Point

The trail kept going. And going. Through a lush green Pacific Northwest forest, with that woodsy smell you associate with camping – and s’mores. That smell alone will keep you going. Finally, the rest of our group came back to meet us. They figured we were still at the parking lot (now why would they think that?) and they didn’t think there were more falls, but we assured them there was. Hours and hours later (kidding again, but it was a bit of a hike) there they were! The beautiful upper Latourell Falls! We made it! Of course, so did a lot of people with small children, but hey, it’s hot and we’re delicate.

Josh behind Latourell Falls

Josh behind Latourell Falls

Time to head back down and it’s a loop so just follow it, right? Yep, right up until there’s a side trip to a sort-of look out. It dead ends so obviously that’s not the way back so we head back up the trail on around the loop. But it keeps going up and up! See, I said it was uphill both ways! We figure that can’t be right, we’re supposed to go down to the parking lot, so we turn around and go back by the lookout and down another trail there. It becomes obvious very quickly that it’s not right either because it’s not maintained. Oh, and it’s a dead-end. Back the other way again. Uphill. Again. Finally, we see the trail below us and know there is hope. Suddenly it does quickly head back down and we end up, alive and well, at the parking lot. We were all hot, sticky and exhausted, but felt we had a great workout and it was beautiful scenery. So even though we intended to hike Multnomah Falls, we were glad our plans were changed for us and we were able to see the two falls that we might not otherwise have taken the time to stop and see. It turns out it really was only a 2.4 mile hike.

If you like hiking to waterfalls, you need to check out the book, “Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon: A guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes,” by fellow travel writer, Adam Sawyer. He refers to himself as a “Professional Gentleman of Leisure” but I refer to him as “one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.” Adam’s book just came out this July and he is busily working on another one for Washington. You can find it on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Hiking-Waterfalls-Oregon-States-Waterfall/dp/0762787279/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407106247&sr=8-1&keywords=Waterfall+hikes+of+Oregon

Categories: Historical, Outdoors, Parks, Roadside Attraction, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Crowning Jewel – Crown Point and Vista House, OR

Vista House, Crown Point, Oregon

Vista House

Whether you look east or west, you’ll see beautiful greens and blues for miles. The deep blue of the Columbia River with a barge floating upriver, the dark green forests and fields, and the summer blue skies. These are the views you will see from Crown Point sitting 733 feet above the Columbia Gorge.

Crown Point View East, Oregon

Crown Point View East

One a recent perfect July Saturday we headed down to take a hike in the gorge. After an exhilarating and exhausting hike we wanted to go up to Crown Point to show my daughter, Brandy, her boyfriend, Jason and my grandson, Anden, because none of them had ever been there. David, Josh, and I have been there but not when the building located there was open. This time we were in for a treat, it was open! The building is called the Vista House and was built in 1916-1917, about the same year that the Historic Columbia Gorge Highway was built. It was meant to be a place of rest and great views for gorge travelers. It has an octagonal shape and like an iceberg, much of it is underground.

Vista House, Crown Point, OR

Vista House

You can enter the building from one of four doors, stepping into a large domed room. There are some tables with information set up and park staff available for questions. Two sets of stairs are almost hidden next to the walls.

 

Vista House, Crown Point, Oregon

Vista House, Crown Point, Oregon

Head up and you will come out on the balcony surrounding the entire dome, and giving you an even higher view of the gorge.

Crown Point View West, Oregon

Crown Point View West

If you head down the stairs from the main floor, that’s where you will be shocked by the size of the building! There are several small galleries, large ornate restrooms, a small gift store and another small store with souvenirs and snacks, all very reasonably priced. Ice cream sandwiches were the hit with our little group on this hot day.

Vista House Restrooms, Crown Point, OR

Vista House Restrooms

Vista House Gallery, Crown Point, OR

Vista House Gallery

Back outside, Anden was excited to see telescopes so we scrounged up two quarters between us so he could take a look up and down the gorge. He was impressed that he could see the words on the side of the barge that was heading upriver.

Vista House Shop, Crown Point, OR

Vista House Shop

The Vista House has been designated a National Historic Landmark. It was dedicated in 1918, restored between 2001-2006 and rededicated in 2006. The property is over 305   acres in size and is an Oregon State Park. According to a survey visitors were asked to complete, 70% of visitors are not local, most coming from over 800 miles away. Conflicting reports estimate the number of annual visitors range from 500,000 per year to nearly one million per year.

