Pacific Northwest

Finding a Christmas Tree & Little Joys

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been that involved in the process of finding, or cutting down, a Christmas tree.

As a kid, I remember watching my parents pushing and pulling our annual, large evergreen through the back door, across the kitchen, and into the living room, all the while (lovingly) telling me and my sister to stay out of the way (I’ve come to realize that excited children are tripping hazards to parents carrying large objects.) In college, there typically wasn’t the room, or money, to get a Christmas tree. Occasionally a roommate of mine would set one up by themselves  in strong persistence to make our home more Christmas-y.

This year is different.

This year is my first Christmas with Matt as a married couple. We wanted a special tree and a fun, tree-seeking experience to mark this year as a joyful one.

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

Matt, our friends David, Carrie, and Sam, and I crammed into one car and drove out of town to find a U-Cut Christmas tree farm. With eggnog lattes in hand and the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack on the radio, I was (internally) experiencing some Buddy-the-Elf-level excitement to find the perfect Christmas tree.

Matt and I had our heart set on finding a giant tree. The ceilings in our loft are high, and we figured we should go big on this first Christmas of ours, because, well, why not?

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

Carrie and David came to visit from Seattle and ended up finding their Christmas tree, too! (Aren’t they the cutest?)

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

After walking around for a while in the mud and wind, we finally found our tree— 13 feet of Christmas glory.

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

Scouting out and cutting down this tree has become one of my best Christmas memories. Everything from the friendly staff at the farm to the strong scent of the trees was so . . . cheerful. And light.

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

That was just what I’ve been needing—a  simple day in the fresh air with good company. There have been so many heavy and tragic events happening in the world lately, and my heart needed a break to remember that good still exists. That doesn’t mean looking away or forgetting. It means remembering that there is still light, and it can be found and shared, even in the brokenness of our world.

Finding a Christmas Tree | The Northwest Woman

These little joys found in good memories like this one are so important to hold on to. J.M. Barrie once said, “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.” Well, here are my roses.

 

A Rainy Autumn Visit to Orcas Island

 

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

Visiting Orcas Island in the off-season is such a treat—it’s incredibly quiet and cozy without the summer crowds. No matter the season, Orcas always offers some pretty incredible pacific northwest scenery, so naturally I was pretty excited when Matt and I booked our trip to visit this little island with our friends from out of town.

We rented a small house through Airbnb in East Sound on Orcas. The rental ended up being further from the downtown area than we had anticipated—it was at the top of a wooded mountain—but it was the perfect little spot! The wind and rain really added to the cozy atmosphere of our short stay.

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

One of my favorite parts of the house was the cedar, wood-burning hot tub—I loved the woodsy, campfire smell of the stove. While you have to work a bit to get the temperature right, the soak that follows is worth the effort.

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

When we weren’t soaking in the hot tub or playing cards, the four of us enjoyed taking walks out in the yard. There were deer everywhere and it was so refreshing to be completely surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

Orcas Island | The Northwest WomanOrcas Island | The Northwest Woman

Matt met our friends Ben and Beth, who made this trip with us, when they were just getting married—he photographed their wedding in California. Last Halloween they came to visit and the four of us hit it off! This trip fell on our “friendiversary,” so we kept up our tradition (is it a tradition if it started last year?) of watching a trilogy of late-90s horror movies.

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

The trip concluded with a three-hour ferry delay, so we played many, many more games of cards and fed stray cats french fries from lunch.

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

Orcas Island | The Northwest Woman

If you’re looking for a low-key getaway, off-season travelling is refreshing—there are fewer crowds, it’s quieter, and you get to take a peek at what local life is really like. I can’t wait to visit Orcas Island again, soon!

Photos by me and my husband, Matt.

San Juan Islands Getaway

San Juan Islands Getaway - The Northwest Woman

Matt and I were able to catch the end of the (amazing!) summer we’ve had in Washington this year with a short boating trip to the San Juan Islands with family. The San Juans are nestled right between northwest Washington and British Columbia—it’s one of my favorite places to get away to!

San Juan Islands Getaway

We set out on the water from the marina in Anacortes, WA and through Rosario Strait.

San Juan Islands Getaway

San Juan Islands Getaway

San Juan Islands GetawaySan Juan Islands Getaway - The Northwest Woman

San Juan Islands Getaway

Cheers, mom!

It was so nice to have some down time with family out on the water.

View More: http://matthewland.pass.us/northstar-1 San Juan Islands Getaway - The Northwest WomanView More: http://matthewland.pass.us/northstar-1


View More: http://matthewland.pass.us/northstar-1Roche Harbor, WA was our final destination. I love the beautiful gardens right off the marina!

San Juan Islands Getaway

San Juan Islands Getaway

A rare photo of Matt and I together—typically one of us is behind the camera.

San Juan Islands Flowers

Photos by me and my husband, Matthew Land.


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