In which, here are some things to do in Seattle while at AAPD

When it was first announced that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)’s conference would be in Seattle while I was here as a resident, I was a little disappointed – one of the highlights of residency is traveling somewhere during your graduation year. Going to Boston last year made up for it, but still. After having traveled all over the US in the past five months however, my tune has changed and I am very excited to have a conference where I can sleep in my own bed.

So, if you’re coming to our current city, here are some of my favorite things to do. I hope you enjoy your stay as much as we have!

Within walking distance of the Convention Center (West, up the hill)

  • This is the Capitol Hill neighborhood – the historic “LGBTQ neighborhood” now is filled with hipsters, fancy restaurants, art galleries and startups. A great infographic (made of course by an infographic specific startup in Capitol Hill) can be seen here.
View from Capitol Hill looking downtown

View from Capitol Hill looking downtown

  • Food
    • Sitka and Spruce: Classic Seattle farm-to-table dining with a menu changing nightly.  The space is just lovely – the restaurant is housed within Melrose Market (which has Taylor Shellfish if you like oysters, a distillery or two and some Seattle-y small shops: flower shop, butcher, cheese shop etc)
    • Mamnoon: Delicious Lebanese fusion that is still very “Seattle”
    • Oddfellows Cafe: Great dining space and food. Takes reservations. Check out the Elliot Bay Book Company next door
    • Barrio: One of my favorite fancy Mexican restaurants
    • La Spiga: Excellent Italian food
    • Dick’s Drive-In: Hometown hero Macklemore shot a video here and while the burgers are good, the fries aren’t awesome (acceptable if doused in tartar sauce). It’s a Seattle icon and cheap. Cash only.
    • Really anywhere along The Pike-Pine corridor or along Madison – it will be hopping on Thursday/Friday/Saturday nights
  • Sites
    • Broadway is a street with a young scene. A lot of easy to grab food and funky shops. Seattle Central College’s campus is here.
    • Cal Anderson Park – grab some Molly Moon’s ice cream and watch people play bike polo (it’s weirdly entertaining and some of the best in the world practice here).
    • Starbucks Roastery – their uber fancy Seattle coffee room. Better than the Original Starbucks in the Market (and less tourists vying to snap a photo of the mermaid with boobs), but still Starbucks. Other great coffees include Caffe Vita, Broadcast Coffee, and Top Pot (which also has amazing doughnuts)
    • Some of the best people-watching in the city, and very few of them will be tourists.
Bike polo near Cal Anderson Park

Bike polo near Cal Anderson Park

Within walking distance of the Convention Center (East, down the hill)

  • This is the City Center/Downtown/Pike Place Market area – the touristy area that you should at least check out so you can say you’ve “been to Seattle”:
Seattle skyline from the waterfront

Seattle skyline from the waterfront

  • Food
    •  Plenty of stalls to grab fresh fruit or veggies from in the Market
    • Of course you’ll find all your chain restaurants in the City Center: Cheesecake Factory, Capitol Grill, Ruth’s Chris, etc (but you didn’t come all this way to eat there, right?)
    • The Original Starbucks – it’ll be the one with a long line of tourists with cameras. It serves the same drinks as the others, but with a longer wait. You can get a specialty roast there that is only sold in that store, but otherwise, I’d just peek in and skip the line.
    • Etta’s – or really any of the Tom Douglas restaurants. Grab fresh seafood here instead of the higher priced restaurants in the Market proper (Matt’s, Cafe Campagne, etc) or the decent, but panders-to-tourists Pike Place Chowder.
      • Speaking of Tom Douglas, his other restaurants that are in walking distance: Lola (Mediterranean), Dahlia Lounge (new American), Serious Pie (pizza – delicious!), SeaBar (seafood/oysters), Palace Kitchen (comfort food, open late), Tanaka San (“unauthentic Asian street food” – his words, not mine), and most recenty Cantina Lena (Mexican).
    • A little further out, but delicious: Bar Sajor is a Mediterranean/almost north African inspired, lots of great spices, still with a Northwest twist
    • Rachel’s Ginger Beer – delicious and comes in a bunch of seasonal flavors. Also has a cute tasting room with great views of Elliot Bay and the ferries
    • Local 360 and Spur Gastropub – both farm-to-table places and delicious

