Notes from a Pacific Northwest road trip – Pike Place Market & a harbor tour
After leaving Vancouver on a particularly grey, rainy morning, we headed back over the border. This time, we had about an hour’s wait at the border crossing, so we chilled in the car with Spotify on and snacking on macaroons from the Granville Market.
It was about two hours into Seattle, but we ended up hitting the city just around rush hour. We were staying almost due east of the main city center, so it took considerable time in the traffic to find the house, located on Lake Washington near the town of Madrona.
Madrona itself was a lovely slip of a northwest town, with good restaurants (St. Clouds – amazing) and Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice cream (brilliantly amazing). It was a straight uphill – and steep to boot! – walk from the lakeside to Madrona, but I guess that makes more room for the ice cream?
From Madrona, catching the No. 2 bus into Seattle was easy enough. It took about forty minutes to get to the Pike Place Market, the first stop on our city tour.
One of the places I absolutely had to visit in Seattle was the mecca of most coffee-lovers – the original Starbucks shop near Pike Place Market. Now, there were two shops, both of which seemed to be the “original” one. We didn’t quite make it to the super-original one – I’ll save that pilgrimage for another time, but I did end up visiting the second most original one and getting a drink there, as the line wasn’t very long.
In the market, the first stand we ran in to was the one where they throw fish and sing. At least, I heard they might sing. Otherwise, it’s a lot of throwing of fish and shouting so you don’t get fin-slapped by a tuna. However, with all the gathered tourists, they had to move the crowds along so actual buyers could get up to the counter to buy fish. Since I was certain that fish weren’t going to stay fresh in my suitcase, I had to pass on that. Hard pass.
Just to the side of that stall was the Marketplace shop, full of glorious spices and teas and condiments. At the front of the shop was a little tea-tasting area. I tried the orange-cinnamon tea, which was the perennial favorite, according to the signage.
Oh, my word. I was a convert immediately.
I ended up buying a box of the orange-cinnamon tea, and let me say, it makes the best hot tea and iced tea you can imagine. I already ordered more to pick up at Christmas when I’m back in the U.S. for the holidays.
From there, we roamed the market, marveling at the foods, stalls, and crafts spread out in the sprawl of the inside market. Compared to some of the markets I’d been to in China and Hong Kong, had to admit – Pike Place was extraordinarily clean and tidy.
After exploring inside for an hour or so, we wandered down to the waterfront piers and found a restaurant called Elliot’s Oyster House to eat lunch. I had some pretty amazing salmon there, but we were still holding out on the oysters until the next day. The waterfront view was lovely, especially as we could watch all the ferries and boats dock and head off during the meal.
Mom and I wanted to do a waterfront tour on a boat, so we picked up tickets for an afternoon sail on Argosy tours. In the summer months, on a sunny day, it’s absolutely necessary to get a ticket way ahead of the sailing time you want to go. The tickets sold out quickly for the afternoon sails.
The boat tour was a lovely hour of learning about the Seattle skyline, waterfront, and massive shipping industry. There’s a hotel on the water where guests used to be able to fish out of the windows (!!!), the “fake” house where Fraser Crane lived in the show Fraser, and little tidbits about the Space Needle. It being a sunny day, the tour also showcased how beautiful – and fleeting – Seattle weather could be.
That evening, back at our rented apartment, we looked across Lake Washington, and, since the clouds had cleared, we realized that Mount Rainier was visible from the terrace.
So much for a road trip into the mountains to see it!