Elegant Attitudes in Seattle

Seattle squid sculpture

Marijuana and fried fish intermingled with the gentle breeze. Aggressive construction in the growing city was outmatched by rhythmic waves and the soft creaking of the delightful ferris wheel.

Seattle ferris wheel

Gulls soared lazily above the pier, occasionally taking a dive to retrieve a salty snack. People decked out in their summer duds crowded around the white-aproned fish mongers launching fish across the stalls. The healing flavors of raw oysters and cold beer tasted like the best parts of earth.

We were somewhere else. Seattle.

Seattle waterfront

Mr. H and I hadn’t gone out of town since we moved to Portland at the end of March. Truthfully, we hadn’t been on vacation in almost a year, since our awesome road trip to Montreal last September.

For me this year has been an eventful one with my mom’s breast cancer recovery, a cross-country move, a touch of unemployment, and my third book release. When I say that we needed this little getaway, good grief do I mean it!

Seattle cuddling

An easy three-hour drive listening to the genius of Pearl Jam with the windows down made for a solid start to our weekend as we finally traveled together to a city we had always wanted to, our Mecca of grunge.

Mr. H and I were fortunate enough to spend our adolescent years during a renaissance of rock, a time when Seattle birthed grunge music. Though we grew up in completely different parts of the country, our love for music traveled parallel paths.

Naturally, Seattle was a no-brainer decision for a getaway.

As mentioned in the intro, we headed to Pike Place Market along with many other eager tourists. We ignored the frivolous, mile-long line at the original Starbucks in search of oysters and beer, which we happily discovered in a tucked away courtyard with a bird sanctuary.

Crowds aren’t our favorite but it was worth it to catch the waterfront vibe, a peaceful retreat from the rapid construction all around the city as it tries to keep up with the Pacific Northwest population boom.

We stayed in the artsy neighborhood of Fremont, which was way more our speed and reminiscent of our homey neighborhood in Portland. However, we waltzed into our AirBnB flat as planned to find the place still disheveled from the previous guests. We shrugged, unpacked, then sipped on exceptional local beers on the deck.

beer on the patio

Our host rounded the corner with his dog and gawked at us. He thought we were scheduled to arrive the next day and spewed a series of apologies while pacing nervously. Being the easy-going couple that we are, we told him not to sweat it and our host tidied up as we continued relaxing outside.

When he bounced back out, he calmly said: “You have an elegant attitude. That spirit will take you far.”

That was perhaps the best compliment I’d ever heard and it made me smile.

Ballard Locks

Ballard Locks explorer

The next day we ventured to Ballard Locks, another touristy spot, but an educational one that is very free and very fun. Here curious bystanders get to watch millions of dollars of boats get squeezed into a concrete alley, which then turns into a fascinating elevator.

A complex intersection between the salt water beyond and the fresh water of the canal, the lock waters are manipulated to allow the boats to travel back and forth. We watched this grouping of boats start at our level, then slowly drop down 26 feet.

See the shadowy characters on the bottom right of the pic below? That’s us and a bunch of other grinning tourists staring and taking pictures on the sidelines.

Ballard Locks boats

Being on display for the tourists while being in the hands of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must be quite the sobering half-hour for these summertime boaters. I imagine they’re pretty damn happy when that bridge door opens and they are free to go.

Ballard Locks bridge opening

After the locks we went in search of more oysters and decided to splurge at a restaurant that Bon Appetit included in their Top 20 Most Important Restaurants in America. We accidentally scored the best seats at the Walrus and the Carpenter, right at the oyster bar with the patio doors wide open behind us.

The Walrus and the Carpenter oyster bar

Between our sensational Moscow Mules, oysters, and small plates, we talked about nothing and everything. We reminisced about our late afternoon at Ballard Locks and discussed the incredible salmon ladder.

Besides the boats, the locks provide a critical passage for the salmon heading upstream. A fish ladder with 21 steps allows the salmon to climb to the freshwater side.

We lucked out with our August visit, the best time to catch King Salmon, and had the honor of watching these beefy, stoic fellows passing through in the underground viewing room. It was very awesome to witness these prehistoric-like creatures floating by us before they continued their long journey upstream, up a watery ladder of all things.

We stood there and marveled at the beautiful perseverance of the mighty salmon. To think, they go through all of that trouble to do one thing…spawn.

