Not Martha

Nearby and Unexpected

This post is in partnership with smartwater. smartwater, good taste travels well. Click here to learn more.

This is a story about a weekend that went from unexpected to unexpectedly wonderful. I only have pictures from my mobile phone because I wasn’t anticipating it to be so, well, interesting.

A few months back Scott and I decided we needed to seek out some sunshine. We found a bike trail and a hotel room in Yakima, packed our bicycles into our car and left. We made it about a half an hour before we ran over a piece of metal in the road which was unavoidable because the tire of a semi threw it right at our car. We pulled over to the side of the road safely but dragged the metal with us, hearing it thunk and fold beneath our car. Ouch. Here is the offending piece of metal:

We named him La Mala Suerte. He is currently relegated to being used to prop open our front door.

We had the car towed back to Seattle while we silently regarded the stoic tow truck driver as a superhero. We were dropped off at a garage a measly three blocks from our house, like we pulled the “Go Back to Start” card.

It was too late to cancel the hotel, it was still drizzling in Seattle, the promise of sunshine was tempting and I’m stubborn. So we rolled our luggage to the light rail and took it to the airport where we rented a car eerily similar to the one we’d just left behind. We took extra care when drove past the spot where the incident had happened just an hour earlier. It was all blue skies until we approached Yakima where the skies got dark and it rained so hard we actually had to pull over to the side of the road and wait it out. When we were able to keep going we saw a double rainbow. No, really:

When we (finally!) arrived it was too late to do anything but get dinner and a nightcap at a dive bar with a rather loud bachelorette party who were using the live DJ as their personal 80s music jukebox. It was the perfect end to a strange day.

The next morning we had breakfast outdoors in the sun which is all we really wanted when we set out for this. Then we ignored the many nearby wineries and instead took up the first of many excellent suggestions from Sprizee and went to check out The Teapot in Zillah.

Next we headed to Tieton, stopping for frozen asparagus tamales and a fast food bacon sundae (which was so good, I am not alone in this opinion) on the way. We drove out past fruit stands, where we scored some precious early local peaches, and then up out of the valley to the highlands. We passed orchards and industrial buildings and suddenly found ourselves in a classic American town with a square block park surrounded by local businesses and shady trees and parking spaces. There were people having a picnic in the park and letting their kids run wild and no traffic lights in site. It was like visiting my sets of grandparents or that little town in Pennsylvania that I lived in for a year as a kid. Forgive me for being naive but it was charming and immediately won me over.

We located the building for Mighty Tieton and when we entered we found ourselves in a big, dark warehouse space where lit chandeliers were hanging. They were likely part of the Chandelier Festival from last year and I am so wildly in love with idea of making your own light during the darkest part of the year that I’m already thinking about what I might do. We stood an marveled at a sculpture in that room that I later found was made by Trimpin and is probably his Shhh and I desperately hope I get to see and hear it in action someday.

We wandered into an adjoining huge warehouse space and found a massive piece of manually created felt. It was made by Janice Arnold, who happened to be packing up her car and took the time to tell us about the felt (was wet felted by people walking and then dancing on it the night before, it was about 20 feet by 12 feet, it was amazing). She was kind enough to open a big door to yet another adjoining warehouse space so we could see another one of her pieces, called Chthonic Tent. The door was huge and when we walked carefully into the dark room it slowly closed behind us:

Then we were alone in a large, cool, silent room with only one source of light, a single bulb inside a tent that was in the center of the room:

It was huge and creepy and exhilarating. Later Janice Arnold said that she didn’t mean for the door to close behind us, but I wouldn’t trade that experience. Thank you Janice!

Turns out what we found that day was only part of something pretty cool happening in Tieton. Thanks to a few flat bicycle tires an artist saw some potential in empty buildings, spread the word and now the town is being revitalized by small business that have bound together under the association of Mighty Tieton. Except for Paper Hammer not all the businesses are open to the public on a regular basis but they do have a gallery schedule and regularly participate in community events. I’ll be back. More specifically, I’ll be returning tomorrow to check out Highland Community Days and the 10x10x10xTieton Exhibition.

By the time we headed back home we had completely forgotten about our not-so-great previous day. Except for the fact that we were driving a car that was not the one we set out in.