The Vista House is open 9am-6pm daily, weather permitting. (David was there one time when it was so windy that he was able to lean into the wind and it held him up!)

Getting there: Take exit 22 off I-84/Highway 30 to 40700 E Historic Columbia River Hwy, Corbett, OR 97019.

 

 

Categories: Historical, Keatons Out and About, Oregon, Outdoors, Parks, Roadside Attraction | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two and Two – New and Must-Do in Long Beach, WA

Sand Sculpture at SandSations, Long Beach, WA

Sand Sculpture at SandSations

It’s probably obvious by now that we love the Long Beach Peninsula. Every time we go there, there’s something fun going on. We see and do new things but also hit the traditional “must-do’s”.

New

1)      This is the first time we were able to be there during “Sandsations” premier sandcastle and sculpting festival. I expected it to be held down on the beach, where most sandcastle-building events are held, but the professional competition is held in town so that it’s not dependent on the tide. The creations are still as beautiful though, I admire the artistry and am envious that I don’t have that talent.

Sand Sculpture at SandSations, Long Beach, WA

Sand Sculpture at SandSations

Sand Sculpture at SandSations, Long Beach, WA

Sand Sculpture at SandSations

Sand Sculpture at SandSations, Long Beach, WA

Sand Sculpture at SandSations

Kids Got to Play in the Sand, Too!

Kids Got to Play in the Sand, Too!

2)      Out of all the times that I have been to Long Beach – I never knew the giant clam “erupted”! Every hour water spurts out of the top. How did I never know that?! I wouldn’t have noticed now but a boy and a girl and their grandmother came running up and shouting, ‘Is it time? Is it time?” It was two minutes to the hour so the boy set his watch and he and his sister started the countdown at ten seconds – and the squirting began right on time!

Razon Clam Sign, Long Beach, WA

Squirting Giant Razor Clam, Long Beach, WA

Squirting Giant Razor Clam

Must-Do

1)      We have been to the Full Circle Café in Ocean Park before. We wrote a blog about Gary, the Yarn Dude (http://northwestrevealed.com/2012/07/03/the-yarn-dude-of-ocean-park-washington/) who runs the Tapestry Rose yarn store in back. We have always enjoyed the food there, but I had a pleasant surprise this visit. I can’t eat grains. On the menu was a “Crustless Crab Quiche” so I asked what was in it and there was no flour, so I ordered it. Out came this bubbly, golden quiche smelling heavenly, and tasting just as amazing! Then of course, it was time for dessert, most of which I can’t eat. But I saw “Gluten-free peanut butter cookie”. Again, I asked what was in it because a lot of gluten items use rice or potato flour which doesn’t work for me. Oh, the joy when the baker said it contained no flours of any kind! Knowing I can have choices at one of my favorite restaurants on the peninsula is a dream come true!

Full Circle Cafe, Ocean Park, WA

Full Circle Cafe

2)      Josh looks forward with much anticipation when we go to Long Beach – he HAS to ride the go-karts. Imagine his thrill that on this particular Friday night the rides were almost half price! Now, David always says he goes on them just for Josh, but I’m thinking that isn’t the whole story… He was sure smiling a lot and they went several rounds.

Josh & David Ready To Go On Go Karts, Long Beach, WA

Josh & David Ready To Go On Go Karts

 

And They're Off! Long Beach, WA

And They’re Off!

The Long Beach Peninsula. We call it our playground. We love that every time we can count on doing our usual activities as well as know we’ll get to experience some new ones. The Peninsula never gets old!

What’s your must-do when you go to Long Beach?

Full Circle Café: http://tapestryrose.com/full-circle-cafe/

Long Beach Go Karts and Krazy Kars: http://www.longbeachgokarts.com/

 

Categories: Keatons Out and About, Outdoors, Uncategorized, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“YAY! You’re Halfway There!” The STP Bicycle Classic Stops in Centralia

Welcome to Centralia, Halfway Point for the STP!

Welcome to Centralia, Halfway Point for the STP!

Every year during the second weekend in July is the annual STP (Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic). Ten thousand riders start their trip in Seattle on Saturday morning. Some ride clear to Portland in one day, but most stop about halfway and finish the trip on Sunday.

Welcome to Centralia College, STP Riders!

Welcome to Centralia College, STP Riders!

Centralia is the halfway point. During this weekend the population and number of bicycles on the road explodes. For years I have always avoided leaving the house on this weekend in order to avoid the chaos, because years ago when I went to town it was very real chaos. It was stressful to drive through town and worry about grazing a rider.

