Day Trip From Seattle: Vashon Sheepdog Classic

The Vashon Sheepdog Classic in 2015 took place on September 10th to 13th at Misty Isle Farms on Vashon Island, WA.   The competition happened Friday through Sunday, with Thursday being novice day.  Each handler and their dog has the same course to complete with 5 sheep.  They are allotted a certain amount of time to compete the course and are given a total amount of points to start off with.  If sections of the course aren’t completed, then points are deducted accordingly.  In addition, there was a Fiber Arts area set up with demonstrations and instruction about the various uses of wool.

Here are some photos of this fun day-long event!

Vashon Sheepdog Classic

Vashon Sheepdog Classic

Vashon Sheepdog Classic

Vashon Sheepdog Classic

Vashon Sheepdog Classic

Vashon Sheepdog Classic

Vashon Sheepdog Classic

Vashon Sheepdog Classic

Vashon Sheepdog Classic

Vashon Sheepdog Classic

Other tips:  Bring cash!  Bring a blanket or lawn chair and sunscreen!

More Information –

In 2015, admission price was $8/person.  There was a shuttle bus from the ferry terminal for $2 each way.  I would highly recommend this over driving to Misty Isle Farms and trying to park.

Stay tuned to the website for information about the 2016 Vashon Sheepdog Classic!

*All photos are the property of Charlotte Moore, unless stated otherwise, and may not be used without written consent.


Getting ready for our NCL cruise to Alaska!

My sister, Jennifer, and I are headed off on an Alaskan cruise in a little over a week from today.  We are going on the Norwegian Pearl out of Seattle, Washington.  I’m a huge fan of Norwegian and this will be my 6th cruise with NCL.

Photo Courtesy of
Photo Courtesy of

Here is our itinerary:

NCL Pearl


Day Cruise Ports Arrive Depart
Sun Seattle, Washington (EMBARK) 4:00 pm
Mon At Sea
Tue Juneau, Alaska 2:00 pm 10:00 pm
Wed Skagway, Alaska 7:00 am 8:15 pm
Thu Cruise Glacier Bay
Fri Ketchikan, Alaska 6:00 am 1:30 pm
Sat Victoria, British Columbia 6:00 pm 11:59 pm
Sun Seattle, Washington (DISEMBARK) 8:00 am

Now, I’ve done this exact cruise once before in September 2011, but this will be Jennifer’s first time in Alaska.  Aside from planning what we need to pack etc., we have spent a lot of time planning what to do at each port.  Here’s what we have planned!


Sled Dog Discovery and Musher’s Camp – 2 3/4 hrs

Description:  Experience a genuine Alaskan adventure while supporting the official state sport! Take an exhilarating sled ride and play with husky puppies, all in the heart of the lush Alaskan rainforest.

Experience a genuine Alaskan adventure while supporting the official state sport! Take an exhilarating sled ride and play with husky puppies, all in the heart of the lush Alaskan rainforest. Upon arrival at this authentic summer training camp for mushers and their sled dogs, you’ll participate in a sled dog summer training run on a custom designed, wheeled summertime sled. Discover the power of a team of Alaskan huskies as they whisk your sled down a mile long trail through the depths of the Tongass National Rainforest! Then join a dog handler and sled dogs for interactive demonstrations on mushing equipment and the impeccable care the dogs receive.

Your dog handler will also entertain you with knowledge about the training, history, races and inspiring efforts required by this sport. Admire the untamed beauty as you walk across a suspension bridge overlooking Fish Creek. This camp is surrounded by moss-covered forest with huge spruce and hemlock trees. Then cuddle up with a husky puppy and take your picture with one of these adorable future athletes! This excursion is the perfect mix of Alaska’s culture, history, adventure, rugged wilderness, and of course sled dogs and puppies. 


Jennifer – Klondike Rock Climbing and Rappelling – 3 1/4 hrs

Description: Join professional mountain guides for an exciting rock climbing and rappelling adventure on the stunning granite walls of Alaska! Your adventure begins with an interpretive drive through historic Skagway and up into the majestic White Pass Gold Route. A short hike through the temperate rainforest on an interpretive trail will bring you to the base of the spectacular rock face carved by retreating glaciers.

