and then it was summer

It seemed as summer would never arrive, but our long and wet winter is finally over. During summer's glorious months of sunshine, you'll find our offerings a little scaled back so that we too can take advantage of all the Northwest has to offer.  We won't leave you hanging though -- here are some of our favorites summer outings (watch us this summer on instagram for more ideas):

Overlooked Art Tour  This free and fascinating tour takes you through the streets of Pioneer Square to discover the often overlooked industrial design and artistry of hatch covers (changed from the term "man-hole" by Washington's first female governor, the spit-fire Dixy Lee Ray).  

Georgetown Carnival June 10th noon - 10 p.m. -- circus acts, bands, food trucks, spontaneous spectacles, arts and crafts, and all things unexpected ... did we mention power tool races?  

Seattle Art Museum welcomes Yayoi Kusami on June 30th for her spectacular retrospective, "Infinity Mirrors".  This show is selling out quickly, so be sure to reserve your time slot now. Speaking of color and pattern, don't miss the "Marimekko, With Love" show at the Nordic Heritage Museum through July 9th.

Bicycle Sundays, bring your bike and a picnic lunch to partake in a 50 year old tradition of cruising Lake Washington Boulevard while it is closed to car traffic.

Bird watching adventures with the Seward Park Audubon Center. The Center's Saturday morning Treats and Tweets is the perfect way to get started birding -- they provide the coffee, doughnuts, binocs and expertise - you bring the curiosity!

Berry picking at Harvold Farms - the best strawberries and raspberries you've ever laid eyes on, watch their Facebook page for opening times and field updates.

Island day trips - a quick ferry ride will transport you to idyllic island life, for ideas of what to see and do, check out our Vashon and Whidbey posts (newly updated)!

Hit the open road and discover new places at the wheel of a restored Westfalia camper through Peacevans -- whether heading to Oregon for the total solar eclipse, visiting one of our state's National Parks or cruising through the San Juan -- van life is supreme! 

More:  Shakespeare in the Park, outdoor concerts at the Ballard Locks, Jefferson Park Lawn Bowling Open Bowls, and first Thursday Art Walks in Pioneer Square.

Cheers to summer, may this be your finest yet!

 

 

the croque monsieur

When you have friends like ours, you tend to eat pretty well.  We love to partner with the best chefs in Seattle to bring an intimate teaching experience to field trippers. We are so grateful to have Ben Campbell of Ben's Breads on our team. His passion for sourdough and for teaching are unsurpassed, and his breads are sublime. He was kind enough to share his recipe for one of his favorite ways to use leftover bread, the croque monsieur. Ben's recipe is finely honed after making hundreds in years past at Seattle's beloved Café Presse ... merci beaucoup Ben!

Croque Monsieur    makes 4 large sandwiches

  • 8 slices bread
  • ½ C Dijon mustard
  • 16 thin slices deli ham
  • 16 slices gruyere
  • 1 batch béchamel* (recipe below) *good idea to make in advance so the sauce has a chance to chill and is easier to spread, refrigerates and freezes well.

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (if making right away).

Slice loaf of bread lengthwise into 8 slices, squaring off smaller ends for breadcrumbs, croutons, or a light snack. Make 4 stacks of two slices of bread. On top of each stack, spread a generous amount of Dijon mustard, arrange two slices of gruyere, and then evenly arrange 4 slices of ham, building as much height as possible. Place the bottom slice of bread on top of the stack of meats and cheeses. Thickly coat each sandwich with the thick béchamel on the tops and sides. Arrange the rest of the cheese slices on top of each sandwich, ensuring that no crust is showing. If using later, wrap all the sandwiches on a small tray or plate and place in refrigeration for use within the next 2 days. If making immediately, arrange sandwiches on sheet tray and bake for 10-15 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown in places. Devour immediately.

