Life has been hard and stressful since my younger son K joined our family a year and a half ago. I desperately needed to get away for a weekend…a weekend free from stress and also to have some alone time with my son N. Since N started school, I have not had much one-on-one time with him aside from the occasional mommy-son dates. I ended up booking a weekend getaway to Lake Crescent on the Olympic Peninsula. It would be a wonderful opportunity to not only get some bonding time with N but to also enjoy a new location in the Pacific Northwest where we feel fortunate to live. Since I was booking so last minute (a month ahead), I had to book two separate hotels for our two nights away.
Lake Crescent is on the way to Salt Creek where we camped just a couple weeks prior and takes about three hours total if you can get on a ferry right away. Because ferry traffic is so heavy on summer weekends, we had to wait two hours on a late Friday afternoon, making the trip much longer. We finally embarked on the Walla Walla ferry from Edmonds to Kingston. Ferry rides are so fun and I love riding them every time. N had fun exploring!
There is a 3D map on the ferry and here is N pointing to Lake Crescent where we were headed.
The ferries come equipped with a cafeteria and you can buy a meal there. We weren’t close to meal time so I bought N some chips just for the novelty of buying food and eating on the ferry.
Here we are back in the car, getting close to docking at Kingston. It’s so funny to see our position on the middle of the water on Google maps.
It was almost a two hour drive to Lake Crescent which we extended with a stop in Port Angeles to grab some dinner. When we reached the lake, we made a quick stop at a scenic viewpoint to take some pictures. The lake used to used to be a glacier and the surrounding hills looks like a fjord. This is responsible for the lake’s clarity and color.
It was quite late by the time we checked into Lake Crescent Lodge, our stop for the first night.
After checking in, we wandered around the property. It didn’t take much to keep N entertained. We explored the grounds and threw rocks into the water.
Another family was on the dock taking pictures so offered to take one for us. I had them use my phone to take the following picture. The quality isn’t great but unlike most strangers who take pictures, this person did a wonderful job composing—I only had to make a minor framing adjustment.
And of course I took lots of pictures of my boy with my trusty Canon. I brought my Canon 40mm f2.8 pancake lens, which I’ve been traveling with a lot this summer, because it’s so small and lightweight and makes carrying a big camera around easier. I also really like the 40mm focal length for general purpose shooting.
Dad gave N his mini concert binoculars which N loves using on trips.
Although we had a great week of warm weather (actually too warm), it did cool down and get cloudy for our trip.
I’m sure N could spend many hours looking for sticks and throwing rocks into the water.
We didn’t stay in the lodge; I believe they don’t allow children but there are lots of different buildings on the property in which to stay. We stayed in a two story motel style building called the Pyramid Mountain Rooms. They also have cottages and other accommodations on the property. All locations have a lake view. Our room was average and was as I expected for a publicly owned property. The Lodge itself was really nice and well maintained.
It was quite late—much later than N’s normal early bedtime (thank goodness I made him nap in the car earlier) so we settled into our room. Of course, N had to play a game of Uno before we went to bed. It’s one of the games he loves playing which I don’t mind and sometimes even enjoy.
N was so excited about our trip and staying in a hotel. The room had two queen beds so we each got to have our own beds and his smiling, happy face peered at me from under the sheets to say goodnight!
The next morning we headed to the Lodge to eat breakfast. It was more overcast than the day before and it was drizzling.
The dining room at the Lodge is lovely with wonderful views of the lake. N took along his field notebook to take notes about our trip. The dining room is quite formally decorated and the food a bit more on the expensive side. The breakfast was quite delicious so did not disappoint.
Afterwards, we walked around the property a bit more before we checked out. Here is N is sporting the eagle we bought at the gift shop to commemorate the trip. We picked up a bear for K to take home to him.
After check out, we went on a hike on Spruce Railroad Trail. It is a relatively level hike and 8 miles round trip. We were both excited about the hike and hoped to get quite far.
Being a true child of the Pacific Northwest, N loves exploring nature. It didn’t take him long to find creatures and he decided to rescue this centipede which he gently took off the path and left on the other side so it wouldn’t get stepped on.
It ended up raining pretty soon into our hike and rained on and off the entire time. It’s a good thing we brought our raincoats. I love this picture of N walking with his hands in his pockets. He’s so little yet looks so grown up. I feel so lucky to be his mom.
After a bit of a walk, we started to see little peeks of the lake along the trail. Because the lake used to be a glacier, it is incredibly clear and aqua colored.
A mile into the trail, we came upon the Punchbowl. It was truly magnificent and breathtaking. The picture does not do this location justice. The weather was so dark and dreary so I didn’t have the best lighting and it was midday which doesn’t yield the best light.
Nolan liked throwing rocks into the ‘bowl’ because he could see where they went.
Here is a picture that demonstrates the clarity of the water.
Past the hill beyond the Punchbowl, the remaining trail meandered along the lake with beautiful, full views of it.
And at times it really rained on us but luckily N is used to that because he did a nature based preschool program where the kids hiked daily rain or shine. It really fostered a love of hiking and nature in N which is important because that’s how we like to spend the weekends!
