Rebels By Bus

Slow Travel With Low Carbon Footprint

Seattle’s FREE Frye Art Museum

This past week we meet our new friends from Snohomish County at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum

The Frye Art Museum has been depicted as “The “old girl on Pill Hill” (at 704 Terry Avenue) is now “a chic young heiress whom everyone will want to date” (Art Guide Northwest, 1998).  This quote and other interesting history of the Frye are found through Historylink.org at:

http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=3711

Gail and I took Sound Transit #594 from Lakewood to 4th and Cherry in downtown Seattle.  From there, we grabbed Metro Bus 3 at 3rd and James to go UUUUPPPPP the steep James Street hill, taking a sharp right to Harborview Hospital.  The Frye Art Museum is located two blocks north from the bus stop, at 704 Terry Avenue.  We arrived at about 11:00 and were greeted by Sandy Schurman, the Program Coordinator for the Snohomish County Transportation Coalition.  Sandy plans and coordinates weekly trips for the “Ride around the Sound” Bus Buddy program.  Senior adults from around Snohomish County participate in these fun bus trips, as well as gain confidence to plan and ride the bus independently.  Sandy will be posting her travel description of this trip as a Rebels by Bus guest blogger.  Check back to read her rendition! 

DAE Costume

Sandy had arranged to have a museum docent (also named Sandy) lead us on a tour of the museum.  The featured exhibit, “Degenerate Art Ensemble” will be at the Frye from March 19 – June 19, 2011.  The Degenerate Art Ensemble is a multi-media (music, video, dance, and mixed media art forms) extravaganza.  The name for the ensemble is named after Adolf Hitler’s Nazi declaration that “degenerate” art is bad art.  The exhibit had several large installations.  My favorite was “slug woman”, which featured an elaborate crocheted costume, complete with slug food:  green crocheted cabbages.  I admit some of the other exhibits were too outside my realm of understanding and/or comfort.  The Ensemble will be holding live street performances of Hans C. Anderson’s “Red Shoes” this Spring (May 12, 19, 26, and June 2).  The nearby St. James Cathedral’s choral bells will join in the effort. 

In addition to the special exhibit, the Frye collection is located in a large hall which is meant to recreate the salon (including rugs and three-seated gossip chairs) of the Frye’s mansion.  Charles and Emma Frye moved to Seattle in the late 1880’s.  They were in the meat packing business, making much of their wealth by providing supplies to fortune seekers during the early 1900’s Yukon Gold Rush.  The Frye’s German ancestry is evident in much of their art collection, with many pieces painted by German artists.  The pieces of art which fill this room represent only half of their collection.   In setting up the museum, the Frye’s insisted that the museum be free to the public, have natural light, and no abstract art would be allowed.  I wonder what they would think of the current exhibit?

After the Viagra Online tour, we had lunch at the museum’s small café.  I enjoyed their ½ sandwich/cup of soup special (curried chicken sandwich with garlic tomato bisque soup).  It appears that the café is popular not only with museum-goers, but also local business-people.  I can see why; prices are reasonable, service is efficient, and the food is very good.  All necessary qualities for a restaurant to succeed!

I haven’t mentioned the weather yet, have I?  It was one of those glorious early spring days (think bright blue sky, fluffy clouds, and sun… complete with the snow-capped Olympic Mountains over Elliott Bay) which make you believe winter really is behind us.  As we were basking in the sun after our satisfying lunch, it dawned on me that this would be a perfect day to go the Columbia Center’s observation deck.  The 76 story Columbia Center is the tallest building in Seattle, located at 701 Fifth Avenue (between Cherry and Columbia Streets /4th and 5th Avenues).  The building is 937 feet tall, and was completed in 1985.  As of May 2008, the Columbia Center was the 20th tallest building in the United States. 

We entered the Columbia Tower on the 5th Avenue side.  To get to the observation deck, take the elevator to the 40th floor.  Change elevators on this floor in order to go to the 73rd floor observation deck.  Adults pay a $5 fee; seniors (age 55 and older) pay only $3. (Note:  Two other famous Seattle fee-charging observation buildings (Smith Tower and the Space Needle) charge much more than the Columbia Tower and are not nearly as tall.) 

The view from the indoor observation deck is breathtaking.  All nearby hills (Capital and Queen Anne) look flat.  The Space Needle and Smith Tower look very small and almost toy-like.  One can peer into lovely interior courtyards in downtown Seattle.  The ferry boats, mountains, and sparkling Puget Sound and Lake Washington all lend to a beautiful sight. 

We decided to stop at the 40th floor Starbucks on the way down for a cup of tea and a bit of chocolate.  What a view! This is a bustling place; mainly business people taking a break from their busy and stress-filled day.

When we reached the ground floor, we took a series of escalators, past the many shops of the Tower’s atrium, to get the 4th Avenue exit.  From there, we just walked down 4th Avenue, to Jackson Street.  Crossing 4th Avenue, we took the stairs down to the Sounder Station.  We waited just a few minutes before catching the Sounder’s first southbound run of the day at 3:15 pm. 

As always, the Sounder trip was quiet and relaxing.  We reviewed our notes about future trips and people to contact.  We were eager to see if the daffodils were in bloom in the Puyallup fields… they were just beginning to show their yellow splendor.  In another two weeks the fields will be bright yellow!

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