You may have already seen the video I posted a few months back [which is very well done I might add!], but here's the complete recap with all the photos, information, and links to places we checked out during our time in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest!
We thought long and hard about where we wanted to go on this trip. There were 2 criteria that had to be met: #1. It had to be someplace new that we both hadn't been to before. #2. We had to be able to get a direct flight there. We didn't want to waste our precious time getting too and fro [Thanks to the US Airways/American Airlines we actually had to make a connection on the way home, but this happened after we started to book everything]. We batted around a number of locations but in the end Seattle won out. So glad it did!
Wednesday night flight out of PHL...
After the long flight and a cab ride going 100mph for no reason whatsoever, we arrived at our downtown hotel, the Hilton Seattle.
This is the view we had when we threw open the curtains in the morning. Not too shabby..even got a glimpse of the Puget Sound!
I did some internet research before the trip and found the name and email of the general manager of the hotel and sent him a note saying we'd be out for our 10 year anniversary. Guy gave us the hook-up...great room, free breakfasts, access to the executive lounge, bottle of wine, fruits and chocolates waiting for us in our room. Very well done and got the trip off to a great start!
First stop on Thursday morning was Seatown for breakfast. I had seen this place on Anthony Bourdain's old show, The Layover, about a year prior and once we know we'd be visiting Seattle I made sure we dined at this place.
We walked from the hotel and got our first look at the famous Pike Place Market...
We'd stop back here to explore later, but for now, Seatown was just around the corner and we were hungry.
Bourdain called this "Seattle on a Breakfast Sandwich". At $19 bucks its a bit pricey...but let me tell you, worth every single penny! Egg, cheese, avocado, and dungeness crab.
Great view of the Seattle Wheel and the port from this vantage point...
Bellies full...it was time to head out and explore the city. No better way to get a good overview than by hopping on a duckboat, Ride the Ducks of Seattle.
Very cool to be out on the water in a car...and like the driver told us...every car can drive into the water, but not too many can drive back out!
After the duck we made our way back across town on foot, getting to see more and more of the city. Even though its hilly, you can get around pretty easily.
After the Duck ride we thought we'd see how things look from up above. Best way to do that you ask? The Sky View Observatory on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center Building. [Don't worry, we'll get to the Space Needle soon]
We would be getting on one of those little ferries down there in a few days.
After the view from high above we stumbled into a great pho spot for lunch called Jules Garden. I think we grabbed a nap and chilled at the hotel for a bit at this point...
Dinner tonight was at a cool spot down near the stadiums called Taylor Oyster and Shellfish Bar.
The food just kept coming and we kept eating. Very tasty! [but not the tastiest oysters we'd have on this trip...those will come later!]
After dinner we walked through town a bit and found The Bookstore, a great cafe for dessert!
We'll pause here if you need to go and get a snack or just take a break. Plenty more photos below. Just click to keep going...
The first stop on Friday morning after a quick breakfast at the hotel was the famous Space Needle. Fun fact, the last time I was up at the top of this thing was 37 years ago! If you run the numbers on that you'll figure out that I was still in the womb, but I'm still counting this as my 2nd trip to the Space Needle!
Had to hop on the monorail to get over there. Both the Space Needle and the monorail are relics from 1962 but still define the city to this day.
GoPro'ing all the time!
Pretty cool as the train passes through Ghery's Experience Music Project building...
You can just make out Mt. Rainier in the distance there. It was socked in by clouds most of the time we were there, but when you can see it clearly its amazing how it just towers over the city!
They have two spots where you can take photos and then they email them to yourself for free. One is in front of a cheesy backdrop, but the other is out on the Needle itself. How about the creepy guy who snuck into our shot? Dudes a little too close for comfort!
Sure is a great view from up here!
Some pretty big bolts holding this Needle down!
After some time at the top and then browsing the gift shop on the first floor we moved on to our next spot...lunch! On the way out we stumbled upon the coolest playground you ever did see. It's designed by a series of artists and of course we had to test some of the equipment out! The slide wasn't easy to get up to...but the ride down was sooo worth it [as you can hear by my enjoyment in the video!]. Wish the girls could have been there for this part of the trip. They would have LOVED it! Next time...
We had some time before we were hungry for lunch so we decided to check out Pike Place Market and all that it has to offer. A quick ride back to the center of town on the monorail first though...
Some great footage of the fish mongers doing their thing in the video I linked to at the beginning.
The Market is also home to the original Starbucks! The line here is bananas long, but don't worry, there are about 50 other locations within a stones throw. I guess some people wait just to say there were there?
Look..they even support Tom Brady out here. That's what the 12 on the cups means, right???
Quick stop at the "Gum Wall"...someone was not too impressed!
And I agree, it was pretty nasty!!!
Time for lunch! [don't worry, it was a good walk from the gum wall to the lunch spot, so we got our appetite back!] We decided to hit up a place that we had heard of which was famous for its "Sea Feasts"! Sign me up!!! The Crab Pot, here we come.
