One of the joys of being a school bus driver is having the same vacation schedule as my daughters. My mom wanted to travel somewhere, but I convinced her that daytrips would be just as satisfying. Our first day trip was North, to Padilla Bay.
It is about an 80 minute drive from Seattle (if there is little traffic).
After lunch at a roadside cafe, we went to the Padilla Bay Interpretive Center, a little jewel on a quiet road along the coast. It is a magnet for school groups and researchers, not so much tourists.
The interpretive center had displays and educational materials for all ages. Here we are in the classroom geared toward preschool and early elementary students.
Grammy scores 100%, which surprises no one!
Some of the colors were truly breathtaking.
Various crabs say "hello."
After we'd seen all there was to see in the interpretive center, we lounged around outside, enjoying the sunshine -- an unusual gift in April in the typically rainy Pacific Northwest! The girls had fun making daisy chains.
On the rolling grounds of the interpretive center, with the bay in the background.
Samish Island has a mix of old fishing shacks and weekend cabins as well as newer mega-houses owned by tech millionaires.
Some of the cottages on Samish Island were adorable!
Of course a school bus driver always has eyes peeled for bus sheds, and there were some sweet ones along this rural road.
Wouldn't you love to wait for your school bus in this cute little house with a view of the water, islands, and massive container ships floating by?
It was a tidy little community, perhaps in part because they had these neat dog poop collection stops.
They are very well utilized, or else someone hasn't kept to the collection schedule, because the pail was overflowing.
A funny side note: We were headed south when Little K couldn't find her purse in the car. Turns out she'd left it back at the interpretive center, so we went back, and there it was, on the grass where she left it. About 3 miles down the road A realized she didn't have her sun hat. I turned the van around and we headed back to the interpretive center yet again, and found her hat where she'd left it on a rock, less than 3 feet from where Little K's purse had just been. Powers of observation were a little "off" today because we were in awe of all the spectacular scenery.
We drove back toward Seattle through the Skagit Valley, and since it was April, that meant Tulips!
It was early enough in the Season that many Daffodil and Narcissus varieties were still in bloom, too. We stopped by the demonstration gardens of some commercial growers to admire the flowers.
The ravenous slugs, deer, and rabbits in my neighborhood would never allow a display like this in my garden. I used to try, but gave up after a couple years of having all the buds nipped off days before blooming.
Continuing south back toward Seattle, we discovered a new Botanical Garden under construction! Note the glass sculptures mixed into the flower beds.
Grammy was too tired to get out of the car, so I moved the car to several spots where she could have a nice overlook while the girls and I explored. This spot is above Daffodil Hill.
I love this old red farmhouse.
Little Sister Photobomb!
The gardens surround the Freeborn Lutheran Church, built in 1900. We wandered the gardens and cemetery until sunset, then got back on the freeway to head home. It had been a satisfying day of appreciating nature and architecture, discovering new things, and being together.