It was a place I always heard was hip, beautiful and stacked with delicious candy from the ocean, (we decided scallops are the candy of the ocean) but I never had the opportunity to adventure over to the Northwest. Now I’m singing Seattle’s praises from the top of the Rocky Mountains back home.
It feels as if someone that lived in the clouds above the U.S. scooped up the best from all around various states and dropped it into Seattle. The extreme hills of San Fran are reflected in downtown. The laid back attitude of the South. The rolling hills and lush forests, hint of the smoky mountains in Asheville, North Carolina. Some parts draw memories of northern Wisconsin with all of the lakes, trees and warmth of the people.
I’m used to being pretty chatty to strangers, it’s a friendly Midwestern trait I grew up with. But being in Seattle makes the Midwest look like angry New Yorkers. Everyone is so genuinely friendly and incredibly sweet. My hypothesis is the Canadians rubbed off on them since they are practically neighbors. Or it could be that everyone is in such a good mood because of the food and the views they get to look at every day. It’s most likely a combination of the two.
There is nowhere I’ve experienced food like Seattle and I’ve lived in multiple states, travel a lot and have a strong passion for food. Every place we were was forever fresh, and touted natural, preservative free this and that with an extreme lack of high fructose and “natural flavors”. It was as if my taste buds lay dormant after all these unknown years of fillers and sweeteners and Seattle woke me up to an array of heavenly goods.
The oysters were revolutionary, sausages made from around the corner available in every flavor of the rainbow, buttery ahi tuna, scallops the size of my fist. There was a cheese store that had a cheese vat churning inside it as I was guided through an array of tasty samples. I should known good cheese – I grew up in Wisconsin. Some cheeses had a fresh creamy melt on your mouth taste, others were crisp and sharp. The impossibly fresh herb cheese curds was a crowd pleaser. I had a grapefruit sample that needed no sugar and was better than any I’ve introduced to my taste buds. Don’t get me started on the endless array of fruits and vegetables at Pike Place Market. It was as if I was in one of my art programs and got to turn up the color saturation along with the flavor of everything. One of the restaurants we stopped at had the best fish tacos I’ve experienced and I was obsessed with fish tacos when we lived in California. Need I even bother to mention I’m hooked on the chocolate, velvety, richness of the local coffee?
Did we hit a rainy patch when we were there? Naturally, but it never stopped anyone, especially the locals. There were covered driving ranges when the boys couldn’t get a second round of golf in. An underground tour of the city, an epic music & pop culture museum, and plenty of antique, chi chi shops and culture abounds. Some days it just sort of spit rain in a lazy mist. Other days I had to bust out my umbrella, which I was delighted at since I’ve lived in dry desert areas for seven plus years. Bonus: The humidity did wonders on my complexion and skin as well. The shops in downtown Seattle were extremely local to the Nth degree. My favorite store was E. Smith Mercantile. Everything was lovingly handpicked from artisans, craftsman, teachers, healers and builders, and the quality of each item was impressive and priced surprisingly low.
One of the days we ventured up to San Juan Island. The four of us hopped into the car and boogied up north. In hindsight we should have timed it a bit better since the ferry only leaves at certain times and we came in the middle of one. Even though we waited over an hour the panoramic view of mountains, lush forests and coffee eased the pain. I figured if waiting with some of my favorite people having good conversation in the shining sun with a harbor view was the worst part of my day, I could deal.
The ferry ride was incredible. You rolled your car onto the lower deck of the ferry and went up a few flights of stairs for a snack and a view. Alas, there were no whales in sight, even though we tried a few Whhhhaaaaaale calls. Speeding by the sparkling gray waters and rolling green islands dotted with houses, we landed at San Juan Island.
The harbor had the charming local shops and mouthwatering food I started to grow to expect everywhere. Further in the island, it felt like we landed in a Scandinavian countryside with low hills, happy cows, and charming cozy homes the ocean nowhere in sight. We found this incredible black pebble beach, with beach wood ranging in size from the perfect dog fetching stick to massive carved out tree trunks. Upon further inspection many of the smaller rocks were brightly colored some in mint greens, some striped aqua and deep burnt orange.
Everything had this soft gray calm around it. There was this peaceful stream of consciousness that just made sense there. The relaxing aura just seeped into your bones and was better than any sort of event or fun you could find in a city. Time was against us and shops were closing, we needed to head back. On the way home on the ferry, a double rainbow visited our line of sight and the bronze and coral colored sunset winked goodbye to us as we sped back to shore. Note: We had a laugh up in the island when everyone’s phone told them they were roaming in Canada.
We had the best adventures in Seattle visiting family. I was just blown away by the care and love I experienced everywhere, whether it was from a chocolate or fruit sample, fresh caught seafood that day, customer service from a shop or a smile from a stranger. My experience was an epic array of beauty, culture, nature, extreme knowledge of craft, and warmth in Seattle. The only question is, when can I come back?
Thank goodness for siblings that live there!