On Labor Day weekend when our younger son and his sweet friend visited, to coordinate their arrival with that of the dad later in the evening, a plan for a Seattle afternoon developed. Visits from sons are always a treat and usually unscripted, but this time with a newcomer along, we could revisit our favorite Seattle spots.
Those first moments of a visit are delicious – full of straight-off-the-airplane chatter (on my part – I was so very glad to see them). We met at the ferry dock, and the travelers figured out how to leave their bags at a nearby hotel. My plan (a first stop at the Crumpet Shop at the Pike Place Market) was vetoed in favor of lunch outdoors in Post Alley.
We wandered through the market – watched the flying fish startle tourists, admired stalls full of autumn flowers in vivid reds and orange, and bought little rectangular cookies with chocolate bits from the French bakery. In the midday heat we zigzagged uphill, walking the shady side to break up the incline. We viewed exhibits about Alaska and Washington connections in the chill of the Frye Museum.
After a nap on the grass in a Capitol Hill park (unscheduled), we went to the new Elliott Bay bookstore for coffee and a book browse. The store still smells the same (of printed-paper and wood shelves and floors) as when it was in Pioneer Square. It was always a family stop on any trip to Seattle. To get there now requires planning – but it’s worth it.
In perfect evening temperatures people crowded outdoor tables by cafes, lively with beginning-of-a-holiday weekend cheer. We walked down the hill to dinner at an Italian restaurant, lingered with good food, and then had to hustle to our 10:55 p.m. meet-the-dad-ferry.
We got home late and slept in Saturday morning – did the beach walk, strolled through the Farmer’s Market, and visited the new Maritime Center. We even spent 40 minutes in the museum in City Hall. Old friends came to dinner, and we ate by the fire.
The next day we retraced the Upper Dungeness trail, wind bitter in the parking lot, but a lucky patch of sun at Camp Handy warmed lunch in the meadow. Split-second timing permitted both dinner at the Silverwater and a movie that evening.
On Monday morning – departure day already – we walked the beach again, then ate breakfast while rain splattered on the skylights. To us it seemed a good day to depart for sunny Los Angeles.
But the young people said at breakfast, “Wouldn’t it be great to just light a fire and read a book all day?” They are talking about unplanned time. Was there ever a visit with so much time that I seem to remember? Long school holidays maybe – summer walking in Spain. I always want more, but this was great.