Tag Archives: dogs

Camano Island Coffee Roasters Just Keeps On Giving

In the year 2000 Jeff Ericson created Camano Island Coffee Roasters so he could combine his passion with sustainable practices and responsible purchasing.

In simple terms, that means the company makes darn good coffee and also gives back to the growers. Because Ericson wanted to create change in the world he partnered with Agros International. For every 3-lb. bag of coffee a consumer buys, $1 of that goes to Agros International. Agros, was founded in Seattle in 1982, so that rural Central American and Mexican families could leave poverty behind by purchasing and working their own land.

Agros trains people in their country and when that training is completed lends them money to buy land and then teaches them how to work the land so they can pay back the loan. Many of these people grow coffee, which Camano Island Coffee Roasters buys – but only if their beans meet Ericson’s standards. Otherwise the company helps them sell their coffee elsewhere.

Camano Island Coffee Roasters offers not only a delicious cup, but numerous shopping opportunities and even more shopping during the November-December holidays. Leashed dogs are welcome on the premises. This business is located at:  848 N. Sunrise Blvd. on Camano Island.

Val Mallinson, Author of Dog Lover’s Companion Books

Cooper and Isis told Val Mallinson what to put in her books

Today we welcome the premier Northwest dog writer, Val Mallinson, to the blog. If it’s in Washington, Oregon or parts of British Columbia and you can take your dog there, she knows about it. Her books are very handy guides for discovering new and different places to take your furry friends.

How many dogs do you have, what are their names and breeds?

Val:  I have two smooth coat, miniature dachshunds, Cooper and Isis. Both are rescues and collectively known as “The Wonder Wieners.” But, I like to tell people I wrote the book from the perspective of a large, sloppy chocolate Lab, which I’m convinced I was in a former life.

How many Dog Lover Companion books have you written?

Val:  There are three: The Dog Lover’s Companion to the Pacific Northwest, which covers Washington and Oregon from the mountains to the coast and a little bit of British Columbia; The Dog Lover’s Companion to Seattle, which extends from Everett to Olympia and the islands to Issaquah; and The Dog Lover’s Companion to Oregon, which covers, um, Oregon.

The books are so thorough. How long does it take you to write one?

Val:  The first book took two years, full time and then some, from contract to cover. The latest edition, updated in 2009, took about nine months, like a birth – sometimes as uncomfortable as a pregnancy, almost as rewarding.

Do you actually visit all the places you talk about in the book?

Val:  Yes, M’am. Our collective 10 legs, six eyes, and three bodies (sometimes four bodies, if the husband came) have visited every single spot we wrote about.

In Washington State, what are your favorite places to take dogs?

Val:  Our favorite place is always the most recent one we’ve visited! One thing I like about the books is that there’s a “Pick of the Litter” at the beginning of each chapter, giving you the highlights of each region. If forced to choose, I’d have to start with water: Whidbey Island. The dog parks and beaches are great (Double Bluff Beach!!!), the people are so friendly, the picnic food is superb, and it’s so close to Seattle, yet seems a world apart. Second on the list would be mountains: Bellingham/Mt. Baker. Cooper loves a good hike in the woods or around Lake Whatcom on the Hertz Trail. Old Fairhaven has charm, delicious food and great shops and you can take well-behaved pets into most of the boutiques along the four blocks. Finally, Lake Chelan has really captured our interest lately, for the water, mountains, sunny blue skies and (slurp) up-and-coming wine scene. Page 357 of The Dog Lover’s Companion to the Pacific Northwest (TDLCPN) lists seven fabulous wineries where pets are welcome to hang out with you on patios while you wine and dine.

Which lodging facilities in Washington are the most accommodating to dogs?

Val:  Some wonderful spots go out of their way to be as friendly as a Golden Retriever. To name a few, Willows Lodge in Woodinville is the tops; they even have a dog greeter in the lobby. In Seattle, the W Hotel puts the “W” in tail-wagging; they often host Mutt Mixer parties along with CityDog Magazine, and they have a pet package at check-in.

For upscale hotels, try Starwood Hotels . I tell you what, on the cheap, you can’t beat Motel 6—they are reliably dog-friendly, conveniently located, and their website lists all the locations that have recently been updated and overhauled to look quite nice.

What is Washington’s best-kept dog-secret?

Val:  If I told you, I’d have to ki—no wait, different job. Okay, if I’m a dog, I’m going to recommend the ends of the earth at Cape Disappointment State Park on Long Beach Peninsula. The beaches are endless, the hikes are wooded, you often have the place to yourself, and the food and lodging are constantly improving. Hint: Try the Inn at Discovery Coast. Or Guemes Island, page 48 in TDLCPN, but you really have to want to get away from it all.

