A Week in Seattle

Two weeks ago, Bart called me from work and asked, “Would it goof up your schedule if I went to Seattle to work on a client for a week or two?” I said, “Probably not. When would you leave?” and he replied, “Tomorrow at five a.m.”

And after a couple of days of him being gone, we decided that Ella and I would fly out and spend some time in Seattle with him. I only wanted to go for a couple of days because I fear vacation sleep, but it was half the price for plane tickets from Monday through Sunday.

So I decided I could deal with a week of being tired if necessary, I packed up a suitcase, and off we flew (also, I highly recommend flying out right as your neighbors fly home from their vacation, because you can drive up to the front of the airport, take out your luggage and have them drive your car home. No bumming a ride and no parking charges for either of us).

Ella was great on the plane, and we made it to Seattle without incident (and I successfully navigated THREE airports with a child, a stroller, a carseat, a suitcase, and a backpack).

We were staying right downtown at the Sheraton and as soon as the crib arrived, Ella fell immediately asleep, which was no surprise, considering it was 11 p.m. to her tired little body that normally is in bed at 7 p.m. on the dot.

And yet, this did not stop her from waking up at 5:55 a.m. Because Bart had worked mega-late the night before, she and I went out to do some exploring of the hotel. Someone had tired eyes.

After an hour or so, we went back to the hotel room, all got ready, and had a little breakfast before Bart headed back to work. And then Ella and I both went back to the room and conked out for a nap.

Once we were both awake, it was time, as Ella said, “for a yittle aventure.”

And let me tell you, August in Seattle is NOT like August in Texas. I wore sweaters. I was actually, on a few mornings, a bit chilly. We could walk outside all day long without coming back inside medium-well done.

I won’t bore you with a complete blow-by-blow of our trip, but here were some highlights:

The Woodland Park Zoo. Bart and I both agreed this was a highlight of the trip. So many fantastic animals, amazing setups where the animals seemed to always be very near to where you were, and perfect weather. Ella was in heaven.

The Children’s Museum. This is a pretty small little museum, but the last hour of every week day is pay-what-you-want so we paid a dollar each and had a lovely hour there.

Ferry to Bainbridge Island. This was suggested by Hola Isabel (who actually came by and had lunch with Ella and me during her lunch break one afternoon – it was delightful), and we LOVED it. We almost bailed because it was quite chilly on Saturday morning, but the sun came out and we all had sweaters, so we were glad we did it. The ferry is only about $7 round-trip per adult (and free for toddlers), and the views of the city from the water were lovely. And Bainbridge? SO cute. We hit the farmer’s market which was full of dogs (Ella was beside herself with joy), gorgeous produce, and fun music. Plus a couple of samples.
University of Washington. Bart almost went here for his undergrad degree (and even attended new student orientation), so he wanted to go back. We loved walking around the campus and we rented a little canoe for less than $10 and enjoyed a stunning ride. Ella really liked it until the very end and then she was DONE.

Seattle Library. I’ve been dying to visit this library for YEARS, so I felt a little affronted when it happened to be closed, thanks to budget cuts, the ENTIRE week we were there. A picture out front had to suffice.

Seattle Art Museum. The museum isn’t free, but there is a section near the entrance that is free and has a big set of art tables with supplies, plus a section next to the cafe that has toys. Ella really liked it, so much so that we came back a couple days later with Bart in the evening for about half an hour before going to dinner.

Pike’s Place Market. We were really close to this and we went, I think, every single day at least once. Ella loved the snacks and the giant metal pig, and I loved the flowers and food. I especially liked it in the morning when it wasn’t too crazy busy.   

Olympic Sculpture Park. We had a not-too-early flight on Sunday morning and a child who didn’t think sleeping in was at all interesting, so we went to the park around eight a.m. and wandered around for an hour before heading back to take some quick naps before our flight (in fact, we ended up being the LAST people on the plane, thanks to those naps). The views are gorgeous and it was a quiet, nice way to end our trip.

And the food. Good heavens, I was grateful for the many friends (especially Definitely RA) who gave us suggestions about where to eat, and I was REALLY grateful for the Yelp app that helped us out many a time.

A few favorites:

Le Panier. This French
bakery at Pike’s Place got recommended over and over again and for good
reason. We went here for breakfast one morning before Bart went to work
and then again two days later because it was SO fantastic. The pain au
chocolat was to die for and the apricot croissants were also fabulous.
Ella insisted that she only eat the parts with chocolate on them. 

A second trip to Le Panier

Sweet Iron. We had breakfast here on morning and whoa, these liege waffles were amazing, especially the banana brulee one. We could have just been full with just two, but we managed to put away almost all three of the ones we ordered. We’ve heard from tons of people how much they love love love Bruges in Salt Lake, but neither Bart nor I was really thrilled by it when went a couple of years ago. I thought Sweet Iron was significantly better. Yelp was not wrong on this one.

