The best part about my stay in Seattle was the Airbnb I found located in the West Queen Anne section of the city. The 100 year old, beautifully renovated home on the hill overlooking Elliott Bay was the best place I have ever stayed in. We had 2 large bedrooms with amazing views, a kitchen, living area and large bathroom as well as all in the modern appliances including a washer and dryer.
Years ago I booked a stay in Palm Springs a long drive from all the action. I learned that time that choosing a location when you visit a new place is paramount to the enjoyability of your stay. This home was located on a quiet street and in a neighborhood where you could walk to amazing restaurants, a general store and even Kerry Park for the best view of Seattle.
My son and I arrived at the airport and once we gathered our luggage, walked outside the doors where our TURO car rental drove up and the driver handed us the keys. We plugged in the address of our Airbnb and off we went. TURO car rentals are like Airbnbs in that you are renting someone else’s car at a predetermined rate. I have found the cars to be in great condition, less expensive than rental car companies and convenient. Geico insurance covered TURO rentals in Washington state, but some insurance companies do not cover TURO so check before you book.
After spending a week in Alaska, we had plenty of laundry so got started on that right away once we checked into the house. We had the entire lower floor of the home and never saw the owners. They texted to be sure we were OK and if we needed any suggestions on things to do in the area but we assured them we were fine.
The first night, we drove the one mile over to Queen Anne Avenue North and decided to dine at “How to Cook a Wolf” restaurant which was recommended by the homeowners. It was restaurant week and we HAD to have the three course meal which was pretty expensive and the chocolate dessert I ordered wasn’t available. Still, the character of the restaurant was nice and we ate outside which was fun.
The second day I took a walk around the neighborhood and enjoyed seeing all the spring flowers blooming as well as the beautiful architecture in the houses. I sat at Kerry park for a while people watching and was surprised how many people of Asian decent are in the area and many were still wearing masks outdoors.
As I read other blogs about Seattle I saw positive 5 star reviews about a Tamale restaurant and got it in my mind that I needed Tamales for lunch. I plugged in the address and drove more than a few minutes away to Frelard Tamales. Only a window to order from, the friendly service made me feel welcome and appreciated. I ordered two lunch meals under $10 each. They were huge and delicious and well worth the visit. Additionally, they have a sign on the wall outside welcoming everyone and it states if you cannot afford a meal, they will give you one for free. What a nice business. Seattle has a rather large homeless population as evidenced by the numerous tents set up in parks and near bridges.
After lunch, we drove into downtown Seattle to visit the Public Market which is filled with tables selling jewelry and clothes like a flea market, also fresh seafood and coffees. Once outside on the street we passed restaurants and the line waiting to enter the first Starbucks store ever. We decided to have dinner inside Pike Place Market and splurged on Alaskan King Crab legs which were insanely fresh and delicious.
Having spent three days skiing in Alaska the week before on our trip, we had planned to ski in Washington as well at Crystal Mountain but due to a knee injury, I changed our plans. Instead we took a scenic drive to see the waterfalls featured at the beginning of the show “Twin Peaks” called Snoqualmie Falls. Parking at the top of the 270 foot waterfalls, you can walk down the trail among beautiful cedar trees to the bottom. Problem is, then you have to hike back up but it is a an easy trail to navigate.
We continued our drive to Leavenworth – a German village in the Cascade Mountains. This Bavarian styled village is nestled between snow capped mountains with all the traditional Alpine type buildings. A band was playing under the gazebo and we found a German restaurant serving schnitzel and bratwursts for lunch. The happiest surprise for me was the Nutcracker museum. I’ve collected nutcrackers for years and display my collection at Christmas. This museum cost $5 to get in and has a huge collection of over 7000 nutcrackers, some centuries old. A movie plays in a small theater giving some history on nutcrackers and a shop is available with knowledgeable women to answer any questions you may have about nutcrackers.
Being so close to the sea, we scheduled a whale watching tour for our next day in Seattle. We took Island Adventures out of Everett to see the gray whales who have migrated to the bay to feed. The captain knew just where to take us, and despite the drizzle, we saw the majestic creatures with their enormous bodies surfacing and spouting water from their blowholes. We did see a tail as one took a dive and another time the top tip of a whale as she came up to peek at us. Seals and eagles greeted us as well on our tour and a good time was had by all.
On my final day in Seattle we drove to the University of Washington to see the cherry blossoms. The trees in the Quad are around 90 years old in the school that was founded in 1861, one of the oldest universities on the west coast. After our visit to the college, we drove downtown to see the spheres. The spheres are a botanical garden created by Amazon as a “place where employees can think and work differently surrounded by plants”. We also saw the Space Needle but I had no desire to spend money to go to the top, so we went back to the Airbnb to relax and enjoy our view from that deck once more.
I loved our visit to Seattle mostly because we stayed in such a nice place. The food was great and places we visited interesting. The roads were busy as the city is big and that was an adjustment after driving on nearly deserted roads in Alaska the week before. I would definitely go back again, maybe when I take that cruise to Alaska next time.