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

Saturday, July 20, 2013

WAWeekend: Seattle’s Summertime Blues

Flying in and out of Seatac International Airport this week provided us a cloudless (finally!) sky-high show of Seattle.  And because I so often sing the blues about the area’s clouds and rain,  it seemed only fair to show you some of the other Seattle blues – its sky and water - as well. 

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Seattle grew up on Elliott Bay pictured above.  In fact, much of its southern area – now home to major league sports stadiums (that portion in the mid right hand side of the photo) was once tidal flats that stretched even further south to the mouth of the Duwamish River.  The area was populated by the Duwamish people until the early settlers arrived in the 1850’s. (The lake to the top left is Lake Union and body of water stretching across the top of the photo is Lake Washington.)

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Those of us living on ‘the east side’ of Washington State’s King County must cross Lake Washington to get to Seattle (or take long looping routes around the north or south ends of the lake).  The photo above shows Interstate 90 as it passes a tip of Bellevue to the lower left, crosses Mercer Island  and continues across the lake into Seattle.

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Seattle has become a gateway for Alaska-bound cruises ships that ply the waters from spring until fall with weekly trips north.  So prolific is the cruise industry’s presence  -- Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Crystal among them -- that a new cruise terminal, Pier 91, in the area known as Magnolia, was opened a few years ago.  (It, and a nearby grain elevator are pictured above.)

Vegas60Seattle 004While some of the ships dock at Pier 91 others continue to sail from  the more centrally located Bell Street (Pier 66) terminal, pictured below.
Vegas60Seattle 015Cruise enthusiasts who want to read more about the cruise industry in Seattle  should check out this Port Authority’s link – which even provides a list of ships and their sailing dates:

One of Seattle’s favorite waterways – and a popular tourist attraction -- is the Hiram M. Chittenden Government Locks, aka ‘the Ballard locks’ (pictured below) the latter being the name of the area in which they are located. 
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The Ballard Locks are the link between Seattle’s fresh water Lake Union (and Lake Washington via what is called the Montlake Cut) and the salt-waters of Puget Sound. Ships traveling through the locks are raised or lowered to match the water level they are entering.

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So popular are these locks there is even a Facebook page that updates regularly with news and activities about the place:

That wraps up this WAWeekend – we are heading out to enjoy some of those blue skies!  Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you get a chance to explore some close-to-home destination where ever you are in the world and we’ll see you back here on Travel Tuesday!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

WAWeekend: Seattle’s Summer Sizzlers

“Oh yes, we ‘know’ Seattle.  We went to its market. . .Pike Place Market!”

Time and again we meet people on our travels who place our world by recalling a visit they’ve made to Seattle’s iconic public market. There was a time we used to regularly beat a path to the market when we found ourselves in the Emerald City.

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We live so close to Seattle now that like other of its destinations, we go there when the occasional out-of-town visitor comes along.

That is until this week when one of Seattle’s glorious sunny days and a freelance article I am working on, lured me back to this century-old market with post-card perfect views overlooking Elliott Bay.

I decided to stop at a few of my old favorites and seek out at least a couple new spots to tell you about this weekend.

Seattle 019Let’s start under the Market Clock (erected during the Great Depression) at ‘Rachel’, the piggy-bank  (donations go to the Market Foundation)brings out the photographer in all visitors:

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Rachel is right in front of the boys who throw the fish when making sales, so you have to watch that show again, even though you know what’s coming and now matter how often you've seen it before:

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Note:  this area is congested with crowds waiting to see the antics of the sales staff – I had to muscle my way through the throngs to get to the stairway nearby (and kept my purse clutched tightly to my chest. . .just in case there were some among them more interested in my belongings than the fish show).

The Gum Wall:  Egad, how I had never visited this place, on Lower Post Alley (almost under the fish company) before? Now that I have, I probably don’t need to return. This, is as its name implies is a wall of gum, chewed gum to be exact, that seemed to draw as many photographers as those shooting out over the bay.  Not to  miss ‘a photo opp’:

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The Urban Garden:  This was also an area new to me but it’s also new to the Market.  And a pleasant contrast to the Gum Wall almost below it.  This raised bed garden – the first seeds planted in April this year --  will provide fresh produce to low-income residents who live in and around the Market and who visit the Pike Market Food Bank and Senior Center:

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From the garden I had one of the best views ever of Seattle’s Giant Wheel that opened in Summer 2012 at Pier 57:

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If you are like me, the real draw of Pike Place Market continues to be the longtime food and flower vendors (Sadly, it seemed a number of the produce and flower stands that once lined the main corridor have been replaced by souvenir and gift stands – hopefully it is because the harvest season isn’t yet in full swing):

PicMonkey Collage

That’s it for this weekend’s WAWeekend, when we visit close to home in Washington State.  If you are heading to Seattle, put this Market on your must-see list. It is open year-round.

If You Go:

For the latest information on Market operating hours, how to sign up for guided tours, and the latest happenings, visit the Market website:

Note:  In the summer ,the market by mid-day is usually crowded. It is a popular stop for cruise ship passengers – three ships were in port on the Friday I visited, not to mention the land-based tourists. Plan your visit accordingly.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Washington Wednesday: Fall’s a “Ferry” Good Time

0911800-R1-007-2Seattle’s waterfront is a must-go destination any time of year but when the sun finally comes out, as it has this fall, there really is no better place to be.  And while you are there don’t miss a ride on a Washington State ferry.

We have to be honest:  they are no where near as nice as the cruise-ship like Greek ferries we’ve been on, but these little work horses – on a nice day – will have you up topside snapping photos like crazy.
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One of the quickest ferry rides will take you from Seattle to nearby Bainbridge Island, where the town of Winslow is an easy walk away from the ferry dock.  Have lunch there and do some shopping, and hop the ferry back to continue explorations along the waterfront.

washington wednesdays 046While simply walking along the Seattle waterfront offers some spectacular views and provides cheap entertainment in itself, (Click to enlarge the photo to the left you will see Mt. Rainier in the background.) we do recommend you visit:

1) The Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, 206-386-4300, where you’ll come face-to-face with all sorts of underwater creatures.  Check their website for hours and admission prices, by clicking the link.

2) The Olympic Sculpture Garden, 2901 Western Ave., 98121, 206-654-3100, where you are free to stroll among the pieces of art in this outdoor garden setting where – as an added benefit – you have spectacular views of Puget Sound. No admission charge.

3) Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, currently located at 1001 Alaskan Way, 98104, 206-628-5844, is an icon of the Seattle waterfront.  It opened in 1899 as a museum of natural wonders and today is a showplace for weird curios and oddities like shrunken heads. . .and of course, is a great place to get odd souvenirs.

4) Ivar’s Seafood Bar, or Ivar’s Acres of Clams restaurant at Pier 54, 206-467-8063, is the place to get a bowl of steaming clam chowder.  Another Seattle landmark , Ivar’s has been around since 1938.

5) The Edgewater Hotel, yes, Baby Boomers, it is where the Beatles and the Monkees stayed during their visits to Seattle. Recently upgraded with a Pacific Northwest lodge interior, stop by the photo exhibit off the lobby and then head to the bar where you can sip a cold one while watching boat traffic on Elliott Bay. The AAA 4-Diamond rated hotel is at 2411 Alaskan Way, 206-728-7000.  In fact, if you want to stay on the waterfront, the waterfront rooms here also have spectacular views.


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