JULY 7 - we arrived in Seattle. Here was our first sight of downtown. Crisp and clear!
I just have to say straight off, if the weather all year was similar to what we have experienced, this could easily be our "other home base." A robust urban center with excellent mass transit + a strong arts center + interesting neighborhoods each with its own personality + water, mountains, vistas, ferries, beaches, hiking trails, biking trails + good golf + really nice people + great food and wines. AND -- we have been treated to sunny 80+ degree days most of our stay.
Our VRBO townhouse was in West Seattle, which has its own urban center with everything imaginable within walking distance, health/fit/holistic oriented, several parks, 20 minute bus to downtown Seattle (or a water taxi), but most of all it has Alki Beach – walk, bike, rent a kayak, play beach volleyball, watch amazing sunsets, or just find a bench to sit and do nothing – preferable with some wine.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR SEATTLE VISIT
Steven took a tour of the Boeing plant. He hasn't stopped talking about it. The day he was there he saw the delivery of the first 787-9; it was for New Zealand. The Dream Lifter is a modified 747 to bring segments of the 787 to the Boeing Plant. There are only 4 of these in service. Then he spent another day at the Museum of Flight.
Tourist day downtown: Pikes Market, Etta's for brunch, Sculpture Garden, Seattle Center: Space Needle, Chihuly Gardens, EMP .
The EMP Museum is so unique I have to share some information about it (quoting their web site)--EMP Museum is a nonprofit museum, dedicated to contemporary popular culture. EMP Museum was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000. Since that time EMP has organized dozens of exhibits, 17 of which have toured across the US and internationally. (A Tribute To Jimmy Henrix, "Nirvana, Taking Punk To The Masses," and a complete historic collection of Gibson Guitars along with a film of the best ever guitar players were several of the exhibits we saw. Plus the Lego Architecture Exhibit. And the Icons of Science Fiction.)
We went to several street fairs. West Seattle had a 3-day Street Fair (loved their poster headline: "Let's Close A Street And See What Happens"). Freemont has a neighborhood Sunday Market, which we paired with brunch and a walk around the neighborhood, Joining us, our good friend Sue from Denver who came to visit for a few days (see hula hooper).
And, of course, no visit to Seattle is complete without some ferry rides. We went off one day to Bainbridge, and another to San Juan Island Friday Harbor where we hopped on a small boat with Captain Carli at the helm and one other couple and headed off to find whales. We saw several pods of Orcas, and one grey whale "mugged" our boat. It was so unexpected and so gigantic I could only get part of his head into a shot as he dived under the boat.
Here is my favorite shot from San Juan Island: The small lighthouse is on the point of Griffith Bay and, at roughly 100 miles away, Mt. Baker in the background. While only the 3rd tallest in the Cascades at 10,870 ft, Mt Baker set the world record for recorded snowfall in a single season in 1999 with 1,140 in.
We met up with Diane Stielstra and Donn Fry for a walk and dinner in Capital Hill, their home-base neighborhood for a few months. We had dinner at the Columbia Tower Club (75th floor) with Steven & Merrily Pettibone. Diane and Ann Tamara came to visit after a neighborhood group walk they joined in on that gathered and ended just a few blocks down from our place. This place is starting to feel like home.
This is a shot out the window at sunset from the 75th floor of the Columbia Tower Building in downtown Seattle:
Since I'm showing off downtown, here's a shot we took just as our ferry from Bainbridge pulled into pier.
One day we went about 40 minutes outside of Seattle to Snoqualmie Falls, a 268 ft (82 m) waterfall on the Snoqualmie River - longer than Niagara Falls (vertical drop 165 ft). The hike down to the bottom of the Falls (and back up) was a plenty steep workout. Here's the official info from their website which explains why this is a pretty impressive place to visit: There are two hydroelectric power plants at Snoqualmie Falls, both currently operated by Puget Sound Energy. Power plant 1 was built in 1898 and operates at the base of the falls embedded in the rock 270 feet (82 m) below the surface. It was the world's first completely underground power plant. Power plant 2 was built in 1910 and further expanded in 1957, and is located a short distance downstream of the falls. Approximately 1% of Puget Sound Energy sales comes from the plant.
I caught this shot on the hike we did down to the base of the Falls
We did a bike ride or city walk almost every day, except on days when we played golf. Below is the signature hole from each of Canterwood, Auburn Golf Course, and Washington National.
We spent an afternoon at Discovery Park, Seattle largest in-city park. Within the park is an 11 mile loop trail through what feels like a rainforest it is so dense and humid. The views from the beaches are breath-taking. Here's the official description: Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, Discovery Park offers spectacular view of both the Cascade and the Olympic Mountain ranges. The secluded site includes two miles of protected tidal beaches as well as open meadow lands, dramatic sea cliffs, forest groves, active sand dunes, thickets and streams.
This is a shot of Mt. Rainier (about 80 miles away) from the south beach of Discovery Park.
Steven in the deep woods on the loop trail.
After this jaunt, we met up with Deb Arnold for dinner are Ray's Boathouse because how can you come to Seattle and not go to the Ballard neighborhood, and, therefore, Ray's. Steven and Deb both had smoked sable which I have never seen before as a fresh-prepared fish, and I would be happy to show you a photo but both plates were almost empty before I could get my camera out! The fried egg over grilled asparagus will have to suffice.
(This one's for you. Bobbi!)
We were busy every day. And yet, we have a pretty solid list of what we didn't have time to do -- for "next time." This is one big territory!
July 24 we are headed to SEATAC to catch a flight to Juneau. The next segment of our journey is an 8-day small ship adventure in the Glacial Peninsula of Alaska.
Hope you are enjoying the journey with us. As always, we look forward to your comments. BUT - FYI - if I do not respond to your notes and comments right away it is because WE WILL BE OFF THE GRID FROM JULY 25 UNTIL AUGUST 2. OUR BOAT HAS NO CELL, NO WIFI, JUST ADVENTURE.
I'll close with a few spectacular sunsets.
All the best