Thursday, August 07, 2008

Anniversary Trip! (Part I)

In two weeks, Chris and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. I think that's kind of amazing, and even more amazing is the fact that we still like each other! I'll probably go on and on about how much I love my smart, goofy, sexy little man on our special day, but for now, I'll just sum up by quoting Chris from a conversation on our trip:

"I feel like we won the lottery."

Last year, we started talking about what special trip we could take this year to celebrate, and decided to return to our old stomping grounds in the Pacific Northwest. When we talked about the trip with our oldest married friends (meaning they've been our longest "coupled" friends, married just a week after us), Ryan and Nicki Stanton, they got excited and we all decided the trip would be that much more fun with all four of us. And, since Ryan has a company car and doesn't have to pay for gas, a road trip was definitely in order!

The trip definitely lived up to our plans and expectations-- we had SO MUCH FUN!! We had a blast touring some fun sites in Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria, BC, and just reminiscing about our ten years as couples and friends. Ryan and Nicki were such fun traveling companions and we are so glad that we made this trip together.

So, a brief travel log, with a bunch of pictures of Chris and me looking schmoozy:

We left on Thursday last from Idaho Falls (where we left the boys with my parents-- THANK YOU!!!) and started with a kickoff breakfast at Smitty's. Mmm, love those waffles! We headed up through Idaho and Montana, then West to Washington. Although we made pretty good time, we didn't get to Seattle until 9:30 at night, so we had to rush to our dinner spot: Steamers, a tasty fish and chips place right on the waterfront. The food was fantastic and since we were the last customers in the place, the staff was very kind and gave us some extra fish and chips and clam chowder. Yum!

We stayed that night at the Inn at Queen Anne, about a block and a half away from the Space Needle. The next morning, we drove up to Queen Anne hill to enjoy the beautiful view of chilly Seattle (chilly is a good thing at this time of year!), and watch the cruise ships coming in to the harbor. Although we've been to that park more times than I can count, I never can get over how gorgeous Seattle is. I miss it.

Next we headed down to the waterfront and to Pike's Place Market, where Ryan and Nicki had never been. We enjoyed tasting a bunch of samples (the peaches were incredible) and fighting our way through the throngs of people at the market. I tried to soak in the cool ocean air and the fresh smells in the market, especially the fruit and flowers. I'm always amazed at the fresh flower selection-- the bouquets I'm posing by were only $10 and more beautiful than anything you can get in Logan.

We left Pike's Place and headed North to our old town of Lake Stevens, where we had a delicious lunch at our favorite Italian place: Luca's. The restaurant has expanded quite a bit in the three years since we've lived there, but the food was still just as tasty. We also stopped at our favorite grocery store, Haagen, to pick up some salmon rub. It was fun to reminisce.

The US-Canada border is only about an hour and a half from where we ate lunch, but after being routinely stopped for a security check and hanging out at the border office for almost 40 minutes, it took us a lot longer to get to Canada. We even had our passports-- bums! The other disappointment for the day was that our hotel in Vancouver was booked full for BC Day (a holiday for British Columbia very much like the 4th of July for us) and the only rooms left were an executive suite and a smoking room. Since I couldn't tolerate the smokey smell, the four of us ended up sharing the suite-- Chris and I pulled the extra bed into the huge living room, so we still had separate quarters. The good thing is that Expedia was great to work with and gave us a refund, which we split with Ryan and Nicki. Anyway, it was an interesting afternoon, but luckily the only one on the trip that wasn't perfect.

We hurried to get primped, then drove to Vanier Park in downtown Vancouver to attend Bard on the Beach, Vancouver's Shakespeare Festival. We saw Twelfth Night, which was absolutely incredible. This was our second time at the festival, and we wish we could have stayed for all three plays (though I'll admit that Titus Andronicus looks a bit freaky) because they are so well done. Even if you have never seen a live Shakespeare play before, you would enjoy this festival-- it is AMAZING! I think this was probably my favorite event of our trip and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone.

They don't let you take pictures inside the theatre, but here are the four of us outside the tents:

The next morning was spent in downtown Vancouver. Our first stop was Chinatown, which is actually the 2nd largest Chinese community in North America, second only to San Francisco. After browsing one too many open fish markets (and the Chinese fish markets are a bit different than the ones we're used to...), we decided to forgo our planned lunch there. But, I did get some really good fortune cookies, and tried on this killer hat:

Gasstown, closer to the water, but only a few blocks from Chinatown, had a bit more of the Western tourist flavor. We bought our Christmas ornament for the year here-- a beautiful maple leaf ornament to remind us of our trip. We also stopped at a food court where the vendors did not accept Visa-- weird, huh? We ended up eating lunch at Safeway! :)

After lunch, we went to Tsawassen, where we loaded onto a BC Ferry to Vancouver Island. Victoria, the capitol city of British Columbia, is located on Vancouver Island. The ferry ride is about an hour and a half, and has gorgeous scenery of the small islands in the bay. We also played some games and visited the on board gift shop.

Finally, we arrived in Victoria and checked into our gorgeous, antique hotel, The Dalton Inn. Our only plan for the evening was a very fancy dinner at Barkley's Stakehouse, where our food was almost too beautiful to eat. But man, it was tasty! We had to take a picture before we ruined the presentation.

We spent more than two hours at dinner, enjoying every last bite of our exquisite dinner and talking about our favorite memories from the past ten years by candlelight. The boys were so nice to get dressed up and I really couldn't have planned a better evening. With the romantic candlelight and my handsome hubby, our close friends and easy conversation, and of course, amazing food, it was the perfect anniversary dinner.

And you know me-- no perfect dinner is complete without the perfect dessert: creme brulee! It was heaven!

More to come!


becky ward said...

how is that nicki has not changed in the last 12 years since highschool?! lucky! anyway, you and chris look like two little honeymooners in those pictures. ADORABLE! you are both just glowing and i would even go as far as to say you are even cuter than when you got married. i can't believe those flowers were only $10. what a steal!
i am glad you did something so wonderful to celebrate your 10th and that you did it with such good friends (yes, a tad jealous). happy anniversary!

Ann-Michelle said...

i am so glad your trip went so well- and can i say WAY JEALOUS of how great you look! and only one day that wasn't totally perfect- how perfect for the big 10th year celebration!!

Elena said...

You two look so cute! Such a fun trip. THat's where we honeymooned. We need to go back someday. It is so amazingly beautiful there.

Amberlee said...

Hi Elise! It's been a while! I just found your blog so I thought I would see how you are. It looks like you're ready for another addition to you family. We have 3 boys too. They're so fun and keep us very busy as I'm sure you can relate! Well- stop over to our blog if you get a minute.

Emily said...

What an amazing trip to mark your 10th! It looks like you had a great time, and you are absolutely glowing! ;)

I am jealous about the flowers, they look amazing!

.allison. said...

Aw, that's way cute! I'm glad you had a fabulous time! :)

Emily said...

I love the picture of you and Chris when you're in the red fleece jacket by the water!