Travelogue: Seattle, WA (December 2006)



After visiting Seattle to interview for residency back in October (and really loving it), we returned once more for a second look.

The second time we visited Seattle, Ashley’s parents came with us and were generous enough to put us up at The Edgewater. This is a lovely hotel overlooking Elliott Bay (just down from the Marriott)–the lobby is reminiscent of a lodge with fireplaces and cozy seating from which one can admire the view through the foor to ceiling windows. We particularly enjoyed the fireplace in our room, too!

On this visit, Ashley and I wanted to learn more about the city and took the opportunity to take The Underground Tour of Seattle and explore the old parts of Pioneer Square.





The tour began in an old bar/theater with a description of the city’s founding. Skid Row, for instance was named for where logs from the nearby forests were slid down the hill for processing. The area was basically a swamp and the city suffered from constant flooding and nastiniess. Then in the late 1800s, a fire ravenged the city. The citizens decided to build on top of the old structures to raise the city above the waterline. Of course, this didn’t happen instantly, and the businesses owners didn’t want to loose any money while the new stores where build above the old. The city, in order to push forward progress built up the streets 6-8 feet above the business entrances.






You can imagine this was a very dangerous situation. Nonetheless even after the second floor, now the ground floor was built, there were some former ground floor, now basement, establishments where business carried on. As a result much of the original (now) underground areas were preserved. The tour took us to through some of the old stores still with their identifying signs still intact.


At the time of this trip, we were really getting serious about moving to Seattle. Along with Ashley’s parents and a very friendly realator, 5 of us piled into a car and drove through the neighborhoods we were considering. This really gave us a chance to see the city and to imagine it from a resident’s perspective. We went to our favorite areas from our first visit–such as Ballard, where we again indulged in delicious cupcakes–but also had the chance to explore new areas, like Queen Ann. Our imaginations began to run wild when we previewed an old School House at the top of the hill which was being converted to apartments. Tall sweeping windows and aesthetically placed vintage chalk boards made for some of the coolest looking condos we had seen. The neighborhood itself seemed very, well, neighborhoody: local coffee shops and small stores lined the main roads.



We noted that condos were going up like wild fire in Seattle, and most that we saw were fairly generic and poorly designed. We of course visited Dahlia lounge (had to share those wonderful crab cakes with Ashley’s parents), but we also had a chance to try another of Tom Douglas’s restaurant, Serious Pie. This gourmet pizzia was really great, and could easily qualify as one of our favorite pizza places!







Seattle has so much to offer, both to visitors and to residents. Though we didn’t find rain to be a problem during our visits, we couldn’t ignore the fact that clouds and light misting do dominate much of the year. And ultimately, we decided that the weather might prove too much of a challenge for us. But it was tough decision to pass on such a unique city, with such a vibrant blend of urban culture and wild landscapes.

P.S. As you may know, we ended up in New York! See our first visit to Seattle, in October of 2006. And our third, with kids, in the summer of 2014.

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