Tag Archives: travel tips

Seattle Simplified – Our Best Travel Tips

This week finds us once again in the lovely city of Seattle, Washington. He’s “Encoring” and I’m “Voyaging!”  Seattle has become one of our favorite cities in the Pacific Northwest, and we’ve figured out some hassle-free ways to visit, which I’d like to share.

First off, don’t rent a car! When you arrive at Sea-Tac International Airport, follow the signs to the Link Light Rail, which for $3.00/pp will take you right into downtown Seattle. Safe, clean, easy.  And no paying ridiculous parking fees for overnight parking.

Get off at the Westlake Center stop.  Follow the exit signs to 4th and Pine.  This exit will bring you out approximately 1/2 block from The Mayflower Park Hotel.

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This historic 1927 hotel in the heart of downtown has been completely renovated, and will give you a sense of old-world style at a reasonable price.  You can read the hotel’s history in Seattle’s Mayflower Park Hotel: Images of America.

Have a cocktail in Oliver’s Lounge at the Mayflower. This beautiful lounge serves classic craft cocktails – Don’t even ask for something blended, but enjoy the beautiful setting and the huge windows to downtown.

Lynn's olivers bar

You are in the heart of most things wonderful in Seattle.

From the hotel, you are just a couple blocks from Pike Street Market.  It is a must see for the first time visitor.  It’s not every day that you get to see young men throwing fresh fish!

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Or listen to fabulous street musicians.

About halfway down the market, just before Mick’s Peppouri (which sells yummy pepper jellies) is sky bridge which will lead you to an elevator, taking you down to the parking area off of the water front.  See how I did that?  We are not climbing hills or stairs if possible!  Once you are down at the waterfront, you can spend the entire day enjoying Seattle’s Great Wheel, Wings over Washington (lots of fun – I’d do it twice), cute little shops on the piers, and so, so much great seafood!

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If you are a coffee lover, there are Starbucks on every other corner, including the original Starbucks, about halfway down the market on Pike Place.

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While you are in the area, I highly recommend Bacco Cafe at the corner of 1st St. and Stewart.  This cute little cafe features a delightful juice bar menu and yummy Pacific northwest fare.  A perfect spot for breakfast or lunch, and one of our faves.

One block north of the Mayflower Park, on the second floor of Nordstrom, you will find the Monorail to Seattle Center.  There’s a lot to see on the grounds, including one of the most recognized structures in the U.S., the Space Needle,

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Chihuly Garden and Glass,

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and even the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) which is dedicated to the history and exploration of popular music, science fiction, and pop culture.

Walk down the Broad Street from the Space Needle and you arrive at the Olympic Sculpture Park.  This outdoor sculpture garden is serene and lovely for a stroll on the waterfront.

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When you are tired of shopping, and you’ve completely devoured the breathtaking waterfront, you can explore the area surrounding Lake Union just as easily.  From the Mayflower Park, walk about a block up Stewart Street and take the South Lake Union Streetcar out to Lake Union.  There, you can have lunch at Duke’s Seafood and Chowder, look at the marina, and watch the sailboats on the lake.

If you’re an art lover, the Seattle Art Museum is just 6 or 7 blocks from the hotel.

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I’ve given you enough ideas for Seattle exploration to keep you busy for several days!  There are endless eateries featuring fresh seafood.  And here’s the best tip I’ve learned yet.  Don’t be daunted by the steep hills when walking from the waterfront to almost everywhere.  Just know and remember this…Pike Street (at the entrance to the market) is relatively flat , heading west to east.  So no matter where you are, head toward Pike Street and walk east (no huffing and puffing,) then travel a couple blocks to the north to get back to the hotel.  You’re welcome.

Hope I’ve inspired you to check out this wonderful city.  Can’t wait to hear what you think!

Lynn

Just Book It! Seven Steps Toward Adventure

You ever look around and notice that it seems as if everyone else is doing more exciting things than you are? I have friends who have been on 4 or 5 cruises. Another couple has been to Italy, and yet another friend of mine just spent several weeks in Asia! My Facebook News Feed is loaded with my friends’ check-ins from places far and wide. Seems like this one is headed for Disney World with the kids, and that one is on a bicycle, riding through the Redwoods of California. I find myself thinking, “How are they doing that??