Here you’ll gear up with rock climbing shoes, helmet and harness and then you’re off to enjoy this incredible experience. Choose between over a dozen climbing routes, each ending in an amazing view of the Skagway River and the surrounding wilderness. You’ll also have an opportunity to try an awesome 70 foot rappel! This adventure is perfect for those looking to try rock climbing for the first time, as well as for experienced climbers. 

Charlotte – Glacier Discovery by Helicopter – 2 hrs

Description: Experience the infinite beauty of Alaska’s remote glaciers! A short drive brings you to the heliport where, following a safety video, you’ll be outfitted with boots and vests. Lift off from the historic Skagway waterfront and head into a rugged region of sheer mountains, majestic valleys and massive glaciers. Jagged peaks towering over the Chilkat Glacier, cascading waterfalls surrounding the Ferebee Glacier, or the spectacular “river of ice” known as the Meade Glacier, may be among the wonders you’ll encounter.

Upon arrival at your glacial destination you’ll have the rare opportunity to explore one of Mother Nature’s greatest marvels. Enjoy a walking exploration of the river of ice, while experienced glacier guides answer your questions and explain the awesome forces at work.

Since we’re in Skagway for a full day, we are considering booking this one too, in the afternoon:

Historic Dyea and Skagway Boomtown Tour – 2 3/4 hrs

Enjoy VIP treatment on this exclusive historical driving tour of the most scenic spots that Skagway and Dyea have to offer. Your knowledgeable guide will take you through the bustling streets of Skagway in a deluxe passenger van. Then sit back and enjoy the breathtaking coastline drive to the most northern point of the inside Passage – the once bustling town of Dyea, now a protected area of the Klondike Gold Rush National Park. Here you’ll see the majestic scenery and wildlife of the tidal flats and the start of the famous Chilkoot Trail that led so many men to early graves.

Stroll through the Slide Cemetery, quietly commemorating the scores of men and women who perished in the deadly avalanche in the spring of 1898. Walk the old main street of Dyea, once a town to rival Skagway, now almost entirely reclaimed by nature. On your way back to Skagway you’ll stop at the Skagway overlook for a bird’s eye view of the Skagway valley and an excellent photo opportunity of your ship in port. Your tour finishes with an outdoor picnic and a cold beer along the banks of the rushing Skagway River. Avoid the masses and enjoy the high quality and benefits of small group touring!

Cruising Glacier Bay 

A park ranger comes on board during our day slowing cruising around Glacier Bay National Park.  They explain where we are and what we’re seeing as we get up close to some beautiful glaciers.  Afterwards, the ranger gives a presentation in the theatre.  It was a highlight from the last time I was on the Pearl.


Bear Country & Wildlife Expedition – 3 1/4 hrs

Description: Visit the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary for this unique opportunity to see black bear in their native habitat. Your tour begins with a narrated city tour and eight mile coastal drive to the sanctuary. Your naturalist guide will bring the forest to life as you meander along a trail, leading to a series of elevated bridges and platforms. Watch for bears from the safety of above ground platforms which maximize your viewing and provide protection.

To limit impact, only a limited number of small groups have access to this exclusive bear viewing area. Leaving the private elevated wildlife viewing system, the rainforest trail transforms to a boardwalk perched over grassy wetlands alongside Eagle Creek, where bears and seals come to fish for Alaska’s abundant salmon. Bald eagles and other birds wait for scraps in the estuary.

See a Bald Eagle and a Great Northern Owl up close in the raptor center, where a wildlife specialist explains the habitat and heritage of America’s national symbol. Be guided through the historic Herring Bay Lumber Company Sawmill to a master Native carving a large totem pole. Your tour ends with a visit to the general store for shopping and snacks. This is a great tour for photographers and nature lovers, alike.


TBD – We will likely walk around exploring the Inner Harbour.  As we’re there during the evening, there are not many excursions to choose from.


On this cruise, we’re staying in an inside stateroom since Jennifer tends to be a bit green at times.  You never spend a ton of time in the room anyway so this way we can save money and spend it on excursions instead!

