Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Seattle – Much more than a village by the sea.


Seattle was settled in 1851 on a bank of mud between the Puget Sound and the fresh waters of Lake Washington.  Settle has been burned, gutted and sunk into the mud in which it was built upon.  The people are resilient and did not let the set backs which came at them discourage them from rebuilding.

Today Seattle is a hubbub of ecliptic music and food.  There are things to do where ever you turn from a strolling down Pioneer Square to charting a boat for a Whale watching tour.      

Jimmy Hendrix Grave site is place all musicians should visit at least once.  It took me a day to find the place due to misdirection. So to save you the time it’s located at Greenwood Memorial Park Address: 350 Monroe Avenue NE (3rd and Monroe) Greenwood Memorial Park, Renton, WA 98056.  It is only a 20 minute drive from downtown Seattle. 

Follow that up with the Experience Music Project (EMP) located at 325 5th Avenue N Seattle, WA 98109. EMP is dedicated to the history and exploration of popular music, science fiction and pop culture.  It was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. It holds rock memorabilia and technology-intensive multimedia displays.  It also houses a fantastic tribute to Jimmy Hendrix. 

One cannot miss the Seattle Space Needle.  Just look in the sky and you will see a magnificent piece of architecture.  The 605-foot tall Space Needle was completed in December 1961.  It officially opened on April 21, 1962 the first day of the World's Fair.  It has weathered storms and earthquake and stands today as it did in 1962.

Sky City Restaurant located on top of the Space Needle was a treat. I was expecting pricey food lacking substance but I was amazed. Not only was the food reasonably priced but it was full of flavor.  This place has some of the best oysters on the half shell I had ever eaten. The view was amazing.  Although it is considered by many as a tourist trap I do recommend that you visit it once just for the experience.

Pike Place Market is an open market to delight the young and old.  It houses restaurants, shops, fresh caught fish and produce.  Pike Place Market attracts 10 million visitors a year.  It holds approximately 190 craftspeople, 100 farmers who rent space, 240 street performers/musicians and 300 apartment units for the low income elderly. There is also an area where the locals sell there arts and crafts.  May I suggest indulging in a crepe and hot cup of coffee as you stroll through discovering the local art work?  There is lady there who carves statues and holiday ornaments for the ash of St. Helen.  Her work is fabulous.  There are scarves, mirrors, jewelry and beautiful photography to choose from.  There is also a haunted tour given daily.  There are many ghost tours throughout Seattle

Some local attractions you might want to put on your must do list are:

1.                  Underground Tour of Seattle – remember the city was built on mud.
2.                  Original Starbucks
3.                  Seattle Great Wheel
4.                  Pioneer Square
5.                  Seattle Monorail
6.                  Seattle Asian Art Museum
7.                  Japanese Garden
8.                  Washington Park Arboretum

Although the list maybe your typical fare sometimes you just have to go to say you did.  The experience is worth it.  But the one place I highly recommend is Chihuly Garden and Glass.  Dale Chihuly is a brilliant artist.  He specializes in glass blowing but it is not your typical glass.  Mr. Chihuly’s glass takes on life of its own.  His pieces are 100s of feet high.  Each piece of glass is intricately woven into another making for colorful displays of light. It is located adjacent to the Space Needle so plan to spend the day in that area.  There is even a café rest and enjoy the art.  His works of art are displayed in 8 galleries and in the garden area.

There is not just one place to eat in Seattle. The local eateries are on every street corner.  You have your choice of pasta, Creole, urban and fish.  Whatever you are craving Seattle has it.  Do not be afraid to take a trip in a Taxi to the outskirts of Seattle.  Some of the finest eateries are located on the perimeter of the city.

Ristorante Machiavelli is a hidden gem.  It is a family owned Italian restaurant on the outskirts of the city.  The do not take reservations as the place is small in comparison to most establishments but it is worth the wait.  Note that it is closed on Sundays so the family can have some rest.  The Penne with Roasted Red Peppers is spicy but not overwhelming.  It has a touch of walnuts and cream.
  • Seafood -  Elliot’s Oyster House. 1201 Alaskan Way Pier 56, Seattle, WA 98101
  • Crepes – Crepes De France at Pike Market Place
  • Cajun and Jazz Music -  The New Orleans Restaurant  114 First Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104 
  • Urban – Café Fonte  5412 6th Ave S  Seattle, WA 98108

There are many reasons to visit Seattle.  My favorite is that it is only a 2 hour drive from Vancouver. 






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