Category Archives: Seattle

Local Activities After Christmas, 2018

 

The kids are still home from school, so why not try out some of our local holiday wonders – ones you may have missed while getting ready for the big day yesterday.

Here are some ideas:

  • Zoolights at Pt. Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma

I have it on good authority (my son and daughter-in-law) that this is spectacular and magical this year. It’s open from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. until January 6. Admissions ranges from $6-$12

Another electrical blowout event that takes you along Spanaway Lake for two miles. $14 per vehicle

  • Polar Bear Plunge

If you’re into ice cold water to remind you it’s a new year, this one’s for you.

What: Join the crowd and splash into Puget Sound on New Year’s Day

When: 11:30 a.m., Jan. 1

Where: Point Defiance boat launch, 5912 Waterfront Drive, in Point Defiance Park. Free

This week and early next is the best time to go to Seattle, before Viadoom takes over when the Viaduct closes and traffic is predicted to be catastrophic.

  • Enchant: New this year, Enchant Christmas is an immersive holiday experience with lights, a market, ice skating, entertainment, food and drink and more at Safeco Field. I’ve heard they have “pay what you can” days, but I don’t find that on their website, so you’ll need to ask. This event runs through December 30.
  • Wildlights at Woodland Park Zoo. We like to illuminate our zoos around here. Open from 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. through January 5. $10-$15
  • Seattle Center Winterfest, Through December 31, the Seattle Center is filled with free and affordable activities such ice sculpting and ice skating. The festival rings in the New Year with spectacular fireworks, Fountain of Light dance party and live music by premier cover band, Sway.
  • Nutcracker Ballet  Just two more days to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s rendition of the Nutcracker at McCaw Hall. But that means they have some screamin’ good deals.
  • Gingerbread Olympic
    Enjoy the wonder of  oversized gingerbread house made with more than 4,000 real gingerbread bricks. This is one of my all-time favorite charity events. Stop by and see what local architects can create from gingerbread. Open until January 1 in the lower lobby of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.

If you’re ready for a short road trip, here are my suggestions for activities beyond Seattle and Tacoma.

  •  New Year’s Eve Wildlife Viewing Cruise  with the Port Townsend Marine Science Center: Leaving from Port Townsend’s Point Hudson Marina at 1 p.m., tickets cost $55 per person. Call 360.385.5582, ext. 104, to make reservations.
  • First Night Celebration in Port Townsend: This all-ages, alcohol-fee event features live music and children’s activities. From 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
  • New Year’s Eve at Taps at the Guardhouse at Fort Worden: 8 p.m. -midnight. Live music and bubbly.

 

Let’s not forget our friends to the east. Bellevue goes all out with their fun and frolic for the holidays.

 

  • Garden d’Lightsat Bellevue Botanical Gardens runs through December 30. I saw this last year for the first time and was blown away by the amount of work that goes into this more-than-magnificent lighting display. Children under 10 are free, everyone else pays just $5.
  • Ice Skating at the Bellevue Downtown Park, 100 100th NE continues through January 13. Admission is $10-$15

I highly recommend calling before going to any of these events as I just discovered one big New Year’s Eve party had been “cancelled due to unforeseen events.”

 

 

 

 

 

Will Seattle Experience a White Christmas?

By Michael Fagin

Last year the Seattle area received some light snow on Christmas Eve. What are the odds of that happening again this year or that we’ll have a blanketing of white on Christmas Day?

According to the National Weather Service the probably is 7 in 100 or 7% chance of a white Christmas.

After our two recent windstorms, the weather will settle down starting this weekend with chances of some light rain but not more windstorms.

Monday, Christmas Eve day; and Tuesday, Christmas Day, we are expecting highs in the mid 40’s and low’s in the upper 30’s with chances of some light rain. Sorry, but no snow.

There will be a similar pattern for the rest of the week (Wednesday through Friday) as weather systems move in for a chance of some light rain. But no snow nor any wind storms expected over this period.

You’ll Have to Go to the Snow

As of Thursday morning, Stevens Pass has received over 14 inches of new snow with a 48-inch base and Snoqualmie Pass has 3 inches of new snow with a 37-inch base. If you want lots of snow, Mount Baker has a 70-inch base and Paradise at Mt. Rainier boasts a 70-inch base. However, Paradise is currently closed due to the government shutdown, so be aware – you can only enter Mt. Rainier National Park through Longmire. New snowfall is expected at all of the above locations this weekend and into next week.

