First off, this trip took place over a month ago, but better late than never. My paid blog writing work takes priority, most of the time.
I chose Seattle to spend my 50th turn around the sun because it’s a coastal city, I love being anywhere near the ocean, and I’ve been wanting to explore it for quite some time now. Anyway, this is how I spent the first few days of my big 5-0, and it did not disappoint.
My husband and I drove the few hours from Kelowna down to Osoyoos, BC, right beside the U.S. border. We stopped along the way at Cassini and Checkmate wineries for copious wine sampling and cases of wine. Much hilarity ensued as we arrived in Osoyoos and discovered I’d made hotel reservations not at Waterfront Resort, but Walnut Beach Resort. This turned out to be a fine ‘mistake’ since our gorgeous suite was set on the beachfront with willow trees, singing birds, and the soothing sound of waves lapping ashore all night long outside our windows–immensely peaceful.
We enjoyed a stellar sunset swim in the pool and soak in the hot tub. Take note: for a delicious meal, Campo Marina Italian restaurant on main street for dinner provided excellent service, was super busy for a Wednesday night, and delivered heavenly Mushroom Gnocchi with enough leftover for breakfast—because it’s perfectly acceptable to eat whatever you feel like on birthday week.
It takes much longer than Google Maps says it will (no surprise there) to drive to The Renaissance Hotel, downtown Seattle this route. However, we enjoyed massive farmland and bucolic orchard scenes along the way. After paying an arm and a leg for valet parking, we walked to a hip coffee place for caffeinated fuel. Next, we checked out the Seattle Convention Center and the Seattle Library, which serendipitously, was located only one block down from hotel–I LOVE libraries. There is no shortage of stunning architecture to appreciate here.
I enjoyed thick, creamy Clam Chowder and Beet Greens at Pike Place Market. We were fortunate to catch the end of the famous fish throw as well. After wandering around, we enjoyed refreshing Gin & Tonics and addictive tater tots with house-made relish ketchup at the Seatown Market Diner, where we sat on their small outside patio across from Puget Sound.
After more wandering, we headed for three spins on The Great Wheel, which guarantees you a stop at the top for a great view of Seattle below. Thereafter we witnessed a brazen robbery of a bottle of Vodka in the downtown Walgreens, literally right in front of us. The thief simply walked calmly out of the store, waited at the light, and crossed the street. No one tried to stop him. We’re thinking this happens here on a regular basis as we witnessed signs of homelessness and impoverished mental health issues contrasted everywhere we walked–sad signs of societies not quite knowing how to help their most vulnerable.
We hiked back down those killer Seattle hills to Pike Place Market for Crab Eggs Benedict at Lowell’s Restaurant & Bar. My only complaint is they won’t do half orders here, as that would’ve been plenty for me.
Satiated, we waddled over to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and it was without a doubt, amazing. Plus, my workaholic husband got yelled at for answering his phone by a museum guard, which I found immensely amusing.
The exhibits begin on the ground floor and travel up to the Fourth Floor Galleries, so allocate a good two or three hours to soak it all in. We were thrilled with the Native Art of the Americas exhibit and so much more. I was also elated to view an original Georgia O’Keefe. I was deeply moved and brought to tears reading the Potlatch words, in addition to the story of Dorothy Robinson Napangardi and her intricate Australian artwork. Although between ‘Special Exhibitions’ there was no shortage of visual pleasures.
We took the zippy Monorail to the Space Needle and Chihuly Gardens. In spite of feeling stuck in a tourist trap, we loved the views and gardens and splurged on a gorgeous Pendleton wool blanket in the gift shop. We hopped back on the monorail back to the hotel to be pleasantly surprised with wine & appies, courtesy of Fred at the front desk in our hotel room. What a nice guy! Therefore, I wasn’t overly hungry for our dinner at Aerlum. I ordered the scallops and they were huge. Overall, a fantastic day.
We cheerfully began the day at Top Pot Donuts for amazing Egg Pie (something I’ve never had before but wish I could find at home) and donuts and a latté. This place is a funky combination between a two-level library and a great coffee shop. Perfection!
Since we were getting a bit short on time and had already walked a great deal, we found the Ubers speedy, affordable, and friendly.
Next, we were off to walk onto the ferry to Bainbridge Island for the day. It sounded like the perfect chill way to spend a day and our concierge Fred recommended it. We contentedly walked and shopped around this very friendly little seaside town. We sampled iced creams at Mora Iced Creamery (I wish I’d ordered the Maraschino Cherry Cream instead of the Dulce de Leche though). Long lineups at this popular spot, but they go fairly quickly.
We met a chatty man in a shop with a ‘Seattle Rocks – The Grunge Years’ exhibit, which featured some great photos of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and of course, Nirvana. We later enjoyed Odin’s Nordic Amber Ale and refreshing Grapefruit Cider with Fish & Chips at the Harbour Public House. Happily, we were seated right on the corner table on the deck overlooking the marina. It was a stellar, gorgeous day paired with really good tartar sauce. However, the ferry arrived late, was very disorganized and nowhere for people to sit other than dirty carpeting on the floor. In a town this obviously wealthy, you’d think they could spring for some benches for their seniors and children to have places to sit and wait. Head-shaker.
On our final day, we Ubered back to Top Pot for more Egg Pie, except regrettably for me, this one was too spicy (hot), but we eagerly grabbed more donuts to go. Unbeknownst to us there was some sort of a marathon taking place, so after Google Maps kept us driving around in circles, trying to locate the freeway with every turn a detour, we finally escaped after about an hour, for the long drive back home.
I regret we ran out of time to go on a harbor cruise or visit Mount Rainier National Park and the Museum of Pop Culture or the Washington Park Arboretum, or any live music (we had a drink in our hotel bar, but the live music was scheduled for another night).
Still, it took me a week to recuperate but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Seattle is teaming with friendly people, beautiful ocean scenes, and cool culture and history. Oh, and delicious donuts.
Photo Credit: Steve Baldwin