Tag Archives: Vacation

The Inn at Mallard Cove

Because Dean had a meeting in Seattle earlier this month and I had some vacation time left, we decided to spend some time with Clare who recently moved to Olympia, Washington. We knew it would not make sense to try to stay with Clare and Bennett so I was tasked with finding a place to stay in the area. At first I thought we’d simply stay at a local motel (although not this one).

Then I got the idea to make it even more special and thought we should stay in a bed and breakfast. It had been a while since we’d done that, not counting the pre-hurricane stay in Cape May last autumn.

Olympia doesn’t have a huge amount of bed and breakfast establishments, but it as a few. I first considered staying at the Swantown Inn which is  5 minute drive from Clare’s house. It had many great reviews on Trip Advisor and is located in a beautiful colorful Victorian mansion. I nearly made reservations there, but I ended up clicking on a link to the Washington Bed and Breakfast Web site and found that there was another B&B a little further away, but right on Puget Sound. According to Google Maps it was only a 20 minute drive from the Inn to Clare’s house and Dean said that was an okay distance to travel. I called the second inn to check if they had room for us and was treated to a delightful conversation with Don, one of the hosts of the Inn at Mallard Cove. As we talked he mentioned that an eagle just flew by. He also brought up the subject of kayaks and said that we could use his kayaks — even in winter. That settled it. I made reservations there because Dean loves to kayak and I love birds.

I spent much of my free between making the reservation and the actual visit to Olympia reading many of the reviews on Trip Advisor. Of the 139 reviews, 134 are 5 star reviews, 4 are 4 star reviews and only one is a negative review by someone that didn’t even stay there — she just complained about their two-day minimum stay in peak season.

Even prepared with the glowing reviews, I was astonished by the beauty of the house (and its location), the hospitality of the hosts, the awesomeness of the breakfasts and the attention do detail in every single thing about the Inn at Mallard Cove.

Don and Linda are simply wonderful hosts. Don is vivaciously friendly and is knowledgeable about almost anything you ask him — especially if it involves the inn or the area. Linda is more reserved, but also very friendly. She, as Don put it several times, is the “brains” behind the operation and it is her attention to detail that makes your stay go smoothly. She is also an amazing cook. Our breakfasts were so delicious and filling that I could have easily waited for dinner before I ate anything more.

On Friday Don took Clare and Dean kayaking on Puget Sound into the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. I’ve never kayaked and didn’t want to start kayaking in 30-something degree weather. They had a wonderful time and claim they didn’t even notice the cold.

I have stayed at dozens of bed and breakfasts in the US and in Europe, but I must say that the Inn at Mallard Cove may very well be the best B&B at which I have had the pleasure to stay.

What we did on our summer vacation — Days 5 and 6

Monday

After the busy weekend we took a bit of a break from activities on Monday. We were scheduled to get our photographs taken Monday evening by a professional photographer I’d gotten to know via his blog a few years ago, so we didn’t want to do too much during the day. We had lunch at Portillos where Jill* works because I’d heard that their Italian beef was better than Beef Villa. It was very good, but there is something about Beef Villa I prefer.

Then we drove to Sycamore to go to Farm and Fleet (a friend of ours once called it “Farmer’s Feet”, so that’s what we usually call it too). Bought some stuff we didn’t need (including a colorful pair of gardening clogs that I will wear the .001% of the time I actually garden).

We stopped by and said hi to my dad and grandparents on the way back to Elgin, then headed to the kitty farm** for our photo shoot.

Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate that day and we had to reschedule the photo shoot for the next morning — early the next morning since we had plans to visit Chicago later that morning.

Tuesday

Bright and early Tuesday morning we headed back to the kitty farm and met up with James Jordan who made us look fabulous with an old barn as and equally fabulous backdrop. What you don’t see in the photos below are the occasional dead critters in the straw. Dean’s brothers (The Twins) stopped by for a visit and got in on the photography fun.

After the photo shoot we picked up my mom and Brandon and headed to Chicago where we first visited Millennium Park and photographed the “Bean”, then visited the Art Institute. Unfortunately a considerable amount of time was spent waiting to be seated for lunch in the Art Institute’s courtyard cafe, waiting to be waited upon, and waiting for our bill.

Oh yeah, it was Dean’s birthday.

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Dean modeling his new t-shirt from his robot-making buddy, Tal.

That evening we celebrated June Birthdays in the Follmann family at Sue and Dennis’ house in Sycamore. Then we went home on Wednesday.

The end.

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*Jill is my ex sister-in-law who lives with my mom
**The kitty farm is the farm where Dean spent his formative years and where his brother, Danny and his family lived for many years. They always had dozens of cats running around — and that is where we got Joe and Halloween.

What we did on our summer vacation — Day 4

I need to finish this before I blog about other things…

Sunday morning I went to church with Mom and afterward I enjoyed the wildflowers on the church property while Mom attended a meeting.

That afternoon we had a cookout with my brother and his family at my Mom’s house. Not knowing what to cook for dinner, Kevin, Brandon and I went to a local Italian grocery store for inspiration. We found it in the meat department in the form of amazing store-made sausages and the produce department in the form of vegetables to grill. And in the wine department where I saw the bottle of wine that I was hiding from Tony Soprano in my dream about him a week before the untimely death of the actor who portrayed him. We decided our meal would be a tribute to James Ganolfini and Tony Soprano.

We ate well that night thanks to Kevin’s skill with the grill. We also had fun with Preston.