Want to play in the snow? Besides the aforementioned locations the state of Washington State maintains some groomed ski/snowshoe trails with a plowed parking lot. These are fee-based:  check here for more information: Winter Recreation.

Want to take a hike without snow? Here are two snow-free options near Issaquah: Hike of the Week:  West Tiger or Hike of the Week:  Holder Ridge

Michael Fagin is an Operational Meterologist with West Coast Weather.

Stay tuned for local activities you don’t want to miss during Winter Break.

July Weather, Including the Fourth, in Seattle

Guest post by Meteorologist Michael Fagin of West Coast Weather 

credit goes to Cliff Mass

Many Seattleites are not happy with the drizzle, accompanied with temperatures in the mid 60’s, that we experienced this past weekend. The normal high temperature is 75 and the common question being asked is: When do we get summer temperatures and will it come before July 4 or after?

Beginning this coming Tuesday (July 3) and Wednesday (July 4) we will have temperatures warming up to close to normal. Will it be dry on July 4? Yes, we are expecting dry conditions for July 4. For evening viewing of the fireworks it should be partly cloudy and comfortable in the upper 50’s to low 60’s.

After July 4th, through the next weekend, temperatures will be in the upper 70’s and dry.  There are still many folks wanting 80’s and 90’s. Will that happen?

Extended forecasts from July 10 to July 16 are projecting above normal temperatures and dry conditions with some temperatures in the mid 80’s can be expected.

If you are looking for long-term summer trends this is always a good site to check out: NOAA

You can also check out Michael’s hike of the week.

 

 

 

Afternoon Tea

My daughter wanted to have a “girls” afternoon out and imbibe in tea and tiny finger sandwiches so I made reservations at The Secret Garden in Sumner, Washington. There, 75 different flavors of tea don the menu and the setting in a colonial style home couldn’t be more reminiscent of a slower time, less cell phone watching and excellent service.

AfternoonTea20170325_123213

The “tea” meal was divided into courses. First came the pots of tea, which needed to steep a few minutes more after arriving at your table. My choice, Ambrosia, blended exotic fruits and coconut. It was as good as the menu promised.

You select from the menu a grouping of different items, much like the family meals at a Chinese restaurant. Three of us wanted the same grouping, while the 8-year-old preferred the children’s menu item with a main course of peanut butter and jam sandwiches, with the crusts removed, of course.

Afternoon Tea20170325_123221copy

Then came a sweet, flakey scone served with Devonshire cream, lemon curd and raspberry jam. After we’d finished the scones, we were given a scoop of mango sorbet to cleanse the palette. Then the showcase, the three-tiered tray of savory, sweet and sandwich treats, arrived.

Everything was presented in a beautiful and delicate way. You could tell much love and care went into the preparation. From the cucumber sandwiches to the pinwheels and quiches, nothing was left untouched by our table plus we needed a to-go box.

AfternoonTea20170325_123413copyReservations are recommended at The Secret Garden. Go early and peruse the lovely gift shop.

Other places where afternoon tea is served in this state:

Queen Mary Tea Room in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle

Cederberg Tea House in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle

The Silver Spoon Tea House in Spokane

Brambleberry Cottage & Tea Shoppe in Spokane

Even more suggestions here.

 

What’s New and Cool in July, 2016

What One Seahawk Does On His Day Off

Tomorrow the Seattle Seahawk’s football team plays one of the most important games in its history against the Washington (DC) Redskins. It’s a wildcard NFL playoff game where the winner moves one step closer to being a contender for Super Bowl fame. Okay, I know almost nothing about football, but I love to root for a home team, especially when they are playing well. Everyone here gets excited – the 12th man flag is currently flying off the top of the space needle, people with tickets to tomorrows game in DC are looked upon as heroes and yesterday a parade of people lined up to give the team a big sendoff as they boarded their plane. You can feel the fever wherever you go.

What I’m most interested in is the story of what one of the players, rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, does on his day off. He doesn’t sleep in – he says there’s plenty of time for that in the off-season. Instead every Tuesday, Russell and his wife Ashton go to Children’s Hospital in Seattle to talk and play with the children there. Many of these kids are very seriously ill — waiting for a liver transplant or dealing with leukemia – and spend very long periods of time in the hospital. When they see the Wilson’s, their smiles are electric.