This is the first cruise that I’ve booked with a TA, instead of directly with NCL.  Now that I’m in Canada it made more sense to pay in $CAD so I went through Expedia Cruise Ship Centers in Yaletown.  As this will be my 6th cruise with Norwegian, so I’m gold status with the Latitudes program.  There are some great perks of joining the Latitudes program, including on-board credit, Latitude’s party with ship officers, welcome aboard gift, priority boarding etc.

Quick tip: Cruise Critic is a great website to find reviews and/or ask questions of fellow cruisers –  If you’re interested in meeting up with new people on the cruise, you can join the roll call for your cruise and generally a meet & greet is scheduled with some of the ship’s officers.

Check back after our trip for reviews of the cruise, ports, tours and more, plus lots of photos!

Day Trip from Seattle: Bainbridge Island/Kitsap County

Bainbridge Island is a beautiful island, only five miles wide and ten miles long.  It’s just a short 35 minute ferry ride across Puget Sound from Seattle.  This itinerary would make a great day trip from Seattle!

View from the Bainbridge Ferry
View from the Bainbridge Ferry

While there are many things to do on or near Bainbridge Island in Kitsap County, this post focuses on 3 great places to explore.

First up, the Storyville Coffee Company!  The Storyville Coffee Company Roasting Studio is located on Bainbridge Island.   Upstairs you can find the tasting room, which includes a full service espresso bar and some tasty snacks.  You can find their facility at a business park called Coppertop Park.

“Don’t miss this” tip:  Don’t forget to ask for the tasting item of the day.  This is a baked good that they are developing, and best of all – it’s free!

Macchiato & Salted Caramel Linzer-style cookie
Macchiato & Salted Caramel Linzer-style cookie
Storyville Espresso Bar
Storyville Espresso Bar

Next up, CB’s Nuts.  This small nut roastery is located in an old Kitsap fire station at the intersection of Hwy 104 and Hwy 307.  Here you can find freshly roasted nuts, seed and nut butters.  There is an antique roaster which roasts peanuts daily.  You can also hang out here and enjoy a beer or two!

“Don’t miss this” tip:  Don’t forget to ask to taste something!  I would recommend the cashew cardamom butter 🙂

CB's Nuts
Entrance to CB’s Nuts
Bicycle Grinder!
Bicycle Grinder!

Finally, Sawdust Hill Alpaca Farm.  A little off the beaten path, this small alpaca farm is a lovely place to visit.  You can choose to take a tour of the farm ($60 for 4 people, by reservation), or a mini barn tour (11am at feeding time – $5/person), or choose to visit the store and look around the barn (free!).  The farm store has raw fiber and yarns, as well as finished clothes and a few other items for sale.

Sawdust Hill



Storyville Coffee Company

9459 Coppertop Loop NE

Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Phone: 206-780-5777

Hours: Everyday 8am-4pm

Live music on the 2nd Saturday of each month!


CB’s Nuts

6013 NE State Highway 104
Kingston, WA 98346

Phone: (360) 881-0369

Hours: Mon-Thur 10am-5pm, Fri-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm


Sawdust Hill Alpaca Farm

25448 Port Gamble Road NE

Poulsbo, WA 98370

Phone: (360) 286-9999

Farm Store Hours: Daily 11am-4pm.


*All photos are the property of Charlotte Moore, unless stated otherwise, and may not be used without written consent.

Skagit Valley Tulips

I know I said that I was going to feature Thailand during the month of April, but last weekend, while on my way down to Seattle, I visited the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  Since the festival only happens during the month of April, and starting earlier or later depending on the tulips, I figured I should write this one up quite quickly.  For 2015, the festival started about a week early, and will go until April 30th.  Skagit Valley Tulips


Rogue red tulip! 

Skagit Valley Tulips

Here the workers are cutting the flowers in the early morning hours before the rest of the tourists arrive! 

Skagit Valley is exactly halfway between Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC, and directly off I-5.  It gets super busy on the weekends (the freeway exits back up), so it’s best to go early or on weekdays.  The show gardens are open from 9am-5pm everyday.  There are 2 main show gardens, RoozenGarde and Tulip Town, plus acres of fields to see.  This is a driving tour, so you’ll need to pick up a map or download it from their website.  Note, it changes every year so you’ll have to make sure you get a new one as the crop fields rotate.  You’ll see tulips, daffodils, irises, and even corn.