A note: While this post is in partnership with smartwater all opinions, travel, expenses, misadventures and potentially futile ideas to leave the safety of my house in the first place were all my own. If you’d like to see more photos, including a shot of the bacon sundae rapidly melting while I’m forcing it to pose in the sun on our dashboard, please see my Flickr set.

Have you ever had a weekend that completely turned around? Or found something amazing in a spot you did not expect? Unearth any treasures while away from home? I’d love to hear about them!

· comments [10] · 08-24-2012 · categories:travel ·

links: travel

SULTAN’S FINE FABRICS « make something. A secret treasure trove of great fabrics in Toronto.

Where to Drink Beer Outside in Manhattan | Serious Eats: Drinks.

Ten Consignment Shops Every Sample Sale Junkie Should Know – Racked NY. Via Girls of a Certain Age.

5 Tips for Backpacking with Kids | Say Yes to Hoboken. This applies to everybody: “1. Get out of the campgrounds. Trust me. Isn’t the point to get away from people when you camp? They’re very difficult to get a reservation if you’re in a popular area. Like, impossible. Drive just outside any national park and you’re probably in a national forest, wilderness area, multi-use area. You can do what they call ‘dispersed camping’ anywhere around there.”

Need input on the most awesome, strange, memorable places to stay on our road-trip between Seattle to Portland, and then down the coast to San Fran. | Ask MetaFilter.

· comments [2] · 08-7-2012 · categories:links · travel ·

links: travel

Questions for Someone Who Recently Rented a Private Island | The Hairpin. I’m putting “rent a bed and breakfast on it’s own island and bring all my friends along” to my neglected life list.

a n h – m i n h . c o m: Semi-Annual Post. She outlines her trips to Dublin and London, lots of places to keep in mind here.

The Arts Factory, Las Vegas | The Everywhereist. A place to seek out the next time I’m in Las Vegas.

Nostalgia in Astoria: Antique Stores and The Goonies | The Everywhereist. Please look closely at the car with the Perot ’92 sticker.

Cruising Seattle on an Electric Boat « Tea & Cookies.

· comments [2] · 07-24-2012 · categories:links · travel ·

links: travel

Serendipity at the Juniper Moon Fiber Farm blog. They found themselves at the E. Dehillerin restaurant supply house and it makes me want to plan a trip just to visit that shop.

Where to Eat (and Drink) Outside This Season – The Stranger. Outdoor dining for Seattle, I’ll keep this list close.

What can a guy do in Port Angeles, WA on an average summer day? | Ask MetaFilter. We’ve been trying to get out to bike the Discovery Bay Trail recommended here, and now I have a good restaurant to pair with the trip.

A Whole Lotta Nothing: My trip to Italy. Fantastic suggestions on resources.

What to See and Do in Seattle, Washington | Travel + Leisure.

A Sun of Thread: 84 Miles of String Suspended at MIA by HOT TEA | Colossal. I love that you are meant to lie down and look up at this.

· comments [3] · 07-6-2012 · categories:links · travel ·

links: travel

Posie Gets Cozy: Things to Do in Portland, Oregon.

OnTheWay ― A better way to get there. Help for planning road trips. Via 101 Cookbooks.

Favorite Places as a London Local? | Ask MetaFilter.

· comments [2] · 06-4-2012 · categories:links · travel ·

links: travel

Shopping Paris in 8 hours at Oh Happy Day.

hula seventy: there. If I were a better photographer these are the pictures I would have taken during our stay at the Palm Springs Ace earlier this year. Via Shutterbean.

Rue Montorgueil-Les Halles | David Lebovitz. Restaurant supply stores in Paris.

100 Favorite Dishes: Meatloaf Sandwich at Bakeman’s – Seattle Restaurants and Dining – Voracious.

flora and flying – You cannot make this stuff up: Paris for beginners -Part 1.

· comments [2] · 05-10-2012 · categories:links · travel ·

links: travel

Two weeks in Italy, from Rome north to Tuscany and back. Where to go? What to do? Where to stay? | Ask MetaFilter.

mirrormirror: Vancouver in Five and mirrormirror: My Hidden New York

boston city guide | Design*Sponge.

Black*Eiffel: Travel log : Portland, Oregon. Lovely spots!

make grow gather – Posts – jem fabric store in nyc.

Offbeat Guide to Seattle Favorite Spots | A Chow Life | Foodie recipes and stories from a Seattle kitchen. Great list of spots!

