Nothing compares to the beauty of autumn -- take advantage of the season with these favorite field trip ideas!

While the soil temperatures are still warm and the rains will ensure proper watering, fall is the ideal time to plant bulbs, perennials, shrubs and trees.  It's also an excellent time to take advantage of these great plant sales:

Peony Sale at Full Bloom Farm October 7th and 8th on Lummi Island - here you'll find rare and heirloom peony varieties grown without pesticides.  Can't make it to the island? Order online and have beauty in your garden for years to come!

Native Plant Sale at Seward Park Audubon Center October 14th and 15th - in addition to being easy to care for, native plants will bring birds, pollinators and beauty to your yard.

City People's Garden Store, not only do they offer fantastic and FREE gardening glasses, now is the time to stock up at their outdoor nursery sale.

New hobby: mushroom hunting!  Learn from writer Langdon Cook on our wild edible walk October 19th, then head to the Wild Mushroom show October 21st and 22nd at Bellevue Community College to see over 200 varieties of fungi in the flesh.  

While we're happy to forego the "pumpkin spice" madness of the season, it isn't fall until we've had the pumpkin doughnuts at the Original Bakery in West Seattle -- truly the best in the city!

Fall day trip -- after grabbing Original Bakery doughnuts for breakfast, hop on the Fauntleroy ferry to Vashon Island.  Explore the idyllic island and its wonderful farm stands, nurseries, hikes (look out for fungi!), orchards (don't miss the marvelous Nashi Orchards and a chance to taste their outstanding ciders and perrys!), and restaurants.

Don't have a whole day? Take a fall foliage walk through the Kubota Garden in Rainier Beach - the maples will leave you breathless. Even better -- free garden tours offered on Saturdays at 10 a.m. through the month of October.

farewell to summer

There was heat, there was sun, and there was smoke. Life is never perfect, but this summer sure was fine.  Our favorite moments: 

reads:  Sherman Alexie's beautiful You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, David Sedaris's hilarious Theft By Finding, Dave Eggers' road trip adventure Heroes of the Frontier and for a little debauchery, Running With the Devil -- the story behind the making of Van Halen.

the great outdoors:  backpacking in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area and camping at Copper Lake -- challenging? yes. worth it? absolutely.

island escape: Whidbey!  U-pick farms (Featherstone Farm in Clinton), the coolest old school arcade (The Machine Shop), catching "pinks" at Bush Point, driftwood forts and dogs at Double Bluff, the Eagles garage sale, the beautiful new Flying Bear Farm outpost and catching a Sounders game with nachos at Cozy's Roadhouse, supreme.

cocktail: the celery gimlet from the charming Virginia Bunker of Future Nostalgia

tunes:  Waxahatchee's Out in the Storm, dreamy.

favorite tent/hiking/bonfire question: "three bands playing your ultimate party -- who are they and what do they open and close with?"

unplugged fun: farkle, ukulele jams, bicycle Sundays, blueberry crisps and slime galore

goodbye summer 2017 ... fall fun ahead!

island escape

After a grey and wet spring, we are soaking up every moment of sunshine and heat -- rain jackets and hats will be back soon enough. While we are taking a break from our own field trips in August, there is still much fun to be had. Here is where we want to be:

Jefferson Park Lawn Bowling 75th Anniversary and open house August 5th 12 - 4, learn to bowl, enjoy a refreshment and celebrate 75 years of history and good times on the grass.

Urban Farm Tour August 12th 10 - 3, a chance to learn and be inspired by unique, urban farms in West Seattle, White Center and Burien (check out Beer Star and Li'l Woody's while you're there!). This fun tour is organized by our friends at Seattle Farm School.

Yoga in the Sculpture Park August 19th, stretch your body and mind along the waterfront!

Want something a little more adventurous?  Our latest, favorite field trip is to Lummi Island, 9 square miles of magic, just waiting for you.  

Begin your journey by heading north on I-5 with a detour along Chuckanut Drive (exit 231).  Wind along the coast and stop at Taylor Shellfish for oysters and a cold beer.  At the Bow Junction, head towards Bow for blueberries at Bow Hill Blueberries - their u-pick farm is going strong (weekends only) and be sure to try their fresh-pressed, organic juice and locally-made ice cream.  Head the other direction towards Edison where you'll find delicious eats at Tweets Cafe, Slough Food, and the Breadfarm Bakery.  While you're there, don't miss the beautifully-curated Hedgerow Edison for hand-crafted home and lifestyle wares. Time to hit the road and catch your ferry.

Lummi Island is accessed by a county ferry system just north of Bellingham.  There isn't a reservation system, but when the line gets long, more trips are added to the schedule.  Once aboard, you will be transported to the island life in a short 7 minutes.  

Lummi is known for the legendary Willows Inn and its James Beard award-winning chef, Blaine Wetzel.  People come from all over the world to feast on exceptionally prepared foraged ingredients from the land and sea. While weekend reservations are made months in advance, there are often weekday spots available.  

If you are looking for something more bucolic,  Nettles Farm and Full Bloom Farm offer comfortable studios and cottages with kitchens amongst stunning garden settings.  If you're lucky, owners Riley Starks or Elisabeth and Michael Marshall will be on hand to share stories of their lands. 

In addition to its fine farms, Lummi is home to Lummi Island Wild, a wholly sustainable, reefnet fishery. Sit along the shore and watch the reefnet fleets in action as the "pinks" run in August.  This season marks the return of the Lummi Nation indigenous tribes to the water after being banned in the summer of 1897 by the State Legislature. Learn more about this remarkable company and watch the Patagonia video of their work here.

If you want to get on the water yourself, Moondance Kayak is the place to go. Whether you wish to learn about the flora and fauna of the island, how to forage ocean greens, or Salish Sea history, they have half-day to multi-day offerings.

Other fun: Artist studio tours take place the first Saturday of every month and the Lummi Island Heritage Trust regularly offers educational nature hikes.  This year's Lummi Island Parade takes place on September 9th complete with kazoo bands and poodles on parade.

Enjoy the summer. Fall field trips will be posted in early September!


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.


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!


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!