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  • Sites
    • We are home to the original Nordstrom’s and the flagship store for REI (two stories of gear with an outdoor bike track) – both fun buildings to check out.
    • Once in the Market, stop by the Gum Wall: down Post Alley, gross, but a good picture
    • Watch them throw fish on the corner at Pike Place Fish Company
    • Wander down through the Market to the Seattle Waterfront. It’s under a lot of construction (we’re trying to replace the ugly double-decker Highway 99 that threatens to fall into Elliot Bay during an earthquake)
      • Seattle Aquarium ($22): Play in tide pools and see the great otter exhibit. Good feel of PNW wildlife.
      • Walk out on the piers for great views of the stadiums, Seattle harbor and Mount Rainier on a sunny day. If you look back and see Smith Tower (white, pointy building) – it was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi and someone lives in the top spire.
      • Seattle Wheel ($13): I’ve never been able to justify the price and go up in it, but fun to look at.
      • If you have time: a great hour to two hour trip is to walk onto a ferry and go over the Bainbridge Island. It’s $8 and gives you the opportunity to 1) ride on a Washington state ferry from the busiest ferry terminal in the US, 2) check out Bainbridge (there’s a great ice cream shop at the ferry terminal) and 3) have spectacular views of the city, the Sound, the Olympic mountains out on the peninsula and get some fresh air. One of my favorite things to do with out-of-towners.
      • Also can ride the water taxi out to Alki Beach if you’re short on time and see where the first settlers tried to brave out a stormy winter.
    • Also, just FYI: we’re currently protesting the Shell Oil rig on it’s way up drill near Alaska. You’ll see a bunch of people kayaking in the Harbor as “kayaktavists”  #sHellNo
Activists participate in the sHell No Flotilla part of the Paddle In Seattle protest.  Nearly a thousand people from country gathered May 16, 2015 in Seattle's Elliot Bay for a family-friendly festival and on-land rally to protest against Shell’s Arctic drilling plans.  Photo by Greenpeace

Activists participate in the sHell No Flotilla part of the Paddle In Seattle protest. Nearly a thousand people from country gathered May 16, 2015 in Seattle’s Elliot Bay for a family-friendly festival and on-land rally to protest against Shell’s Arctic drilling plans. Photo by Greenpeace

Will require either a taxi or an Uber ride, but worth it (organized by neighborhood)

All of these will be a $10-15 ride, but you can walk a lot or do other activities while you’re there and will show you a taste of how real Seattlites live.

Gas Works Park from the water

Gas Works Park from the water

  • Lake Union/U-District/Wallingford
    • You can rent a bike (maybe at REI?) and ride around it – great interurban lake.
    • Gas Works Park: at the north end, one of my favorite views of the city. Great for a picnic lunch. If you’re going that way, stop by Paseo’s in Fremont for one of my favorite sandwiches of all time (cash only, expect a line).
    • Rent a kayak at Agua Verde in the U-district (it’s really close to the dental school if you’d like to see that, but it’s old and kind of ugly, so would not recommend). You can paddle out to Lake Union (calmer) or Lake Washington (if you’re feeling brave) and enjoy tacos afterwards. Next to the University of Washington
    • Center for Wooden Boats and the MOHAI – great Seattle cultural areas in South Lake Union (where Amazon reigns)
    • Ivar’s Salmon House (a Seattle icon) or Westward (outdoor fireplace!) for delicious seafood and spectacular views of the city across Lake Union. Both take reservations.
    • We live in the Wallingford neighborhood which we love – let me know if you have an specific questions about food there (or see our Seattle Survey).
View of the city from Gas Works Park

