A Travellerspoint blog

Poffertjes Please

A day at the NWW Fair

sunny 75 °F

Each year in August, my favorite week roles around to the sounds of merry-go-rounds, the colors of brightly adorned booths, and the smells of all things greasy, fried, and butter laden. Fair week brings with it all my guilty pleasures -- elephant ears, corn on the cob, curly fries, mini doughnuts, funnel cakes, and my all time love – poffertjes. Hold on, what? You have never had poffertjes at a Fair? Well apparently you have yet to attend the Lynden based Northwest Washington Fair. For those in the dark, poffertjes are a Dutch specialty – tiny, pillow like pancakes, and the reason I have spent the entire last week in the gym. So it was that last Monday I found myself partaking in the gluttony of Fair life.


When Dan and I arrived, we loosened up our belts and guiltily found the entrance to the Fair which we knew to be closest to the Poffertjes and then beelined it to booth as though our lives depended on it. We watched as the tiny puffed pancakes were flipped in their silver dollar sized compartments on the griddle. As they turned golden brown, they were quickly transferred to a plate, sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with a sugary butter topping. All the while I stood in a Homer Simpson like stance, drooling only slightly, as my camera bag hung neglected around my back. Apparently I may be a photo fanatic, but one thing stands in my way of taking pictures: Poffertjes. I left having completely forgotten to take any photos and only realized my mistake once back at home. Shame on me. I must find someone who makes these wondrous creations here in Seattle so that I may document my love affair and succumb to my shortcomings.

Once the poffertjes experience was out of the way Dan and I were really at a loss for how to amuse ourselves. But low and behold who did we stumble across sitting on the bench of a dunk tank? My sister Brianna, all sopping wet and feisty from too many plunges in the pool. Well of course I had to get my revenge on her -- she is my sister after all. So I enlisted the help of Dan (who has a much better aim and arm than I) and down she went -- all smiles of course. With the effective torture of my sister out of the way I was fairly satisfied with my day at that Fair.



But our day wasn’t over yet, we still had to go explore the animal barns where we admired some of the cutest baby goats, sheep, and cows. I oohed and ahhed over their cuteness for what seemed like most of the afternoon. I was always that child growing up who had every imaginable pet possible – newts, rats, parakeets, gerbils. So of course walking through the rabbit and poultry barns I could be found begging Dan to let me have a pet chicken. Ever so gently, so as not to crush my hopes and dreams, he reminded me that we live in an apartment, in the city, and was I prepared to handle that? I guess not. But what about rabbit? The cats we have already would love a pet rabbit. But sadly, Dan said no, and my plans of owning a farm in the city were unrealized.




We finished off the day by touring the rides (I was not about to spend a months salary to enjoy a few spins on the ferris wheel) and then made our way back past the poffertjes – heads held high as we proceeded to exit the Fair. This being the first year in history that I have not ate my way through a million calories of these sugary coated goodies I felt quite proud – for the short term. Along the two hour drive home I began to regret this decision. It’s only once a year, right? Next time I am taking the poffertjes by storm, no regrets, no guilt.

Posted by Jennylynn 14:57 Archived in USA Tagged events Comments (0)

The City of Subdued Excitement


Bellingham, Washington can be defined by many mantras: an outdoor enthusiast playground, a hippie Mecca, a college student delight, or a retiree dream. Surrounded by rolling hills of green, snow capped mountain ranges, and ocean side cliffs one would be hard pressed to match the beauty found within this tiny corner of the Pacific Northwest. With Canada being the closest neighbor to the North, Bellingham is often the turn-around-point for I-5 road trippers – that is if they were lucky enough to continue past Seattle and wander into the wild woods up North.


From the outskirts, Bellingham has a sleepy charm. Early 1900's houses line the quaint streets surrounding the University where college students live side by side with their professors. Deeper in the city fresh graduates make a living in the business district while residing in the growing number of low-rise condominiums. Just past that, retirees and newly weds alike gather in cul-de-sac communities. The population is booming, tourism is rising, and the city is doing its best to keep up.


What is it about Bellingham that attracts so many? Approaching the city the answer is clear. Miles of green surround you in all directions and despite the grungy college scene; the city is squeaky clean and environmentally friendly. Downtown Bellingham contains an artsy mix of second hand shops, galleries, and organic restaurants. And just outside the city center one could get lost on the miles upon miles of hiking trails, parks, and ocean side boulevards. Bellingham plays hosts to a plethora of outdoor activities and every year residents partake in the day long festival known as the Ski-to-Sea, literally taking participants from the heights of Mt. Baker to the waves of Puget Sound.


Bellingham is my college hometown, the first place where I stepped outside of my kid shoes and became an adult. In many ways, Bellingham defined the person I am now. Surrounding myself with the liberal, environmentally conscious, tree-hugger, animal-rights activists that some may say primarily comprise Bellingham’s population; I slowly evolved from someone who was afraid to stand up for I believed in – into someone who could. I may not have quite adapted all the eccentricities of the stereotypical Bellingham hippie (No dreads for me, thank-you!), but I can safely say they effectively rubbed off on me in many ways.


It is no secret that Bellingham is the place to visit in the Pacific Northwest, and its proximity to Seattle and Vancouver, BC make it the perfect weekend getaway. If the natural beauty of the area doesn't sweep you away - the dreaded, bare footed hippies are sure to make an impression.