Ashton says that she wants their visits to build up the spirits of the children and their parents. From what she can tell, it looks like they do.

Sportscasters say Wilson has poise beyond his years (he’s 24) on the football field. I think he shows a great deal of maturity by helping others on his only day off.

Rookie Seahawk’s quarterback Russell Wilson

Two Restaurants You Should Try

There’s nothing I enjoy more than good food and this week I had two outstanding meals at two different restaurants.

 

Tuesday I had the chance to dine on some tasty crab dishes at Duke’s on the Tacoma waterfront. Seven Slanted High Balls and Seven Savory Sliders make their Happy Hour happy. The drinks are served in slanted, slightly off-kilter glasses. I’m not sure whether the glasses straighten out after you’ve had a few high balls or not, but I highly recommend the crab slider appetizer served during Happy Hour. It’s a little taste of heaven and goes well with Lulu’s Margarita. Happy hour runs 3 p.m.-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close everyday, weekends included.

 

Another palate pleaser has to be the Dungeness Crab “Un” Cakes served with lime aioli, organic field greens and a citrus vinaigrette. The powers that be at Duke’s searched the Northwest for the best crab cakes they could find and after two full days of eating nothing but crab cakes determined that the worst part was the “cake” so they left it out.  The “Un” Cake is an outstanding dish.

Today I wound up at a YMCA orientation in Seattle right next to the Lunchbox Laboratory, a restaurant I’ve wanted to try for months. So, even though we’d just eaten, I insisted we at least try one menu item and since I was the oldest in the group, the rest relented. And they were happy they did.

The Mexican Cokes on the beverage list turned out to be a big hit as was the Chips and Dip Classique appetizer of handmade potato chips dusted with a rosemary-romano sea salt and served with a chunky mixture of garlic, onion and bacon for dipping.

Since I don’t know when I might return to this area of Seattle, I opted to share a Native New Yorker Burger with my grandson. Burgers are the specialty at this restaurant.

Their beef patties come from American Kobe-style beef, which tastes so much better than ground beef from the grocery store. The New Yorker lived up to its name complete with Monterrey Jack cheese, thinly sliced onions and sides of ranch and buffalo ketchup. Handcrafted smoked salts are delivered to your table and you’re told they can be added to the sides, like the skinny fries. I put bacon salt on my burger and it added just the right touch of flavor enhancement.

 

For a treat you can dine outside around a fire pit, which you’ll most likely need to keep warm about eleven months out of the year.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Seattle or Tacoma?

Heather Larson writes about the Pacific Northwest from her office in Tacoma, Washington, hoping she can entice you to visit and/or share your own memories of the region.

King Tut Exhibit Opens in Seattle

Tomorrow, May 24, 2012, the Pacific Science Center welcomes visitors to view Tutankhamun: The Golden King and The Great Pharaohs’. Today, I had the privilege of seeing this phenomenon as a member of the press. I love my job. Go if you can. It won’t be shown again anywhere else after January 6, 2013 and the Science Center expects to sell out.

Seattle hosted a similar exhibit in 1978, but the current one contains twice as many artifacts. People who attended in 1978 recall waiting in long lines. This year that problem has been solved – you buy tickets for a certain day and timed entry. So far 90,000 of those tickets have been sold.

Possibly the first flip flops. Photo credit to Sandro Vannini, National Geographic.

King Tut became a king at 9 years of age and forensic analysis says he died at age 19, probably from an infection in a fractured leg. Even at this young age, he had everything he could possibly need in his tomb.

More than 100 remarkable objects discovered in King Tut’s tomb are on display. I found the complexity and intricacy of the jewelry fascinating. Small beads and miniature cornflowers make up a necklace called the Gold Collar. A Necklace and Pectoral of Mereret looked unlike anything I’ve ever seen, but could almost be described as a pendant that was also a very intricately-crafted picture. Twenty-five amulets were found around the neck of the mummy.

Much of what was found in King Tut’s tomb was created specifically for the afterlife. A gold Pair of Sandals adorned his feet while finger protectors were worn over his rings and toe protectors covered his toes – all to protect him in the afterlife. You’ll find a model of a boat in the exhibit because the Nile River was the main source of transportation in Ancient Egypt. Thirty-five ship models accompanied the boy King in the tomb so he could boat wherever he needed to go after death.

