Friday, July 10, 2015

SEATTLE - 6/16/15 TO 6/25/15

Mary K and I are usually travelling together but on this Seattle trip, it was "Have Husband Will Travel".  One terrific reason for visiting Seattle again this year was the U.S. Open in Chambers Bay.  It was a great way for Dick and Scott to spend Father's Day together.....and Scott was able to get me a ticket too.

We were lucky enough to have passes to the Champions Club...a great place to relax, have a bite to eat and a drink.
Father and Son on the last day of tournament -- Fathers Day!
The Champions Pavilion
a great place to rest and eat and drink....Thank you, Scott!
We watched most of the tournament from the bleachers on the 17th green ....this course was not spectator friendly.  It was difficult to get very close to the players and tough to get autographs.  But it was a very interesting and unusual course.....lots of hills...I really felt sorry for the players and especially for their caddies carrying those heavy bags. 

Our view from the 17th bleachers...we saw the trains between the golf course and the water!
Just an idea of how hilly this course is!

I understand Chambers Bay had been a gravel pit and some of the structures have remained part of the course.
American Express sponsored a pavilion at the Open and they were handing out small earphone radios.....a great idea.  We could listen to a play-by-play of the tournament on the radio....from the l7th, if we heard cheering on the 18th, we instantly knew why everyone was cheering.  Thanks, American Express!
Dick and his tiny American Express radio!
Another neat idea at the tournament was a pavilion sponsored by Lexus.  They took pictures of the spectators with the Champions trophy (fake, of course).
Lexus also took my email address and sent me another picture with a panoramic view of myself and the trophy....another great idea.  They also had Johnny Miller signing autographs and Dick was able to have him sign a couple of hats and had a nice chat with him....what a gracious man!  Thanks, Johnny, for help making my husband's day!
And, periodically, we could get out of the heat and have a refreshment in the Champions Pavilion.  Thank YOU, Crown Castle and Scott!
I even managed to go to the Merchandise Tent and purchase one of the neat watercolor posters, SIGNED by the artist.  Love the train in the background!
Scott and his family are in the midst of moving from Poulsbo to Kingston and we usually stay at the Poulsbo Inn...there's info. on this nice Inn in our previous blogs.  We stayed at the Poulsbo Inn the first few days of our trip and decided to try a little something different.  We booked a room for 3 nights at the new Tower hotel at the Clearwater Resort and Casino.  We spend a lot of time in the casino, so we thought "why not stay there?"  It was absolutely wonderful!
This is the exterior of the new Tower Hotel at Clearwater Resort and Casino.  It was just completed in June, 2015 so we were some of the first guests.

 The lobby area of the new Tower Hotel. A special thanks to Cameron Hattrick at the Front Desk...he was so very helpful....just the upbeat kind of employee this Resort should be so proud of!.

A nice outdoor seating area outside the large Events Room in the new addition of the Clearwater Casino.

Everything about our room was first class!  Dick became very spoiled by those plush I'm on a search to buy one for our bed!

 LARGE flat screen TV with tons of channels, free Wi-Fi, a coffeemaker and a small refrigerator.....couldn't think of anything else we needed.

 Dick found a nice relaxing chaise lounge near the older part of this lovely resort. 

And what a beautiful view!
We really enjoyed staying here for 3 days...the casino is just a short elevator ride away. 
I also want to mention the wonderful shuttle drivers...especially Kim, Annette and Mike and their dispatcher, Sonia.  A friendly, competent bunch of people and we thoroughly enjoyed them!  Did I mention these drivers pick up at the Bainbridge Ferry on a regular basis and will deliver you back to the ferry.  They also pick up at several different spots in the Kitsap Peninsula area including the Poulsbo Inn. 
Another neat thing we did at the Casino was an afternoon concert....Under the Streetlamp, a Jersey Boys-type group, performed in the Events Center at 2:00 in the afternoon.  They were terrific -- we loved the 60's music -- and I managed to give each of them a pen and business card of our havesisterwilltravel blog.

At 2:00 in the afternoon we expected a sea of gray hair and baldness to watch this 60's group...we weren't disappointed,  Under the Streetlamp played our kind of music!

AND I could enjoy a glass of wine while watching a terrific show!

A great way to spend the afternoon!

Whenever we go to Seattle, I always mention the Bainbridge Ferry.  If you travel to Seattle, do yourself a favor and ride one of the ferries.
 The view of Seattle are fabulous....
 even on an overcast day!
And do yourself another favor...go to the Ferry Restaurant and get a cup of Ivar's Clam you think Dick likes it?

