4 months…

AND TEN CITIES!

san diego, phoenix, jacksonville, philly, baltimore, las vegas, chicago, vancouver, seattle, omaha! Whew!!

I am looking forward to catching my breath and having just a moment to spare!  There hasn’t been a lot of free time on my calendar recently. I have a trip to New Orleans in the beginning of June- I am SO excited to spend my week with Kevin!! We make great memories on the road together and I can’t wait to experience our SWAMP tour in the Bayou. And then relax this summer as I begin my “reduced travel agenda”…  So far, it’s been a joke but honestly I am traveling less, soon… I promise!

A significant highlight for me this Spring was my trip to the Pacific Northwest – Vancouver and Seattle.  It was lucky to have 7 full days with Mom and Dad. Of course, I worked in Vancouver for our annual Canadian Summit but we had plenty of time to go out and see the beautiful sites, enjoy the spring weather and we had 2 full days in one of my favorite cities, Seattle!

We loved the scenic views from out hotel, the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We stayed here Saturday through Wednesday before departing for Seattle.

PHOTO HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR TRIP~

Mom and I at the Pike Place Market in Seattle

Dad and I riding bikes around Stanley Park in Vancouver

Granville Island in Vancouver was magnificent! The plentiful public market had so much to offer including local freshly prepared food, imported fruit and vegetables, organic coffee, art and jewelry. We enjoyed banana chips, freshly squeezed fruit smoothies, a hot lunch and coffee.  http://www.granvilleisland.com/public-market

Inside Granville Island Market, Vancouver

We were surprised to see palm trees and beaches as well as snow capped mountains in the distance.  Vancouver is definitely an IDEAL place to live.  I am so glad that we got to experience it together. If you ever get a chance, it is on my top 3 cities to see in North America.

beach, sand, palm trees, ocean, mountail, snow = Incredible!

Sunday afternoon after setting up with my team for our conference and before our evening registration and opening keynote, we rode around Stanley Park on bikes that we rented.  The entire bike route was 5.5 miles and it took us about 2 hours.  We stopped often to take in the beautiful views! It was so much fun to ride bikes together, when is the last time that happened? Twenty years ago when I was 8?? Dad led the way and Mom and I peddled right along behind.

Stanley Park – best bike ride of my life!

On Tuesday Mom and Dad took a day tour of Whistler, home of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. http://www.olympic.org/vancouver-2010-winter-olympics

Wednesday was the last day of my conference. On Thursday at 6 AM, we rode the luxurious Amtrak train from Vancouver to Seattle. The ride was comfortable and despite the rain, we had amazing views. It was about a 4 hour ride and cost only about $40 per person. We ate breakfast, enjoyed coffee and took in the beautiful scenery. It felt like old fashioned luxury and despite being tired from the early departure, it was so worth it!

Amtrak Cascades from Vancouver to Seattle

Our hotel for Thursday through Saturday was the Westin in Seattle. (Yes, we lived in Westin hotels for the week) From our 40th floor suite, we had great views of the city as well as the Space Needle, Seattle’s infamous landmark. We were very lucky to experience the 2 bedroom suite, compliments of my business associate, “Preston from the Westin”.

We had a ball at The Pike Place Market!  Here we ate at Lowell’s famous seafood restaurant. We also visited the very first and original Starbucks.  I ordered all of us “Cafe’ Americanos” and they were divine. It is quite small inside that Old Starbucks and there is always a local jazz group singing outside the storefront. They are so busy, at a constant pace, but are entertaining baristas. They throw around cups, call out orders, sing- it is a show in itself. http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/

First Starbucks

In the market, we sampled fresh fruit, bought a t-shirt and some local art and loved the beautiful floral bouquets. We even got to see local fisherman toss huge fresh fish inside the market! We bought upholstery designed sunglass cases.  They are beautiful and we each use ours everyday remembering our fantastic visit to the Pike Place Market. You should check out her Etsy shop- http://www.etsy.com/shop/sandrassatchels

Mom & Dad in Seattle

During the Underground tour on Friday, we learned about the history of Seattle and the original 30 blocks that were built on top of after the Great Fire.

We packed in so much in to our 7 days and it was just a perfect vacation!  We were so lucky that we had beautiful weather especially considering those cities are known for rain! As you all well know, I value my time with Mom and Dad! I must say, thank you M&D for motivating me to go out and see so much of these spectacular cities. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have seen half of what I did with you. We certainly walked our butts off and managed to exercise a bunch meanwhile eating the very best of the Pacific Northwest – fresh seafood!

The Crab Pot

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