Rebels By Bus

Slow Travel With Low Carbon Footprint

New adventures in Seattle

The weather, once again, cooperated for our latest adventure.  In early December Gail and I decided to explore new areas and destinations in Seattle.  From the Lakewood Station we arrived in Seattle (4th and Union) about 10:15 am.  We walked two blocks to Pike Street (between 3rd and 4th) to catch bus 10.  This bus comes along every 10 minutes, so we didn’t wait long.  The bus wove up and over Capital Hill, through the Broadway intersection, and to where we got off at 10th Avenue.  Our first destination:  the newly re-located Elliott Bay Book Company, located at 1521 10th Avenue.  www.elliottbaybook.com   

I thought the new space looked bigger than their previous Pioneer Square location.  The many skylights pleasantly brightened the space.  Gail thought this location was smaller than the Pioneer Square location.  According to the friendly and helpful staff, the total square footage is larger, but the book space is smaller, due to a larger café in their current location.

We both love books… so we wandered off to browse the huge and diverse selection.  I found two quality paperback novels for gifts, as well as the “hottest” book for toddlers (Max, the littlest rebel will receive that gift!).  No doubt we could have happily stayed there all day, but additional adventures were awaiting!

It was such a pretty day that we decided to walk down Pine Street to find our next stop:  Melrose Place, located on Melrose Avenue East, flanked by Minor Avenue and Pine Street.  The Melrose Project consists of two historical buildings that boast exposed fir beams, brick walls, and high ceilings that are reminiscent of a European Market place.  There is an interesting mix of small shops, to name a few:  Rain Shadow meats, Marigold and Mint (florist), Sonic Boom Records, Sitka and Spruce (Chef Matt Dillon relocated his popular restaurant here), and Homegrown Sustainable Sandwich Shop. 

Gail and I had lunch at the Homegrown Sustainable Sandwich Shop.  The small restaurant features sustainable local and/or organic food.  The menu offers salads, soups, and sandwiches.  Breakfast is also served.  Gail tried the half grilled steak sandwich and a cup of soup combo.  I had their half sandwich of the day (turkey, bacon, and avocado) and a cup of soup.  Each delicious meal was reasonably priced at $8.00. www.eathomegrown.com

After our satisfying lunch, we continued our stroll down Pine, until we reached Nordstrom, on 5th and Pike.  We admired their tasteful seasonal decorations; birdhouses with lovely frosted branches and a few ornaments (and birds!). 

Our next stop was the Westlake Hub for the South Lake Union Streetcar, located kitty-corner from the north entrance of the Westlake Mall.  This fairly new addition to downtown Seattle transportation runs along Westlake Avenue, northbound to the south end of Lake Union as far as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center on Fairview.  The streetcar runs at 15 minute intervals.  We were amazed by the vibrancy and upbeat feel of the shops and activity along this route.  Dogs and their people were relishing the sun.  The Pan Pacific Hotel, Group Health, the Flying Fish restaurant, and Whole Foods demonstrate the diversity along this route.  We got off the streetcar on the return run, at the Lake Union Park stop.  This is the park that we saw from above on our recent adventure to Queen Anne Hill (see previous post, Seattle’s Majesty:  Queen Anne Hill).  There were few people at the park, but we were joined by dozens of Canadian Buy Cialis geese. 

The legendary Virgina V (pronounced vee, NOT five!) was docked at a pier.  I have fond memories of the Virginia V, which was the method of transportation between Fisherman’s Terminal in Seattle to Camp Sealth on Vashon Island. 

The Center for Wooden Boats (www.cwb.org) is also located at this park.  Sail or row boats (as well as model boats to use in the Park’s circular pond) are available for rent.  On Sunday afternoons (2 and 3 pm) the Center provides FREE boat rides.  You can arrive as early as 10 am to reserve your spot; no phone  reservations.  (Note:  This would be a fun day trip… arrive around 10 am to reserve your spot, then explore the park and/or eat at one of the many restaurants in the immediate area before your boat ride.)  The center offers many workshops and classes, including youth and adult sailing lessons. 

The fun Fremont Avenue Ferry Service also docks at the park.  During the summer the service offers a Friday brown bag lunch tour, Saturday Lake Cruise, and Sunday Ice Cream Cruise.  This adventure is on our summer trip list!  www.SeattleFerryService.com

The Museum of History and Industry will be moving from their Montlake location to the Armory on the park property.  The MOHAI will be a lovely addition to this emerging park and re-vitalized district.

The streetcar website (www.seattlestreetcar.org) stated that a rider can use their ORCA card.  A non-ORCA card adult fare is $2.25.  (A streetcar supervisor did confirm that the streetcar currently has no way to “read” an ORCA card, but you must show your ORCA card to the streetcar supervisor, if requested)

After returning to the Westlake Mall we strolled down Pike Street, getting a peek at the Pike Street Market and sparkling Elliott Bay, and headed south on 1st Avenue to the Seattle Art Museum.  We had tickets waiting for us for the Picasso exhibit.  This special exhibition is on view until January 17, 2011.  Pablo Picasso was perhaps one of the most influential (and controversial) artists of the 20th century.  This 150 piece exhibition is from the Musee’ National Picasso in Paris, which is the largest collection of Picasso’s work in the world.  Even though I don’t care for Picasso’s art, (or his apparent womanizing ways…) this is an impressive collection of work and worth a visit.  I have a dual annual membership (me and a guest).  Being from Olympia, I qualify for a “traveler” rate, which is $65 per year.  An adult ticket for the Picasso show was $23, so an annual membership is definitely worth considering, even if you think you’ll only visit the museum a few times a year.  Their TASTE restaurant is excellent, as well as their large gift shop.  www.seattleartmuseum.org

After having our fill of Picasso, we walked down 1st Avenue to catch the Sounder commuter train.  Our timing was good; we waited only a few minutes before the next train arrived.  Seven southbound trains leave the Seattle King Street Station, between 3:15 pm and 6:15 pm.  Currently, the Sounder travels as far as the Tacoma Dome, where Sound Transit Express Bus 599 takes Sounder riders to the Lakewood Station.  Hopefully the Sounder will travel all the way to Lakewood within a year or so. As noted in previous posts, the train is a wonderful wind-down from a busy day in the city.  The ride is quiet, smooth, and there are no traffic snarls… one hardly gets a glimpse of Highway I-5.

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