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Jolene goes to Seattle

STAY: Greenlake Airbnb (Use my referral link if you book!)

Although my instinct is to meticulously plan trips far in advance, occasionally I make minimal arrangements, purchase flights on a whim, and see what happens. This was the case with my most recent weekend in Seattle, WA. I've been to Seattle about 7 times in the past 3 years, so it's safe to say that it's one of my favorite cities. That being said, I crossed the Space Needle off on my first visit, and on subsequent trips I made a point to try the other touristy things associated with Seattle.

On this particular trip, semi-last minute and a necessary break from life, I had no intention of being a busy tourist. My goal was to have a leisurely-paced weekend seeing some beautiful sights, spending time with friends I don't see often, and drinking great coffee. The good news is, I did all of those things.

I arrived Thursday night via Alaska Airlines. Recently, I decided to take the plunge and grab their Signature Visa card to get my hands on those 30,000 bonus miles and have the opportunity for a free companion fare. Alaska has easily turned into one of my favorite airlines, and this flight was a great start to the weekend - great pilot who avoided bumps and kept us informed, and great cabin service. Definitely recommend!

Greeted with 39 degrees and fresh air, I was already feeling peaceful. I was picked up from the airport and whisked away to Bellevue. Even though we spent all night indulging in girl talk and catching up, I had a slightly early morning the next day.

Friday, 12/15/17

I took an Uber (Use my code joleneu20ue for a free ride!) to Pier 52 and met up with my friend, Chanzelle. The ferry is relatively easy to figure out and take - our trip was only $8.35 round trip. We embarked on a lowkey day trip to Bainbridge Island, a wonderful little community off the coast of Downtown Seattle. After a breathtaking ferry ride, we had arrived on the island and were ready to explore.

Instead of heading right to downtown for shopping and a quick bite, we opted to take the local bus (BI Ride) to Bloedel Reserve. Since we did not have a car and Uber is a bit rare on the island, we tried the bus system and had no issues. For $2/ride you can go one of 3 places: the ferry terminal, downtown, and Bloedel Reserve. You can also call ahead to be picked up/dropped off as well. Since it was cold and not tourist season, we had a whole bus to ourselves. The drivers and locals were extremely friendly, warm, and genuinely talkative. It was a nice change from the hustle and bustle of Seattle.

Once we were in the Reserve, we were floored by the Pacific Northwestern beauty it held. Towering trees, gray skies, and cool, crisp air provided the perfect winter backdrop for a relaxing day.

If you follow the Reserve's loop, you will come across the manor house. During the holidays, rooms in the house are decorated with miniatures, a train, and there is complimentary hot cider and cookies. One of the volunteers ended up giving us a mini history lesson and kind of a private tour. We learned quite a bit about the Reserve and the man behind it.

It was well beyond lunch time, so we headed to Fork & Spoon, a restaurant owned by the same people who own Blackbird Bakery. Chanzelle had an amazing salad and I had the "Gobbler," an off-menu turkey sandwich complete with cranberry sauce and housemade potato chips. I was impressed by the girl at the cashier, who knew that they were fried in sunflower oil as opposed to the commonly used peanut oil. This kind of information is helpful for people with allergies, like me!

We moved onto Mora Ice Cream, which I'd read about on several blogs. I was wholeheartedly impressed by their plethora of flavors, spacious interior and clean, no-frills aesthetic. The girl helping us was friendly and let us try a few flavors. I pretty quickly settled on the Sabayon (Marsala wine flavored) frozen custard and cardamom. They were heavenly together, and I enjoyed the difference in textures as well.

One of my shopping highlights was definitely Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. This nostalgically traditional yet chic shop is everything your crafty, hipster heart desires: British imports, cheeky mugs, a broad selection of yarns and buttons, teas, and high end munchies. I'd read about this shop on several blogs, so my expectations were high. I am not a knitter myself, so I was skeptical that I would find anything relevant to me. But alas, I was wrong! If you venture straight to the back, you will find so many wonderful teas and trinkets - needless to say, I left with a bagful, and would not hesitate to go back again.

An honorable mention goes to Sound City Records, a little hole-in-the-wall record shop with an eclectic selection of vinyl records. After wandering down a fairy-lit walkway, we stumbled in and I walked out with a Breakfast at Tiffany's soundtrack for only $5. If you're in the area and like to collect records, I recommend stopping by.

We did a little more shopping, took photos with the festive lighting, and headed back onto the ferry where we were met with Seattle's beautifully lit skyline.

Saturday, 12/16/17

Another late-ish night and another early morning. This time, I was with my friend Jennifer and we were prepared for a caffeine-charged morning with Seattle by Foot's Coffee Crawl. Yes, you read correct. A coffee crawl. Almost a year ago, I thought to myself, "People go on bar crawls, so I wonder if a coffee city like Seattle has a coffee tour kind of thing..." and I found one! I've had a wonderful experience both times. I find the price to be very reasonable, the tour educational, and overall a unique experience. Massive shoutout to our guide, Val. She has been my guide both times, and she worked very well with the group's dynamic. By the later stops, I felt like we were all friends gathered at a coffee shop discussing roasts. From light roast to latte art to cacao-infused cold brew, this tour will give you your coffee fix.

Honestly, the rest of our trip was nice and calm. We didn't spend a terrible amount of time running around the city, although we did spend my last hours in Seattle hanging around Fremont, eating more ice cream and drinking coffee. Honorable mention goes to Milstead & Co., Portage Bay Goods, Bluebird Ice Cream (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE try their chocolate pudding flavor!!!) and ETG Coffee (all in Fremont). It was the perfect ending to a whirlwind trip.

Have you been to Seattle?

Until next time,

Happy wandering!


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