Béchamel sauce

  • 1 qt milk
  • 3 T butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until foaming. Add flour, stirring until combined. Cook on medium, constantly stirring, until a pale, sandy mixture is formed (1 - 2 minutes).  Add milk carefully, stirring constantly with whisk until incorporated.  Add bay leaf and cayenne and bring to a simmer.  Cook until sauce is thick (approximately 10 minutes).  Season to taste.  Transfer to shallow container and refrigerate until use.  Once chilled, the béchamel will be thick and spreadable.

bon appétit!

 

go green

When the daffodils bulbs start to push from the earth, it's a sure sign that spring is on the way.  Green thumbs rejoice at the arrival of seed catalogues, primroses and pansies at the local markets, and the promise of a new growing season.  It is also a season of abundant opportunities to learn more about gardening at class, on a tour, or by volunteering at a community garden.  Here are some of our favorites:

Garden tours: for those wanting to see beautiful landscaping up close:  the historic Dunn Gardens in Seattle's Broadview neighborhood offers tours and workshops, the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge is offering secret season walks on March 16th and 18th, and the beloved Heronswood Garden in Kingston will bring back their Friday open days on March 3rd along with popular plant sales in April and May.

Visit the newly reopened City People's Garden Store in the Madison Valley or Urban Feed and Garden on Beacon Hill and sign up for free workshops on seed starting, landscaping with edibles, and more.  

Early spring plant sales:  don't miss Seattle Tilth's spring edible plant sale on March 18th, this year taking place at Orca K8 school in the Columbia City neighborhood.  Looking for native plants?  Check out the Seward Park Audubon's sale on March 11th and 12th.  Not only are these plants easy to grow and care for, they are just the thing to invite birds and natural pollinators to your yard.

Volunteer opportunities:  Don't have a yard but still wish to garden?  Join a work party at the Beacon Food Forest or the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands, or sign up for a pea patch garden of your own!

Read and marvel at the new book Plant: Exploring the Botanical World by Phaidon ... the extraordinary images will inspire.

Go green!

2017

A new year brings potential.  Potential for greatness, potential for adventure, potential for positive change.  What will you do in 2017?

Lately, I've been giving much thought to the power of learning something new.  A word that continues to pop up is "neuroplasticity".  Neuroplasticity refers to the brain's ability to change and grow over the course of a lifetime.  For many decades, it was believed that as we aged our brains became "fixed", hence the phrase "you can't teach an old dog new tricks".  However, modern research shows just the opposite.  Our brains continue to develop over time, creating new neurons and connections. Every time we learn something new, connections are being made, there is an increase in blood flow and the internal structure of existing synapses can change.  A 2010 study in The Journal of Neuroscience found that after only two sessions of practicing a new task, the brain creates more gray matter.  Doing something over and over again doesn't just make the task easier, but it can actually change the brain's structure.

Whether you decide to play a musical instrument, learn a foreign language, master a skill, or simply try something you've never done before - may this year be full of growth and potential!  Happy New Year!

 

 

merry and bright

It's time to deck the halls!  Parties with bubbly, cross-country visits with family and friends, twinkly lights and Frank Sinatra crooning on the stereo. The sights, sounds, and experiences with the people we love are truly what make the holidays the most wonderful time of year.  

Here we share some of the festivities that we are looking forward to this season, along with our gift guide -- even though we encourage giving the gift of experience, it's always fun to have a few packages under the tree!

Happy holidays field trippers, thank you for all of your support this year -- may your days be merry and bright!

Holiday fun . . .

History, Contained in Occidental Park December 1st:  Learn about Seattle's 1920's era history in this unique art installation featuring an ice sculptor, oil painter, calligraphy artists, carolers AND a dusting of snow every day through December at 5:30 p.m.!  

Get your 'merry, merry' on downtown with the Figgy Pudding caroling competition on December 3rd, along with a visit to the Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton,  and the carousel and tree in Westlake Park.  When you've had your fill, retreat to a cozy dinner at the beloved Le Pichet in Belltown.