You can tour the exhibit with an audio accompaniment, which I highly recommend. Different music, composed for each of the galleries, transports you back in time and helps you experience 2,000 years of Egyptian history. These ancient treasures remain one of the world’s greatest legacies. The beauty, preservation and stories behind each item evokes all kinds of emotions. Reserve your ticket as soon as you can.

King Tut's finger and toe coverings

Pacific Science Center members receive a substantial discount. Non-member adults pay $27.50 for Mon.-Thur. or $32.50 for Fri.-Sun. Youth (6-15) are $16.50 for Mon.-Thurs. and $21.50 for Fri.-Sun and children (3-5) pay $15.50 during the week and $20.50 for Fri.-Sun. Admission gets you into the Pacific Science Center for the day and if you can take advantage of that as they know how to entertain there.

Snow White and a Milk Flight

As a child I always wanted to be a ballerina and dance on my toes. Instead my parents signed me up for accordion lessons. If I’d known how hard toe dancing was then, I probably wouldn’t have minded the accordion. The special pointe shoes help keep your toes together, but the dancers still have to have tremendous strength in their feet and legs.

Courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet

While watching the Pacific Northwest Ballet School’s production of “Snow White” in Seattle this past weekend, I marveled at how many of the dancers spent prolonged periods of time on their toes. What a feat.

All the footwork looked clean and crisp. The 70+ students performing showed extreme flexibility and graceful movements at every turn. This was the opening performance of “Snow White” yet everyone seemed well-rehearsed.

I went to see this ballet with my daughter and three-year-old granddaughter, Kita. I thought Kita might fidget or even have a full-blown melt down having to sit still for awhile, but she never once took her eyes off the dancers. Upon arrival we were given a booster cushion for her to sit on so she could easily see the stage. Of course, there was a lot of movement on stage, brightly colored costumes and a King who narrated the action.

As you probably remember, in the story the Evil Queen, Snow White’s stepmother, wants to be “the fairest of all.” Every time she asks her mirror who is the fairest, it replies, “Snow White.” In order to get rid of her competition, the Queen tries to harm Snow White in a number of ways. Finally, disguised as a beggar woman, the Queen tempts the fair young maiden with a poison apple. Snow White can’t resist, takes a bite and falls into a deep slumber. It’s not long before a handsome young Prince happens by (after all it’s a fairy tale), falls in love and wakes Snow White.

When the Evil Queen discovers her nemesis is still alive, she tries to put a curse on the mirror and becomes caught in her own image for all eternity.

The entire ballet lasts an hour, which is just perfect for young children. At the end, the dancers were met with some well-deserved, thunderous applause.

There are only two performances left:  Noon and 3:30 p.m. on March 25 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. For tickets, visit www.pnb.org or call (206) 441-2424.

Kita trying to decide which flavor of milk to try next at the Purple Cafe.

We stopped for lunch at the Purple Café and Wine Bar in downtown Seattle prior to the ballet. There Kita was served a milk flight – glasses of white, chocolate, strawberry and caramel milk, which kept her entertained until her food arrived. All in all it was a totally kid-friendly outing.

Art at the Airport

Seatac Airport literally bursts with art of every kind and dimension – so much that the Port of Seattle (the airport’s overseer) offers a map of where the artwork is.

Glass, sculpture, photography and sound installations by both renowned and emergency artists are represented.

In the Central Terminal you’ll find Pacific Marketplace, a city streetscape with boutique shops, restaurants, a view of the airfield and public art. Designed by Fantress Bradburn Architects, this space encompasses 60,000 square feet and has 60-foot high ceilings. During daylight hours it’s flooded with sparkle and lights.

On the concourses you’ll encounter portraits of jazz musicians who have roots in Washington, talking water fountains (they gurgle loudly), mosaics, stained glass windows and more.

Art is displayed in the satellite train station, on the third runway embankment wall and wing ferns hover over the 188th Street Tunnel. Rotating exhibits grace the glass showcases.

Art installation of lost luggage over one of the baggage carousels at Seatac Airport

But until last night I had no idea that they’d created overhead art with lost luggage.