· comments [1] · 04-24-2012 · categories:links · travel ·

links: travel

A Whole Lotta Nothing: World travel with the unlocked US Verizon iPhone 4S.

Three Practically Perfect Days in Seattle « Tea & Cookies. Everything I love in Seattle is here in Tea’s post.

How to Blend in at the Pub | From China Village.

The Sylvia Beach Hotel « Tea & Cookies. This hotel sounds incredibly delightful, thanks for introducing us to it Tea!

A CUP OF JO: Travel fantasy: Rainbow hotel. We passed this hotel, The Saguaro, when we were in Palm Springs and it looks even more colorful on the inside. I did not realize it was created by the same people who do the Ace hotels.

7 Must-Try Sweets at Chelsea Market, NYC | Serious Eats.

Traveling Sicily – Thoughts & Tips » delicious:days.

· comments [7] · 04-3-2012 · categories:links · travel ·

links: travel

Recommendations for unusual travel experiences (not just places) in or near Paris? | Ask MetaFilter. I love the list of things they hope to do.

36 hours in Vancouver, British Columbia – Via Maggi over at Pinterest.

Ask Someone Who Recently Went to Iceland | The Hairpin.

The Book Larder « Tea & Cookies. A whole store devoted to cookbooks and cooking demonstrations here in Seattle.

· comments [4] · 02-20-2012 · categories:links · travel ·

links: travel

Privately owned, publicly treasured: Your favorite hidden spaces | The New York World. Via @laurenbacon.

Golden rules to live by while traveling the world, at Kottke.

New York Shopping, Part Two – The Crafts Dept. Places I want to go!

Five Things to Taste in Chicago | Mighty Girl.

· comments [0] · 01-11-2012 · categories:links · travel ·

links: travel

Rue Montorgueil, at Oh Happy Day.

the Ugly Green Chair: Grand Central Station of the past A photo from before buildings were built that shaded it and prevented the sun from shining in the huge windows like this. Wow. Also, while I was in New York (way back) Grand Central Station was being cleaned and was largely closed off so I must remember to revisit it to see it in all it’s glory.

Lifelist: Go Scuba diving? Check. | Mighty Girl. This inspires me to learn scuba diving, and it’s a good recommendation for a resort.

· comments [6] · 11-4-2011 · categories:links · travel ·


The other weekend I got to visit an alpaca farm with friends.

Alpacas have very soft necks. And they like apples.

There were chickens there too. Chicken butt!

We took a walk on the beach at low tide and found lots of things, including a sea cucumber, some tiny crabs, some truly horrifying looking seaweed, the shell above and one very startled heron.

These rocks looked decorated.

Miss you already sweet things!

· comments [10] · 10-12-2011 · categories:travel ·

links: travel

What was originally a mileage run to SFO and back has now become a 12 hour vacation in San Franscisco. What would you do in the city if you were me? | Ask MetaFilter.

Cultural Faux Pas: What are some cultural faux pas in New York? – Quora. Via Kottke.

a n h – m i n h . c o m: When in Carmel.

How to Survive a 10-Hour Flight Like a Lady | The Hairpin.

Geek’s Guide to Portland 2011 –

New York Shopping – The Crafts Dept. A little candy with your craft supplies shopping, perfect.

· comments [0] · 10-6-2011 · categories:links · travel ·

links: travel

Where should my husband and I have a lovely anniversary dinner in Seattle? | Ask MetaFilter.

Quick! Outdoor NYC spot for beer | Ask MetaFilter.

9 Portland Doughnuts We Love | Serious Eats: Sweets.

Put it on Your List: Washoe House | Mighty Girl. The suggestions from commenters are also fantastic.

mirrormirror: Fancy Hotel of the Week Hotel Monaco, San Francisco. And a recommendation for a great PNW trip planner.

[Contest] Where to Eat at Pike Place Market: A Local’s Perspective | The GastroGnome.

· comments [3] · 09-16-2011 · categories:links · travel ·

Project Runway at New York Fashion Week

My day so far in pictures, offered with no commentary because I really need to get some sleep. Shout out to HP for giving me this amazing experience. If you’d like to see more of the Project Runway finale runway show images Tom and Lorenzo have collected them all. They’re spoiler-free since all the remaining contestants presented runway shows.

· comments [5] · 09-9-2011 · categories:travel ·