Gig Harbor, Washington

Sunrise View at Gig Harbor, Washington
Sunrise View at Gig Harbor, Washington

When I knew I was traveling to Seattle I posted on Facebook and asked people where I should go. My friend Michael was the first to get back to me and told me Gig Harbor (!) My ears always perk up when I hear “harbor” so I immediately looked it up on the internet. I could see that it wasn’t a far drive from Seattle and decided to take the day and explore that area. I got up at 5:30am, hit the original Starbucks, headed south on highway 5 and then north at Tacoma on highway 16. Gig Harbor is the name of both a bay on Pugent Sound and a city on its shore. Quick travel note – you can also take a ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and then drive down to Gig Harbor, but either way you’ll need a car to get there.

It was raining, overcast and a very chilly that day. I know a lot of people wish for sun when they are shooting photos, but I personally love photographing under the clouds and especially in the rain.



Here’s a little history – During a heavy storm in 1840, Captain Charles Wilkes brought the Captain’s gig into the harbor for protection. Later, with the publication of Wilkes 1841 Map of the Oregon Territory, he named the bay Gig Harbor. The boats today must look totally different. I was there in the winter so it was really quite. It must be absolutely bustling in the summer, boats crisscrossing in the harbor, people in bathing suits, fishing, etc. For me? I prefer the solitude I found that beautiful morning.


The harbor where I shot these images is just to the right as you enter the city. After, I had breakfast at Tides Tavern. The restaurant has waterfront views and they got my eggs right (always seems like a science project) – poached medium -medium well, whites cooked, yokes runny. (What I wouldn’t give to that in front of me now!)

Tides Tavern Resturant
Tides Tavern Resturant

And yes, fabulous, thick perfectly cooked bacon. I’m surprised the fruit bowl was brave enough to sit so close to that assortment of cholesterol packed, tasty morsels.

Here’s a map that shows you were Gig Harbor is located.  Next, we’re going to head north to the town of Poulsbo and then over to Bainbridge Island.  If you’d like to recieve my next post by email please click the follow button. Cheers!

gig harbor map

If you’d like to purchase a print of this beautiful area, please click on “Contact”. My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors / saturation are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image ½ inch off the wall.

©2013 Shelley D Spray – No content  on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.

Seattle Crab Pot

PhotoGirlTravels_Crab Pot

If you can’t remember the last time you wore a bib, then it’s time. There’s nothing more exhilarating than whacking away on your dinner with a mallet, bib tied close around your neck, burning those unwanted calories while you eat. I had the opportunity to do just that when I was at the Seattle Crab Pot. There are a number of things you can order on the menu but their specialty is a huge pot of steamed seafood, grilled corn, potatoes and spicy sausage served with melted butter and lemon (and of course an ice cold beer). After you order sit back and relax. Soon you’ll see your waitress weaving her way over to your table holding a huge overflowing bowl of goodness which is dumped right on your table.

There are four different choices to pick from:

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So was it really that good?  Check it out for yourself.  My sister was able to join me for dinner so you can see the damage two women can do.

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The Crab Pot is at Pier 57 and the restaurant literally floats on the bay.  And after dinner (or before) you can even steal a kiss if you want.

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The Edgewater – Seattle’s Only Waterfront Hotel

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I had no idea when I was planning my trip to Seattle, but there is only ONE waterfront hotel in Seattle and it’s The Edgewater Hotel. I’m a beach girl so of course I decided that was the place to stay. CNBC and Best of Citysearch rated it best hotel in Seattle. It’s also rated as one of the world’s best places to stay by Conde Nest Traveler. So how could I not check it out? Below are some photos of this beautiful hotel.

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Let’s start at the beginning…when you arrive. As you pull up to the entry the first thing you’ll see is a huge stone fireplace that burns 24/7.  It truly starts your stay off right.

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When you enter the lobby you’ll find the decor is quite unique and beautiful.  You’ll feel like you’ve escaped to a mountain resort.  Note the chairs made with faux antlers, the stone fireplace and coffee table made from a huge log.

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The rooms are also quaint with gas fireplaces and log styled 4 poster beds.

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Because the hotel literally sits over the water, the views are beautiful! Make sure you enjoy the sunset, either in your room, or down in the bar and / or restaurant where you can sit outside.

Photogirltravels_Edgewater 20 copy            Photogirltravels_Edgewater 2I did stop by the hotel’s Six Seven bar for happy hour before heading to dinner.  I had the mussles and they were divine!  You may also want to stay at the hotel for dinner (or lunch).  Again, it’s one of the few bars/restaurants in the city that has a waterfront view.

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For more information on this beautiful hotel:

In my next Seattle blog, I’ll take you to one of the most popular seafood restaurants where you’ll need to wear a bib and use a mallet.  That combined with an ice cold beer makes the perfect dinner! Click the Follow button over on the right and join me on out next adventure!

Would you like to purchase a print? Please click on “Contact”. My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors and saturation are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image ½ inch off the wall.

©2013 Shelley D Spray – No content on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.

Seattle Space Needle

Space Needle

It all started on a placemat.  The Space Needle is a “must see” in Seattle and was created to be a dominant central structure for the 1962 World’s Fair.  But what I found really interesting is that the original design was apparently drawn on a placemat in a coffee house in 1959. (The penciled shape you see below)


I chuckled when I saw this drawing for the first time and I’m even chuckling now – I mean, this is the first drawing of the Space Needle? It almost looks like the front of an elephant and its trunk. After this very important first scribble, the design underwent a lot of changes (Well….I should think so) and following some location and finance hurdles a plot of land was sold to the investors for $75,000 in 1961, just 13 months before the World’s Fair opening. It did open on time and from that day forward has been one of the central icons in this beautiful city. The photo below shows the Seattle Space Needle and the Great Wheel from the ferry. (Way way over on the left)


Here are a few factoids for you to know before you head over to the needle.

