A Travellerspoint blog

Some Like it Hot

Adventures in Warren Magnuson Park


Seattle’s been under a bit of a heat wave. As we Seattleites are accustomed to gray skies and drizzly weather many locals are taking refuge in air conditioned movie theaters and malls. I however embrace this weeks 95 degree weather with open arms, or in today’s exception 101 degree weather! We rarely have weather like what we are experiencing right now, so why not get out there and enjoy all the beauty of the Pacific Northwest?


This past weekend I enjoyed the sunny skies and hot breezes at Warren Magnuson Park. Dan and I were in the mood for a picnic, but we also wanted to lounge on the beach. As we have frequented many of the same parks over the last few weeks, we were in the mood for something new. We pulled up Google Maps (honestly – the greatest feature on the Internet!) and looked for a nice big green area and the next thing you know we were cruising to Seattle’s second largest park. I couldn’t tell you how many times Google Maps has proven to be a usual travel guide.


Warren Magnuson Park, a former Navy facility, takes up a one mile stretch of Lake Washington shoreline. This unique combination of former military grounds meets family picnics in the park provides a fabulous backdrop for photos.



We enjoyed our picnic in the park and watched the kids play amongst the waves. One of the highlights was watching an adorable little girl clomp around in a pair of high heel shoes.


After our picnic dinner we walked the trails which lined the beach front. Although the park is not the most impressively maintained park in Seattle, it still has a rustic charm. A unique feature was the sculpture garden titled “The Fin Project” containing what else but dozens of airplane tail fins.


We also stopped and watched a photo shoot for a local musician. I couldn't help but get in on the picture taking. The lighting was so pretty and the backdrop perfect.


Following our walk along the waterfront we stopped and lounged in the grass to watch families fly kites from one of the giant hills overlooking Lake Washington.


The heat was intense, and we were parched. The movie theater started to sound pretty refreshing…and that new movie, a little film you may have heard of, called something like Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was playing. We figured it was getting dark and we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the sun for much longer, so screw it…we went to the movies. Sometimes you just can’t beat the heat.


Posted by Jennylynn 11:05 Archived in USA Tagged photography Comments (0)

Meet me in Madison Park

sunny 80 °F

Madison Park is a classy, somewhat ritzy area of Seattle where the select few who can afford to do so live within a guarded, gated community. Oddly enough, Madison Park is bordered by the contrasting communities of Capital Hill and University District, which in my opinion are as different from Madison Park as possible.

I have worked several jobs in the Madison Park area and have walked the manicured sidewalks and admired the fancy houses on many occasions. On this trip to Madison Park I was determined to find the quaint side to Madison Park, the side that makes it accessible to all people from all walks of life.



As I wandered around I discovered many unique antique shops, restaurants, and boutiques. Some shops were more inviting that others -- I happened to pass this storefront which I found oddly humorous.


Apparently an afternoon of coffee drinking and lingerie purchasing is all the rage with Madison Park moms.

I veered off the main drag and strolled the residential streets where I found myself within a neighborhood containing a mix of young parents pushing strollers, middle-aged dog walkers, and kids on scooters. This was the Madison Park I was searching for. The area where parents watch their own kids, animal owners walk their own dogs, and kids play freely in their yards.



I then met up with my friend Laura at Café Flora, one of the Pacific Northwest’s most revered vegetarian restaurants and a Madison Park staple. The food was fresh, original, and the service impeccable.



We decided to walk off our dinner with a stroll through the Washington Arboretum – who knew vegetarian food could be so filling? We made our way around the grounds as the sun set and the hot afternoon air cooled down.

Although Madison Park seems slightly stuffy as you pass the stately gated community with towering trees and brick walls, there is still a side to this exclusive community which I found accessible, interesting, and unique. Driving past the million dollar mini mansions, I went back to my closet sized apartment with the tattered furnishings and severely lacking wardrobe – ah the bliss of the penniless. I may not own anything flashy, but I am much more content to spend my hard earned money on trips and experiences rather than material possessions. True happiness does not come in shopping bag or fancy house, but is experienced when living life to the fullest.