An Aquarium at Redondo

Blue wolf eel at Highline's MAST center

This past week-end I found more free attractions right in my own backyard. One of them is an aquarium put together by the Marine Science and Technology Center (MAST) at Highline Community Center. Located next to Salty’s Restaurant in Redondo on the beach, this place shows visitors what’s going on in the surrounding underwater communities in Puget Sound. I never realized we had such colorful fish in our waters. I thought they’d all migrated to Hawaii.

See-and-touch tanks allow you to feel starfish the size of steering wheels. Did you know they are soft on the bottom of their legs or stars and spiny along the side of their legs? I braved it and touched one because I didn’t want all the kids in the building showing me up. Tanks also hold sea stars, sea urchins, sea pens, anemones, snails, a blue wolf eel, ling cod, black-eyed hermit crabs, peanut sea squirts and an entire tank full of moon jellyfish. Grab a laminated mat from the chair up front and you can match the pictures on the mat to the actual marine life and learn their accurate names. A staff member is available to answer questions.

You enter through a separate building which has lots of displays and some interactive exhibits for kids to do. Leashed dogs are allowed.

MAST is open from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, visit www.highline.edu/mast or friend them on Facebook, www.facebook.com/hccmast.

Salty's Restaurant at Redondo.


While you’re in the neighborhood, you’ll love dining at Salty’s (next door). This restaurant has a killer happy hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily (Sundays are a bit different) with delectable appetizers priced from $2 to $9 – appetizers that are very satisfying. My favorite is the smoked salmon with capers, egg, onion, dill cream cheese and crackers. I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Visit www.saltys.com for menus and other news.

Should you overindulge at Salty’s, when you walk out the door, you’re only steps away from one of the most scenic waterfront boardwalks ever. Walking the full length and back again is one mile. How many miles do you need to walk off your “indulgement”?

Along the boardwalk, you can read about the history of Redondo with its skating rink and dance hall. It used to be quite the entertainment destination for Seattleites.

The Maxwell Hotel in Seattle

One of the 139 guest rooms.

Complimentary bicycles for guests rest below the impressive mural in the lobby

Last night I was fortunate to stay in the four-month-old Maxwell Hotel situated at the base of Queen Anne Hill. It still has that new-building smell, which lets all my senses know this will be a venue I’ll love because it’s so clean and shiny.

Everything sparkled, from the opera-themed guest rooms to the chic lobby, to the road bicycles the hotel loans guests, to the four-foot deep indoor swimming pool. Guests get free parking at this hotel, which is named after the owners’ 11-year-old son, Max. Free parking in Seattle is a godsend, and also a great place to keep your car while you visit nearby attractions.  Because not every visitor is a hardcore hiker, the Maxwell offers complimentary bikes for getting around. Each bike features three speeds, fenders and baskets (in case you make purchases) and comes in both men’s and women’s styles. Whenever you check out a bike, you also receive a helmet and a bike lock.

Each room comes equipped with a 42-inch flat screen TV and a DVD player. Complimentary DVDs for your viewing pleasure are available from the front desk.

You’ll find the pineapple symbol throughout the hotel, which universally signifies hospitality, warmth, kindness and generosity – what the Maxwell embraces. All the staff greets you whenever you run into the them and the front desk employees know just about everything. In the lobby, you’ll find Pineapple Espresso for your drink and snack needs.

Just before you enter the pool area, you’ll see a group of tiles clustered as if they make a quilt. Each tile contains an artful message from one of Max’s school chums.

The art deco theme runs throughout the hotel and into the guest rooms. The pops of color are delightful to the eye, not harsh as it might seem if you describe the orange throws on black and white bedspreads.

Each room has a personal safe, a one-cup coffee pot, a microwave and a small fridge. Everyday you’re given a bag of popcorn to microwave. They had me at popcorn, which I like way better than warm cookies.

I am definitely a bathroom connoisseur and this one ranks right up there with my favorites. The rain shower caressed me with warm water instead of beating me with a harsh stream like most showers. The showerhead was recessed enough that no shower curtain or door is necessary and no water leaked out onto the floor. The makeup mirror, the black granite countertop and the fan you didn’t have to fiddle all served to make me feel luxurious and pampered.

Conveniently located on Roy Street between Third Avenue North and Nob Hill in downtown Seattle, visitors interested in the cultural scene are mere steps away from Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Teatro ZinZanni.

And they welcome dogs.