STP Riders in Centralia

STP Riders in Centralia

But this year I decided to check it out. I went to Centralia College (where David and I work) about 10:30, not expecting much to be happening yet. Boy, was I wrong! Riders were coming in steadily and had been for a couple of hours. The college puts a lot of effort into welcoming the riders and providing all sorts of resources for them, encouraging them to camp on the grounds, eat, get a massage, and enjoy the beer garden. It has the energy and atmosphere of a fair!

STP One-Day Riders in Centralia

STP One-Day Riders in Centralia

Starting on the east end of campus was a blow-up arch, welcoming riders coming onto campus with people cheering them on and congratulating them on making it half way. As they proceed west down the “Aadland Esplanade” more people are cheering them, directing them to service, water, food, and handing out ice cream.

Riders weren't the only ones enjoying the ice cream being handed out

Riders weren’t the only ones enjoying the ice cream being handed out

There is a designated area for riders completing in one day. Food and port-a-potties are available for them. The rest of the site has vendors such as REI, bicycle parts folks, water and repair stations. There is a bicycle corral for riders to store their bikes in safety. This corral is overseen by the Centralia Police reserves.

Bike Corral at STP

Bike Corral at STP

The beer garden opened at 11:00 but I didn’t see anyone using it at that time. I assumed it would be much busier later in the evening. (Yes, it was – they apparently went through 20 kegs!)

Centralia College looks like a campground during STP

Centralia College looks like a campground during STP

One special booth that I had to visit was a dedication to a co-worker and friend, Jeanette Speigelberg,. She was the manager of the Children’s Lab School (day care) on campus. In June of this year, she passed away unexpectedly while training for the STP. Her friends and staff wanted to honor her by having a booth at the event. The college earns money for scholarships by hosting riders on campus, and Jeanette’s friends have started a scholarship in her name.

Tribute to Jeanette Spiegelberg

Tribute to Jeanette Spiegelberg

As I left campus, I intended to skirt the main roads in order to avoid the chaos I remembered from years ago. However, much has changed and I was very impressed! The road heading over the viaduct and leading south of town towards Chehalis is a two-lane one-way street. Orange cones blocked off the entire right-hand lane almost all the way into Chehalis. Instead of getting away from the riders, I decided to follow along in the other lane, knowing I wouldn’t have to worry about driving close to the riders. I finally turned off to head home, while the riders continued on south.

All ages and abilities can do the STP

All ages and abilities can do the STP

I see now why everyone gets so excited about the STP. It was the same energy and atmosphere as graduation day. In a sense, I imagine that it is like graduation day for those that have trained for so many months to prepare for this day – and they made it!

Little girl sprays STP riders to cool them off

Little girl sprays STP riders to cool them off

If you would like to be involved in the STP but don’t want to actually ride it, come on down to Centralia College next July and show your support by cheering on and welcoming the riders! Everyone really can be involved!

Spectators Needed! Enjoy the STP!

Spectators Needed! Enjoy the STP!

My friend and fellow Centralia College employee, Brenda, was in charge of making sure the Port-a-Potties stay clean and emptied. An important job with so many!

My friend and fellow Centralia College employee, Brenda, was in charge of making sure the Port-a-Potties stay clean and emptied. An important job with so many!

 

Categories: Bicycle Trail, Outdoors, People, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Tale of Two (Small) Forts – Rochester and Centralia, WA

In 1855-56, Washington State had what was known as the “Indian Wars”. In response to concerns about possible attacks, two very small forts were built in Southwest Washington. Erected around the same time period, they both ultimately served very different purposes.

Fort Henness Map, Rochester, Grand Mound, Washington

Fort Henness Map

First is Fort Henness, which was located on Grand Mound Prairie in Rochester, Washington. There is nothing left of it now except for a marker and map of the fort. It’s a beautiful area, flat, with views all around. The fort was built in 1855 and stayed in use for about 16 months until 1856. It was actually quite large considering the one-building Fort Borst described later. It contained two block houses, a school, barracks, and living quarters. At one time 30 families lived there. Fortunately, the fort was never attacked and families returned to their homes.