Posted by Jennylynn 10:04 Archived in USA Tagged luxury_travel Comments (1)

Birthdays on Bainbridge Island

sunny 75 °F

My husband Dan and I were born at the same hospital within 15 hours of each other. Technically I am younger with my birthday falling on July 21st. Dan likes to think being born first on July 20th makes him the older and wiser one. I beg to differ, but I've had to let that one go. Every year on our birthdays we end up having a mutual celebration of sorts. This also entails joint presents and shared birthday dinners. We stopped giving each other gifts because it already feels like Christmas in July. Instead we indulge in experiences together. Last year we were trekking through Europe and stopped in Interlaken, Switzerland for our birthdays, the year before it was a jaunt to San Juan Island in the Puget Sound, and one year we celebrated in style at the Whistler Crankworks Festival in British Columbia, Canada. This year we celebrated our 25 years of age with a trip to Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle.


The Washington State ferry system has had its share of bad press, and I will not further berate their image here. In fact, with the weather being perfectly sunny and warm, sitting on the open deck I almost felt like I was sailing on a private chartered yacht somewhere amongst tropical islands in a turquoise blue sea...well, almost. The hoards of commuters and rowdy tourists quickly snapped me back to reality. But to be perfectly honest, the ride was quite nice and the scenery was beautiful.



Bainbridge itself was almost entirely shut down when we arrived in the evening. Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise as we really didn't have a lot of time to spend browsing in shops and lingering over books in cafes. The emptiness of the streets added to the quaintness of the town and not a soul could be seen for blocks. As we passed the darkened window fronts we came across a restaurant which literally was glowing with soft candle lit tables and strings of white lights on the patio. We were transfixed and quickly made our way to find a table.

Four Swallows serves an excellent fare of Italian meets Pacific Northwest cuisine in a converted farmhouse. The daily innovative menu is served in small rooms where the waiters provide warm and cheerful service. It was rustic, charming, and the food was amazing. The highlight was the ricotta gnocchi appetizer, which could have been a meal in itself. But of course, being our birthdays, we did not stop there. We sampled the rosemary toasted almonds, focaccia bread, and ended it all will pasta pomodoro and pizza margherita. Ok, so we are not always the most adventurous eaters, but being vegetarian sometimes has its limitations. Having already raked up a bill we were not ready to afford, we skipped dessert at the restaurant and instead headed to Mora Iced Creamery a small, old fashioned ice cream parlor in the heart of downtown. While the customer service was far from inviting, the flavors were rich, authentic, and deliciously perfected.

The ricotta gnocchi...yum...

The ferry ride back to Seattle was picturesque as we took in sweeping views of the Seattle skyline lit up at night. Gazing out, I felt very content and thankful for the abundance of diversity in Seattle. I have barely scratched the surface of this moderately sized city and there is still so much to see and do. It makes me realize that when we say we have traveled to "such and such place" we really, truly have not experienced the destination unless we've lived there, worked amongst the people, and walked the life of a local. This is why I am such a strong believer that we can all be travelers in our communities. Although we may not have the money or means to circumnavigate the globe, we can uncover the layers within our neighborhood and discover hidden and exciting adventures around every corner. Get out there and make it happen!

Happy Birthday Dan!

Posted by Jennylynn 09:46 Archived in USA Tagged food Comments (0)

Sleeping on Rocks

sunny 80 °F

We arrived determined to conquer. Our minds were made up, we were unstoppable, and we would not fail. The Denny Creek hike has plagued my husband and I since last winter when we made multiple attempts to complete the trail but were thwarted by snow packed trails and washed out bridges. This time around things would be different. The snow had melted, the bridges were repaired, and the weather was perfectly in sync for a beautiful nine mile hike.


