Point Defiance Park is one of the most beautiful places in Tacoma, Washington, and that’s saying a lot. It’s a huge city park (708 acres) on a point sticking out into Puget Sound, with a zoo, a waterfront promenade and beach, a replica of a historic fort, extensive gardens, and expanses of old-growth forest laced with hiking trails.
I had a meeting in Tacoma yesterday afternoon, and afterwards I decided to go walk the promenade, enjoy the gardens, and take some photos. Here’s a selection:
And now we start having photographs. Lots and lots of photographs.
I left the hostel fairly early in the morning, and drove up into the west hills of Portland to the Pittock Mansion, where I wandered around the gardens, then sat in the car and read for a while before the house itself opened up for the day. The Pittock Mansion was built around the turn of the last century by the owner of the Oregonian, Portland’s newspaper which is still published today, who apparently had more money than he knew what to do with. It’s perched on a site with views that reach clear to Mount Hood in good weather (which did not happen while I was there, alas, although I could still see almost all of Portland from up there), surrounded by beautiful gardens, and the house itself is incredibly elegant. So he had taste as well as money.
Here are some photos, although I have to say the website does a much better job of it than I do.
After I left the mansion I drove back down into town looking for an on-ramp to I-5 or I-405 southbound, and could not find one for love or money. I ended up on U.S. 99E, down through Milwaukie and Clackamas County. Which didn’t turn out to be such a bad thing, since I found lunch along the way. I had originally intended to get on I-205 from there, but I discovered that staying on 99E was actually going to take me where I wanted to go, anyway.
That was the Aurora Colony, which I’d read about in the book Aurora: An American Experience in Quilt, Community, and Craft by Jane Kirkpatrick, who I met online through a writers’ organization I used to belong to. I have to say I was disappointed in the Aurora Colony itself, which was mostly a bunch of antiques stores strewn along the highway. Somehow, in spite of their website, that wasn’t what I was expecting.
So on I went. Someone on the Hardy Plants email list had told me about a place called Heirloom Roses. This place did live up to what I was expecting. In spades. Acres and acres of roses in full bloom, mostly heirloom and species and shrub and climbing roses, although they did have some floribundas and hybrid teas. The whole place smelled like sweet tea tastes, which is the only time I like the way sweet tea tastes (despite having been born in the South, I prefer my tea with lemon and no sugar, thanks). By this point the weather had cleared up again, too. A perfect place to spend a perfect afternoon.
Anyway, here’s the pictorial proof of how gorgeous this place was.
And, on top of that, I heard a hawk crying over my head, and saw a California quail in the greenhouse, of all places.
After that, I stopped at Champoeg (pronounced sham poo’ ee) State Park, the site of some of Oregon’s earliest political efforts and a pretty riverside park. I’d been thinking about camping there, but decided against it, so I drove on to Salem and ended up in a motel. Which was fine, too.