On our second day in the city we walked north from our drop off point on 4th and Pine to the Queen Anne neighborhood. En route I thought Why doesn’t anyone talk about how hilly Seattle is? As we faced what seemed like a 45 degree hill, I realized perhaps walking isn’t the chosen form of transport between neighborhoods? At any rate, our climb was well-rewarded as we arrived at the Kerry Park Viewpoint. Mt. Rainier was sort of hanging in the background making for an especially outstanding view. We passed stunningly beautiful mansions surrounded by pristine landscapes. One such landscape was Parson’s Garden, open to the public and providing ample shade on these sunny days we were privy to.
For a mid-morning caffeine fix we stopped in at Cafe Fiore on Galer St. Their coffee was very good but what made the whole experience memorable were the Adirondack chairs lined in front facing the morning sun. We stayed there too long, evidenced by our sunburn, and met a man who divulged more of his life story that I need to know, including his marrying into a family that among other things owns a winery and has casual run-ins with certain software tycoons. Oh, Seattle.
I should mention the coffee culture in Seattle is exactly what you would expect. There are countless shops spotting most neighborhoods. If only my brain could handle more.
For lunch we went to Cafe Turko over in Fremont; passing Google and many of the tech companies partially responsible for the boom en route. Turkish lanterns hung from ceiling and the back wall was lined with tapestries and trinkets, such as vessels for making Turkish coffee. All varieties of kebab and pilaf were on offer, with lots of options for varying dietary restrictions (gluten free, vegan, etc.). As we left the place filled up with seemingly-new tech employees on an orientation of sort excitedly donning their new name tags. Or maybe they’re just like that every day.
Our server, a Denver transplant, urged us to make the trek over to Gas Works Park. While a longer walk than he let on, we and many other folks on their lunch break it seemed were again rewarded with a spectacular view of the city.Now that I’m no longer a city dweller, the excited outpouring of people on a nice day is novel.
The rest of the afternoon we retraced our steps through Fremont then continued on to Ballard before returning to Queen Anne. Far as I know, Ballard is another hip spot, filled with restaurants and bars busy even at 4pm. I loved the sweet main drag that made this spot feel more neighborhood-y than others. I had the goal of making it to the old shipyard but my legs began to fail me at the end, so we set out in the direction of the bus stop, underestimating the journey time but determined nevertheless.
Our eyes ever-open to foraging opportunities, on our journey through Queen Anne we ran into a stone stairwell dripping with fruit: grapes, plums, berries galore! Though seemingly belonging to no one, it felt indulgent and mischievous plucking a few perfectly ripe fruits from their vine.
We boarded the bus back to Kirkland having experienced a beautiful snapshot of the city of Seattle. The proverbial icing came as we glimpsed the sun settling on Mt. Rainier as we cruised out of town en route to the next destination of our journey: the San Juan Islands.
- For our weekend in Seattle, we stayed in a little suite at a lovely couple’s house in Kirkland. We needed easy, safe parking for our car since it was packed to the gills which is why we stayed outside the city. They really did their best to make us feel at home and help us to truly experience Seattle in our limited time there. In other words, this is how AirBnB should be but isn’t always. Find them here.
- Important to note, if you’re staying outside the city you really should take the bus in versus driving. The traffic is remarkable, not in a good way.
- Seattle begs wandering. There are multiple sites to tick off, but you’ll note we didn’t go to any. They’re expensive and honestly didn’t serve the purpose of giving me a sense of Seattle life. However, our hosts recommended the Museum of Pop Culture.