We started out bright and early. We woke at six and arrived at the Denny Creek trail head at Snoqualmie Pass by eight. Having just spent the week bustling around Seattle with my sister, I was utterly exhausted but still determined. For the first half of the hike we briskly walked on fairly level, well maintained trails. By the second half we were scrambling over rocks, climbing dozens of switchbacks into the hillside. Our reward at the top was well worth every tiresome step as we approached the most glorious, crystal clear lake pushed up against towering mountains. It was perfect. So perfect that after eating my lunch I lounged back on a large smooth rock and proceeded to fall asleep. Suddenly I was dreaming and Dan was shaking me telling me we better get back home. Who falls asleep on rocks? Apparently I do.



And for the grand finale...


My husband and I have conquered many amazing and beautifully scenic hikes together. We have hiked through the Swiss Alps and climbed to the top of the tallest waterfall in North America, Yosemite Falls. We have traversed many of the National Parks, hiking the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and the Rocky Mountains. On his own, Dan has gained many more vertical feet than I have, climbing many mountains throughout Southern British Columbia. His next goal is to summit Mt. Rainier and when he does so, I will gladly cheer him on from sea level. I love hiking and spending time outdoors, but at the same time I love knowing that I can return home at the end of the day to a warm bed. Or perhaps, as today’s hike proved, any old rock will do!

Posted by Jennylynn 19:28 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Russian Feasts and Viking Fleets

sunny 75 °F

No journey to Seattle is complete without a visit to Pike Place Market. Between the bustling crowds, packed stalls, and aromas of fresh food and flowers get ready for sensory overload. One would be hard pressed to tire of perusing the endless bounty of fragrant produce, admiring the unique artistic creations, and listening to the sounds of the various street performers.


I brought my sister to Pike Place this past week and we spent the afternoon exploring the shops and admiring all the delicious food. Thanks to my fabulous job situated directly above Pike Place Market, I often frequent the various eateries. With my sister in tow, I brought her to the one place remaining which I have been dying to try.

Piroshky Piroshky is a Russian Bakery the size of a walk in closet, yet the smells emanating from the ovens rival the grandest of bakeries. Customers patiently wait in a line trailing down the sidewalk ultimately making the greatest decision of their lives: savory or sweet. With a hefty sized menu of every imaginable flavor combo, we couldn’t decide on just one flavor palate and settled for the cheese, onion, and potato as our savory and the apple cinnamon as our sweet. We carried our little paper wrapped delicacies to a small park situated at the end of the market and used every ounce of strength we had to savor the deliciousness. Piroshky Piroshky opened almost 20 years ago and locals and tourists alike have embraced this pint-sized bakery with open arms. Content, full, and still licking the delicious cinnamon gooeyness from our lips, we headed where else but to the Viking Days festival in Ballard.


I absolutely adore Ballard and I couldn’t wait to share the wonders of this eclectic community with my sister. As we began wandering the streets we noticed several posters advertising for the Viking Days festival. Well, we just couldn’t turn down the opportunity to prance around in horned Viking helmets, so away we went.


The festival was held at the Nordic Heritage Museum, an expertly done museum containing beautiful displays and historical pieces outlining the journey of Scandinavian Vikings to the United States. The actual festival took place outside and turned out to be somewhat of a let down. The organization and flow to the museum was definitely not mirrored in the outdoor festivities. To their credit though, they definitely knew what they were doing with the beer garden and mock Viking fights.


As we made our way home, my sister and I reminisced on her adventurous week in Seattle. Although she joined me at work on several days, we still managed to squeeze a lot of fun into a short amount of time. In addition to the Viking Days we played in the Seattle Center fountains on a cold, rainy day, ducked for foul balls at the Mariners game, shopped for dresses in quirky boutiques downtown, made lots of amazing home cooked meals, and most of all spent time together.

I often get asked, “How do you manage to do so much?” or “How are you able to travel as much as you do?” I think the answer is a lot simpler than people think: great journeys are all about mindset. My husband and I both work regular jobs and full-time hours. We take vacation time off just like anyone else, but we make travel happen. Whether its stopping at a new park or café on the way home from work, or taking a drive to a new town on my day off, I make travel happen for me and it works!

Posted by Jennylynn 18:09 Archived in USA Tagged events Comments (0)

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