Fort Henness Map, Rochester, Grand Mound, Washington

Fort Henness Map

A few miles south in the town of Centralia sits the Fort Borst Blockhouse. Unlike Fort Henness, there was just one building and it is still standing. It was also built by volunteers around the same time as Fort Henness, at the junction of the Chehalis and Skookumchuck Rivers. It was also erected in case it was needed for protection from Indian attacks. However, the only thing it ever had to do with Indians was to hold grain that was bought from the Indians in the area. It was originally built without windows and only one door. Later, after the concerns for war passed, Joseph Borst bought the blockhouse and it was used a few times for his family to live in while their home was being built. That’s when the windows and second door were added.

Fort Borst Blockhouse, Centralia, Washington

Fort Borst Blockhouse

As with Fort Henness, there was never an Indian attack on Fort Borst and relationships with Indians in the area settled down. The blockhouse is currently located in Borst Park in Centralia. There are plans to move it back nearer the Borst Home where it was originally located, a site that allowed settlers the same advantage that Fort Henness did – views to watch for attackers.

Fort Borst Historical Marker, Centralia, Washington

Fort Borst Historical Marker

Next time you’re in Southwest Washington, take a quick stop in Centralia at Borst Park and you can just walk right up to the blockhouse. You’ll appreciate the sturdiness and the quality of the craftsmanship – after all it has survived for over 150 years! Then make a quick 15 minute drive out to Rochester and stand at the site where Fort Henness stood – you’ll understand why the site was chosen when you look around and can see what would have been unobstructed views back then.

Fort Henness Site, Rochester, Grand Mound, Washington

Fort Henness Site

It is a relief that these structures were never needed for their original purpose, but they are still an interesting piece of history in the area.

Getting there: Fort Borst Park in Centralia – From I-5, take exit 82 and head west. Before the first traffic light you’ll see there’s a turning lane to turn south in front of the Safeway gas station. Take that turn and go one block and you’ll see the entrance to Borst Park in front of you. Head on in and you’ll see the blockhouse off to your left in the park.

 Fort Henness: Located across the intersection on 183rd Ave. and Apricot Street. The least confusing way to get there is take exit 88, heading east towards Tenino. Turn left on Loganberry Street and go north until you reach 183rd, then turn left again. Head back west over the freeway and go about a mile and a half. You’ll see Grand Mound Cemetery on your left and the field with Fort Henness marker on your right.

Categories: Historical, Outdoors, Parks, Roadside Attraction, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roaring Falls, a Gondola, a Carousel and a Giant Toy – Riverfront Park, Spokane, Washington

Spokane Falls and SkyRide over the falls, Spokane, Washington

Spokane Falls and SkyRide over the falls

Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington is more than your typical city park. Rarely do you find gorgeous, pounding waterfalls right in the middle of a city. But in Spokane, all you have to do is walk a couple of blocks from the downtown core, and you will find the 100-acre park and the spectacular Spokane Falls.

Spokane Falls

Spokane Falls

There are two falls – the Upper and the Lower Spokane Falls. Both falls have diversion dams built on them, but that doesn’t take away from the power and majesty of the falls. There’s a beautiful Riverfront Park located right next to the falls, and don’t for a minute think that you will just check out the park and not go to the falls. You can hear them and see the mist for quite a ways and they draw you to them. You can’t help but walk down to them and view them from several viewpoints in order to see the raging river.

Spokane Falls, Spokane, Washington

Spokane Falls and SkyRide

But if you really want to see the falls, check out the Spokane Falls SkyRide, which takes you across the lower falls. I wish we would have had the time to take the ride to see for ourselves, but just watching the gondola cars through the spray was beautiful to see. I can only imagine the thrill of feeling like you are right in the falls.

This unusual park, which was built for the 1974 World’s Fair, also contains an old 1909 carousel, an IMAX theater, rides and miniature golf, a train ride and an ice-skating rink! All that in one place!

Water Feature, Riverfront Park, Spokane, Washington

Water Feature, Riverfront Park

And last but not least – you know how we like roadside attractions! You have to check out the giant Radio Flyer in the park. It’s 12 feet tall and 27 feet long and the handle is actually a slide! Even if you don’t have kids, it will probably take you back to your own childhood.

Giant Radio Flyer, Riverfront Park, Spokane, Washington

Giant Radio Flyer

Spokane’s phenomenal falls and its impressive Riverfront Park with such a tremendous variety of activities should be another must-do when you’re in the Spokane area.

