Rebels By Bus

Slow Travel With Low Carbon Footprint

Sunday brunch cruise on Lake Union

This past Sunday, my friend Norma and I went on a two-hour Sunday brunch cruise with Waterways Cruises. What a fun way to have a new perspective of Seattle and environs!  We bought our half-price tickets through the entertainment discount group, Goldstar.  An adult ticket through Goldstar is $38, including fees; about half the rack price. Goldstar also offers several other Waterways Cruises, such as dinner or happy hour.

The ship picks up passengers from the beautiful South Lake Union Park.  We drove from Olympia to park at the Lakewood Station garage, catching the 8:30 am Sound Transit Route 594 bus.  After a pleasant ride, we departed the bus at 4th and Union in downtown Seattle about 9:45 am.  From there, we walked up 4th Avenue to behind the Westlake Mall and the southern terminus of the Lake Union Streetcar.  The streetcar starts running at 10:00 am on Sunday, so we took the first run of the day. ORCA card holders don’t pay a fare.  Seniors and youth fare is 75 cents.  Adult fare is $2.50.  We exited the streetcar at the South Lake Union Park, walking past the spouting water features, boat pond, and the future home of the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) to get to our ship.

The two-deck modern ship was very impressive; lovely white linen table cloths as well as fresh flowers were on each table.  We were greeted with a small glass of champagne as we boarded.  The brunch was surprisingly good… made to order omelets, carved ham, smoked salmon, fresh fruit and rolls.  Also on the buffet were sautéed fresh veggies, as well as red potatoes and bacon.  Coffee and tea were complimentary; alcoholic drinks were available, for a cost.

The ship left the dock about 11:00, heading north on the east side of Lake Union.  I was surprised to see houseboat neighborhoods along the way, which you can’t see unless you are on the Lake.  Wouldn’t it be fun to live on a houseboat, at least for awhile?!  We passed under the University bridge, then passed through the Montlake cut, which is the man-made water passage between Lake Union and Lake Washington.  The Montlake bridge has always been one of my favorite Seattle bridges; complete with turret towers so the bridge tender can easily watch for boats which need the drawbridge raised.  Montlake bridge towers do NOT have a neon Rapunzel letting down her hair (unlike the Fremont bridge tower).

On the Lake Washington side of the trip, we passed by Marsh and Foster islands, which were swarming with kayakers and hikers.  Just past Foster Island, we saw many barges loaded with equipment for the construction of the new Highway 520 floating bridge.  The longest pontoon which will be used in the construction was floated in the previous week.  We passed under the west bridge high rise and headed east to the wealthy neighborhood of Medina.  Bill and Melinda Gates estate was pointed out, the captain noting that they have a trout stream running through their house.  We travelled along the shore for awhile, ogling the impressive mansions along the way.  Again, there is no way to view these homes except from the water.

After about an hour of cruising, we headed back from where we came.  This time, we passed alongside the eastern shore of Lake Union.  We docked at the appointed 1:00 pm.

On our way back to the streetcar, we walked through the Wooden Boat Center area.  We talked about trying their free 2:00 pm Sunday sail for a future outing.

Once we returned to the Westlake mall, we decided the weather was perfect for an ice cream cone.  Molly Moon’s is not longer at 2nd and Pine.  It has been replaced by Cupcake Royale, but they do have ice cream.  After having a refreshing cone, we waited only for a few minutes before our Sound Transit 594 picked us up just around the corner on 2nd Avenue.

We were surprised how quickly time passed… we were in Tacoma before we knew it!  Lakewood and our car was only minutes away.


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