View of the city from Gas Works Park

  • Queen Anne
    • This is near the Seattle Center where the Reception will be. Since that’s included in the AAPD I’m not going to go into detail about it, but it’s an easy walk to Westlake Center (a shopping area) and then you can take the monorail down to it. There are only terminal stops on the monorail despite the vote every few years to extend it throughout the city.
    • One of my favorite views of the city is at Kerry Park, up the hill and you can see Mount Rainier on a sunny day
My mom and I in front of the Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge in Fremont

My mom and I in front of the Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge in Fremont

  • Ballard/Fremont
    • Fremont has a reputation for being where all the old hippies in Seattle live and they are the self-proclaimed “Center of the Universe”. Funky shops and great food including Revel, The Whale Wins, Agrodolce, Joule and Roux.
    • Awesome tasting room and some of my favorite beer at the Fremont Brewery. Get the Interurban IPA, it tastes like summer.  
    • Also to see in Fremont: The Fremont Troll, the Lenin Statue and the Ballard Locks on your way out to Ballard
    • Ballard’s Market Street has a ton of great shops and restaurants including Bastille Cafe and Bar and the best oysters in the city at The Walrus and the Carpenter (does not take reservations, opens at 4pm).
    • Grab a Paseo sandwich (cash only) and eat a picnic lunch at Golden Gardens – a fantastic park overlooking the Sound and Olympic mountains. You can have bonfires on the beach here.
View of the Olympics across the Puget Sound

View of the Olympics across the Puget Sound

Links to some of the things I’ve done with visitors

Other “cultural” notes

Just some things to be aware of when visiting our fine city:

  • The fine for jaywalking ($56) is higher than the fine for smoking pot in public ($27) and they love to write tickets for the former, not the latter. You’ve been warned.
  • Our public transit isn’t great. The light rail won’t get you anywhere too exciting and the monorail only runs between Westlake Center and the Space Needle. Uber and Lyft are some of the easiest and cheapest ways to get around or a traditional taxi. Rides from the City Center to any of the places listed will run $10-15 (but check first to make sure there isn’t a rate hike due to demand).
  • Most places will have three bins in which to dispose of your trash: landfill, recycle and compost. Use the signs that are usually attached to help you navigate them or ask a friendly stranger – people won’t judge you for sending things to the landfill, but they will judge you for putting a recyclable in the compost bin. Also any compostable utensil (usually they’re brown and feel plastic-y) will melt in your very hot food – just don’t let it sit in there between bites and you’ll be okay.

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In which there’s a sunrise

Sometimes you miss waking up early or staying up really late until the sky starts to brighten.

Sometimes you miss riding your bike across the playa in a race against time and light to make it to the Temple on time.

Sometimes you miss toasting the sunrise with champagne with lots of your crazy friends and a few new ones.

Sometimes you go ahead and recreate it on a beach in Seattle just because you can:

Sun peaking over Lake Washington

Sun peaking over Lake Washington

Love these ladies

Love these ladies

Photo credit: The amazingly talented Eddy Adams.

Photo credit: The amazingly talented Eddy Adams.

Wading on in.

Wading on in.

Photo credit: again, the amazing Eddy Adams.

Photo credit: again, the very talented Eddy Adams. I call this my “How in the world did I get so lucky to be right here, toasting the end of an awesome summer in an incredible city with some truly great people? HOW DID I END UP HERE IN LIFE? GAH SO AMAZING!” face. Happiest Sunday. 

Thanks Mikey for organizing this! Totally worth the 5:50am wake up alarm on a Sunday.

In which there was a bonfire

This will be a quick post, mostly because I want the pictures up because I love them so. A few weeks ago, Jeff and I went camping and it was horrible and rained, so we didn’t use the firewood we brought along. Since then it’s been rolling around the back of the Jeep and tonight we were able to finally burn it.