If you’re wondering where to stay while in the Spokane area, check out our article on the gorgeous Davenport Hotel at http://northwestrevealed.com/2014/06/03/spokanes-living-room-the-davenport-hotel/

 

 

 

Categories: Outdoors, Parks, Roadside Attraction, Uncategorized, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Anniversary North Head Lighthouse – Ilwaco, Washington

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North Head Lighthouse

Did you know that the North Head Lighthouse on the south end of the Long Beach Peninsula celebrates its anniversary every year? And this year was the 116th anniversary, so we had to head out to see what was going on.

I had read there was a shuttle from the store at Cape Disappointment State Park, but of course, like everyone else, we first had to make the trip up to the lighthouse parking lot to see if there was a spot. There wasn’t. So we went back down and went to the parking lot and caught the shuttle. Very smooth and easy, very little waiting. Until we got up to the parking lot and had to wait for all those other people (who also just had to see if there was a parking spot) to get out of the way.

Then it was just a short, easy walk out to the lighthouse. What a view! The day was just right, with a nice breeze and mostly clear skies.

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We spent some time enjoying looking out as far as we could see, then headed into the lighthouse. The entry room was very small, with only space for a few people. We were informed that we would need to wait for the current group to come back downstairs as they only allowed about eight people in at a time. We spent the time looking at the items in the room, the pot-bellied stove, and especially the map of shipwrecks in the area.

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It wasn’t long before it was our turn and we stepped through a short hallway into an inner room. There the guide started telling us the story of the lighthouse. The first thing she pointed out was the decorative mosaic tiles on the floor. She said that the designer wanted to put his best efforts into this lighthouse and this is the only one with this particular added feature.

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Then we slowly headed up the spiral staircase. We were told this was a free-standing staircase. It was only bolted into the landing and was not supported by any legs of any kind.

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As we headed on up, the stairs got more narrow until we finally emerged into the light room. There was another guide who then told us the history of the lighthouse, which began operation in 1898. One of the most interesting aspects to learn about was that each lighthouse has a “code” and the light blinks the “code”.

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After enjoying the view, we headed back downstairs and made another little easy hike up to the gift store. We were thrilled to see they had the shipwreck map there and immediately bought it, along with a Lighthouse Passport. We got it stamped and now we have it to take with us to every lighthouse we visit!

Next we headed over to the Lightkeeper’s House, which can be rented. There, wonderful volunteers were serving drinks and cake. Unfortunately, they had so many more visitors than they had had previous years that they were out of cake and were waiting for more to arrive. We toured the house but didn’t stay for cake, much to Josh’s disappointment.

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Modern residence, available for rent

We headed back to catch the shuttle back to our car. That’s when a confused raccoon decided to join the group and created all kinds of excitement.

1-IMG_8600The North Head Lighthouse is open for tours from May-September. Children under 17 are free, and adults are only $2.50.

 

 

 

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Spokane’s Living Room – the Davenport Hotel

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The Davenport Fireplace

Time travel does not exist. But if you want to see what life was like 100 years ago in Spokane, Washington, all you have to do is make a visit to the gorgeous Davenport Hotel.

Built in 1914 and operated by Louis Davenport, it is located in historic downtown Spokane and contains samples of historical architecture from around the world. Italy, France, Spain, England and Russia – they are all represented here.

Walking into the hotel through the revolving front door and entry way, we were immediately in awe. You can see up two stories to a balcony that goes all the way around the second floor, then on up to the skylights. Medallions decorate the borders of the walls and intricate architectural details can be seen at every turn.

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Details, details, details

In the middle of the room is a fountain with Koi in it.

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Welcoming fountain in the lobby

One side of the lobby holds large chairs and loveseats for guests to relax in. The other side holds tables for a restaurant, and the fireplace. The fireplace is an important piece of the history of this building. Louis Davenport wanted a fire burning in it at all times, summer or winter, in order to make the place feel like home to guests. He called the Davenport, “Spokane’s living room” and wanted all guests to feel at home.

A story we were told illustrates his philosophy. One day when he was up on the second floor balcony, he looked down and saw a “scruffy” looking couple come in with a paper bag. They were planning to eat their lunch in “Spokane’s living room.” Louis saw them and asked one of his staff, “You see that scruffy looking couple there?” The staff person replied, “Yes.” Louis said, “I want you to go down there and put a while table cloth on their table. And I want you to get them some glasses and pour them some cold glasses of water. And get them some silverware.” He honestly wanted everyone to feel like it was their home.

Antique items are everywhere. Even the elevator has an old light system that shows which floor the elevator is on.