  • The Space Needle is approximately 605 strips of bacon tall (foot long strips). The original fact I found used a Milky Way bar but I figure bacon’s about double the length, so I took the liberty to tweak that fact just a bit.
  • There are 848 steps from the bottom of the basement to the top of the Observation Deck if you are interested in buns of steel…try the climb just once.
  • The Space Needle is fastened to its foundation with 72 bolts, each 30 feet in length. I guess that seems ok but 72 just doesn’t seem like  a lot.
  • The Needle is built to withstand a wind velocity of 200 miles per hour.
  • The elevators travel 10 mph, 14 feet per second, 800 feet per minute, or as fast as a raindrop falls to earth. In fact, a snowflake falls at 3 mph, so in an elevator during a snowstorm it appears to be snowing up.
  • On a hot day the Space Needle expands about one inch. (If you throw in the humidity, I’d say the same thing happens to my hair on hot days)
  • There are 25 lightning rods (24 actual rods plus the tower) on the roof of the Needle to withstand lightning strikes.

In my next Seattle blog I want to show you the ONLY hotel that sits on the water, the beautiful Edgewater Hotel.

Would you like a print? Please click on “Contact”. My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors and saturation are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image ½ inch off the wall.

©2013 Shelley D Spray – No content on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.

Get Your Rain Boots On…We’re Off to Seattle

PhotoGirlTravels Seattle

Seattle is virtually the thumbtack that holds up the upper left-hand side of the United States. Nestled between the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, it’s a trendy city with a lot to do. I think the best place to start is Pike Place Market. But first we need to make a quick stop that involves caffeine…

Original Starbucks

…And what better place to go? The original Starbucks. Walking up to this small shop really makes you believe in the American dream. I know there are books written about their road to success, but truly it is amazing when you see it. I always get a grande in a vente since I require extra cream (and refuse to pour my precious coffee out or ask for “extra room”). Get whatever you’d like and then we’ll be on our way. The original Starbucks sits on the edge of Pike Place Market so it’s an easy walk from there.

PhotoGirlTravels Original Starbucks

Pike Place Market

From the original Starbucks we’ll head up the street to Pike Place Market. There are tons of shops outside of the market so we’ll take our time and check them out.

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One of my favorite stores is Beecher’s Handmade Cheese Shop where you can sample some pretty amazing cheese. Just drop down on a handy milk jug to enjoy some of their gourmet food.

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After our cheese tasting experience, we’ll cross the street over to the Market. Pike Place Market started because of the price of an onion in 1906. Long story short – onions were super expensive so the outraged citizens proposed a public street market that would connect farmers directly with consumers. On August 17, 1907 Pike Place Market was born. You cannot believe the incredible selection you’ll find of fresh produce, seafood, and other merchandise. There are restaurants with waterfront views inside the market too. Look for the fish throwers.  One guy stands out front by the customers, when you order he literally throws the fish back to another guy who wraps it up. A lot of fun for the on-lookers but I’m sure a lot of work for the doers.

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And in front of the fish throwers is Rachael the Pig which you have to take your picture on. If you’ve read any of my blogs you know I’m a huge bacon lover.  If you’d like to learn more about good ol Rachael here’s an earlier blog about her:

PhotoGirlTravels Rachel the Pig

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More to come…

Next I’ll show you the Space Needle, Seattle Great Wheel, Chihuly Glass Exhibition (mind-blowing), the library (seriously, it’s impressive), we’ll don a bib eat a pile of seafood with an ice cold beer(s) and stay at the only hotel that literally sits on the water, the elegant Edgewater Hotel.  And finally, we’ll take the Ferry over to visit a few quaint coastal towns including Bainbridge Island and Gig Harbor.  Please click the follow button over on the right if you’d like to receive email notifications of these posts. I hope you’ll join me!

Handy Links

Original Starbucks:

Pike Place Market:

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese:

Edgewater Hotel:

Chihuly Glass Exhibition:

Me and Rachel the Pig

PhotoGirlTravels Rachel the Pig

If you love bacon, then how can you not love pigs? Maybe that’s a contradictory idea, but I’ll throw it out anyway. When I mentioned I was going to Seattle on Facebook (, one of my dear friends Kathryn, begged me to sit on the pig. I had not heard of “the pig” but added it to my list of to-dos. While walking down Pikes Market I inquired about the pig. When I finally found her she was covered with small children – slipping and sliding off her round, plump body. In fact, you can see this is a common occurrence because the metal is worn to-a-shine from the bodies draped over her all… day… long. I had promised to climb aboard so shamelessly shewed the children off her back.  I must really love this friend because I tossed my germaphobic  tendencies out the door, and with some effort, climbed on up (she’s a slippery old thing)

After I got home I did a little research and here is what I found about that ol pig:

  • Her name is Rachel (Known to the locals as “Rachel the Pig” which makes total sense)
  • This little piggy gets to see it all, the flying fish, fresh produce, performing artists, runny noses, and a lot of rain (probably a good thing to wash all the germs off!)
  • She was actually hit by a car and had to be removed and repaired (poor Rachel). Thank heaven she was back in time for my trip.

All in all, she was a smooth ride….And sorry Rachel, even though you are pretty cute, I still love bacon…