We headed out to Golden Gardens in Ballard to snag a fire ring right after work so we could get together with the Junior League girls in my small group and their menfolk. Can I just say how much I love these women? They are one of my favorite things about Seattle, hands down. I’m so fortunate we were brought together and given our little group name, The Bumblebees:

The Bumblebees #buzzbuzz

Six out of the nine Bumblebees #buzzbuzz

It was a good thing Jeff and I got there when we did because there were only two fire spots left, and we were able to get the one closer to the water. Someone even tried to come and latch on to ours before they knew we had a group coming (sorry Gus!). Since we were close by to the restaurant when we drove in, we had Paseo sandwiches for dinner before setting completely up. There would be pictures of those, but I ate mine too fast.

The weather started out cloudy, but started to clear around sunset.

The weather started out cloudy, but started to clear around sunset.

I love this beach

Kayaks and Sailboats. I love this beach.

We made s'mores and hotdogs and drank wine and beer.

We made s’mores and hotdogs and drank wine and beer…

Laughed

…laughed,

Talked and watched the sunset over the Sound

and talked and watched the sunset beyond the Sound and far distant Olympics: 

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Going…

...going...

…going…

..going...

..going…

..gone.

..gone.

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So thankful of the friendship of these wonderful women.

So thankful of the friendship and kindness of these wonderful women.

And sunsets and bonfires.

And sunsets and beaches and bonfires.

And good company.

And good love.

We lasted until 10:00pm, even though there was still some faint light peaking from behind the Olympics. Love Seattle summers.

We lasted until 10:00pm, even though there was still some faint light peaking from behind the Olympics. It’s only Tuesday after all.

Fun note: Jeff went to the car to get a lighter after I had forgotten it. Before he got back I actually had the fire going pretty well after finding an old ember in the coals of our pit, much to his surprise. To his credit, he adamantly acknowledges that I am the Boy Scout in our relationship.

In which we visited the Tulip Festival

This weekend my dear husband was tricked into lovingly accompanied me up to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, about an hour and a half north of Seattle.  It was #4 on a BuzzFeed list of 29 surreal places in America and with it being one of the closest I felt compelled to check it out.

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We left early Sunday morning to avoid the crowds and got there right when it opened. Good thing too because when we were headed back to Seattle around 10:30am, the exit off I-5 was backed up at least twenty minutes of us driving in the opposite direction.

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The festival is set up at a driving tour throughout the valley, but we only got out at RoozenGaarde, a farm that ships tulips worldwide, year round. The pictures here make it seem like the fields stretch miles into the surrounding snow-capped Cascades, but they’re really only several acres, making it one of the few instances where the photos are perhaps better than real life.

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In addition to tulips, the daffodils were just at the end of their bloom:

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Once we had explored the open field (and as it was getting crowded with visitors), we headed across the street to RoozenGaarde’s display garden and visitor center. There they had more varieties of tulips than I knew even existed!

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Jeff's favorites, "the fuzzy ones".

Jeff’s favorites, “the fuzzy ones”.

Display gardens

Display gardens

My favorites

My favorites

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All in all it was a fun morning exploring and we made it back to Seattle before noon. I highly recommend going early (or on a week day) as it was packed by the time we left.

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Sorry for what can only be described as a batch of landscape porn. Trust me when I say that I really did try to narrow down my pictures from the trip to only the really good ones.

 

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In which it was Junior-League-apalooza week

These past two weeks have begun rounding out my Provisional year in the Junior League of Seattle. It’s been so much fun connecting with new friends, volunteering in the community and learning more about the area’s needs; I’m excited to continue on as an Active member next year. To make it extra special, this year was the Seattle League’s 90th anniversary and we celebrated at the Museum of Flight:

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We had the entire place to ourselves and it was packed with planes and exhibits. I do love a non-crowded museum.

This was the first time many of our small group's significant others got to meet.

This was the first time many of our small group’s significant others got to meet.

Six out of the nine members of my dear Bumblebees. Each JLS Provisional is part of a neighborhood based small group for the year which serves to help introduce you to the activities and processes of Junior League. This year's provisional groups were all named after cities, mostly the large ones like Paris, Milan, NYC, etc. Our group was named for Bumblebee, AZ, a tiny town where horses outnumber people. Having such a unique name totally fit our special little group.

