Showing posts with label Discovering Seattle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Discovering Seattle. Show all posts

Saturday, September 14, 2013

WAWeekend: Where were you in ‘62?

That was the year -- 1962 -- when the focus in Washington State was Seattle, host city to the Century 21 Exposition (better known to this day as the Seattle’s World’s Fair).

The Fair, showcasing a new century -- then, still 38 years in the future -- ran from April 21st to October 21st and is said to have ‘put Seattle on the world map”.

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If you were willing to wait in the long lines, you probably even rode that space-age marvel, the Monorail, to the World’s Fair site. Fair creators realized that some form of transportation system would be needed to move the fair-goers (nearly 10 million people visited during the Fair’s run). The elevated Monorail was built to ease congestion on surface streets.

I remember the terror of that wait for a ride on that sleek rapid-transit contraption that my parents insisted would be fun. It seemed pretty space-age to me at the time!

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Now, just over a half century later, the Monorail’s popularity continues.  On a mid-week afternoon this summer I joined the lines of folks at Westlake Center who waited far longer than the ride itself for their turn on a nostalgic journey.

The Monorail travels about a mile, from the heart of downtown Seattle to the former Fairgrounds, now the Seattle Center, home to the iconic Space Needle, also built for the Fair, and the site's newcomer, the Dale Chihuly Garden and Glass. 

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The children in line couldn’t stand still; their excitement too great. For those of my age it was a chance to share stories and memories of those early day trips.

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The cars were as I remembered them and because I was the only one simply taking a round-trip ride, for a brief minute or two after the others had left the train, I had it all to myself!

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The view of the Space Needle from the Monorail is one of the best to be had – not to mention being up-close and personal with the EMP Museum (formerly called the Experience Music Project) created by Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen. A portion of its exterior is pictured in the photo below.

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If you are visiting Seattle, don’t miss the Monorail. It’s a great (quick) trip into the city’s more recent history and it is still a slick way to get between the two places without the cost of seeking lots and then paying sky-high parking rates.

If You Go:

Map picture

One way tickets are $2.25 for adults, less than that for seniors (65 and older) and children. For additional admission information and hours, visit,

Saturday, February 23, 2013

WA Weekend: A bus trip to “The Center of the Universe’

While the gray damp days continued to envelope our Seattle-area, an article I was writing for another publication forced me out of hibernation last week and to ‘The Center of the Universe’.

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Really . . . I hopped the King County Metro bus at the stop near my Kirkland home and less than an hour later I was standing at the sign that marks Fremont, a Seattle neighborhood, as the self-proclaimed, Center of the Universe.

KOandSeattle 052The area has several distinctive landmarks, like the circa 1950’s cold war rocket that’s been part of the Bitter’s Building at Evanston and 36th since the mid-1990’s.

It had previously been attached to a Belltown (another Seattle neighborhood) business and its dismantling there, provided the opportunity for its new home in Fremont.

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Then there’s the Lenin statue. . . one of those ‘love-it or hate-it’ pieces of art. 

This 7-ton Vladimir Lenin was created by Slavic artist Emil Venkov. It was installed in Poprad, Slovakia in 1988 then toppled during the 1989 Revolution.   A Pacific Northwest man is credited with buying and saving this towering piece of history.

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Perhaps the art icon of the area – at least the one most highly decorated (literally!) is the 1979 sculpture, Waiting for the Interurban created by Richard Beyer as a tribute to the light rail inter-urban that connected Seattle neighborhoods in the early 20th Century.  And then there’s the troll under the bridge. . .

. . .and their festivals -- like the Moisture Festival, Solstice Parade, and  Lenin Lighting -- span the year.

Streets in this rather eccentric, fun-loving neighborhood on the northern bank of the Lake Washington Ship Canal are lined with one-of-a-kind shops and eateries. Each Sunday more than 180 vendors and hordes of shoppers flock to its year-round outdoor European-style street market. I can’t tell you any more than that because it’s the gist of the story I wrote for someone else, but I will show you one storefront to tempt the shoppers out there:
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If You Go:

Metro bus:  From downtown Seattle’s Third Avenue, take 28 or 40.  From Kirkland take 255 into Westlake Center.  Tip: Ask for a transfer and you won’t need to pay for the connection to Fremont.
Use Metro’s Trip Planner:

My find:  Wine Tea Chocolate, a wine bar, coffee shop, tea house and chocolate shop all rolled into one at 3417 Evanston Ave. N. #102, 206-372-4747, This kid-friendly place (just down the street from a chocolate factory) has been open only five months and is already a local’s favorite – I only wish I lived closer to it. Definitely worth a visit!

More details:

What about you? Any places to recommend in Fremont?  How about your favorite neighborhood. . .use the comment section or jot us an email to tell us where it is and why it’s a favorite.


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