Sightseeing in Your Town

I am in the process of planning a trip to Italy with my husband. I’m very excited. I’m sure we’ll be seeing our fair share of cathedrals and museums and art galleries, and we’ll also be experiencing new culinary delights.

I am ever mindful of how lucky I am to be able to do this. Not everyone gets to travel. They may not have the time or the money, or they may have very valid responsibilities that prevent them from doing so.

As I plan to poke my head into every publicly accessible edifice that I possibly can, and wander through every park, it occurs to me that I haven’t done so in the Seattle area. Not by a long shot.

There’s a botanical garden that I drive past at least once a week that I keep meaning to visit but I never quite get around to it. I have no idea what the largest churches in town look like from the inside. There are great works of art hanging in local galleries that I have yet to gaze upon. And heaven knows there’s a whole host of restaurants that I’ve never patronized.

So here we are, spending a fortune to fly halfway around the world to experience the new and exciting, when there’s plenty of that stuff in our own back yard. And a lot of these things are experiences anyone can have if they make the effort. Often museums have free or discount days. Most parks are free or very affordable. You can wander into pretty much every church, (but I wouldn’t advise doing so if a service is already in progress).

I wonder why so many of us think the only sights worth seeing are those that are far away? Is it because we know the local things will always be within our reach, and we assume we’ll get to them someday? Do we place a higher premium on all things foreign? Or are we simply too invested in our Netflix stream to get up off the couch?

If you’re reading this, I challenge you to get up and go experience something near you that you’ve always been meaning to experience. Go on! You’ll be glad you did.

soos-creek-botanical
A garden near me that I have yet to see.

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Exploring Oregon: Shore Acres State Park

I just got back from a week’s vacation on the Oregon Coast, and there is much to talk about, indeed. It’s gorgeous there in so many unexpected and delightful ways that I’ll be writing quite a bit about it. But I wanted to one of my very first Oregon entries to be about one of the last places I visited, because it was the highlight of my trip.

There are tons of state parks along the coast. So many, in fact, that I barely scratched the surface. But Shore Acres State Park is a gem. Just south of Coos Bay, it used to be the grand estate of a rich timber baron. Thank goodness it now belongs to the people, because it should be seen by all of us.

Not only does it include a lush botanical garden full of such rich floral colors that it practically hurts your eyes, but if you exit from the garden gate you are treated to some of the most stunning cliffside views of the pacific that you’ll ever see. It was hard for me to leave, to be honest. And all of this for a single fee of 5 dollars per car. Not bad.

My pictures barely do this amazing place justice, but if they encourage you to check this beautiful place out, then my work here is done.

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