Anderson Island is the southernmost island of Puget Sound, holding a small, rural, quiet community that is more set up for casual getaway residents than tourists. That is part of its appeal, indeed.

Anderson Island can be reached via a small car ferry from the town of Steilacoom, south of Tacoma and north of Olympia. Once on island, it’s hard to get lost given the few main roads and being able to quickly backtrack on any dead end side shoots. Having a good map is handy though, since it will show the island’s many small pocket parks and points of historical interest.

Jacobs Point Park is entered only via a pretty forest trail that eventually winds along Puget Sound shoreline and pebble beaches. Along the way, the remnant chimney of the Jacobs family residence can still be seen, and a few rusted metal pieces of the home are scattered in the ferns where the wood structure has otherwise now turned back to rotted soil. The water views are mostly south and east, and there are pleasant picnic spots along the way as well. Although the park is only 80 acres in size it does seem larger, and the out and back trail will be about 2.5 miles long.

Andrew Anderson Marine Park is another highlight. Also starting out via forested trail, the path winds down to a secluded beach by Carlson Cove. At the cove is a single boat-in campsite that can be reserved through the Washington Water Trails Association; we stayed there on a prior kayak trip and really enjoyed the privacy plus lack of car campers anywhere around.

Jane Cammon Park is best for its relatively level forest loop trail, which can be either hiked or biked.

The Johnson Farm, owned and operated by the Anderson Island Historical Society for the public, is an interesting excursion to visit its crammed gift shop, dark and dusty museum, farmhouse (if docents are available), barn and farm structures, and a walking trail by woods and ponds. The volunteers are friendly and it’s the kind of place where you can stop in for a brief visit or explore for a long time to learn about early island farmer life.

For commercial amenities, there is little on the island. A great café with delicious entrees and desserts can be found beside the general store, and the Riviera Community Club has a public restaurant on a lake (including some off-key karaoke nights).

We stayed for an extended weekend at Island Family Farm, upstairs in a bedroom with the parents and daughters across the hall and all of us sharing the same bathroom. It was great. The family are terrific hosts, friendly and informative. And the tour of the farm by one of the daughters was a real highlight, including feeding of the farm animals, shooting a bow and arrow, and an unexpected tractor ride.

Anderson Island is a fun and relaxing getaway on a small scale.

Hiking trail through Jacobs Point Park on Anderson Island

Hiking trail through Jacobs Point Park on Anderson Island



Jacobs Homestead chimney at Jacobs Point Park on Anderson Island

Jacobs Homestead chimney in Jacobs Point Park



Picnic bench by Puget Sound beach at end of trail around Jacobs Point Park on Anderson Island

Picnic bench by Puget Sound beach at end of trail around Jacobs Point Park



Footbridge by Carlson Cove in Andrew Anderson Marine Park on Anderson Island

Footbridge by Carlson Cove in Andrew Anderson Marine Park on Anderson Island



Puget Sound beach by Carlson Cove in Andrew Anderson Marine Park on Anderson Island

Puget Sound beach by Carlson Cove



Anderson Island Historical Society Johnson Farm farmhouse

Anderson Island Historical Society Johnson Farm farmhouse



Anderson Island Historical Society Johnson Farm barn and structures

Johnson Farm barn and structures



Anderson Island Historical Society Johnson Farm walking trail by ponds

Johnson Farm walking trail by ponds



Anderson Island Old Schoolhouse high playground slide

Anderson Island Old Schoolhouse playground slide



Anderson Island Family Farm farmhouse and orchard

Anderson Island Family Farm farmhouse and orchard



Anderson Island Family Farm being driven around in tractor bucket

Being driven around in tractor bucket



Throwing feed to chickens at Anderson Island Family Farm

Throwing feed to chickens at Anderson Island Family Farm



Links:
Anderson Island
Jacobs Point Park
Andrew Anderson Marine Park
Anderson Island Historical Society Johnson Farm
Island Family Farm on Anderson Island

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Dick and Jane’s Spot is a unique and eclectic yard art “exhibition” available for viewing 24/7 in the town of Ellensburg. It all began around 1980 when artists Dick and Jane (who also had a dog Spot at the time) started creating pieces to jazz up the outside of their home, which was boarded up and dilapidated when they purchased it a couple years earlier. The experience became infectious and consuming. In addition, Dick became well known for his reflector art, and both home and distant art installations reinforced themes and approaches.