We ordered up a feast and dug in. Everything was soo great and we ate until we were stuffed!
We walked around town a bit more and then made our way back to the hotel to rest up before dinner. Our reservation wasn't until very late, so we got a few wine flights and some apps at a cool spot called the Purple Cafe and Wine Bar, just down the street. Check out that wine rack in the center of the place!
Dinner was at a place that a good number of people had recommended we check out, The Pink Door The restaurant is tucked up behind the Market and this was the view from our table! Some pretty awesome Italian food there too!
Murph-dog gave us the hook up on a pretty cool speakeasy joint to grab some after dinner drinks at called Bathtub Gin. Never, ever would have found this hole-in-the-wall place if you weren't told about it. Had some very good cocktails too!
Saturday morning we picked up a rental car, which was a bit of a debacle, but that's a story for another time, and made a b-line for the scenic ferry across the Puget Sound.
No more road ahead!
Great way to see some of the beautiful coastal homes along the sound.
Arrival into Bremerton...home of a pretty big Navy base!
Once across the sound we needed some lunch. A quick Yelp search landed us at The Bridge Deli & Coffee Co. for some great sandwiches!
Back in the car it was about a 50 minute ride to get to the resort we'd be staying at. We stopped for a bit at Twanoh State Park to have a look and check out the Hood Canal.
Plenty of Starbucks out this way too!
We finally arrived at the Alderbrook Resort and Spa right along the Hood Canal in Union, WA. It might as well be a million miles away from Seattle, because that's what it feels like.
Apparently the resort was pretty run down in the 90's and one of the Microsoft boys sunk some money into it and turned it into a 5-star place. The views are just amazing! Bill Gates actually owns a small estate of 5 homes next door and uses the the resorts dock for his sea-plane when he's in town.
Once we arrived and checked in we relaxed out near the water and then hit the pool for a little swim. We had dinner at the Alderbrook's restaurant on Saturday night and it was awesome! Really good seafood and the view out over the canal was perfect.
After breakfast in the restaurant we had reserved a 60 minute couples massage at the Alderbrook Spa. Talk about relaxing! Kelly actually stuck around for a facial afterwards too.
For lunch we hopped in the car and made about an hours drive up to a place we had found online...Hama Hama Oyster
Words don't really describe this place...and the photos can't either. It's not much more than a road-side stand that just happens to be next to some of the best tasting oyster beds in the world. They harvest them in the morning, you eat them that afternoon. That's how fresh they are! Doubt we'll ever have oysters this fresh and this awesome again! Unless we go back to Hama Hama???
After lunch we kept heading north for a bit to check out Rocky Brook Falls. A local had told us about this spot, way off the beaten path, and it was worth the hike up.
Check out the salmon in the stream!
After the falls we made our way back to the hotel for some of the best hiking around...with the most well kept trails I've ever seen! It was a bit rainy at this point, but we didn't let that stop us.
Showered and warm we needed to figure out dinner plans. This area is last place on earth you'd expect to find a good Mexican restaurant...but guess what, 2 Margaritas Restaurant was as good as it gets when you're looking for down and dirty Mexican grub. We had planned on eating again at the Alderbrook's restaurant since there isn't much else around, but we were glad a few locals told us about this place.
After a quick breakfast at the local coffee shop, [while we waited for the fog to lift] we spent the morning in a kayak out on the Hood Canal.
I also tried to climb up one of the trails quickly to get a view of the Lodge...no dice. Fog was thick a pea soup!
So peaceful out there...even had a few seals following us along!
After an hour on the water it was time to head out from the Alderbrook, but not before a quick scamper up the trail one last time for a photo now that the fog was lifted!
With all that paddling, a run up the hill, and some more hiking to come later I knew for sure we'd sleep like babies on the overnight flight back home!
Our final stop of the trip before heading for the airport was a leisurely hike through the "Staircase" hike at Olympic National Park. Talk about a beautiful place! We spent about 2hrs here but could have easily spent the entire day. The drive up from the main road was pretty intense. Lots of elevation and turns and then the final 7 or so miles was a crappy dirt road.
Funny story...well not really that funny, but just as I hopped out of the car to snap this shot I dropped my camera. Thankfully the lens didn't shatter, just lost my zoom function, and about $150 to have it repaired!
Pretty impressive suspension bridge over the river.
And that's it...time to make the drive back out of the woods and head for home.
Actually, I lied...we did have one final stop. Dinner at great place that was recommended to us not too far from the airport. Salty's at Redondo Beach. Some awesome seafood and great views out over the bay. If you need a place to catch a meal before the overnight flight back...you can't go wrong at Salty's!
Heading over the famous Tacoma Narrows Bridge en route to the airport...
Let us know if you have any questions about these places we visited. It was a great trip and we're glad we were able to explore a new city and area of the country. Huge thanks to Nana and PopPop for watching the girls while we were on our "work trip"!