Seattle’s majesty: Queen Anne Hill
Queen Anne Hill is the second highest of Seattle’s six hills, at 456 feet. Gail and I were intrigued with the legendary “stairs of Queen Anne”, boasting more public stairways than any other Seattle neighborhood. Another fun place to explore!
Gail and I waited for the promise of a blue-sky crisp fall day for this trip. We did our usual; drove to the Lakewood Station off Bridgeport Way in Tacoma, and caught the Sound Transit 594 to Seattle. Within an hour, we arrived at 4th and Union in downtown Seattle.
There are several bus routes which travel to the Queen Anne Hill neighborhood from downtown; such as Metro 2, 3, 4, and 13. We waited on the east side of 3rd (at Pike) to catch the next available bus, which was Route 4. The bus skirts the edge of the Seattle Center, then starts up and over the Hill. We decided to get off the bus on Boston Street, just a few steps from Queen Anne Avenue North.
We immediately found the perfect first stop: “Teacup”, which lives up to their slogan of “a world of world-class tea.” Teacup is located on the corner of Queen Anne and Boston (www.seattleteacup.com) We shared a pot of lavender infused Earl Grey (complete with tea cozy), while plotting our next moves.
After our tea, we headed south on Queen Anne Avenue, admiring the many local shops. The neighborhood appears to be flourishing. Fresh flowers enliven the sidewalk outside of the Metropolitan Market. Our first destination was Queen Anne Books (1811 Queen Anne Avenue North; www.QueenAnneBooks.com) to buy a copy of the “Map of the (Oft) Pedestrian Public Stairs of Queen Anne Hill”. This hand-drawn map is delightful. Even if you aren’t intending to walk the stairways, there is much history and humor embedded in this gem. The Queen Anne Bookstore (helpful and friendly staff; a Goldlilocks-type store; not too big, not too small, just right!) also has a small handout, sharing two stairway walks leaving from the Bookstore. Perfect!
We followed the “quick loop” walk, visiting stairways #79 and #318. We took a recommended detour to Kerry Park (Highland Drive and 3rd) which offers a quintessential Seattle view of downtown and Elliott Bay. Mt. Rainier wasn’t quite visible, but we knew she was there behind clouds on the horizon!
Next stop was lunch just a few doors down from the bookstore. We ate at the fairly new (open since January 2010) “Emmer and Rye” (www.emmerandrye.com), featuring “Seasonally inspired, locally derived cuisine.” The restaurant is located in a hundred-plus year old Victorian house (1811 Queen Anne Avenue North) and is named for two ancient grains. Gail and I both had a local beef burger, complete with heirloom tomato and lettuce. We shared a side of farro frijites, which were very good.
We then met Gail’s friends who had just moved to the Queen Anne Hill neighborhood. They greeted us warmly, and guided us to another pocket park; Bhy Krake Park, at Highland Drive and 5th Avenue. The park overlooks the new South Lake Union Park. After admiring the view, we strolled past the well-preserved former Queen Anne High School (now condos), and past more amazing and huge houses. After our friends went back to their home, Gail and I kept walking; past Kerry Park again (couldn’t get enough of that view) and east along Highland Drive to Parson’s Garden and Betty Bowen View point. Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains are the featured views here.
By this time we were tired, and ready to head for home. We strolled north along Highland Drive to Queen Anne Avenue, where we caught Metro bus 2 heading downtown. We jumped off at 3rd and Spring, and walked down 3rd to the stairway leading down to the Sounder train, at 2nd and Jackson.
Mt. Rainier showed herself on the trip home, which was a bonus to our picture-perfect day.