Six out of the nine members of my dear Bumblebees. Each JLS Provisional is part of a neighborhood based small group for the year which serves to help introduce you to the activities and processes of Junior League. This year’s Provisional groups were all named after cities, mostly the large ones like Paris, Milan, NYC, etc. Our group was named for Bumblebee, AZ, a tiny town where horses outnumber people. Having such a unique name totally fit our special little group which is made up of women who work on developing apps and in tech start ups, a former teacher, a medical examiner, a (fancy) hotel manager, a dental resident, a YMCA manager/non-profit consultant, an international volunteer coordinator and a law firm event planner.

The museum was really cool and reminded me of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space one.

The museum was really cool and reminded me of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space one.

You could even go into several of the planes.

You could even go into several of the planes.

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It was the perfect occasion to wear my paper airplane earrings from ohhellofriend.com that I found at Seattle's Urban Craft Uprising in December!

It was the perfect occasion to wear my paper airplane earrings from ohhellofriend.com that I found at Seattle’s Urban Craft Uprising in December! For the longest time Jeff thought these were mouse icon (the image for the computer mouse clicker) earrings.. oh hun.

And since JLS was founded in 1924, I thought a Great Gatsby-esque headband was called for.

And since JLS was founded in 1924, I thought a Great Gatsby-esque headband was called for.

The party was so much fun, but we didn’t go all night because the next day Tavia, one of our small group members taught a Barre class at the Y. If you’ve never done Barre it’s like an evil mix between Pilates and ballet that leaves you feeling pretty sore at the end:

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But it was well worth the calorie burning because we met up with the rest of the Bumblebees (and some extra guests) at Coastal Kitchen in Capital Hill:

Well earned, delicious Bloody Mary

Well earned, delicious Bloody Mary

Love these women!

Love these women!

Part of the Provisional year requires you complete a project with another committee to learn more about different aspects of the League. I was lucky enough to be on the Kids in the Kitchen committee which focuses on preventing childhood obesity by teaching kids how to cook healthy foods. I’d been to several of the events in the past where we taught 30-35 first through fifth graders at the Boys & Girls Club and now it was our turn as a Provisional Group to plan and execute the night.

We had plenty of fruits and veggies for the kids!

We had plenty of fruits and veggies for the kids!

Our main course was chicken, tortellini and veggie skewers.

Our main course was chicken, tortellini and veggie skewers.

All in all the kids seemed to learn something about making healthy food choices, tried a few new veggies and left full and happy.

All in all the kids seemed to learn something about making healthy food choices, tried a few new veggies and left full and happy.

Thanks to such an awesome team for helping this event come together!

Thanks to such an awesome team for helping this event come together!

I ended last week with my last official small group meeting. We’ve already decided that we’re going to keep getting together at least once (but probably more like twice) a month, even though it’s not required. These women have become a dear part of my Seattle family and I’m so lucky to call them friends, and soon, fellow Actives when we’re voted in next week. They’re truly something special, and I love them, even when they coerce me into 5:30am runs around Greenlake:

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In which there’s 12th man fever

It’s finally here, the day that’s been hyped for the last two weeks: Super Bowl Sunday! This is the first time I’ve lived in a city with a football team I could claim as my own. I was in high school getting ready to leave for college when we got the Titans and when I was in North Carolina, the Panthers had too many resemblances in color and name to UNC so I couldn’t bring myself to cheer for them. At best I cheered for the Steelers since Jeff grew up in Pittsburgh and I liked to keep a happy relationship. Now having moved out here, I feel like I can finally adopt the Seattle Seahawks team as my own.

Unfortunately I'm on call, but I'm hoping that the both the Seahawks and I have good luck this evening during the game.

Unfortunately I’m on call, but I’m hoping that the both the Seahawks and I have good luck this evening during the game.