Equinox Studios 10th Anniversary Open House December 10th -- over 125 resident artists, music, poetry, dance, food trucks and more -- an inspiring evening for all ages that's not to be missed!

Don't be a cotton-headed ninny-muggins and miss Elf at the Central Cinema December 16 - 20th.

See author Paul Bannick discussing Owls of North America at the Royal Room December 20th, seats for this free and fascinating evening are sure to go fast, reserve now.

The ultimate treat on Christmas eve?  A glass of the iconic aged egg nog from Sun Liquor Distillery.  They will be selling releases of this coveted beverage over the month of December at their Bottle Shop, watch their Facebook page for updates, it goes fast!

Holiday gift guide . . .

For the home:  Get festive with fresh, locally-sourced and fully compostable evergreen garlands from Fortunate Orchard available at Little Lago or by special order.

For an out of this world hostess gift:  Pick up a cake at Deep Sea Sugar and Salt in their new location at the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall ... salted caramel chocolate, pistachio lemon and peach bourbon? yes please.

For the outdoorsman or woman:  You can't beat Emerald Water Anglers in West Seattle.  Dave McCoy and his team will hook you up with the best in outdoor adventure gear -- who doesn't need a Stanley thermos with bottle opener cap?

For the foodie or cocktail aficionado:  You're sure to find something to please at Sugarpill Apothecary -- from a vast array of bitters, salts and spices, specialty vinegars and oils, chocolates and so much more.

For the nature-loving sophisticate:  Visit Niche Outside, located in Chophouse Row of Capitol Hill -- filled with fine textiles, books, ceramics, nature-inspired art and gardening accessories.  While there, stop by Kurt's Farm Shop next door for their marvelous cheeses and ice cream.

For the bird-watcher:  bird houses by Nice Nests made from salvaged wood in Twisp, WA available at Seward Park Audubon Center -- stock up on seed and suet while you're there!

For the reader:  Support local independent book sellers like Third Place Books and Elliot Bay Book Co.  Our favorites this year:  The Hour of Land by Terry Tempest Williams, In Bloom: Creating and Living with Flowers by Ngoc Minh Ngo, and Lark: Cooking Wild in the Northwest by local chef, John Sundstrom.

For the music lover:  Get happy with a ukulele from Georgetown Music and then learn how to play it with us come February!

For the curious grown-up:  a gift certificate to the Field Trip Society!  We have a fantastic year in store for you, bring a friend and come learn something new!

For everyone:  A monthly donation to your favorite non-profit organizations, they need us now more than ever!

autumn in the pacific northwest

Autumn in Seattle offers a season full of adventures for both the mind and body. The Field Trip Society has gathered some of our favorite upcoming events to make sure field trippers take full advantage of the abundance . . .

For those who appreciate a little fashion and flair, don't miss the Seattle Art Museum's exhibit:  Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style (opening October 11th), along with their Remix event (November 18th), a glamorous night sure to entertain and inspire.

For nature lovers:  located at the entrance of Seward Park, the Seward Park Audubon Center is a jewel in our city.  Take advantage of their weekend events and go on an evening Bat Trek, join a naturalist-led walk to learn about the native plants and birds, or one of the many other fascinating offerings on their calendar.  While in the neighborhood, visit the Kubota Garden in Rainier Beach ... meander down paths and over bridges on a self-guided tour and marvel at the natural beauty of this magnificent Japanese garden.

Seattle Arts and Lectures:  from Bryan Cranston to Timothy Egan to Marina Abramovic -- these stellar intellects and talents will keep you entertained and leave you enlightened.

In need of a little humor?  Jerry Seinfeld (11/4) and John Hodgman (11/11) won't let you down! 

Something out of the ordinary?  Don't miss Atlas Obscura's Subterranean Soiree in Seattle's Underground (October 8th), or celebrate the off-beat creativity found at the Georgetown Art Attack (second Saturday of every month).