The home is located on a corner lot and can be viewed around its full perimeter on all sides. There are over 10,000 bottle caps, thousands of reflectors, and many random sculptures throughout. In addition, 40 other artists have contributed pieces to the outdoor gallery.

It is worth a side trip. If you are passing along I-90, go to the corner of 1st and Pearl in Ellensburg before grabbing a bite to eat and heading along further.

Dick and Janes Spot Ellensburg front yard

Friendly art at the corner of 1st and Pearl



Dick and Janes Spot Ellensburg sculptures in front yard

Sculptures and figures



Dick and Janes Spot Ellensburg guest art

Art by guest artists



Dick and Janes Spot Ellensburg Uncle Sam and twisted brick chimney

Uncle Sam and twisted brick chimney



Dick and Janes Spot Ellensburg bike wheel reflectors on tree  wind sculpture

Bicycle reflector windmills



Links:
Dick and Jane’s Spot
Ellensburg

Directions

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There is a beautiful 3.5 mile loop hike on Whidbey Island’s west side of Coupeville, with continuous views along its entire length. Starting from Ebey’s Landing in Ebey’s Reserve National Historical Reserve, the loop first heads north along a pebble beach of Puget Sound. After a mile, a wide sandy extension of the mainland has trapped Parego’s Lagoon between steep bluffs and outer beach. After rounding the lagoon, a switchback trail meanders up the bluff to its top where wind-stunted, gnarled old trees greet you. The great views are then different and even better, looking out from a bird’s view across the beach to the waters of Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains beyond. The trail goes back south along the edge of the bluff and returns to the parking lot at Ebey’s Landing. The trail can also be extended further north, where it connects into Fort Ebey State Park.

This is one of the prettier and more accessible view hikes around.

Walking beach north of Ebey's Landing in Coupeville on Whidbey Island

Hiking along Puget Sound beach north of Ebey’s Landing



Walking by Parego's Lagoon by Ebey's Reserve in Coupeville on Whidbey Island

Walking around Parego’s Lagoon



Hiking to top of bluff above Parego's Lagoon in Ebey's Reserve of Coupeville on Whidbey Island

Hiking up bluff above Parego’s Lagoon in Ebey’s Reserve



View from Ebey's Reserve above Parego's Lagoon near Ebey's Landing to fog and Olympic Mountains

Unusual bright white fog covering Puget Sound on a sunny day



Hiking to Ebey's Landing in Ebey's Reserve of Coupeville on Whidbey Island

Heading south back to Ebey’s Landing in Ebey’s Reserve



Links:
Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve
Coupeville

Directions

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Las Vegas, The Land Of Over The Top Electric Bills, is unsurprisingly gaudy yet can be surprisingly fun if you’re willing to spend some cash. Some of the entertainment shows are quite spectacular in terms of scale and impressiveness, and other shows are funny, magical, or musical. There are good options for finding same day half price tickets. Wandering around to take advantage of the amusement park atmosphere and grinning Elvis impersonators can be quite fun too, with an open mindset.

Flying airplane to Las Vegas above Spring Mountains

Flying into Las Vegas above the Spring Mountains



Early morning view from Tropicana hotel room to Las Vegas Strip

Early morning view from Tropicana hotel room to Las Vegas Strip



New York New York in Las Vegas

New York New York, complete with roller coaster



Blue Man Theater for Blue Man Group in Monte Carlo of Las Vegas

Blue Man Theater in the Monte Carlo



Blue Man Group Las Vegas crowd enjoying show

Crowd really enjoying the aerial pandemonium during The Blue Man Group show



Blue Man Group Monte Carlo Las Vegas aftermath mess

Aftermath of Blue Man Group show in Blue Man Theater



Links:
Things To Do In Las Vegas
Tropicana
New York New York
Monte Carlo
Blue Man Group

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Wanna do something fun? Wanna do something unusual? And wanna do something that is surprisingly fun and unusual for a simple concept? Go to a Seattle Room Escape Adventures production of “Trapped In A Room With A Zombie”.

