Friday, July 14, 2017

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving". Wandering around Seattle and Portland

Seattle and Portland


We left Glacier, Montana early on the 7th for the 11 hour drive to Seattle, Washington. Driving west is great because we always pick up an extra hour. I foresee this being super annoying on our way back east as it has the reverse effect. We got to Seattle around 5pm. We stayed in a cute neighborhood, Ballard, at an airbnb, thanks to recommendations from several people who said this was the place to stay. I’m glad we listened. It was nice to be outside of the downtown area and Ballard was a great spot with tons of microbreweries, restaurants and parks. We walked into the heart of Ballard on Friday night to get some dinner and exhausted from driving all day we walked back home to get some sleep.

Saturday morning we woke up and went for a run to Golden Gardens. Golden Gardens is a little park/beach area right on the bay. They had volleyball set up, tons of boats and paddle boarders on the water and lots of people walking, biking and running. It also had the most steps I’ve ever seen. Greg and I, knowing we were going to be doing a lot of microbrewery hopping over the next two days, pushed ourselves to try to run up all the flights of stairs. It was hard, but a really great workout and we got to see a cool area.

After our workout, we headed into Ballard. We walked to the famous "Locks" first. There was a seafood festival going on right in the town, shutting down a couple of the streets. We walked through it, looking at a bunch of the local flare, got some food from a food truck and took it into the Ballard Beer Company. Most of the beer places in Ballard don’t serve food but allow you to bring in your own food and sit. The festival was packed and the food was delicious. (Don’t worry- they had non seafood items for me).

After we ate and finished our beers we decided to check out some of the other microbreweries in Ballard. There are quite a few all very close to each other. We went first to Peddler’s which was a cyclist themed place with beer names like “On your left IPA” “Pedal Strike”, and “Stump Jumper”. They had a huge outside area with picnic tables, corn hole and a food truck. A high school friend of mine, Bill, just moved to Seattle a few months ago and actually lives right in Ballard so he and his girlfriend came to meet us at Peddler’s. They then suggested going to Stoup, another microbrewery right down the road. Stoup also had a cool outside, sitting on the rooftop. We hung out for a while drinking great beers and catching up. We also had beautiful weather which was awesome for a day of sitting outside. Greg and I then moved on to one more brewery, Reuben’s, a favorite of Greg’s good friend Cory who also lives in Seattle but happened to be out of town the same weekend we were in town. We grabbed a delicious dinner and headed home.

The next day we had a touristy agenda downtown.
  • Waterfront with a cool Ferris wheel and shops.
  • Pike Place Market
    • gum wall

    • Lunch on the 6th floor with a great view of the water.
    • Famous fish throwing of Pike Place
    • “Cloudburst” Brewery
    • The first Starbucks  
    • Outdoor sculpture exhibit of the Seattle Art Museum.   
    • The Space Needle. Which was tall and cool, though we didn’t go up to the top. There were tons of museums and parks that we walked around.


There were a lot of homeless in the city. Some with your regular “I can’t work, please help me signs”. Others with more creative signs: “I’ll be honest - I just need beer”. Of all the homeless in Seattle, Greg makes conversation with one as we were deciding which direction to go. He gave Greg pointers and then asked us for money. So I gave him a dollar. Of all the homeless people in Seattle, I gave money to the one who had a sign that read “Free Sex” on one side and “I need fat b*tches” on the other. Thanks Greg - Great choice.

We went back into Ballard and got a drink at Ray’s Boathouse which was a beautiful spot overlooking the water before stopping at a small sandwich shop for dinner and heading home.

On Monday we left for Portland, a quick 3 hour drive from Seattle. Again, like Seattle, the microbrewery scene in Portland is booming with more than 90 microbreweries in the small city. We stopped at one for lunch before checking into our Air bnb. We hung out for a while at our place, before peeling ourselves off the couch to go do something. We took the bikes our Airbnb host left for us down to the park where there was a huge water reservoir and a ton of people biking and running and walking all around. We had plans to meet up with another high school friend of mine, Kevin for dinner and drinks that night. Kevin picked a great brewery, Migration, right near our place where we had some great beers and food and hung out. Kevin then took us to another brewery, Paydirt, right down the street which had a neat outdoor area with fire pits. It was so fun meeting up with Kevin and hanging out and having someone for Greg and I to talk to other than each other.

Tuesday, like in Seattle, we figured we should explore the “city”/downtown area. We started at the Piccard Mansion where our uber dropped us off. We didn’t really think this one out because we got dropped off at the very top of a mountain where the mansion stood with a great view. But we had no way to get down. So we found a trail and started walking down. In our flip flops. The trail then took us to a pretty busy road that I’m almost positive wasn’t meant for walking along, but we did. I can’t pick on Greg too much for this one because I put him in charge of navigation and planning. I’m terrible at directions and I hate making decisions so he sits on his phone and Google searches how close everything is to each other and what we should see/do. In his defense, the mansion was only 1.7 miles from everything else we wanted to see and do in Portland, which is totally doable. We just didn’t realize we’d be hiking and then walking along a highway. It all worked out though and we made it to the Rose Gardens to look around and take a million pictures. We then went to another brewery for lunch where they had rooftop seating and walked around the city checking out the shops and breweries along the way. We walked to Voodoo doughnuts, a famous place in the city with awesome doughnuts. (I’d venture to say they were even better than the fractured prune). We ubered home, got dinner at a local brewery and were in bed by 10pm after 10 miles of wandering around the city.

Kelly stopped to smell the roses



 Seattle and Portland were both really neat spots with a lot to do and see. We had four full days of wonderful weather. Not a cloud in the sky in two cities where, from what I’ve heard, it always rains. The people in both of these cities are so nice and friendly. They STOP for pedestrians. Honestly, they usually seem annoyed at you if they have to wave you to cross because it is assumed that you will just walk across the street and they don’t think twice about letting you. They are also super about recycling. They compost and recycle so much that their trash cans are the smallest can in the house and outside. We actually took some trash with us because we weren’t sure which bin it went in and they seemed so serious about it. But not just the hosts of our airbnbs, restaurants had three separate bins for compost, trash and recycling. I’m actually very inspired by the dedication of the people in these cities towards helping our environment. Overall, the northwest United States was pretty impressive. Young, progressive and fun and we can’t wait to get a chance to go back.

Next up: San Francisco. Home of everyone’s favorite T.V. Family: The Tanner’s.
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