I have been in the Seattle area all week. Tuesday I went to Bainbridge, Wednesday I hung out downtown, among other places at Pike Place Market, and Thursday I took the ferry with my rental car to Vashon Island.
I was kind of scared of the ferry and actually thought it might be open to the somewhat frigid air but these things are like ocean liners! Huge and unbelievably comfortable, with room to stretch out, a ledge for your coffee, whole big seats yourself, and time to dream as you gaze out the window at the shoreline and gulls. The one to Vashon (less than 15 minutes) had half-finished jigsaw puzzles on some of the tables! So you could pitch in by placing a piece or two, and commuters maybe work on them each day. Plus a large gruff-voiced woman in a baseball cap who looks like a man takes your money, barks “Lane 1,” and off you drive straight onto the boat! Also this is interesting, you don’t have to pay to go off the island. You only pay to go on.
I’m staying at the Betty MacDonald Farm on Vashon. A woman named Judith Lawrence runs it and if you want to reserve a room, you have to call and talk to her so she can make sure you’re not crazy or a whiner. I had a half-hour talk with her on the phone before coming and she sent me an envelope with a hand-written note, brochures, maps and a ferry schedule with the appropriate routes high-lighted.
My “Cedar Loft” is on the third floor of a gambrel-roofed barn in which Betty MacDonald, one of my heroes, used to use to raise chickens. An entire wall of east-facing windows overlooks Puget Sound. There’s a deck with chairs, tables, and a pair of binoculars. There are daffodils, tulips, and flowering Asian pear trees.
The air is thick with birdsong. The loft is filled with kilim rugs, daybeds, stacks of books on Native Americans, gardens, birds, antiques, architecture, and of course Betty MacDonald.