Road Trip ~ Western Washington to Boise ~ Photos

I last visited Boise in September 2019 and it was fabulous to be able to plan a road trip and visit again. This was my first journey since the pandemic. It was very special to be able to visit favorite places (Boise and Meridian) and discover a new area (Eagle).  

The beautiful Boise River Greenbelt is a paved path which follows the river through the heart of the city and beyond, along many parks. It is 25 miles long with many bridges to make it easy to loop back.

The walk in Boise takes you past Boise State University, to Julia Davis Park where you can stop and explore the gorgeous Rose Garden. Note to self: plan trip next year in June, as many of the rose bushes were not yet in bloom.

About a 15 minute drive from Boise is the Village at Meridian Mall. I am not a fan of shopping centers, but this one is an exception. Many interesting shops to explore, nicely laid out and all outdoors.

Stop in the locally owned Royal Coffee Company for a terrific latte, cappuccino or fruit smoothie. Enjoy it while sitting outside, deciding whether to browse the shops, walk about, dine or stay in the Fountain Square area and people watch.  

My favorite places to dine in the area include:

The Cottonwood Grill (on the Boise Green Belt), Anthony’s (recently opened, downtown, near hotels) and The Yard House at the Village at Meridian Mall.

It’s an easy drive from western Washington to Boise via I-90 to I-82 to I-84, especially when the weather is good. For my return trip I was planning to drive via the I-84 to the Portland area and then north via I-205 and I-5. It is a longer route, going along the Columbia River in Oregon and is quite beautiful. However, as it was raining, I opted for the faster route and did encounter wet snow in the Oregon mountains. Very glad it was wet snow …

Below are some photos from my journey; will be posting more photos of the River Walks (Boise and Eagle), the Rose Garden and Boise Capitol Building.

 Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Savor your journeys… real, imagined or virtual, near or far

Armchair Traveler ~ Road Trips

I think now is a perfect time to be an armchair traveler and what’s better than a road trip? You can fantasize about your trip from where to go (nearby or a faraway destination, using a rental vehicle) to your vehicle (your car or rent a motorcycle, an RV, a convertible ~ your dream vehicle ~ this is your armchair travel!). Now, take off, using your maps and guide books as you peruse your armchair journey.

Pick out not only special sights (a national park? an historic area? a mountain top? a city you have always wanted to visit), but also side trips to small towns, secluded beaches, local spots. Read about a hotel you have always wanted to visit or a special restaurant (you can check menus on-line and prepare a special dinner).

Have fun exploring …. be creative as you “journey” using your maps and guidebooks … who knows – you may well be planning your next trip. A road trip ~ where you can be spontaneous, take side trips, explore and enjoy your journey. 

Below are photos from a favorite guidebook which I used last year when planning my road trip to incredible Mount Rushmore. Plus, a photo of my favorite navigator (Shadow) who accompanied me on two road trips when I moved to/from South Carolina.

 Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Savor your journeys… real, imagined or virtual, near or far.

Road Trip ~ Western Washington: Port Townsend, Whidbey Island, Orcas Island, Bellingham, Mt Baker, North Cascades National Park

I started my journey on the Olympic Peninsula at Port Townsend. It’s a cute waterfront town to explore with marvelous Victorian architecture, interesting local shops and good restaurants.

From Port Townsend, I took the ferry to Whidbey Island. There are several small towns to explore, my favorite being Langley, on the south eastern part of the island. Here, you will find neat local shops, including Moonraker bookstore (well worth your visit) and a great restaurant (The Braeburn) which is perfect for breakfast or lunch.

Drive north on the island to Deception Pass State Park on your way to Anacortes and the ferry to Orcas Island. I’ve stayed on Whidbey Island and also use it as a connection between the two ferries. If you have the time, it is definitely worth a visit or at least a luncheon stop.

Passing beautiful Deception Pass, take Rosario Road and Marine Drive (west side of Fidalgo Island) rather than Highway 20. Either route takes you to Anacortes, with the local roads being far more scenic.  

If you have time, explore Anacortes, enjoy lunch before boarding your ferry to Orcas Island. I’ve done this trip several times and depending on my schedule, I usually drive thru Whidbey Island as a connection between the two ferries and have a late lunch on Orcas Island.

Orcas is a magical place, a beautiful island any time of the year. From the moment you step on the ferry bound for the San Juan’s, consider yourself on “island time.” I’ve stayed several times at Rosario Resort and recommend it. There are beautiful grounds to walk about, a good restaurant on site and it’s only a few miles drive from the town of Eastsound. If you are lucky, you will see deer on the property as you explore the area. 

On this trip, I took a whale watching cruise (great fun and I’ll do it again) plus taking the ferry to nearby Friday Harbor. I parked near the ferry terminal on Orcas Island and was a walk-on passenger. The town of Friday Harbor is at the ferry terminal so no need for a car as you explore this picturesque town. Be sure to check out The Whale Museum.

Orcas is the largest of the San Juan Islands and it’s enjoyable to drive about and explore the island. Drive to the top of Mount Constitution in Moran State Park for a gorgeous view, stop at local pottery places, investigate winding roads and breathe in its beauty and serenity.  

Leaving Orcas, I took the ferry to Anacortes, walked about the Marina and then headed north via beautiful Chuckanut Drive to Bellingham.

On this trip, I used Bellingham as a base for exploring not only Bellingham but also the gorgeous Mt. Baker and North Cascades National Park areas. One rainy morning I drove to Lynden, a nearby Dutch town (terrific bakeries).

Favorite restaurants include:

When planning road trips, always be flexible. You may want to stay in a favorite place longer or completely change your itinerary as you meander along. Weather may also cause you to change plans and improvise. That is the joy and fun of a road trip.

Savor your journeys … past, present and future … real or imagined…. near or far …

Links to additional photos:

Photos ~ Orcas Island, Washington ~ Whale Watching

Photos ~ Whidbey Island, Washington

Photos ~ Mt Baker, North Cascades, WA

Photos ~ Chuckanut Drive, western WA

Photos ~ Anacortes Marina & Deception Pass, WA

Photos ~ North Cascades National Park, WA

Photos ~ Orcas Island, San Juans, Washington

Photos ~ Bellingham Park & Bellingham, western Washington