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Published: September 10th 2009
Seattle August 24 2009
Karen & Sylvan in Seattle
This summer the major vacation for Karen and I was an unplanned trip across country to the Pacific Northwest, Washington State, Idaho and Montana. Actually this trip began last summer when we took a cruise to Alaska with Maya and Maxanne. Joining us on our trip was my sister Jane and her husband Billy from Oregon and my cousin Michael and his family, Mickie, Donnie and Rachael from Georgia. Michael had become a widower in late 2006. He decided joining us would be a great way for his children to connect with our daughters who they don't see that often. While on the Alaskan cruise Mike happened to meet a lovely woman, Debra a widowed elementary school teacher with three adult children from Moses Lake, Washington. In June we received a wedding invitation. After a year-long cross-country courtship Mike and Deb were getting married in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. So, Karen and I decided that if we’re going to travel across the country for a wedding we might as well add some tourist attractions to make such a long trip worthwhile.
We started our trip to Idaho in Seattle, Washington a city
we had never visited before. The city is home to Boeing and Microsoft and their presence is evident all across the city. Seattle certainly appears to have a thriving economy. This active harbor city is built on a hillside and is a collection of filled land, lakes, rivers and islands that are connected by a variety of bridges, locks and ferries. It’s a handsome relatively new city that’s inspired by the presence of Mt. Rainer on one side and Mt. Baker on the other.
We stayed at the Mayflower Park Hotel a wonderful historical boutique hotel we booked through Hotwire. This older hotel has been recently refurbished. The rooms are very pleasant and the staff was outstanding, always offering a friendly greeting or advice on places to visit. The Hotel is right in the center of the city and for Karen, the ever-active shopper, the Mayflower is located between the original Nordstrom’s and Macy’s while attached to a new multistory shopping mall. In addition to the shopping opportunities you can enter the modern, and clean underground city transit system through the basement of the mall. Incredibly the downtown public transit system is free for travel in the downtown area.
On the third floor of the mall you can ride the monorail across town to Seattle Center where the Space Needle is located. Needless to say for the reasonable Hotwire price and its superb location the Mayflower Park is an excellent hotel to book for a stay in Seattle.
We arrived in Seattle early Monday afternoon and were advised by the concierge at the Mayflower to walk the few blocks down the hill to Pike Place Market for lunch. We had a tasty Seattle lunch or really on by our time an east coast dinner at Matt’s in the Market, a second floor restaurant overlooking Pike Market. Although this was on our list of places to visit in the city we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the market. It’s not a synthetic tourist trap like Quincy Market or limited in its selections like Boston’s Haymarket Square. Started in 1907 it now covers 200 acres of shops restaurants and vender carts . Pike Place is noted for it’s famous fish tossing ritual. It’s a wonderfully unique and active center of commerce in Seattle. This is a thriving multipurpose market that stretches along the waterfront for blocks and raises
six stories up the hill from the waterfront. Along with the fruits and vegetables of Boston’s Haymarket, venders sell extensive varieties of meats, fish, flowers, antiques, musical instruments, clothing and a complete cornucopia of all your shopping needs. We even saw a day care center. This was an exciting unplanned way for Karen and I to spend our first afternoon playing tourist.
That evening we took the Argosy Cruises harbor tour and were able to observe the impressive skyline of the city from it’s active waterfront. It was a warm clear night and a perfect time for a boat ride. The tour provided us an interesting hour-long overview, presenting a variety of facts and legends about the city. We passed the cityscape while an active array of container ships, ferries, sail boats and fishermen plied the waters.
Tuesday morning Karen and I took a Seattle City Tour of the area with three other curious travelers on Tours Northwest with Tim our driver and lifelong resident. This was an excellent way for us to get our bearings of the city. The three hour tour took us north, south, east and west. from Seattle City Center to Pioneer Place, and
over the floating bridge across lake Washington to Mercer Island. We saw the statue of Lenin in Freemont, the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Locks, Discovery Park and everything in between. Tim our tour guide was pleasant, humorous, and informative. We both enjoyed his tour. After an enjoyable lunch of well-prepared Japanese food at “dahlia”, a restaurant and bakery near the hotel we waited for my sister Jane and our daughter Maya to arrive. They were driving up from Corvallis Oregon and joining us on our family trip to Idaho for the wedding.
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