These past two weeks in 12th man fever has turned this city into a small town. Signs, bought and homemade, abound on buildings and hardly anyone talks about anything else. Our little old neighbors have been flying a 12th man flag for two weeks now off their balcony. They’ve renamed Mt. Rainer to Mt. Seattle Seahawks. Issaquah, a nearby town is now 12saquah. Every time I see the flag on top of the Space Needle, my heart swells a little.

12 lit up on a dorm at UW

12 lit up on a dorm at UW

Roundabout in our neighborhood decorated in blue and green

Roundabout in our neighborhood decorated in blue and green

UW tower lit up in a 12. Forgive the picture, it's part of my artistic series of blurry iPhone photos.

UW tower lit up in a 12. Forgive the picture, it’s part of my artistic series with a blurry iPhone theme.

Even our local aquarium otter is getting in on the action this morning (though maybe it should be devouring a Bronco logo instead? Also, the fact that there’s a website called the dailyotter.org is AMAZING) :

On Friday I was taking a break from running code for class and decided that a coffee would really help things along. I drove to the local Starbucks and absentmindedly was listening to our local NPR station when they asked the question, “What is the nickname for Seattle’s defensive backs?”

 

In my head, I had already answered Legion of Boom before they gave the choices when I parked and turned off the car. I turned it back on quickly, wondering what the contest was and caught the number to call. I did and to my surprise a nice woman answered and asked if I knew the correct choice. When I gave her the answer she said that I had qualified for the weekly news quiz and I should make myself available in 20 minutes to be on the air! Ahh! I forgot about getting the coffee and raced home to study potential Seahawks questions and have Jeff nearby incase there was a stumper.

All my preparation was for naught because the questions were much harder than the ones I had anticipated (like “Who is the head coach?” “Which Seahawk is legally deaf?” “What division do the Seahawks play in?” – QUESTIONS I KNEW THE ANSWERS TO!), but I guessed well and got 2 out of 3. You can hear the radio interview here – the pauses are where Jeff and I are looking at each other and shrugging.

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Unfortunately my prize was not an all expense paid trip to the Super Bowl this afternoon, but I think the reward of being featured on their Facebook page photoshopped as a giant over the city  is a close second. Plus, I got to say “Go Seahawks!” on the radio the Friday before the Super Bowl which is pretty awesome. Thanks for letting me play, KUOW!

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I was talking via Voxer to my little brother this morning and he’s getting up at 4am Afghanistan time to watch the contest. I feel very similar to him, that if I wasn’t so caught up in 12th man fever in my new adopted city, I would be wearing some different colors this afternoon:

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I’ve loved Peyton since he played for Tennessee and he’s an excellent guy. It’s going to be a tough match up, and I have some orange in my blood, but my shirt and heart this afternoon are blue and green. Let’s go boys!

In which we had MLK Jr. weekend

Last year we made our three day weekend stretch into a quick trip down to Portland, but with Seattle playing for a chance at the Superbowl, Jeff and I decided to stay in town.

Glad we did! That was an exciting and well fought game against the 49ers. So pumped that my new town's team is headed to the Superbowl!

Glad we did! That was an exciting and well fought game against the 49ers. So pumped that my new town’s team is headed to the Superbowl! This is a reading of the seismographs UW placed under CenturyLink field (so clearly we win nerdiest football city on top of the NFC championship).

In fun rivalry news: The fans of the 49ers and Seahawks tried to out do each other in raising money for their opponents’ children’s hospitals, with the respecting football teams matching the funds. Seattle managed to raise $73, 941 for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and the Niners fans raised $34, 412 for Seattle Children’s. Love this.

Monday promised clouds, but no rain, so we headed up to Deception Pass State Park to hike the trails on the other side of the bridge. We were rewarded with stunning views of Mount Baker, the Sound and not a cloud in the sky (love when the weather forecast is that kind of wrong!). It was perfect:

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Looking across to where we hiked last time

Looking across to where we hiked last time

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So nice to be able to celebrate freedom in such glorious sunshine. To end, my favorite MLK, Jr. quote (when it’s difficult to chose from so many good ones):

“Let no man pull you low enough to hate him” – MLK, Jr.