La Creperie Voila. I had a goat cheese/apple & fig jam/almond crepe for dinner the first night when Bart was working late and it was so good, that he stopped and got one on his way back to the hotel a couple hours later. Isabel and I got lunch here the next day (although my egg/spinach one was not nearly as good as the goat cheese one).

Doughnuts. People, we don’t mess around. We went to Top Pot for breakfast one morning (where it cost $11.99 for half a dozen donuts) and they were some seriously good doughnuts. The salted caramel old-fashioned, maple old-fashioned, and raspberry old-fashioned were my favorites. Ella’s sprinkle cake doughnut was also excellent. Several people also recommended Daily Dozen down at the market, but when Ella and I got there, I realized they only took cash, and I had all of zero cents to my name, per usual. I never carry cash. Ella took the news that the promised doughnut was not going to be delivered with a great deal of stoicism, but the nice lady at the counter took pity on us and gave Ella a little maple donut. I had a tiny bite and it was good, although not note-worthily so. We heard Mighty-O puts Top Pot to shame, but we just ran out of time to make a trip out there.

Mod Pizza. This Seattle chain has personal-size thin crust pizza that are made to order (like Subway, but for pizza). We got a BBQ Chicken with blue cheese and a pepperoni/artichoke/mushroom one. Both of them were fantastic. I liked the BBQ one slightly better, and Bart preferred the other one.

Uneeda Burger. This was another Yelp find, just about half a mile from the zoo. Great burgers, a fun atmosphere, and not terribly expensive either ($4.75 for a cheeseburger). The fries were also excellent (have you noticed how difficult it is to find a place that does both burgers AND fries well?). 

Molly Moon Ice Cream. This came highly recommended and it was indeed very good, although the salted caramel was WAY too salty. After we’d ordered, I got a sample of the raspberry lemon thyme and I for sure should have gotten that one instead. Bart got a s’more sundae and the smoky whipped cream really made it seem like you were eating out by a campfire. 

We heard from several people that we should try out some of Tom Douglas’ places (apparently he’s Seattle’s most famous chef?) but I went to two of them – Rub with Love with Ella for lunch and to Palace Kitchen with Bart one night – and neither of them particularly impressed me. We didn’t try a third after two lackluster meals. Ella thought the iPhone games were much more interesting than Palace Kitchen.

One of Bart’s co-workers told him that Cupcake Royale was not to be missed. We got eight different cupcakes and took them with us when we went to visit some friends who used to live in Texas. Neither of us were blown away – very average, and expensive, cupcakes. I’m not sure any cupcake will ever compare to this little place in Quincy that we lived down the street from. Bart and I both agree those were the best cupcakes we’ve ever had.

One other little thing that made our trip fun was that, over the weekend, there was an enormous video game convention taking place at the convention center across the street from our hotel. Which meant that our hotel and the streets around us were JAMMED with awesomely dressed people.

And finally, after a week of eating like kings, reveling in the gorgeous weather,  having someone else make our bed and clean the bathroom every day, and marveling at how relatively well Ella slept, we flew home. And I picked up the mail to discover I’d gotten a ticket for running a red light a week earlier. Welcome back to real life.

At the University of Washington

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  • Reply Ash September 5, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Oh, I love Seattle… Seeing these pictures makes me happy! So glad you got to go and that you had a wonderful time! (And I'm really glad you liked the zoo… I'm pretty sure we went there every year from when I was about 4 until I moved away as a teenager. I'm happy to see it's still awesome 🙂

  • Reply Stephanie Lee September 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Looks like you had such a fun trip! I've never been to Seattle–this makes me want to go. Especially all the food. Yum.

  • Reply preethi September 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Sweater weather and fun activities and good food? Sounds like a winner to me. Now I want to visit Seattle!

  • Reply RA September 5, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Yay! I'm so glad you had such a good time, especially on short notice. I especially love that you loved Le Panier and Top Pot. We stayed just a couple of blocks from Top Pot! YUM. Molly Moon was on my list, too, because that was nearby, but we didn't squeeze it in.

    Now I wish we had gone to the zoo! It was included in our CityPass, but we had to choose between it and the Museum of Flight, and we obviously chose the nerdier option. Ah, well. Just have to go back!

  • Reply Diane September 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Makes me homesick for Seattle! I moved from there six years ago. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.

  • Reply Melanie September 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I so wish I could hear Ella talk!

    What a fun, spur of the moment trip. I really need to make it back to Seattle one of these days. My trip there this past winter was less about experiencing the city and more about the people I was visiting. Plus, it was winter, so we didn't spend a whole lot of time outside. Luckily I have numerous friends that either live in or are from the Seattle area, so I have lots of excuses to go back…just as soon as I have the time and money for the cross-country flight.

