Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Morgan Hill Retreat

Every once in a while, don't you just crave a good view? Doesn't it fill your soul with something bigger to see something truly beautiful? This can take many forms, of course. Some people thrill to wide open spaces, others, looking down on a city aglow with electric lights, the sunny calm of a desert morning, majestic mountains, or even just fine art, or a pretty face. Heck, a well-designed car can get some people's hearts beating a little faster! Throw in a good stormy beach, and I think we've got a pretty good list going here. I can't resist the pretty. It improves my mood, my attitude, and my whole outlook on life to focus on something beautiful for a little while.

Getting out and about to see the world can be a challenge for me at times. Environmental allergies force me to be very careful about where I spend my time. If I know that one thing on my agenda will cost a lot on the allergy front, it means I have to balance that with safer activities and places other times. Trips away from home have to be carefully calculated for total health wear-and-tear, and weekends away are seldom worth the cost if they involve a lot of travel and smells, without enough fun and beauty to compensate.

Because of this, when Ked and I found out that our niece Emma was going to be in a musical in Poulsbo, WA (west of Seattle) a couple weekends ago, we thought we'd just drive up for the day, because hotels and B&Bs in general are deadly. All the products that are spread around the rooms to make them "smell clean" are nothing more than migraines and fevers waiting to happen. Portland to Poulsbo is a pretty considerable amount of time in the car for two hours in a theater, but Emma's worth the drive, so we booked our theater tickets and planned for a long day.

Here's where our weekend took a turn for the pretty. Ked surprised me by going online and finding us a lovely fragrance-free Bed and Breakfast to stay at for the whole weekend!! Hallelujah! Not only do such things now exist, but we are discovering that a few Google searches can net you safe rooms all over the place these days. A whole new world of travel is about to open up to us, and I am almost salivating over future schemes of exotic adventures. New York, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, The Virgin Islands, and Tahiti are all high on my list of places I want to explore. Museums, mountains, and romantic beaches here we come!! Well, eventually anyway. For now, I'm happy to have gotten a nice pampered weekend.

The wonderful place where we stayed is called Morgan Hill Retreat. It's restful and pleasant, with a gorgeous view of the Olympic Mountains, a welcoming and kind hostess, good food (Marcia even cooked me gluten free pancakes!), geese and llamas, a pond, and best of all, scent safety! We had a great time at the play, watching our niece steal the show, but it was a profoundly perfumed environment. The woman who sat in front of me has a shower nozzle with a perfume setting--I'm absolutely certain of it. So I can't tell you what a relief it was to know that I was going to sleep that night in a room where I could really breath and sleep in comfort. Our family up in Poulsbo is probably going to see a lot more of us now that we know about the charming oasis that is Morgan Hill!!

I won't bore you with other details about the weekend, the horrible traffic, the fab-but-expensive dinners and perfect weather, the cute Norwegian artsy town of Poulsbo, Seattle's Pike Street Market, the wonderful paella cookbook we found there. (I will, however, make a list for you of all the things I am not going to tell you about!) I'll just pass you now onto some of the pictures and hope you enjoy them. Most are from Morgan Hill, although a few are from Poulsbo. No explanations or captions necessary, I think. (Click on the pictures if you want to enlarge them.) If my camera did its job, you'll be able to draw your own conclusions about the weekend without any more jabber from me!

That's all folks. Any of these make you want to go there? They certainly make me want to go back! As I said before, it improves my mood, my attitude, and my whole outlook on life to focus on something beautiful for a little while.