Thursday, September 8, 2016

Labor Day weekend in Seattle

At the time of writing this, I have been home for less than 12 hours. Already, some of the stories from my trip are a little fuzzy.  I kind of wish I'd written down some notes for myself at the end of each day.  But I didn't. I assumed I'd remember. Is this what getting old feels like?  Ha ha.

Anyway. Get ready for some words and photos about my trip to Seattle.

My trip started very early. As in 3:30 a.m. I got up to shower and finish packing so I could be at the airport by 4:30 a.m. for my 6 a.m. flight.  I got through security fairly easily, although it was busier at that hour than I expected. I suppose I should have taken the holiday into consideration. Of course there would be a lot of people departing Des Moines on the Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend. Once through security, I grabbed some coffee and found my gate, where I listened to podcasts and waited to board. We had a quick layover in Dallas and then continued on to Seattle. When I landed, I knew I 'd have to wait three hours for my friend Nikki, who was flying from Austin for a girls' getaway. As it turns out, her flight was delayed leaving Austin (for mechanical issues), so she missed a connection and wouldn't get into Seattle until 4:30 instead of the original 2 p.m. So ... I now had five hours to kill in the Seattle airport. Fortunately, there are plenty of decent restaurants and shops. I wandered, I read, and I watched people. It didn't end up being that bad of a wait, honestly.

When she finally arrived, we headed to the flat we had booked through AirBNB. It was a cute little place in Ballard, a neighborhood that is considerably more lowkey than Seattle. There were also six breweries within a 10-minute walk. So, you can understand the appeal.  Naturally, after getting settled, we immediately headed out for beer and food.

Our first stop was Populuxe Brewing, where we split a flight of all of their beers. The brewer even came out to talk to us about the beers and their operation. It was a great way to start the trip.

After that, we went to Hales Brewing for food and another beer. By the end of this, we were both tired from our long day of travel, so we stopped at Fred Meyer for breakfast supplies and continued back to the flat, where we called it a night.

Sunday morning, after a quiet breakfast at the flat, we boarded a bus and headed to downtown Seattle. We were hoping to get at least three things marked off our to-do list for the weekend.  We more than succeeded.  We started at the Chihuly Glass Gardens.

The sculptures were beautiful and we took our time viewing them and taking some great photos.  I wish there had been more of an outdoor element and maybe a few more to look at, but it was still a very nice exhibit.

After that, we went to the EMP (Experience Music Project). I had heard mixed reviews of this museum, so my expectations were pretty tempered. The place ended up exceeding my expectations. We walked through exhibits about Fantasy (Harry Potter, Wizard of Oz, etc.), science fiction (Back to the Future, Aliens, Dr. Who, Star Wars, etc.), Nirvana, guitars, and more. There was a lot to see and do. We probably could have spent more time there, but we were ready to move along.

With a few hours left to spare before our scheduled Space Needle excursion, we walked down to Pike's Market. It was about noon on a Sunday, so it was very crowded. But we still got to explore the landmark. We had lunch at Etta's, and while the food was good, I was not impressed with the service. After lunch, we did a quick wine tasting and purchased some chocolate covered cherries. They're so good. Unfortunately, the line for Piroshky Piroshky and Beecher's Cheese were too long. The line for the original Starbucks was also ridiculously long, but I did snap a photo.

Finally, it was time to head to the Space Needle. We had booked a 3 p.m. appointment and were a little annoyed that we had to wait in another line. But it moved quickly and we got to the top to enjoy the spectacular views.

After checking four things off our list, we felt accomplished enough to call it a day. We headed back to the flat to drop off our purchases. Then we headed out to check out a few more breweries -- Lucky Envelope and Stoup. At Lucky Evenlope, there was a group of twentysomething men playing a card game that involved push-ups and sprints. Ok, apparently those were the rules they were making up as they went along. It was very entertaining. Especially when some middle aged couples decided to join in the fun.  Stoup was really crowded, but I ordered a red (my favorite style), and Nikki had the porter. Both were tasty as we discussed our plan for the evening. We ultimately opted to get beverages from BevMo, order pizza, and find a movie on TV. We watched "Notting Hill" and enjoyed pizza, wine, and beer. I struggled to stay awake toward the end of the movie, so it was time to head to bed to rest up for Monday's agenda. (It should be noted, we were in bed by about 10 p.m. every night on vacation. Probably lame. Also probably because of the time difference.)

Monday morning, we headed out early so we could catch a harbor cruise. This was one of my favorite things of the weekend. I love the water, and I love history. Both were combined in this excursion. I loved learning more about Seattle's story and landmarks.

After that, we wandered through Pioneer Square, checking out some of the architecture and shops (though most were closed for the holiday). We even found a Waterfall Garden, which was a delightful discovery in the middle of the city. Finally, we headed to what I had been looking forward to the entire trip. The only thing I love more than breweries and beer is baseball!!  And we had tickets to the Rangers vs. Mariners game.

This was my 12th ballpark visit (out of my goal to visit all 30). The staff at the stadium were so friendly and helpful. The beer selection was awesome. The fans around us in our bleacher seats were very friendly and fun to talk to. That really was the best part of the game. The Rangers did not win. There was some very ugly pitching and the offense was kind of streaky. But ultimately -- thanks to the staff and fans -- I can honestly say I enjoyed my afternoon at Safeco Field. I highly recommend it.

We wanted some good seafood before we left Seattle, and our seat neighbors at the game made some recommendations. We ended up at Cutter's, back in the Pike Street Market area. The food was delicious, and our waiter was awesome. This also gave us a chance to go back to Piroshky Piroshky for some Russian pastries. Well worth the return, and it was a much shorter line this time.

Monday evening, we finished the beer and wine from the previous night's trip to BevMo and watched "The Family Stone." It was a nice, chill evening.

Tuesday, we had a lazy morning before heading to the airport. My travel back was very good -- I was randomly selected for TSA Pre-Check and I got two great seat assignments on my flights home. A customer/friend from 515 Brewing was also on my flights home, so we got to hang out a bit. It was nice to have company for the long day, and without him I might not have ventured all the way to the New Belgium Tap Room in the Denver airport, but that was worth it.

All in all, I had a fantastic weekend away.

P.S. I fully intended to schedule a few posts to go up while I was on my vacation, but as the time got closer, it just stressed me out. And I've decided blogging should never be stressful or feel like a burden. So I just let go of my intentions to schedule posts and enjoyed my vacation.


  1. I saw the Chiluly glass two years ago in Denver. It's pretty amazing.

    I've never spent more than a night in Seattle. It's on my list of places to get to soon.

  2. Sounds like you had a really amazing trip! I might need to add Seattle to my bucket list of places to visit!


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