The first place my husband and I ever called “home” in our marriage was a little town outside of Tacoma, Washington. Graham received his PCS (Permanent Change of Station) orders to Ft. Lewis and we moved to the Pacific Northwest not knowing a single soul. Boy, were we in for a treat. Western Washington is as charming as it is eclectic, as breathtakingly gorgeous as it is topographically complex. And it doesn’t rain nearly as much as people “back east” assume, but Washingtonians like to keep that to themselves lest the whole country move west. Today, I am delighted to introduce my friend and former colleague, Beth Roberts, to the blog for a tour around her hometown of Redmond, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. Beth lived in Charlottesville when I met her in 2014 but told me a few years later when she announced her resignation from her position in my office, “It’s time for me to go home.” I can see why, Beth. Thank you for sharing Seattle with us!
If you visit Seattle, you’ll want to go to all the tourist attractions like the Space Needle and Pike’s Market, but I’d like to introduce you to my Seattle. I live in Redmond, Washington, about thirty miles east of the city on the other side of Lake Washington. The Eastside is made up of several cities including Woodinville, Redmond, Kirkland, and Bellevue, and it is where I call home.
Summers in Seattle are my favorite. With very little humidity and mild temperatures, going to the beach means something a little different here. Lake Washington is the second largest natural lake in the state of Washington and runs adjacent to Seattle. The Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, is also not far away. When my son Pryce and I head to the water, it’s common to throw on shorts but always grab a sweatshirt. (Dressing in layers is a MUST!) There are multiple beaches to choose from all along the shores of Lake Washington. One of our favorites is Houghton Beach Park in Kirkland.
As the sun sets with the Seattle skyline and the Olympic Mountains in the distance, I’m reminded why I love it here.
Smack in the middle of the hustle of over-caffeinated Seattleites is Bellevue Downtown Park made up of 21 acres of vibrant green bordered by enormous shade trees. There’s a half-mile loop for walkers, a playground, and wide open spaces for picnics.
I have this thing about flowers and can spend hours, lost in my own world, walking up and down the rows at Molbaks, a locally owned garden center in Woodinville. Admittedly, I usually fill my cart to overflowing with flowers and succulents, come to my senses, and put everything back.
Year round, no matter the rain, Pacific Northwesterners love the outdoors. Almost every Subaru (a favorite Seattle car) has a bike rack attached. Miles of bike paths make it possible to ride from the Eastside, around Lake Washington, and down through Seattle. Many environmentally conscious commuters ditch their cars and ride their bikes to work as well.
Seattle is also a hiker’s haven. Surrounded on all sides by mountains, hikers of all ages hit the trails throughout the year. We’re not just the home of Starbucks and Microsoft; REI also got its start here. Just to get this photo, Pryce and I hiked up Rattlesnake Ridge. What an amazing view.
When we’re tired from hiking and biking, Northwesterners take our furry friends to the Marymoor Dog Park. This off-leash park is situated along the Sammamish River and is made up of over six miles of maintained trails. There are five river access points for canine water lovers, and acres of fields for dogs to run free. Marymoor boasts over 800,000 dog visits a year. The husky pictured is not my dog but looked more photogenic than my wet, muddy Wicket, fresh off a dip in the river!
I wouldn’t let you leave Seattle without taking you to Burger Master in Kirkland. There’s something about a drive-in restaurant that’s nostalgic and just plain fun, and they seriously have the best shakes.
Likewise, I wouldn’t consider a visit complete without a trip to Top Pot Doughnuts. This iconic pastry store got its start in 2002 when it opened in a tiny building on north Capitol Hill in Seattle. In the fifteen years since then, it’s gained national recognition. Little known fact: the doughnuts carried in Starbucks are actually Top Pot donuts. Starbucks chains only carries two flavors, but there are so many more! Try the Maple Old Fashioned, the Pink Feather Boa, or the Spiced Chai.
My very favorite place in the Seattle area is wherever these women are. Thirteen years ago, we each had a kindergartner at Sunrise Elementary in Redmond. Our four boys became best friends and nicknamed themselves The Fource. We, by default, became The Fource Moms.
Since then, these women have stuck by my side through six moves, a divorce, the near death of my daughter, and plenty of laughter and tears. They’ve opened their homes to my son since he was five; they’ve fed him and loved him. In May, The Fource Moms stood crying together as our boys graduated high school.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a peek at my Seattle, my favorite place for so many reasons.