I don’t like to believe that this is just the green-eyed monster rearing her ugly head (and I really do have green eyes, just sayin’). I’m genuinely happy for all my friends’ adventures. But I sometimes find myself thinking, “How do they find the money?”, “How do they get away from work?”, “How are they able to do that with xxx going on?”

Jeremy and I have always had Our List, but until recently, we haven’t made a whole lot of progress in crossing the items off. I think that’s because, up until now, we have always seemed to approach the list with an attitude of “someday, we’ll…”

Well, DUH!!! It’s taken us almost four decades, but I think we’ve finally figured it out. In our effort to live with more intention, we have finally learned that meaningful living does not just happen by accident. If we wait for “someday”, it will never come. We have learned that if we want a rich, fulfilling lifestyle, then we need to

Just Book It!

Here are some of the things we’ve learned on the Voyage:

1)  Negotiate the next big thing – Pour yourself a couple glasses of wine and have the discussion about what you want to do next.  Sometimes it’s his “thing”, sometimes it’s mine. Every time will involve compromises.  We figure out ways to make certain that each of us will enjoy the journey.  (For example, while we went to Chicago to explore its architecture, yours truly had a blast doing so on a Segway.  I loved swimming with the stingrays – him, not so much!)

2)  Mix it up – Not every pursuit needs to be a two-week vacation.  We have started looking for little things that will enrich our day to day lives.  In the past month, we have been to our local museum and to our local science center.  We have a couple of picnics planned where we will put the dog and some munchies in the pickup, and head into our state’s beautiful mountains to explore roads we have not yet traveled. Big adventure or small day trip – both deserve to be planned.

3)  Put it on your calendar – Ever notice how you never miss a dentist appointment or a haircut because it’s scheduled on your calendar or planner?  We’ve learned that our adventures deserve the same amount of respect and planning.  Next Saturday, we will head downtown to explore our local farmers’ market.  It’s on the calendar – If it were not, I’m pretty sure laundry could get in the way.

4)  Figure out how to budget – For some adventures, a little financial planning is in order. The point is to not adopt the notion of, “I’ll go when I can afford it.”  If you do that, you’ll never, ever go.  There will always be some other use for your money.  That being said, you also don’t want travel to leave you in the poor house.  You need to figure out some way to finance the adventure you have planned.  Maybe it’s a dedicated travel fund to which you contribute regularly.  Maybe it’s planning the trip enough in advance that you can save for it before you leave.  For us, we booked the cruise and airline tickets enough in advance that they were paid for before we left, and had saved up for other expenses prior to our departure.

5)  Do some research – The interwebs are our friends. Google your destination to find experiences that will add depth to the adventure.  Remember how I mentioned above, SEGWAYS!!!  Soooo much fun and something that would never have occurred to me had I not found them on-line.  Which cruise to take was based on my research about the islands I wanted to visit.

6)  Leave some time in the plan – This one is still quite difficult for me, as I like to go, go, go, go, go.  What I have learned is that if you kill off your husband with the adventure, he is less likely to want to travel with you…(remember that compromise thing, well this is it.)  And it’s not such a terrible idea.  We found that leaving unplanned time allows for serendipitous discoveries, reading, writing, reflecting, or even just a plain old nap!  Fight the urge to try to see everything and do everything.  Be intentional about how you spend your vagabond moments.

7) Just book it – At the end of the day, the really important step is to commit to the journey. Put it on the calendar.  Purchase the airline ticket.  Book the hotel room.  Whatever.  If the adventure is somehow “booked”, with commitment and a plan, we will figure out how to work around it.  We’ll take those vacation days.  We’ll arrange other appointments around our plans.  We’ll make it happen!

So starting right now, we’re busy deciding what NEXT adventure will be. Perhaps even the next couple of adventures! How about you? Are you planning your next wander? Then just pull the trigger and book it!

                  Lynn