I'm a lucky gal!
Here's another Seattle travel tip....since we stay a ferry ride away from Sea Tac Airport, we always rent a car (more about this later....we're trying to get a problem resolved with Hotwire and Alamo, the rental car company) and we return the car at the airport the day before we're scheduled to leave Seattle.  So we always reserve a hotel room near the airport the night before we leave.  We found the Coast Gateway Hotel which is comfortable, clean, the rooms are well-equipped. free breakfast beginning at 5 AM  and it has 24 hour shuttle service to the airport. 

We've stayed at many hotels near Sea Tac...some have "sketchy" shuttle service, some you have to walk for blocks to get to your room, and others are not so clean, despite the "name".  Coast Gateway fills the bill for us and it's just across the parking lot from a nice restaurant/bar called Roasters. 

 Be sure to try the bar-b-q ribs and look at the skull tequila bottles in the bar.  Neat!
IMPORTANT UPDATE 6/7/15 -- Alamo helped us solve the rental car problem mentioned above!  We booked Alamo through Hotwire....the first time using Hotwire, by the way.  We always pick up the car at the airport (SeaTac) and return it to the airport.  Hotwire indicated to Alamo that we'd pick up the car on 3rd St. in Seattle....this created an almost $200 extra charge when we arrived at Alamo.   

After several calls and emails to Hotwire, we received no satisfaction.  They outsource their problem calls and no one at Hotwire could understand my problem.  My advice is to make a copy of your search page on Hotwire...if I had done this, I could have proved I ordered the pick-up and delivery at SeaTac.  I've never had to do this before with Priceline, Expedia or Orbitz but if I won't ever use Hotwire again, but if you do, you MUST make a copy.

On the other hand, Alamo Rental Cars was totally motivated toward customer satisfaction.  I send an email to Alamo and received an immediate response from Mia at Alamo's Customer Service.  Alamo refunded the almost $200 extra charge which they'll credit to the card we used....Mia even sent a copy of the refund.  And, folk's, THAT'S the way to do business.  Thank you, Alamo and Mia -- you have all our future rental car business!

We had a wonderful time in Seattle -- many thanks to our family!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


We were excited about a weekend visit from my niece and nephew, Nicki and Lincoln (Peggy's daughter and grandson)... and decided, this visit, we would arrange something different and fun!!  Quick decision...we both, in unison,  said THE BEACH!  Not just a trip to the beach (not unique since we both live about 20 minutes from Hutchinson Island/Jensen Beach), but an overnight at a beach hotel would be a fun treat!

We set out to find the best.....and we did!!  Courtyard by Marriott - Hutchinson Island / Jensen Beach offered everything we were looking for...right on the beach; ocean view balcony!

We secured exactly what we wanted, with the help of a lovely manager, Sue Ann!  Comfortable large room with ocean view balcony!  Tip....If you're going to stay near any beach, anywhere, it's well worth splurging a little for that balcony ocean view room!  Sunrise and sunset and every time of day in between...spectacular!

Of course, after checking out the room and awesome balcony view, we donned our swimsuits and headed for the beach.  Going through the pool and hot tub area with the Tiki Bar, we took a stop off  to enjoy a light lunch and a cool  drink, served by a most capable and friendly bartender.  Which brings me to another Courtyard Marriott asset  ... the employees! The lovely ladies at the front desk were most smicsble, competent and helpful!  We had the feeling, through our overnight stay, that all of the employees really enjoyed their jobs! As our followers know, we've found that happy and capable employees equal a  skilled, competent and pleasant general manager (at this hotel, Ed Griffith), which adds up to a positive hotel stay!

Everything is considered at this hospitable hotel....On our way to the beach, there are plenty of towels, and  lounge chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards and other beach toys are available for rent.
 A fun day at the beach!  And, nice to know we had a room waiting for us to leisurely shower, get dressed for dinner and again, enjoy the balcony.

We had heard that the restaurant next door had  music on the patio so we were looking forward to dinner with live music background, but, alas, no music after 6:00 P.M.!  (weekdays music goes on until 9:00 or 10:00 P.M.). So, we jumped in the car and drove a few minutes on Ocean Blvd. to Shucker's Restaurant.  We opted for an ocean view table on the restaurant's patio, and enjoyed yummy drinks and dinner...although, unfortunately, we missed the Marriott's 8:00 "s'mores on the beach" party.  (Next time...we will definitely be back!)

Which brings me to another Courtyard Marriott plus...activities are planned almost everyday - sand castle building, shell collecting and art, etc,  Fun for all ages!

Back to our hotel - a beautiful evening on the balcony and comfortable sleep!

Nicki and Lincoln got up early to view the spectacular sunrise (another beachfront balcony experience) and then spent some time at the hotel gym!

Delicious breakfast at the hotel's Bistro, an hour or two at the pool, hot tub and beach - and we were on our way!  Great family memories....and happy, happy, happy!