Skagit Valley Tulips

I decided to leave Vancouver super early (4:45am), to arrive just at sunrise (6:41am on April 3rd).  None of the show gardens are open then, but I was able to drive around the whole area and occasionally pull off the road for a few photos.   This daffodil one below is probably my favourite.

Daffodils at Sunrise

As you can see, the daffodils are almost finished for the season.  This photo was taken April 3rd. 

Skagit Valley Tulips

Skagit Valley Tulips




When:  April each year.  Bloom times vary so visit the map to find out exactly when:

Where: Skagit Valley, exits 221-231 off I-5.

Show Gardens:  RoozenGarde and Tulip Town.  $5 admission, includes free parking.  At the show gardens, you can purchase bulbs and buy cut flowers.  Open 9am-5pm.

Limited parking on the side of the roads – and sheriffs will ticket you!

*All photos are the property of Charlotte Moore, unless stated otherwise, and may not be used without written consent.

Drink Your Way Through Bainbridge Island, WA

Bainbridge Island is a beautiful island, only five miles wide and ten miles long.  It’s just a short 35 minute ferry ride across Puget Sound from Seattle.  This itinerary would make a great day trip from Seattle!

Bainbridge Island Ferry, Seattle, Eagle Harbor

Bainbridge Island Ferry

While there are many things to do on Bainbridge Island, this post focuses on 3 great places to enjoy a drink.

First up, the Bainbridge Organic Distillers!  Bainbridge Organic Distillers is Washington State’s first distillery producing USDA organic gin, vodka and whiskey.   They are also the only distillery producing spirits from scratch and on site.   They make small batches, and tend to sell out quite quickly.  They have 4 products:  Bainbridge Legacy Organic Vodka, Bainbridge Heritage Organic Doug Fir Gin, Bainbridge Battle Point Organic Wheat Whiskey (I’m drinking this right now!), and finally Bainbridge Organic Vanilla Whiskey.  Check out their website to see the numerous awards that they’ve won, even after only being founded in 2009.  You can find their facility at a business park called Coppertop Park.

“Don’t miss this” tip:  Seasonally, the distillery produces maple syrup that has been aged in the barrels of their Battle Point Organic Wheat Whiskey!  More details are below.

Next up, Bainbridge Island Brewing Company.  Literally next door to the distillery you can find this great brewery.  They have a flagship line of 5 beers:  Kommuter Kolsh (ABV 5.0%, IBU 20), Eagle Harbor IPA (ABV 6.0%, IBU 60), Bainbridge Pale Ale (ABV 5.4%, IBU 40), Arrow Point Amber (ABV 5.2%, IBU 25), and Battle Point Stout (ABV 6.6%, IBU 45).  In addition, there are plenty of seasonal options to try as well.  There is no kitchen at the brewery, but they encourage you to bring a picnic or take out food.  There is also free wifi and plenty of tv’s to watch local sports.   Check out their event calendar for trivia, live music and more.

“Don’t miss this” tip: The brewery is dog friendly! Again, more details are below.

Finally, Rolling Bay Winery.  A little off the beaten path, this small boutique winery shouldn’t be missed.  You will likely be greeted by winemaker Alphonse de Klerk when you arrive. You won’t be disappointed by the friendly people and delicious wine.  For a small winery, they produce a surprising variety of wines, including: chardonnary, pinot gris, manitou red (blend), cabernet sauvignon, and syrah.

“Don’t miss this” tip:  Rolling Bay Winery is open every other weekend for tasting so you must check the website to confirm they are open before you visit.   Further details are below.

Bainbridge Island Beach

Bainbridge Island Beach w/ a view of Mt. Rainer


Bainbridge Organic Distillers

9727 Coppertop Loop NE, Suite 101

Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Phone: 206-842-3184

Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-5pm

Free tasting!

Bainbridge Island Brewing Company

9415 Coppertop Loop NE, Suite 103

Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Phone: 206-451-4646

Hours: Mon-Fri 2pm-9pm, Sat 12pm-9pm, Sun 12pm-7pm

Rolling Bay Winery

1034 Beachcrest Drive

Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Phone: 206-419-3355

Tasting every other weekend, $5 tasting fee

*All photos are the property of Charlotte Moore, unless stated otherwise, and may not be used without written consent.