Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Friends Closer to Home

I have always said - I will follow my friends around the world - take advantage of the cool locales that they are living in and this weekend was another one of those adventures. Only this time, it was much closer to home.  My colleague Jeff moved to Anacortes (San Juan Islands) at the end of March, for work - we have a nice big refinery there, and since I wasn't doing anything this weekend, I decided that I would go down for a quick visit.

When Jeff moved to Anacortes, he decided to get a little shack so that when he had friends come down, they would have something a little more than a hovel to stay in.  This shack that he has rented is waterfront, is a mere 6800 sq ft, has 6 bathrooms - yes 6 and 7 fireplaces! It has a an elevator from the walk-out level to the "eagle's nest" - a top floor room with amazing views of the San Juan islands.  Although the garage only has 4 doors, it can easily house 9 vehicles, including either a large RV or a boat (it has a pull-thru).  Every room in the house has spectacular views of the water - and oh, the kitchen has a pizza oven, which Jeff has never used b/c he still hasn't figured it out.  All in all, it is a pretty good little bachelor's pad and guaranteed, I will be going back!
 Anacortes is a cute little town with a lot of charm and character in the downtown and a noted absence of any big box stores aka Walmart or Target.  On the weekend they have a fabulous little farmers market where you can pick up artisan cheeses and butter (which I did - a nice lavender cheese and fresh herb de provence butter - yum!), as well as these gorgeous organic raspberries that tasted like a raspberry should!

After getting my fill of the Farmers Market and Anacortes, we went on a little drive about and went through another great little town with a wonderful downtown called ???  What I have noticed about the places down here is that their downtown cores have been revitalized with cute little shops, which all aren't full of "made in China" kitchy crap like we have in Banff but rather little mom and pop types of stores.  They have also done a great job of restoring the buildings, created great pedestrian areas and there seems to be a real pride in the communities.  With that being said, we didn't stop and shop in these little towns but made our way down the I-5 to the Seattle Premium Outlets where I managed to keep the Washington State economy going for another day.   Jeff, bless his heart, took me shopping and I have to say, his father trained him well!  He always seemed to find a bench near to the store that I was going in, happily looked after my bags, while I power shopped.  In return for this, I only subjected him to 2 hours at the outlet but in that time, I did manage to buy a fair bit, including 5 pairs of shoes :-)
Me & Gabert!