One of the (many!) things that I love about Mike is that he enjoys traveling as much as I do. It seems to be that just about every new season, we're off to another place together. We have a good mix of new places, like Seattle, and places we've been before, like Washington, D.C., to visit family. Without fail, when we're at the airport waiting for our flight back to Chicago, we talk about where we want to go next - on my list are Toronto, Austin, and New England.
We loved our time in Seattle. Neither of us had been to the Pacific Northwest before, so it was nice to not have any expectations. Well, we did expect it to rain the entire time, but that was one expectation we were okay with being wrong about ;)
The first day we were there, we walked around Pike Place Market, saw the original Starbucks, and explored the Downtown area a bit. The Market is cool to walk through and look at all the vendors and seafood they have. It reminded us of the City Market downtown Charleston, but with a few more fish than we were used to. As was expected, the line for the original Starbucks was about 30 people long, so we took a selfie, peeked inside, and kept on moving. We walked through Post Alley, past about a million delicious looking (and smelling!) restaurants and stands and enjoyed the first of a few rain-free days.
On Saturday, we took the ferry to Bainbridge Island, which was maybe my favorite part of the trip. I'd never been on a ferry that large before, so I was excited to do as the Seattle-ites (and tourists) do and take the ride. We hopped on just in time, grabbed a couple drinks, and enjoyed the view from the top deck.
This is the point in the story where I tell you that Bainbridge Island is THE CUTEST PLACE EVER. We hopped off the ferry and walked maybe 10 minutes to get to "downtown". Wineries, shops, restaurants, you name it. It was quiet and peaceful. We stopped to look at a map of the area to find a place to eat and the nicest local came by and gave us some suggestions. We decided on Harbour Public House, which did not disappoint. I had the best fish tacos I've ever had and they had the prettiest view of the harbor. We also came across Salt House Mercantile, which is a store with paper goods, candles, home goods, and all the things that I would buy. If I lived in the area, I would totally work that just to be able to spend time in that space everyday.
Sunday was a big driving day, as we wanted to explore Olympic National Park. I was never able to get my bearings in the Seattle-Tacoma area, but I can tell you that the National Park is about a 3 hour drive from downtown. And it's worth it!
The drive was beautiful and the Park even more so. We walked around a bit when we arrived and then did the 20 or so mile drive through the park, so that we could take in as much as possible. The trees never, ever end.
The temperate rainforest is so cool. Moss-covered trees and the prettiest waterfalls were scattered throughout our drive, so we kept stopping on the side of the road and hopping out to snap photos and take it all in. There were very few people there, so it was very peaceful and quiet.
If you're planning a trip to the Seattle area, I highly recommend accounting for a day trip to Olympic. Living in a big city, I forget how beautiful and peaceful nature is, it was a welcomed change of scenery for both of us! Whether you do the drive we did, hike around on foot, or even bring a picnic to eat by the lake, you won't be disappointed.
Oh, and one of the other cool parts about traveling there? Getting a bird's eye view of Mt. Rainier on the flight in!
We got pretty lucky with the weather, as it only rained for about 20 minutes on Saturday, the evening on Sunday, and the morning on Monday. The city was clean, the people were friendly, and the views were incredible. Check, check, check.
If you ask me, Seattle is a good contender for the title of "my favorite city" (Charleston being the reigning champ).
(Also, yes, these are all iPhone photos! I brought my fancy camera but did I take it out of my suitcase even ONCE? No, no I did not. EYE ROLL.)