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Elevator floor indicator

Downstairs is where the pool is located along with a spa and exercise room (don’t worry, this whole area holds modern equipment.) In the hallway leading to the pool though is an original ornate silver water fountain.

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Original water fountain

The rooms are new and they were large and elegant. Two beds, a desk, chairs and yes, a TV. But there are not the other modern conveniences of a refrigerator and microwave. We didn’t miss them. The bathroom was spacious and felt like a spa with the soaking tub as well as a very large glassed-in shower. Hotel robes were provided for our comfort.

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Josh felt like he was the main character from “Castle” wearing his robe!

You really don’t want to just stay in your room in this hotel. The beautiful architecture lures you back out with the need to explore every inch and look at every detail. It seemed every time we went back out and looked around we would see another new detail. Exploring the Davenport, we were treated to grand ballrooms with elaborate chandeliers, gold filigree, and beautiful wood floors.

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The Grand Pennington Ballroom

The “Hall of the Doges” was most impressive with its gorgeous painted ceiling.

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Ceiling in the Hall of Doges

There were several historical pictures located throughout the hotel. It was an odd feeling to look at a picture from 100 years ago and then look around the hotel and see the exact same details.

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The Isabella Ballroom, 1916

The story of the hotel is a true miracle rescue. It had been abandoned in 1985 and was in danger of being demolished in 2000 when Walt and Mary Worthy bought it. They spent $38.5 million dollars and the love and dedication that went into restoring this piece of history, this “living room” for Spokane, truly shows.

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The Isabella Ballroom

Finally, there is one piece of living history at the Davenport, a piece that connects Louis Davenport to today. John is 84 years old and started working at the Davenport when he was 13. He said that Louis Davenport himself showed him the ropes such as how to set up the tables and chairs. When the Worthy’s finished the restoration and reopened the Davenport in 2002, John came back to work. He has no plans to retire any time soon. So if you’re lucky and it’s one of days of the week he works (currently Sunday through Wednesday), you’ll have a chance to meet this charming, friendly man and learn about the Davenport’s history first hand.

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John and Nancy

People often just drive through Spokane on their way to places like Yellowstone, and we did as well. We had no idea what we were missing. So next time you are driving through Spokane, put the Davenport on your itinerary as a must see. You just might truly feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.

Address: The Davenport is located at 10 S. Post St., Spokane WA 99201

Website: www.davenporthotelcollection.com

Phone: 1-800-899-1482

 

Categories: Historical, Uncategorized, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Honoring Our Troops: Spokane Armed Forces Torchlight Parade

1-IMG_4410Recently we were honored to be in Spokane, Washington during their Lilac Festival. As part of the festival, they hold an amazing parade which is held on Armed Forces Day. We were told it is one of the largest parades honoring our military men and women in the entire United States. I can believe it.

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It was a torchlight parade so it began at 7:45pm and had over 200 entries and went for over two hours. Beautifully decorated floats, lit up for the evening, many high school marching bands, and other fun entries started the parade.

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The Red Hot Mamas cracked us up, parading with walkers and using them as dance props.

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The various military entries were the real focus of the parade however. Dispersed throughout the parade, they received much-deserved standing ovations as they passed by. Blind service members rode in a truck as well as on interesting tandem bicycles. Some of the bicycles were the typical tandem but others were two bikes connected side-by-side.

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One impressive and fun group to watch was the Survival School Personnel from Fairchild AFB. They were in fatigues, marching along as expected. Then when they stopped at the corner, they would say something in cadence then suddenly all break off and run to the audience, shaking as many hands as they could. Then they would group back together and march to the next corner. Very cool to watch.

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The most poignant part for us though, was when a group of people walked down the street holding banners. It turns out each banner was for a fallen service member and it was called the Fallen Heroes Banner Project which is presented by the Washington State Gold Star Families (families of service men and women killed in action.) It really brought home the sacrifices that have been made for our freedoms.

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We were pleased and honored to be a part of this amazing tribute to our armed forces. Typically they are a small part of a larger parade so to have them be the complete focus and recognition of this entire parade was very powerful. The energy of the audience and their sincere appreciation for these heroes was truly heartwarming.

The 2015 Lilac Festival will be May 11-17, with the parade held on Saturday, May 16. If you want to be part of one of the largest events honoring our military, you will simply not want to miss it. Save the date.

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We at Northwest Revealed also want to express our gratitude and thanks to all those who are serving, have served or gave their lives for our freedoms. We are eternally grateful.

Categories: Festivals, Keatons Out and About, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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