Rebels By Bus

Slow Travel With Low Carbon Footprint

Wing Luke Museum, Seattle’s International District, Part II

My last trip tweaked my desire to explore Seattle’s International district in more depth.  This past week my Anchorage sister and I fulfilled (in part) that wish.

We did the usual… drove to the Lakewood (Sounder) Station, parking our car in the well-lit multi-level garage.  The Sound Transit Bus 594 was warmed up and waiting for us.  Within a few minutes, we were heading north.  In about an hour we got off the bus at the 4thand Jackson intersection (between the Union Street and King Street trainstations) in Seattle.

After visiting the restrooms at the Union Street station (and gazing at the    beautiful architectural features), we walked east up Jackson Street.  After a few blocks, we turned right at 8th.  Our first destination was the Wing Luke Museum.

The Wing Luke Museum is located at 719 South King. (www.wingluke.org) The museum’s namesake was a prominent Seattle attorney and community leader.  He was the first Asian American to hold elected office in the Pacific Northwest (1962, Seattle city council).  Mr. Luke was a trail-blazer against racial discrimination, as well as a champion for urban renewal and historic preservation.  Tragically,  he died in a small plane crash at the age of 40, in 1965.

The current location of the Museum, the East Kong Yick Building, opened in 2008.  The museum celebrates and informs the visitor of the art, history, and culture of Asian Pacific-Americans from over 30 different Pan-Asian countries.  I highly recommend the “historic hotel tour”, which is included in the price of museum admission.  The tenement-style Freeman Hotel has been restored and is included in the informative tour.  There are five current exhibits including the excellent “From Fields to Family:  Asian Pacific-Americans and Food”, a multi-artist display of contemporary glass and jewelry, and “Epic Tails:  legendary animals and creatures”, which is in the Museum’s Family “kidPLACE” area.

The museum offers a wide variety of events, for all ages.  This quarter examples include a book reading by Shiro Kashiba, known as the godfather of Seattle’s sushi scene.  The third Saturday of each month is “family fun day”, a free event for all ages.  In November, the family fun day demonstrates how to create a panda using Chinese calligraphy.

By noon, we were ready for a brisk walk through Pioneer Square, heading north on 1st Avenue to the Steelhead Diner (www.steelheaddiner.com) for lunch.  This week, over 100 restaurants were participating in 3-course promotions ($15 for lunch; $28 for dinner).  We wanted to try somewhere new (for us), choosing the much acclaimed Steelhead Diner, located at 95 Pine Street.  The restaurant is entered on Pine Street, directly Viagra across from the luxurious “Inn at the Market” (http://innatthemarket.com)

The $15 3-course special offered three choices for each course.  It was hard to choose.  I chose pan-fried oysters, pasta with smoked salmon, and Theo chocolate nibs with pecan pie.  My sister chose a pear/lavender infused goat cheese/arugula salad, pork sandwich, and pear sorbet.  Our favorite item was the heavenly salad… so fresh and fragrant, complete with Meyer lemon vinaigrette.

After eating such a large lunch, we were ready for some more walking.  We browsed through a couple of our favorite shops.  Sandy Lew’s at 1408 First Avenue, has a great motto of “having fun getting dressed”. (www.sandylew.com) Simple Life, per their blog is (www.simplelifeblog.com) “A locally owned specialty store supporting small designers of natural fiber clothing. If you are looking for unique clothing and accessories, this is the store for you.” They are located on the corner of Pine and Second.

Since we were in the neighborhood, we decided to stop at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) located at 1300 First Avenue, to see the new “Luminous: The Art of Asia”exhibit.  The SAM’s website (www.seattleartmuseum.org) describes the exhibit as “showcase the jewels of SAM’s Asian collections, from Chinese bronzes and Japanese lacquers to Korean ceramics and South Asian sculpture and painting. Home to one of the finest collections of Asian art in North America, the Seattle Art Museum has safeguarded many of these treasures for almost eighty years.” This exhibit will be on view until January 8th 2012.

A few reminders about the SAM:  There are FREE days at the museum.  The first Thursday is free to everyone, the first Friday is free to adults 62 years and older, and the 2nd Friday is free to teens (age 13 – 19).  The Museum is closed on Monday AND Tuesday.  If you visit the museum at least a few times a year, becoming a member would be a worthwhile investment!

After viewing the Luminous exhibit, we were winding down and ready to head home.  We walked down 2nd Avenue this time, catching the 3:50 Sounder commuter train.  As we settled into our comfortable seats we were smug and pleased that we (once again!) would avoid the I-5 traffic.  Unfortunately, Sound Transit discontinued the Bus 599 shuttle (which took Sounder riders directly from the Tacoma Dome Station to the Lakewood Station).  We hopped aboard the free Tacoma Link, getting off at the Union Station stop, by the University of Washington Campus on Pacific Avenue.  The Intercity Transit bus then took us back to the Lakewood Station.

Another full day and satisfying trip!

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