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Archive for September, 2012

Summer Vacation Means Road Trip!

This year, we decided to splurge and take a trip somewhere and stay in a hotel. So you now what that means . . . ROAD TRIP! Jeff and I had skied at Whistler/Blackcomb several years ago, PK (pre-kiddos) and I thought it would be fun to go there in the Summer. I had heard it was absolutely gorgeous!

Let me digress a moment…have I told you that my family’s nickname for me is Julie McCoy, Your Cruise Director? Well, that’s my fate in life. If I want to take a trip, I have to plan it. Jeff is happy to drive just about anywhere I choose, but he really doesn’t like to be involved in the planning of the trip. The drive to Whistler per Google Maps is about 9 hours. I figured it would be best to break up the drive going up and coming back. We also love to shop and as the kiddos needed back-to-school clothes, I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and we’d hit outlet malls along the way. So, I spent night after night agonizing over the perfect hotel on the way up to Whistler, a place at Whistler and then a couple of nights in Seattle on the way back. I found a pretty cheap hotel in Mt. Vernon for the way up near the Burlington Outlet Mall. Emerson’s comment when we walked in was, “I hope our hotel in Whistler is nicer than this! Yuck!” (She’s a bit of a hotel snob apparently – no Motel 6 for her!). So, this hotel was a bit of a miss, but come on, it was only $89 per night including continental breakfast (we love waffles) and we were only sleeping there.

So after shopping ‘til we dropped we then headed for the border. We decided to go through the main border crossing and show the kiddos the peace arch. We (the kiddos and I) jumped out of the car while Jeff kept crawling forward in line so we could shoot a few photos of the arch and the gorgeous American and Canadian flag flower beds. Next, we stopped at a “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” restaurant in Vancouver that Guy Fieri had recommended called The Tomahawk. A bit of a disappointment, but still fun to hit a restaurant that we saw on television. Finally, we arrive at Whistler after a gorgeous drive on the Sea-to-Sky highway.

I must digress again…remember road trips when we were growing up? It involved actually talking to our parents, playing games like 20 Questions and Road Sign Bingo, etc. Road trips today are much different. The kiddos spent the 9 hours or so completely plugged in. They watched movie after movie on their portable DVD players. And as their headphones were not working really well, Jeff and I loaned them our Bose noise canceling headphones. Talk about traveling in the lap of luxury. The bummer is that we miss out on conversation with them, but the benefit is that Jeff and I can have uninterrupted time listening to our music, talking, etc. Emerson and Cole are really great travelers, but then again, who wouldn’t be watching movies for 9 hours straight!

Back to our trip…the hotel at Whistler was great. We stayed at the Crystal Lodge in a two-story condo (much improved according the Miss Emerson!). It was right in the center of Whistler Village so we had a blast walking around, shopping and checking out all the cool stuff. We hiked, kayaked, went up the ski lifts to the Peak2Peak gondola (the world’s longest run of unsupported wire running from Whistler Peak to Blackcomb Peak), played at the Family Fun Zone (bungee trampolines, ropes course, mini-race cars, mini-golf, and more!). But by far the highlight of the trip was a Zip Line tour. Even Cole got to go though he had to ride tandem with one of our guides on a couple of the lines. Talk about an adrenaline rush! Again, we simply had a blast!

Now, before you all go booking your trip to Whistler, I have to give fair warning. Whistler is not inexpensive! Jeff and I were amazed and pretty tired by the end frankly of the expense of the place. The Zip Line tour and Peak2Peak gondola experience (just one day’s worth of entertainment) was almost $600 for our little family of four. Eeeek! We ate breakfast in the room to save a little, but every lunch was at least $50 and no dinner was less than $100. Still, we decided that since we cannot take it with us, we would splurge and just enjoy ourselves…which we did…thoroughly!

On the way back I made the kiddos get out of the car at a provincial park and really look at the stunning scenery. They were non-to-pleased to pause the movie, but really did love the view! We hit the Seattle Premium Outlet Mall on the way to Seattle in Tulalip. What a fabulous outlet mall. It put the Burlington Outlet Mall to shame for sure!

Then, off to Seattle where we splurged again and stayed at the Westin in downtown Seattle. We had an incredible sunny and warm day hitting every possible tourist attraction we could in Seattle. We started with breakfast at Lowell’s in Pike’s Place Market (great place to have breakfast with views of the sound) and then wandered through the market taking in all the sights (flying fish, colorful flowers and fresh fruits and veggies), sounds (street musicians, folks hawking their wares) and smells (fresh seafood, lavender, and the smell of the sea). We checked out the Gum Wall (literally an alley behind Pike’s Place Market where a theater owner, tired of scraping gum off the bottom of the seats in his theater, asked patrons to put the gum on the wall outside the theater). Totally gross, but so cool! In all the years of visiting Seattle, I’d never even heard about the gum wall! Then off to the Great Wheel (the new enclosed ferris wheel that goes out over the sound). Next we hit the Seattle aquarium (love those otters), had a great meal at The Crab Pot (a family favorite), took an Argosy Seattle harbor tour (I had never done that before either), walked up to the monorail and took it over to Seattle center, up to take in the twilight end evening views of Seattle from the Space Needle then back to our hotel. Whew – all that in one day! Needless to say, the kiddos fell asleep in about two minutes! What a spectacular day full of fun and adventure!

Finally, we headed for home. I think we would all agree that it was one of the best family vacations we’ve ever had. It was really nice to then spend a somewhat quiet weekend over Labor Day at the lake relaxing and getting ready to start the school year. I’ll blog about the first week of school next week. Lots of fun stuff!

I have to say, one of the best parts of my job is going on vacation and coming home to deals! I worked on one while we were on vacation (via phone and email) and put a huge deal together for which I am so thankful (we needed to pay for that trip, remember) and then one of my other buyers was signed around by my colleague that watched my business while I am gone. It was such a great week all around!

Don’t forget to check out my website at SabrinaSellsSpokane.com.

Have a great week everyone!

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