When it rains, it pours. As soon as my personal summer trips were planned, suddenly a work/fun trip to Seattle was added to my summer itinerary, making my head spin. But without boarding Tilly to worry about, I packed my suitcase, downloaded new podcasts, and lived up every minute of my summer travel. June through July I was a country-hopping machine, traveling across DC, Milwaukee, Emerald Isle, and finally Seattle, WA for work.
Emerald Isle, NC
A few days on the beach in Emerald Isle, NC was just the relaxing summer getaway I needed. Sam’s family graciously included me on their annual vacation, I was delighted to be back with my toes in the sand.
The weather was perfect for sunbathing, I went from pale to “lobster red” on my first day there. The family continued my favorite beach-meal ritual: a low country boil with fresh seafood and served on newspaper. It’s the perfect communal meal for all of the beach house guests to pick at and has something for everyone’s tastes.
After a few days living it up at the beach, I hit the road in order to make a bright and early flight out of DCA early the next morning.
Although I was officially born a West Coast baby, I grew up all over the East Coast and in the Midwest. I was beyond excited for an excuse to visit the Pacific Northwest for the first time, thanks to a work conference. Before I went, the folks in Seattle were hard for me to wrap my brain around. I didn’t understand local culture, which seemed more of a Canadian/Alaskan hybrid than anything I knew from my time in Wisconsin, Texas, or DC.
Fresh off the plane, we hit up the International District for some phenomenal sushi then walked to CenturyLink Field to watch the Seattle Sounders take on the rival Portland Timbers. Compared to the DC United games I’ve attended, the soccer match was on a whole other level. The crowd of 64,000 were the most spirited and coordinated fans I’ve ever seen, which is a whole lot coming from a SEC Alum.
Seattle lived up to its reputation as a foodie-town. I fell in love with the crab cakes & oysters at Elliott’s Oyster House, right on the water in tourist central. Sorry Maryland, but Seattle won the official “Best Crab Cake of Morgan’s Life” award. Determined to get a bite of every must-taste dish, Anna & I embarked on a food crawl of Pike Place Market. You name it, we tried it: seafood at Jack’s Fish Spot, Three Girls Bakery desserts, Starbucks, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese,
As Starbucks HQ, Seattle is also a coffee town. As tourists who wanted to look like locals, we made the mandatory pilgrimage to Starbuck’s original store from 1971, and waited in a line around the block just to order a Venti Iced Tea. As a proud Starbucks Gold Card member it pains me to say this, but next time we will skip the line and focus on local shops, like Voxx Coffee, a retro and delicious little shop.
After the work portion of the trip was over we had a few days to actually see the city. Pike Place Market, despite being extremely dirty and crowded, was wonderful. The famous Gum Wall was bizarre yet beautiful, and not surprisingly minty fresh. A guided boat ride around the harbor was the perfect way to learn about the city and get our bearings on day 1.
A trip to Seattle is not complete without visiting the top of the Space Needle, similar to visitors flocking to the National Mall in DC. The quick ride to the top made for a great view of the neighborhoods, Lake Union, downtown, and the water. Off in the distance you could see 2 giant cruises preparing for trips to Alaska, momentarily tempting me to play hooky and hop aboard. It was crazy to think that just over the mountain range was the Pacific Ocean, Canada, and eventually Alaska.
After several days downtown, we followed the local’s advice and headed for some nearby neighborhoods. Visiting the nightlife of Capitol Hill was a real hit with the group. The different restaurants and bars were fun to see. Even further out, Fremont, was both quaint and hipster all at once, reminding me of my college town.
We stopped to say hi to the Fremont Troll, then planned on walking to Gas Works Park. But when you’re trying to kill time before your midnight flight and stumble upon Fremont Brewing’s inviting beer garden, you make a detour. Forget the flight of house brewed beers – people watching the techies enjoying post-work brews is worth it alone. The brewery’s outdoor garden was so charming, if they shipped this place to DC, I’d be a regular.
Gas Works Park, located past an industrial park near Fremont, is a real hidden gem. The panoramic view from atop the hill includes Fremont, Seattle’s skyline with the Space Needle, Lake Union, and a rusty gasification plant, the park’s unique identifying feature.
Watching the sunset over Seattle as seaplanes landed on Lake Union was the most postcard-worthy way to end our trip before taking the redeye home. As happy as I was to return back to DC life, I loved my time in Seattle and look forward to my next trip out West.