You go around the backside of a slightly seedy window car tinting building to find an open door, and wander in. Twelve potential victims gather and listen to a German-accented lady scientist in a lab coat discuss the rules and tips for surviving the zombie encounter, including the back story of what you are about to experience. Then, after everyone has donned name tags (usually with fake zombie fighting names, if desired) and put away their extra stuff, the door is opened.

I won’t tell too much. Suffice it to say that you and your comrades have 60 minutes to solve multiple interrelated and progressive puzzles, all the while a zombie gets progressively closer to taking a chunk of you. Surprisingly, all personality types in our group enjoyed the experience, and it was interesting to see how all those personality types react to a fun theatrical game such as this!

Trapped In A Room With A Zombie by Seattle Room Escape Adventures

Zombie Food

Links:
Seattle Room Escape Adventures Trapped In A Room With A Zombie

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Seattle’s iFly Indoor Skydiving is a 1.5 hour experience located by the Southcenter Mall in Tukwila. You get to achieve the feeling of floating through rushing air as if you were in free fall from an airplane before deploying your parachute.

It all starts with a fun and interactive instructor providing an overview, followed by a short training video. Then everything comes out of pockets, off fingers, off ears, and from anything that could potentially fall down into the huge whirling fan blades below. “Flight” gear includes a baggy flight suit, helmet, and wind-protective eye goggles. And then into the waiting bench right outside the chamber.

One by one, participants enter for two “flights”, each one to two minutes long. The experience is rather expensive on a per minute basis for the actual flight time, but it’s fun and unique, so what the heck. An instructor helps each participant get horizontal, provides arm and leg adjustments for proper floating, and gently guides the participant’s body to avoid tumbles or hitting the side walls hard. If the participant seems fairly comfortable, then he will spin the person around before sending him/her back out to the bench. On the second flight, (by paying an additional ten dollars) the fan speed will be increased and the instructor will spin with the participant up and down the full height of the wind tunnel column. Lots of laughing and high fives follow each flight. Each group session is ended with an impressive acrobatic aerial show by the instructor.

iFly Indoor Skydiving is located in the unusual, bright red, custom constructed building that is easily visible from I-405 when passing the Westfield Southcenter Mall. The building’s shape allows for air to be forced up a wind tunnel and recirculated around, achieving wind speeds up to 235 mph.

It’s a fun outing for yourself, a date, family, friends, whatever. Feel the flight!

Click here for video.

iFly Seattle Indoor Skydiving by Southcenter Mall Tukwila

Indoor skydiving at iFly



iFly Seattle Indoor Skydiving by Southcenter Mall in Tukwila

Practicing indoor skydiving body position

Links:
iFly Indoor Skydiving

Directions

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The Boulder Garden Loop trail is a pretty and intriguing forest view hike that can be an outing in itself or part of a longer hike up Little Si trail and the Old Mt Si trail. The Little Si trailhead starts on the northeast side of the town of North Bend, eventually connecting to the offshoot Boulder Garden Loop trail. There are good signs throughout. Total roundtrip is about 2.5 miles, and it includes over 800 feet of elevation gain.

The moss-covered granite formations are quite magical, jutting up from the forest floor and providing great nooks and crannies for both kids and adults to explore. The trail is well maintained. It provides fun exploring of quiet geology and gentle trees.

Kids hiking Boulder Garden Loop trail near North Bend

Kids hiking Boulder Garden Loop trail



Looking at icicles along Boulder Garden Loop trail near North Bend

Looking at icicles flowing down the granite boulders



Boulder Garden Loop trail near North Bend 1

Lush green trail



Boulder Garden Loop trail near North Bend 2

Where forest and boulders meet



Links:
Boulder Garden Loop
North Bend

Directions

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