My sons are growing too quickly and encumbered with busy lives of their own. As a result, in recent years we have made it a tradition to escape each Memorial Day weekend for a family cycling excursion.
For Memorial Day 2012, we elected to travel to the Olympic Peninsula, catching the Edmonds-Kingston ferry, then driving to Port Angeles to start our cycling adventure. After a beautiful ferry ride and pleasant drive, including a short detour in Port Gamble (gorgeous), we landed in downtown Port Angeles for dinner at Bella Italia.
Notwithstanding Twilight-series fame, Bella Italia delivered on its reputation for authentic Italian food and a wine list that would impress any enthusiast (including Robert Parker). The food, service and ambiance exceeded our expectations for a small town venue. We enjoyed a great meal, then meandered over to the local movie theater to watch a late night movie – the ‘Hunger Games’. Sharing the theater with less than a dozen people effectively amounted to a private showing of a premier movie.
Afterwards we made our way to the Olympic Lodge for a short night of sleep, before embarking on our first day cycling. Piling all of our bikes in a hotel room and sleeping together brought back many memories of our European trip. We woke up to sunny, warm weather (a stark contrast to a year earlier en route to Portland). After packing up and departing the hotel, we coasted into downtown Port Angeles to find some food. We happened up the Juan de Fuca festival, where we toured artisan wares, including a wood smith that made several toys and games (Janelle bought me a traveling cribbage board). After some Falafel to fill the boys’ bellies, we navigated to the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT) and took off along the water.
The ODT offered a splendid mix of open trail (along the Strait of Juan de Fuca), rolling hills through the forest, wooden bridges and stunning mountain scenery. The ODT was an unexpected find and reminded us all of the Belgium countryside. One of our favorite stops along the way was Agnew Farms, which was a combo local grocer and grange. A classic 1940’s truck caught our attention, but the great food and wine selection, along with goat, chickens and rabbits, made Agnew Farms a highlight of trip. We sat outside on a picnic table with a bottle of wine, smoked salmon, goat cheese and sandwiches for lunch; it was fantastic.
After lunch, we cycled through the midst of several farms, spied some classic cars (corvettes and trucks), and soaked in the sunshine and astounding views of the Olympics. We arrived in Sequim late afternoon, dropped the bikes at the hotel, then toured a couple of local shops. Unfortunately, Sequim is a retirement community, so everything closed by 5:00p (boring!). As a result, we decided to go to dinner early too.
The Alderwood Grill was another surprising find in the midst of nowhere. Boasting locally grown, organic ingredients (meats and vegetables) well prepared by a skilled chef made the Alderwood Grill a memorable experience after a long day on the bike. A cold, brisk ride back to the hotel kept us alert and energized us for a late night activities. The boys and I unwound first in the hotel pool and spa, then settled in for a classic movie: Invincible.
After a thorough night’s sleep, we capitalized on a complementary continental breakfast, including endless pancakes. J Our return trip, cycling back to Port Angeles, went much too quickly. The weather held and we soaked up the time talking with the boys during the return ride.
Upon landing in Port Angeles, Janelle and the boys perused several antique stores, while I traversed back to the Olympic Lodge and picked up our car. After loading the bikes, we had a final meal at the Next Door Gastropub – a stupendous bar that boasted outstanding burgers and a great selection of local beers. Yum! It was the perfect capstone to the end of our cycling trip.
I am already planning our next adventure. ;)