So, during the first half of Adam's family's visit, we took them to some of our favorite Seattle spots - Gas Works Park, Pike Place Market, and Snoqualmie Falls. Early Wednesday morning, we piled in the van and ventured much farther afield, to Mount Rainier! We pretty much stuck with the same itinerary as our day trip last summer, breaking up the three-hour drive by stopping for breakfast at a Panera in Puyullap on the way.
We were planning to do the one-mile Nisqually Vista Loop in Paradise again, but it was unfortunately closed that day, so we asked for a recommendation at the visitor's center and embarked another easy hike to a waterfall.
Although we had much better weather than our trip last year, the clouds were still hovering in front of the mountain all day. This was the best view we got.
We had a picnic lunch, admired the lobby of the historic Paradise Inn, and drove through Stevens Canyon to our next hike.
First, we took a quick detour and stopped at Reflection Lake. As you can see, it would give you a fantastic view of the mountain if those darn clouds would just move out of the way!
Our second hike was the Grove of the Patriarchs, an island in the middle of the river with a persevered old growth forest. Being on an island kept the trees safe from forest fires and the like.
It's another one-mile loop, perfect for little kids, especially with the addition of a suspension bridge, gigantic trees, and a river perfect for wading and skipping stones. After that, we hit the road for the long drive home, stopping at a Five Guys in Federal Way on the way.
On Thursday, we split up most of the day. The girls and I had a going away party for some dear friends that we really didn't want to miss. Some of the group went on the Underground Tour and some went to the Pacific Science Center to catch the Art of the Brick exhibit we saw early in the week, while they were at the Space Needle. We met up at our town's lakefront park in the late afternoon and then everyone came over for a dinner of steak, corn on the cob, and homemade berry ice cream.
On Friday, we took the ferry out to Bainbridge Island. Gosh, I just love that place so, so much! (I also really love Betsy's romper and that candid shot of my two big girls laughing.)
We headed straight to Fay Beach Park for the gorgeous views of Puget Sound and the driftwood perfect for climbing.
We had lunch at the best little Italian place, Via Rosa 11. It's actually not so little anymore - since we last visited back in September they bought the shop next door and expanded. We were thrilled to learn that they now have a pizza oven!
I had to include the above picture because it so perfectly illustrates our life right now. It's not unusual for Adam to finish a meal surrounded by little girls! Our next stop was the Bloedel Reserve, an estate with the most amazing gardens. It's such an incredibly peaceful place, even if you're accompanied by small children whining about how much further they'll have to walk.
My one regret is that we didn't have quite enough time to wait in line for ice cream at Mora Creamery before catching the ferry back to Seattle. We popped into Blackbird Bakery in downtown Winslow instead though, where the girls picked out adorable ferry cookies and we split a slice of lemon tart.
We had an easy dinner of Costco rotisserie chicken at their place and then sadly said goodbye, as everyone flew home early Saturday morning. Although the week had a few minor downsides, like not all being able to stay at the same place and the challenges of a city vacation with a big group, we feel really grateful to have shown off the beautiful Pacific Northwest to so many of Adam's family members. This made us really crave another beach trip with all of Adam's siblings in attendance, like we did back in 2014. I hope we can make it happen again in the very near future!