From the Blog

Weekend In Seattle

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We had a three day weekend, and it was as good an excuse as any to get out of town and go to another town. That, and I needed to visit a wedding store for a bridesmaid dress for my sister’s wedding this summer. This summer, I am both a bridesmaid and a bride. And a ninja. Maybe not a ninja. That would be a whole other outfit to buy.

Dave and I got up early Friday to catch the 8:30 train to Seattle. Unwisely, we did not eat breakfast and only had coffee from the train station. The train was sold out and we were situated behind a hyper child or two. I appreciated that their parents seemed aware of the closed-in space we were all sharing for three and a half hours, and shushed their kids frequently. But these kids were pretty unshushable. So that’s when the Beastie Boys in my headphones made lovely traveling companions.

After bland coffee and no food, I arrived in Seattle and ate the train station. I didn’t, really, but I was ready to gnaw on some bricks. Icky city bricks. Thankfully, our hotel was only five or six blocks from the train station. We walked over, checked in and threw down our bags.

Pretty schwanky place. It pays to have family in the hospitality industry. I wasn’t sure exactly what we could do with the stainless steel cube that enclosed the bed, but it did seem to make the imagination run wild. Most probably by the end of the weekend, one of us would very likely have a bit too much drink and bonk our head on a sharp post. Tantalizing, I know.

We still hadn’t eaten. Our hotel was right downtown and we starting walking towards the water. Yes, there are a lot of bodies of water in Seattle. I just looked for shiny, touristy looking areas. I was famished enough that we stopped at the first place that served seafood and was crowded with moving bodies. I think it was called The Crab Pot, which sounds like a communicable disease. We had delicious, but way too expensive crab cakes. And because we were sort of away from home and out of our regular food routine, so therefore on a “diet vacation,” I had crab bisque. It was pretty decent.

We walked around a bit, and then, this is going to maybe sound lame, but we went back to the hotel and napped. And I seriously napped. I zonked out. We both did. It was pretty awesome. We were taking Seattle by storm.

Later in the afternoon, our lovely friends Brent and Lesley picked us up. Brent is a Portland boy, but is living in Seattle part time for work. We drove up to Fremont to get a gander at the Fremont Troll, and get a table at Fremont Brewing.

That my beer on the right, the pinkish pint of small batch cranberry nitro cream ale. Defrickenlish. Because I’m a girl. And I like goddamned pink beer. Seating at Fremont Brewing was in the actual brewery, amidst casks and tanks and walk-in coolers. After a few rounds, the place was filled up with happy beer drinkers.

We were off to our next stop, The Leary Traveler, not far away. Because they had poutine on the menu, and somehow, it has become our mission to sample every poutine in the Pacific Northwest. This sounds like it might be a challenge, but I think we may be more than halfway there. Dave has a review up on Portland Poutine. Remember, we were on a diet vacation during this trip.

Next we headed back downtown for a quick dinner so we could catch the Market Ghost Tour. We got a little lost and had to huff and puff our way up and down some Seattle hills. But eventually, we got to the right meeting place. Near the Gum Wall. Yes, a wall of gum. One of the top five germiest tourist attractions, according to wikipedia.

I had not heard of this place before. I’m glad we did not miss it. Also, it was pretty gross.

Our ghost tour took us around Pikes Place. We heard of various spirits said to haunt the market. Dave and I are not really the spooky types, but the actual history of the area was very interesting. The Kells location in Seattle used to be a mortuary. Yum.

And we heard the story of Linda Burfield Hazzard, and saw the building where she had an office in Seattle. The building is allegedly haunted. While that may or may not be true, the actual real story is horrible enough without ghosts thrown in.

It was cold and rainy and windy all through our tour. I had dressed in layers and wore a raincoat and a hat. This was smart, but not smart enough. The wind blew right through all my layers right down into my delicate, dainty skin. It was the kind of cold where you forget any warmth you’ve ever felt in your life. Nevertheless, I was glad we did the tour. The history of the buildings and the city was fascinating.

We got back to our hotel, and I took a shower to thaw out and get the feeling back in my extremities. FYI, I consider my butt an extremity. It took half an hour for the chill to go away.

The next morning, I had a mission to get to this wedding store, just as they opened, to try on a specific bridesmaid dress, and maybe even a wedding dress. Brent and Lesley were kind enough to pick us up and cart us around for this mission. Those two are ALSO getting married this summer. Three weddings within the span of 5 weeks. We are going to have a busy, busy summer.

The store I needed to visit was right next to an Apple store. And it was iPad day. There were probably three or four hundred people lined up waiting. There were two lines, one for “walk ins” and one for people who had reservations to buy an iPad. As people trickled out of the store with boxes, there was an Apple store employee gushing and congratulating them on their purchase. It was a spectacle.

