Monarch in Seattle
Every Thanksgiving, it has become a tradition to take the holiday, and usually the week long vacation that comes with it, as an opportunity to get out of dodge for a few days. An opportunity to escape and be somewhere to live in the moment. An opportunity to travel and see the world, bit by bit. Well this Thanksgiving, we decided to take this adventure across the country to the west coast in the beautiful city of Seattle.
Seattle, known for it’s coffee shops and “hipster” culture, was an intended destination for me for quite some time. I have been on the west coast before, but not since I was young with only bits and pieces in my memory for recall. With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching as the 2014 year flew by, we still had no destination picked for our week of R&R. My sister, her husband and two kids lives in Seattle, so we had our excuse. Due to a credit card offer giving us a plethora of flyer miles, we had our means of covered. With those factors combined, we said “why not”. We were not disappointed.
Seattle isn’t necessarily a big city as far as square mileage, but boy is there a lot to see. One word to describe this city of a physical standpoint would be compact, as everything is about 15 minutes, tops, from everything else. Which is convenient for a couple of out of towners trying to see the whole city in 9 days.
Of course, like every tourist I’m sure, we started at Pike’s Place. Famous for it’s fishy smells, chanting Fisherman and the Gum Wall, Pike’s Place is probably the #1 attraction in Seattle. Even in cold and gloomy November, the streets of Pike Place were alive. We spent of the day there, enjoying the little shops and a bowl of fresh clam chowder at a local foot stand. We even were able to get a coffee from the original Starbucks!
Something else that is a must especially in a city such as Seattle, is to just park the car downtown and roam the city proper soaking in all it has to offer. Starting with a quest to find lunch, we came across a circle of food trucks where I had a absolutely delicious cheeseburger. After the 30 seconds it took me to scarf that down, we set out to wander, and wander we did. Some similarities, and also a lot of differences on the West Coast. Tesla and Whole Foods, being some of highlights of things we wouldn’t be able to see back in New York.
We stayed just outside of Seattle, in a district called the University District right next to the University of Washington. In a house we rented a room in, from a family staying out of town. It was a good location to not only enjoy what the city proper of Seattle had to offer, but also the area suburbs and districts that round out Seattle and make it whole. Our favorite district was called Ballard. There, we found a desert place to die for called Hot Cakes. With lava cakes so thick and rich, you can not get through without a drink of some sort to wash it down. Obviously, we become frequent flyers. Bellevue is another suburb where we experiences something magical. After the holiday, the suburb transforms its main street into a Christmas spectacle called Snowflake Lane. Every night until the new year, with the streets full of both adults and kids, fake snow falling and lights shining blue and red on the sides of the buildings, the local marching band puts on a Christmas show that is impossible not to enjoy getting everyone in the holiday spirit.
The last, and possibly the best, part that I will write about is the breathtaking scenic views that you can catch around Seattle. Kerry Park being the best view of Seattle around. We were lucky enough to get a clear day on one of our last days when we went up to Kerry Park. The sky was a fire orange and Mount Ranier was in full glory in the distant horizon. This combined with the complete skyline of Seattle visible, the view from this park was something out of a magazine. It was the best way to end our trip across to the country, broadening our own horizon, one destination at a time.