We also came upon a rocky terrain and N had fun looking at the rocks.
There were also quite a few cyclists on the trail. I don’t know how they got past that fallen log at the beginning of the trail but there they were.
I wanted us to hike all the way to the railroad tracks but couldn’t make it. N was getting tired and we hiked almost two hours at a pretty good pace. I’m not sure how far we got but I’m estimating around two miles. We turned around since the trail doesn’t loop. I took this next picture with my phone because I put my camera away thinking we were just seeing the same view but had to take this picture…lesson learned so I took my camera out again.
Back at the Punchbowl, some woman offered to take a picture of us so I set up my camera for her. I wish she hadn’t angled the camera so high but it’s a crapshoot when you ask strangers to take pictures for you.
Back on the forest-like part of the trail, we saw the biggest banana slug I’d ever seen. The little ball in N’s hand was one we found along the trail.
Towards the end of the trail, N got super tired. We had been hiking for almost four hours and he was DONE. His expression and body language was so different than at the beginning of the hike when he was all smiles.
This trail is located right by the Lake Crescent Log Cabin Resort which was where we stayed for the second night. We were an hour away from our official check in time but the room was ready so we were able to check in early and take a break. The rooms are right on the beach with back door access to the outside.
We had lunch in their cafeteria. The food was good but nothing special but had wonderful views overlooking the lake.
After lunch, we walked around the property and played some of the games they had for guests.
After forcing N into taking a nap, which he fought, I woke him up so we could go kayaking on the lake. It was drizzling but I couldn’t give up the chance to get on that water. I obviously didn’t take my camera but had my phone with me to take this picture. The lake was really gorgeous, despite it raining on us. We only stayed out a little under an hour because of the inclement weather. Had the weather been drier, I could see us staying out longer and trying to paddle the whole lake. N didn’t like when it really started raining because he was afraid the kayak would fill up with water so I had to head back.
The rain stopped by the time we returned to shore so N wanted to go into the water. I expected the water to be really cold but it was actually really pleasant. If the weather had been better, I probably would’ve gone in with him but chose to only go knee deep and kept N in the shallower end.
Each room had a little patio with a picnic bench and Adirondack chairs which made a perfect spot to dry off.
It was getting late so we decided to return to the Lodge where we stayed the first night so we could have a nice dinner. We hung out in the Lodge until our table was ready.
Despite the short nap, N wasn’t used to these late nights.
Here is my sweet dinner date who made a fantastic conversationalist. Having so much one-on-one time with my son really helped me relish every minute I had with him—to value this fleeting time because kids grow up so fast. I blinked and my baby is already becoming a first grader.
The dinner menu was quite pricey (most items were $30+). I ordered the halibut which was delicious but a little overcooked.
After some lovely dinner conversation and dessert for N, we played a game of Uno at the Lodge so that we could just go to sleep when we returned to the Log Cabin Resort. N likes to make these big eyes at me to make me laugh.
The next morning, the weather was clearing a bit…of course on the day of our departure.
These are the cabins you can also stay at on the property. There is also RV and tent camping beyond the cabins. I wouldn’t recommend the tent camping though—all the spots are on an open field with no privacy and you are right next to RVs.
We were able to check out before 9:30 and had time to do a quick hike. I wanted us to go to Marymere Falls which is located right by the Lodge but was afraid that if we did the hike, the extra hours would mean the wait for the ferry would get longer and longer as it got later in the day. I didn’t want to arrive home late because N started camp the next day so we ended up leaving straight for the ferry and only had an hour wait. We waved goodbye to Kingston and our weekend getaway.
It was close to lunch time so N grabbed a hot dog.
…And I couldn’t help but take a picture of another ferry boat while on a ferry.
The weekend was amazing. I had a such a wonderful and fun time—one I hadn’t had since K came home. Although K has made great progress since the traumatic first six months, life continues to be challenging and stressful due to the frequent regressions he has (which I won’t get into). Regressions are common with toddler adoptions but we just seem to be on the extreme end with the frequency. I just needed to have some time to decompress and not hear any crying (on top of the regressive crying, K is just a crier so it gets tiring). It was also so nice to have alone time with N again. Although I miss how cute and little he was as a toddler, I love this age so much because we can do much more together and have fun and interesting conversations. N was so delighted the entire time and couldn’t believe he was able to get my full attention all weekend and I loved that he appreciated that.
Even though we had to stay at two different locations due to late booking, I thought it worked out great because we were busy the second morning with our hike (with the only hassle having to pack twice). We got a chance to experience two different lodging options and although I’d say the Lake Crescent Lodge was nicer in terms of location, I thought the Log Cabin Resort was a better option with kids. I liked our room—it was spacious with a mini kitchen (sink & mini fridge) and the back door had the patio and beach access. The beach there was also better for swimming with little ones and although the restaurant wasn’t as nice, it is a more affordable and casual option for families. I’d love to come back with my whole family in the future and would probably choose to stay at the Cabin Resort since the other location is just a 20 minute drive away. We’ve driven by Lake Crescent many times on the way to other places so I’m glad we finally got an opportunity to stay there. It is a really nice location for a weekend getaway!