Posted by Jennylynn 15:51 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Follow the Red Brick Road


As I travel to new destinations, I try to make time to visit the local colleges or universities. This often provides hours of free entertainment as I wander along the pathways, admiring the structures and art that dot the campus. I could waste a way an afternoon exploring the depths of the periodicals within the libraries, or pass the time enjoying the free art museums and cheap college food. There is no better way to feel like a local than to surround yourself with hundreds of college students -- often times these are the people that will give you the greatest guidance on exploring their city. On a recent trip to Bellingham, I paid homage to my alma mater Western Washington University. Instead of bustling about as I did between classes, I took the time to really enjoy the sleepy summer campus in all it's glory.


Western Washington University is a stunning campus of brick and ivy splendidly mixed with the modern iron and steel framed buildings of recent. The campus dates back to 1893 when it was a women's college devoted to educating future teachers. Today the University is one of six publicly funded state Universities offering Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Washington State.


So - you may be wondering what the heck I studied at Western? If not, you are about to hear it anyway. I originally transferred to Western after having received my associate’s degree -- while still in high school I might add! At 16 I had worked as the editor for the community college paper and was working towards a degree in journalism when I transferred to Western. Well, as most students do, I changed my major after hearing horror stories of penniless journalists churning out articles like robots. So, I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in Psychology with plans to continue towards a Master's degree. I thought being a counselor would bring me the prestige and money that "society" expected of me. The downside: I wasn't happy. Writing and researching stories made me happy. Meeting new people and exploring new places put me over the moon.


So now we've come to the present. I gave up my plan of ever becoming a counselor and I now work as a nanny. Society may not look at being a nanny as a prestigious career, but I absolutely love my job. Not only to I get to play in the park most days, but I also have the flexibility to travel and explore, and thus, write this blog. So after my long-winded explanation I give you the moral of the story dear friends: Follow your heart, wherever it may take you. If you're happy - that is all that matters.


Oh, and while your traveling or even at home, get out there and explore a college campus. Hang out with the students who aren't afraid to be themselves and get in touch with who you were before you had to become a grown-up. We could all use a little bit of a reality check now and then.


Posted by Jennylynn 07:36 Archived in USA Tagged educational Comments (0)

Sandcastles on Richmond Beach


To top off the Celebrate Shoreline weekend, I spent the day at Richmond Beach enjoying the sun, surf, and sandcastle competition. Here are some of the photos I took when I wasn't beach combing and lounging in the sun. Enjoy!



Posted by Jennylynn 09:12 Archived in USA Tagged photography Comments (0)

Celebrate Shoreline


This week I fell victim to the JetBlue “All-You-Can-Jet” pass. For those of you who live under a rock and haven’t heard, for $599 you can fly as frequently as you wish to any of JetBlue’s 56 destinations. The catch – I have only one month. So pardon the break in blog entries this past week as I was frantically booking flights and plotting out my adventures over the month. Not to mention, today is Natalie’s wedding…whom you may recall from last weeks bachelorette extravaganza. So here I am, on her wedding day donning my bridesmaid garb blogging about my recent adventures in Shoreline. Hardcore? Totally. I wouldn’t want to let you down.

So yesterday began the festivities of Celebrate Shoreline, an annual event which, hence the name, celebrates Shoreline. Although I blog quite a bit about Seattle, I technically live in Shoreline, just 30 minutes north of Seattle. Here you will find my humble abode, nestled between a court house, casino, and strip club. I could bet it all on red, win big, toss it all to a stripper, and pay a parking ticket all on the same block. Yeah, I know how to live large.

Just a little bit up the street however, sits an old converted school house. I most have drove past it hundreds of times without knowing that this brick school house is actually the Shoreline Historical Museum. So, whenever the husband and I have a morning or evening off we try to find new places to explore close to home. Hence, we found ourselves on the doorstep of this quaint museum yesterday.



Upon stepping inside we were greeted by an energetic, middle-aged woman who was clearly excited to have visitors in the noticeably empty museum. We had barely stepped over the threshold and she proceeded to tell us the history of Shoreline over the next 30 minutes. After her wonderful introduction we explored the museum on our own. The displays were informative and interactive. Dan even took to practicing his best college subject… napping in class:


We were surprised to find out that Shoreline once held Seattle’s amusement park, Playland, from 1930-1961. Complete with giant wooden roller coasters, water rides, and bumper cars, Playland was a “million dollar pleasure resort.” The archives of photos were amazing, here are a couple photos that I snapped shots of (is that against copyright laws? If so, don’t tell anyone!):


Leaving the creaky, wooden floored schoolhouse we walked back up the street, passing the skuzzy 24 hour casinos and littered bus stops. The celebrate Shoreline festivities were not over yet. We still had one more place to check out. And no, it wasn’t the strip joint – jeez people.

On the edges of Shoreline tucked into the corner of a large playfield sits a skate park. Constantly filled with teeny-boppers donning casts and crutches, this park has a wholesome feel to it with a playground sitting beside it. Families sit scattered around the park enjoying picnics while young boys watch in awe as the pre-teens skate around.


On this particular day, the Celebrate Shoreline festivities included a skate competition, complete with all the free Red Bull one could ever consume in a lifetime. The air was buzzing with energy.


Dan and I took a seat and watched as dozens of teenagers crashed, collided, and skidded across the park. In other words, it was one big testosterone competition. Regardless of the inevitable injuries, there were a few good skaters who strutted their stuff across the park as onlookers cheered them on. After an hour, I had had enough. My body hurt just watching the kids throw their bodies around. How do they do it?


The Celebrate Shoreline events continue through the weekend and tomorrow I will be snapping shots at Richmond Beach of the sand castle competition. Stay tuned!

Posted by Jennylynn 10:57 Archived in USA Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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