46 thoughts on “Elegant Attitudes in Seattle

  1. I knew you would find the best in Seattle! I will go to the locks next summer. For a big city, go to Vancouver next. Meredith

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Meredith, it was awesome! As much as I loved our proximity to Chicago back in Milwaukee, Seattle is definitely more our speed. Vancouver’s on our list too! So much fun stuff out here…life’s hard. : )

  2. I love Seattle. I have family there, and it’s always nice to visit. How lucky you were to get such a blue sky! And that guy is right–you DO have an elegant attitude. It’s marvelous!

    1. Yes, we know the blue skies are numbered around these parts. We’ve been very spoiled. Seattle and Portland almost look a little funny to me in the summer with the sunshine and clear skies. Both cities manage to stay charming in the gloomy months but I know I shouldn’t say I’m looking forward to fall aloud, because I will be excommunicated.

      Haha…thanks, love!

  3. Hi Britt,
    I’m glad you got to see something of Seattle. It sounds like you did all the right things, and there’s plenty more good stuff to see the next time too.

  4. The sun was shining in Seattle! I enjoy visiting there. I’ve been there when you had to dodge the seagulls because the fog kept them flying low and other times when Mount Rainier is so clear you can almost touch it. Thanks for the tour, Britt!

            1. Ditto, Dannie! I always enjoy you and your blog too. I’m very happy to see you writing again. I bet everyone would get a kick out of your seagull dodging story. : )

  5. I love your elegant attitude and your blue shoes! So glad you had a great time in Seattle. I’m puzzling over the combined smell of marijuana and fish; not sure how attractive that would be. However, I would love the oysters.

    1. Aw, I always adore your elegant attitude, Miss Gallivanta! I’ve had those blue shoes for soooooooooooo long. I don’t know what I’ll do if something ever happens to them. P.S. There are flowers on them too. ; )

      I didn’t mind the smell combo personally. But, I also grew up in Southern California where I was familiar with the earthy aroma popping up in places. The oysters were phenomenal. We were on an oyster mission all weekend and we certainly succeeded!

            1. I smell a blue flower sandal tribute blog post in the works for next summer!

              Still haven’t heard back from the zoo peeps about the totem pole. I’ll harass them next week. : )

            2. I like the smell of that! Have fun with the zoo peeps. Tell them you will write a lovely blog post about them if they respond quickly.

            3. They know about the blogging thing, which is perhaps why the third person is avoiding me a bit. I might just need to reach out to their marketing/public relations team, so they are prepared for the spotlight. I’ll see if they’ll throw me a couple of free tickets too. : )

  6. Hubs worked in Seattle for a few months last year, but I never was able to pay a visit. I hear it’s lovely and fascinating and worth a trip. Judging from your pictures, you were there when the sun was — you lucked out!!

    Looks like you had a great time! And I agree–you do have an elegant attitude. What a nice compliment!

    1. Too bad you couldn’t make it out there, Kate love! You guys should go together some time. Seattle was more romantic than I expected. Of course, the weather was insanely beautiful and I was in an oyster coma all weekend too. : )

      Thanks, honey. It was one of the best compliments I’ve received from a stranger, that’s for sure!

  7. You do have a pose, Britt ! I agree 🙂
    I’ve never been to Seattle and from reading your post it seems like an very nice city.
    In Belgium I have lived quite near a network of waterways and locks. It is a fascinating and fun thing to watch ànd experience. Glad to hear you had such a good time!

    1. Thanks, Karin! Well, Texas will bring you a touch closer to the West so you’ll have to trek up here some time. You’d love it!

      I’ve never been to Belgium, but I’ve heard incredible things about it. I find waterways and locks endlessly fascinating. Man-made talents put to good use!

  8. Your weekend in Seattle sounds wonderful. I’ve only been there once– for a weekend. I’m more about the Starbucks than the grunge, but that’s the beauty of this city– there’s something for everyone.

    1. There totally is something for everyone. I saw people from all over the world, of all ages, grinning from ear to ear. Very cool place to have within reach…we shall return!

  9. A sizzling Seatle Summer and a breath of fresh air. As I sit here shivering, wrapped in layers of clothing I really enjoyed your holiday Britt. Nice to see you are chilled out and know how to kick back and relax with a cold beer. Im dreaming of summer now.

    1. Glad I could warm you up a bit, Kath! I suppose you’ll be doing the same thing for me when it’s gloomy, chilly, and rainy during the winter months here.

      Cold beer and sunshine will be with you soon!

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