The Northwest in Winter

January 9, 2016 |  Category:   life Seattle & the NW travels

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2016. Sounds like a date in the future, doesn’t it? This is what I would have thought when I was a kid. We spent a week in between Christmas and New Years in Washington, the first time we’ve spent the holiday season anywhere other than NYC in nearly 20 years ago. I’ll admit, getting on a plane was the last thing we wanted to do after Christmas, but once we got there (and after we got acclimated to the cold, which was a sharp contrast to the freakish 70 degree weather we had around Christmas here in NY), we were happy for a change of scenery.

Visiting a city in a different season that you’re otherwise familiar with is almost like experiencing it new all over again. Seeing Seattle dressed up for the holidays was great fun, even if the rain and the cold was a shock. And then 2 days into our trip, the skies cleared – I mean REALLY cleared – and apparently this was the first time in many weeks the clouds opened up. This meant that we had clear views of both snow capped mountain ranges that flank the city on both sides – the Olympics and the Cascades.

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If you’ve never experienced driving up a hill in Seattle and suddenly seeing the majestic mountain ranges of either the Olympics or the Cascades come into view, then it’s hard to describe. Words can’t justify it; neither can pictures. Since it’s been so long since we’ve been to the PNW in winter, we haven’t seen such a clear view like this in nearly 20 years (the mountains are visible in summer, but is less dramatic because there isn’t as much snow). Same thing with Mt. Rainier which is ever so present in the Washington landscape. I remember even when I lived there, how surprising it was to drive around a bend and suddenly have Mt. Rainier majestically looming large right in front of you. This is the stuff that I miss, and this is the reason why I have a strong pull to see “big” nature when we’re there.

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The main reason we went to Washington during the holidays was to check out Mark’s mom’s new house on the water. The view of Puget Sound from their windows is spectacular and there is now space for all of us to stretch and spread out. It feels like a “grandma” house, I told Mark – one that the kids might have memories spending summers in.

I get these cycles where I feel sharp nostalgia for those Washington years. It’ll get triggered by something like watching a Kathleen Hanna documentary or catching a particular song on my playlist. We didn’t know it then, but to live in a place that shifted popular culture by its music, its youth, its food and its art, is an interesting thing to experience. Does this happen anymore? Has there been anywhere in the states in the last 10 years that had the same buzz as the PNW did in the early nineties? Maybe Austin? I guess Brooklyn? What’s next?

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P.S. You can watch some of my Periscopes from our trip on Katch.

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  • Elyssa January 9, 2016 at 8:43 am

    The photos are beautiful. I am from the East Coast and went to Evergreen from 1986-1990 and then stayed after I graduated until 1998. The songs and documentaries (and even the movie ‘Singles’) can take me right back there. I follow TESC on FB and love seeing photos of campus. The other day I was remembering the many times my friends and I took the hike from the parking lot to the beach and the meadow parties, which sadly ended. I miss those days in the PNW and often feel nostalgic, too.

    • Jenna January 9, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Ha, I know what you mean about Singles, as cheesy as the movie is. We were at TESC right after you. We thought about going down to the Evergreen beach when we were there. Now that Mark’s mom has moved away from Olympia, wonder how often we’ll go there. We do have a teacher we often visit and we love Olympia Coffee Roasters so I’m sure we’ll go, but it does feel weird to have no real reason to be in Oly anymore.

  • Caddy January 9, 2016 at 11:56 am

    I was in Seattle and PNW this past May and loved the city and the views! Just gorgeous! Your photos bring all those wonderful memories back. I would love to see it in a different season.

  • Christine January 9, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    It continues to be pretty spectacular here in the PNW. So much snow in the mountains and sunny days in Seattle. There is no place quite like it.

  • Janine January 13, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Wwwwwwww! Amazing photos. I’ve been to Seattle but now need to go back! Was there for our 10th anniversary (and this year is our 25th – yikes is it really that long ago????!!!!)

  • Jen January 13, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    Jenna, I’ve been drooling over your pictures on IG and here. I’ve also been feeling some strong pangs of nostalgia lately, always, always related to music. Nostalgia is such a weird thing, painful and joyous all at the same time.

  • Arika January 19, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I live here in the Evergreen state and your post helps me remember how lucky I am to live somewhere so beautiful. I think I forget how beautiful it really is sometimes!

  • chai ling January 25, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    7th year following your blog. this is one of my fave posts. thank you for sharing the pictures and words. they are always beautifully penned.

    • Jenna January 27, 2016 at 12:50 am

      Thank you for sticking with me the last 7 years Chai Ling!

  • Jhope January 29, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Beautiful. I love all of these photos. We haven’t been back to Portland since 96′! These photos make me realize it’s time to show our daughter where we met.

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