  • Reply Katie September 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    "and I successfully navigated THREE airports with a child, a stroller, a carseat, a suitcase, and a backpack" – this gives me hope. While I have flown alone with Jackson before, I have always been picked up on the other side. This time I will be taking him with me to rent a car. Since we only have to deal with one flight alone, maybe we can make it through 🙂

    Glad you had such a fun trip!

  • Reply Cami and Juan September 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    What a week packed with tons of fun! I'm glad Ella slept well for you and was good on the airplane. I must take note of this post if we ever go to Seattle, the food sounds wonderful.

  • Reply Janelle September 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    How fun! I hope it's not too stalkerish to say I wish we could have met up with you! Also, I'm glad you had RA to turn to for food suggestions: local though I may be, I don't eat out enough (or in Seattle enough) to give you good input! Also, I'm glad you loved the zoo, and canoeing Lake Washington is one of the best things ever.

  • Reply Rhi September 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Oh, we do not make it to Seattle often enough.

  • Reply Stephanie T September 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    What a fun trip! I am so glad you went! It weirdly eases some of my guilt. When you mentioned it at Ralphie's party I was really sad for you and Ella– that you weren't going to go. The next day I was wishing I had said more to you and pointed out all the reasons why I love traveling with my husband on his business trips and had encouraged you to go.

  • Reply heidikins September 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I am so jealous of your lunch with Isabel!! I adore her!

    Also, I'm bummed you didn't get to visit the library, it was always on my list as well.

    And thirdly, my niece can't say her L's and her "just a yittle one" and "Mom, that's super yame!" crack me up CONSTANTLY. I actually laughed out loud to read Ella's statement about a "yittle adventure." So cute!


  • Reply Merrick September 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Sounds like a fantastic trip! One day we will make it to Seattle, and I will go back to this post for some good activity and eating recommendations 🙂

    Oh, and did you know we were planning to go to Seattle last week too for a little babymoon trip? Then we just couldn't make it work, so we went to Las Vegas instead. How random would that have been if we had both been there, unplanned, at the same time? Just like San Francisco!

  • Reply emandtrev September 5, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    That all sounds wonderful! Is it sad that I just ate lunch and I'm hungry again? Mmm, donuts.

  • Reply Carole September 5, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    You will be amused to know that Grandpa (while a graduate student at U of W called the campus police because students were skinny dipping in that very fountain/pool you are posed in front of! This would have been the late 1960's. It looks much more calm these days.

  • Reply Melinda September 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Hooray for Seattle!!! We love living here and I'm so happy to read about all our favorite places that you enjoyed, too! I wish my week wouldn't have been so packed with last minute summer fun so I could have met up with you and Ella. I laughed when I saw your IG and realized that just like all my trips to Austin, we would be so close, so close and yet so faar-ar. 😉

  • Reply Jodi September 6, 2012 at 3:55 am

    I love Seattle. And especially Pike's Place.

  • Reply Jessica September 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    We love Seattle! We like to go in April and hit the Tulip Festival-amazing!

  • Reply girlseeksplace September 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Seattle is one of my very favorite cities and the Sheraton is a great hotel. I briefly considered moving there, but the lack of finding employment put the kabosh on that.

  • Reply G September 6, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    The first thing I thought when you made the comment about the red light was that maybe it wasn't you, it was the neighbors driving your car home from the airport! Ha ha.

    I got to spend a day in Seattle once. It was lovely. You're making me want to go back and really do the city justice!

  • Reply kimmie September 6, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Looks like such a fun trip! You guys made it out on a beautiful weekend, so you're lucky 🙂 Sweet Iron waffles are my FAVORITE… the banana one is the best!

    I'm amazed you were able to see so many places with a toddler AND being pregnant. So impressive!

  • Reply Kristi September 7, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    I am physically pained at the mention of Bainbridge island. Blaine interviewed with a firm in Seattle and half the firm lives on the island, and I got all caught up envisioning my future there and then Blaine drops the "well, I blew the interview" bomb. So…now I must set my sights elsewhere I supposed. The idea of island living was really growing quickly on me though.

  • Reply Isabel September 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Just this morning I was thinking about that crepe and wondering why I hadn't been back yet.

    I'm so glad you guys had a good time. And I'm glad the ferry ride was a hit. (I get nervous recommending things for fear the person will loath it.) Funny that you mention all the dogs. There are a lot of dog here. I think Seattle won "most dog friendly city" a few years back.

    Okay, you didn't tell me about the gaming convention thingy. WE LOVE WHEN THEY COME TO TOWN! Back when we lived downtown, right next to the Convention Center, we saw them all the time and loved them so much. Although I admit the first time I saw a guy walking down the street in a ninja costume freaked me out.

    Oh well, back to real life now. (Was it discovered that it was your friends that ran a red light in your car? I hope so.)

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