My first trip to Seattle was earlier this month, and I had a great time. I should consider myself lucky since I had a built-in tour guide who has lived in Fremont for about 7 years, but it was truly a great experience...one full of sunshine, good weather, and laughs.
I decided to go for a weekend because I'd never been before, and my friend always told me Seattle was a place both my husband and I would love--ocean, lakes, rivers, mountains, fishing, hiking, and good food. She definitely was right, and I only wish my husband could have gone. He truly would feel at home in the Washington mountains.
I arrived on Friday afternoon to beautiful sunshine at Sea-Tac, and the sunshine never wavered until I left the tarmac on Monday morning. The afternoon lent itself well to a leisurely (though crowded!) stroll around the Pike Place market. The cruise ships were docked and leaving at 4 that afternoon, so many people were on shore before their departures to Alaska. The hustle and bustle was energizing, though, and the delicious piroshki next to the original Starbucks hit the spot after my morning flights to Seattle. We also delighted in a couple of drinks at a "hidden" french bistro overlooking the sound. The weather was perfect for sipping drinks on the upper deck, and my Washington friend got to work on her tan to catch up with my California sun-kissed skin. After drinks, we met up with some other friends at a brewery downtown, had beer and appetizers before heading back to Fremont to get ready for mexican food at a great little restaurant in the Green Lake area. The best time of the evening was sitting with my friend and laughing about high school memories from more than 10 years ago...I think neither of us truly realized we have been gone that long.
Saturday opened up again to another beautiful, sunny day, and we took this opportunity to drive inland a bit and visit Snoqualmie Falls after noshing on TopPot doughnuts and picking up our registration materials for the Race for the Cure on Sunday. Despite her residency in Seattle, my friend had never been, so we thought it would be something different and fun to do. As a native Californian, I love the outdoors and only put up with California because of all it has to offer--beaches, city, mountains, waterfalls, hiking, biking, boating. Washington was no exception to this, and though Snoqualmie isn't as tall as some of the falls I've hiked (primarily Yosemite, Vernal, and Nevada Falls in the Yosemite Valley), it was lush, green, and full. Its beauty was calming and soothing, and the italian soda served at the visitor center definitely hit the spot! After this, we meandered into Woodinville and did some wine tasting at a couple of wineries. Again, despite living in California, I've never "officially" wine tasted--I've always been the DD--so this was an excellent chance to taste some Washington wine. We delighted in the wine and wood-fired pizza at Januik and also made a stop at Chateau St. Michele before making our way back in to the city to get ready for a barbeque with friends. The barbeque was one of the highlights. Though it wasn't some place fancy or Fodor's-recommended, it was fun, friendly, and real. The food was excellent, the growlers were flowing, and the weather held out for excellent conversation--what real Seattle is like, I suspect. We didn't stay too late because we were in the Race for the Cure the next day, but we had a great time nonetheless.
Sunday, my last full day in Seattle, was mostly focused on the Race for the Cure. One of the biggest races in America, the Race started at the Seattle Center under the Space Needle and worked its way downtown and back for a great little 5K. We chose to walk (especially with my knee the way it is), and again, the weather was perfect for the race. Over 15,000 people joined us in the race, and it started the day with great energy. After the Race, we took the time to explore Ballard, a smaller town just to the north of Fremont. They had a great farmer's market set up, and we walked along and took in the sights before having lunch at a great bar and grill. Once lunch was done, we decided to snack on a cupcake (Caramel with sea salt--delicious!), make our way to the U-Village for pedicures and a little shopping. We topped the day off with dinner at Ray's Cafe in Ballard and italian gelato before making our way back to Fremont for wine around the Real Housewives of Orange County finale.
Despite my early departure on Monday morning, I had a delightful time in Seattle, experiencing a few things off the beaten path. I can't wait to go back again soon and explore a little more. Now, however, I need to get ready for my trip across the pond...19 days and counting!