After I tried on dresses (I maybe ordered a wedding dress or something), the four of us went into the Apple store to check out the iPads. I previously had no thoughts about it one way or the other. Another gizmo. I have a newer generation MacBook and an iPhone. I can’t imagine how I’d need or use an iPad. But we got into the store to play with one, and my, what an alluring, charming device it was. The same slick, solid feel and intuitive design as all the other Apple stuff I’ve ever had. I held the iPad in my hands and thought about reading books on this…and…tried to resist…but by the time we left, I felt like I could do the mental gymnastics to justify getting one. Maybe after the hype has cooled off a little.

After the dress shopping was done and we pulled away from the Apple Store, we got a fabulous breakfast at Voula’s Offshore Cafe. Diet vacation, people. If we were going to break our healthy eating streak, this was a good place to do it.

As usual, Dave invited himself (and me also) to tag along with Brent and Lesley’s plans for the day. We had already seen more of Seattle in 24 hours than either of us had seen before. We went for a drive to Snoqualmie and North Bend. Since we were in the area, we stopped at Snoqualmie Falls. It looked like a box of pancakes.

Then we got a quick sampler of beer at a small brewery in North Bend. It was sort of meh.

We deliberated on catching a Timbers friendly against the Kitsap Pumas in Bremerton. It would involve an hour long ferry ride (each way) and perhaps standing in the wind and cold for with whole match. We decided instead to catch a ferry to Vashon Island instead. Cars! On a boat! Over water! It’s unnatural!

That’s Brent and Lesley sitting behind Dave, who is, deep, deep in thought.

We got off the ferry in a quick half hour. Vashon Island is rural and thickly forested. In the wet weather, it felt rain foresty. It probably even is a rain forest. Along the side of the road, Brent and Lesley spied a sign for Vashon Winery. We pulled off the main road and popped in.

Spontaneous wine tasting. In the amount of time we were there, we were accompanied by a gaggle of cougars in training chatty women celebrating a birthday, as well as a constant trickle of other visitors, probably more than a dozen people. We spoke with Ron Irvine, “Vashon Winery Owner, winemaker, bookkeeper and janitor,” and remarked how busy it was. He seemed pleased and said it had been “a long winter.” We picked up a couple bottles of wine and a couple bottles of cider.

From there, we picked our way down a winding country road to the water. It was hard to believe Seattle was only ten or fifteen miles away.

This was a quacky flock of ducks that swooped in as we walked along the beach.

Seattle was off in the distance somewhere. We probably would not see downtown from this vantage, even if the weather was better. Vashon Island feels a world away from the metropolis and the hubbub. Rural, small town and progressive, all at the same time.

We had a nice dinner in downtown Vashon, then we sat and relaxed in Luna Cafe for a while. We girls sipped coffee, while the boys finished a bottle of sherry. By the time we caught a ferry back into town, it was dark. We got back to the hotel and flopped into bed. What a day.

We never would have seen as much, or thought to visit these places, without Brent and Lesley showing us around. It was illuminating to get away from the touristy areas and see other areas of the city we hadn’t seen before. All in 48 hours. Whew. Thanks, guys!

Also getting married, above.


  1. I’ve heard about this wall of gum in Seattle and have asked a couple of Seattle bloggers about it, but they’d never heard of it until I mentioned it. Then they went to see it and were grossed out. One of these fine days you and Dave will have to come to Ottawa and/or somewhere in Quebec and get real poutine. Really.

  2. It was great having you and David up for the weekend. We’ll have to do it again.

    And stop thanking us!

  3. Meredith says

    Fremont Troll!!! Heard of the Gum Wall! Snoqualmie Falls!!!! Been there!!! And I did buy pancake mix there, for dad! I like Dave’s glasses!! Congratulations Brent & Leslie!! Big year!!

  4. Ooooo good pix! Really fun jampacked weekend! Glad it worked out. Heh … Cougers in training.

  5. Never heard of the gum wall but the pictures make me want to go there and add to the mess. I wonder if people ever take the gum off and start chewing it because, hey, FREE GUM! Probably not.

  6. @XUP, I’m surprised Dave hasn’t invited himself up there yet.

    @Brent & @ Lesley, we will be up again soon, for sure.

    @Meredith, Fremont Troll was cool! I could see you and Gary in Fremont. Gum wall was pretty gross. You could see some people had really spent a lot of time creatively mushing their gum around.


  7. @XUP quebec is lovely, even at 37 degrees below =)

    heathah… you went to vashon island!! weird. i just finished a book about a serial killer on vashon island. Is it an instance of you become aware of something and all of a sudden, it is everywhere?

    wall of gum = possibly THE grossest thing I have been introduced to this year. Oh wait, i did finally watch the giant zit video on youtube. so, second grossest.

    wedding dress?!? you? i would have thought that was too girly for ya. glad to see i was wrong =)

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