3 ideas for summer outings with the grandkids
How do you entertain them?
If you want to get them outside -- and away from the TV -- here are three summer day-trip ideas sure to please.
Bring water, snacks, sunscreen, cash, a camera and all the energy you can muster.
If your grandchildren like blueberries, let them gather the little orbs themselves on a real, live working farm.
Blueberries, which grow on upright bushes, are easier to pick than low-growing strawberries, and the kids will delight in a day on the farm, running up and down the rows between the bushes.
You'll get the kids walking and you'll be treating them to a nutritious treat at the same time.
Even kids who eschew blueberries have been known to be converted by some of the big varieties that grow in Snohomish County, including the legendary Bluecrop, a variety that can produce berries as wide as quarters.
U-pick blueberries are also easy on the budget, typically selling on the farm for about $2 a pound.
You can bring them home and show the children how make cobbler. (Check out our favorite recipe at tinyurl.com/effortlesscobbler.)
To locate a farm, see www.pugetsoundfresh.org, where you'll find details for at least seven Snohomish County U-pick blueberry farms.
Two popular farms include the Mountainview Blueberry Farm, 7617 E. Lowell-Larimer Road, Snohomish (360-668-3391; www.mountainviewblueberryfarm.com) and Bryant Blueberry Farm and Nursery, 5628 Grandview Road, Arlington (360-474-8424; www.bryantblueberries.com).
Call to confirm hours and availability. Blueberry season typically starts by mid- to late July and continues until Labor Day.
Ride a ferry
One of the charms of the Northwest is riding a ferry (Washington State Ferries system, 888-808-7977; www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries), just the thing for kids visiting from landlocked states.
Though we locals mostly use ferries to get from place to place, why not slow down and ride the ferry just to ride the ferry?
Start your adventure at Mukilteo's Lighthouse Park, 601 Front St. (425-263-8180; www.ci.mukilteo.wa.us), where you can frolic on the beach and check out the local lighthouse. Then walk aboard the Kittitas or Cathlamet.
Boats depart just about every half hour. Once on deck, you can explore the corridors, have a snack and bask in the views.
Seniors age 65 and older and kids 6 to 18 travel at discounted rates of $2.10 and $3.40 respectively. Age 5 and younger ride for free. Other ages pay $4.20 to walk aboard.
On the other side of the water in the town of Clinton, walk just north of the ferry landing to a small, new waterfront park (www.portofsouthwhidbey.com), offering beach access, restrooms, picnic spots, a small fishing dock and driftwood galore.
If it's raining or cold, take your grandkids to the Imagine Children's Museum, 1502 Wall St., Everett (425-258-1006; www.imaginecm.org; closed Mondays).
If it's nice outside, use the day to explore Everett.
Start with a fish and chips lunch at the local Waterfront Fish Market, 2831 W. Marine View Drive (425-258-1987; www.waterfrontfishmarket.com; closed Sundays).
Your grandkids will love the waffle-style French fries and you will devour the fish.
Then head over to the Port of Everett Marina, 1720 W. Marine View Drive (www.portofeverett.com) to see one of the largest marinas on the West Coast, including sailboats and fancy yachts.
The Port of Everett recently opened the final segment of its marina trail system and waterfront walkways, including a 4-mile loop route that provides pedestrian access to the marina facilities, from Marina Village on the south end to the 10th Street Boat Launch on the north.
End the day with ice cream at one of the many marina restaurants and cafes.
Meyer's Cafe, 1700 W. Marine View Drive (425-259-3875), serves milkshakes.
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