Hit the Road:  Chuckanut Drive, venture off I-5 N on this 20 mile roadway along the coast. While the drive is gorgeous any time of year, autumn is truly extraordinary.  Stop at Taylor Shellfish for fresh oysters and seafood, pop into the towns of Bow and Edison for charming restaurants (like Tweets and the Breadfarm), farms (like Bow Hill and Gothberg Farms) , and boutiques (don't miss Hedgerow).  End the journey in Bellingham and hit up the farmers' market or the beloved Aslan Brewery.

Cheers to fall fun!  Go get it!

 

indigo summer

Shibori comes from the Japanese verb root shiboru meaning “to wring, squeeze, press”.  It is an ancient technique of creating patterns through resistance -- be it binding, stitching, folding, twisting, or compressing.  While it is often associated with indigo dye, the shibori technique can be used with a multitude of dyes.  Modern methods employ poles, ropes, hardware pieces, clamps, and rubber bands to create a variety of patterns and designs without the meticulous laboring of hand-stitching.

These methods of resistance dyeing are not unique to Japan, but also seen throughout Africa (batik), India (handhani), South America, and Asia (tritik and plangi). The techniques have been used by a variety of cultures for centuries.

The indigo plant, indigofera tinctoria, is grown all over the world in tropical landscapes.  The plant leaves are fermented in a lengthy process to create its signature deep blue dye — the most widely used natural dye in the world.  Fabric is dipped into dye and when removed and exposed to oxygen, the yellowish green color of the liquid dye turns blue. 

While the resistance techniques of folding and stitching can be exacting, there is always an element of surprise when unwrapping the bound fabric, each item its own unique piece of art.

To learn more about exquisite art form, visit Seattle’s Asian Art Museum’s Indigo exhibit running through October 9th.  Recommended reading:  INDIGO: The Color That Changed the World by Catherine Legrand.

Whidbey escape (updated May 2017)

When the temperatures soar in Seattle, a quick jaunt to Whidbey Island is in order.  The Mukilteo ferry is only 30 miles from downtown high-rises, and the boat ride a brief 15 minutes.  Beautiful beaches, farms and market-stands, charming shops and restaurants, hikes, history, and abundant natural beauty abound on Washington's largest island.  Here is our guide to "must sees" on Whidbey: 

Langley - This charming town offers restaurants, galleries, wine-tasting, unique shops, a small movie theater and beautiful accommodations to spend the weekend.  Edit Mercantile, Langley's newest addition, carries an exquisite assortment of goods for home and lifestyle, from Opinel knives to hand-made sling shots.  We also can't resist a visit to the Good Cheer Thrift Store for vintage books and other treasures and the patio at Double Bluff Brewery.

Bayview - Catch the Bayview Farmer's Market (Saturdays from 10 -2) for outstanding pies and baked goods, cheeses, jams and honey, and local produce.  While there, visit Bayview Farm and Garden -- newly-remodeled and packed with beauty for both garden and home.  Grab some avocado toast at their Flower House Cafe and then head to Double Bluff Beach  to build driftwood forts, collect shells, explore tide pools and examine the geology of the cliffs.  The beach is also an off-leash dog area (Whidbey loves dogs), so be sure to bring your four-legged pal on the trip.    

Farms - Visitors will find u-pick farms and market stands all over the island, but Featherstone Farm in Clinton stands out from the pack. Visitors will find abundant fruits and veggies of all kinds at this stunning organic u-pick farm and produce stand.

Castle Park and the South Whidbey Sports Commons - Bring a frisbee or do cartwheels on the lush, manicured fields,  A forest with running trails connects the two parks that feature a skate park, bike pump track, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and playgrounds, something for everyone.  Look for live music on the lawn in the summer..  

Make a week or weekend of it and explore Deception Pass, Coupeville, Fort Casey and Ebey's Landing ... adventure awaits!