Adventures in America 5: Cross-Country Travels Off the Beaten Path

L. R. Laverde-Hansen By L. R. Laverde-Hansen, 30th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>North America>United States>Washington

Here is an account of the end of my cross-country trip in the Queen of the Northwest: the City of Seattle, Washington.

STAGE THREE: (Part Two, Scene One) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, Checking into the Moore Hotel

I finally made it to the other side of the Continent. Well, let's start with the Moore Hotel. it's basically Seattle's answer to New York's Chelsea Hotel. This means, it's a great old bohemian-style building with history and artistic cred (credibility). The front-desk still gives out metal keys (and towels, if you request a European-style 'shared' bathroom). Internet access is available in the lobby.

It doesn't have the luxurious trim of a four or five-star inn, but it's in fine shape with over a century of existence. My two-night stay was clean and safe. An excellent attraction for budget travelers and backpackers, the Moore Hotel gives that wrinkle of off-the-beaten authenticity. If you are planning on staying there, ask about the Moore Theatre. This historic venue is in the same building and has hosted some of the great acts of rock and pop music: why not see a late-night concert and crash upstairs?

STAGE THREE: (Part Two, Scene Two) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, Space Needle

After I checked in, I wanted to see the Seattle Space Needle. I started walking that way, but found a comely lass pedaling a pedicab. I wound up getting a neat ride from a vantage point I was not expecting, plus she gave a good conversation (certainly more pleasant than a surly cab driver). Additionally, I did my bit for the environment by not using a car. The ride cost $10 (ten) plus tip.

The Space Needle is one of those landmarks that identifies a city, and this is one of those that is attractive both day and night. In addition to the Needle, there is a park and complex that includes the Pacific Science Center. It is beautiful to walk around at night. I enjoy simply checking out the scene. I lit up my cigar and savored the moment. The area felt very safe, and I saw groups of all ages there.

Eventually I hiked back to the area around the hotel. It was very hip and up and coming with new construction going up here and there. Right across from the Moore on Virginia Street is the Whisky Bar. I sampled some of the bars in this area, but they didn't do it for me. At the Whisky, however, I enjoyed a basic accouterments of civilization: a shot of some twelve-year old Macallan. The rich elixir both burned and stimulated my throat. It tasted like black satin heaven. I stood there sipping for a whole half hour. Then I finished it with a glass of Stella. And all of this came at the reasonable rate of ten dollars (not including tip).

STAGE THREE: (Part Two, Scene Three) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, Elliott Bay

The next day I headed out to see the sea or at least Elliott Bay, which is a finger of Puget Sound that connects to the Pacific. On the way there is the spectacular Pike Place Market, which runs parallel to the waterfront. You can buy all kind of fish and produce, but I love the odd curiosities and memorabilia shops. I got to crush my pennies into souvenirs to take home. You can see where Starbucks began, though there were all types of coffee shops, as well as elegant waterfront restaurants.

This was a very "touristy" neighborhood, but I liked how well kept it was. There was definitely an effort to keep the old feel of the industrial past, but with an upgraded enjoyment for visitors as well as locals. The views of both historic buildings and of the bay were worth the experience. Although, people here were more curt and businesslike than those in Minneapolis (they reminded me of New Yorkers), they were still polite and helpful.

STAGE THREE: (Part Two, Scene Four) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, Central Library

Eventually I checked out the downtown business area, which is away from the waterfront. I trekked down to Fourth Avenue and Madison Street to see the Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library. On my way there I asked where the library was and was assured I wouldn't miss it. The Library takes up an entire city block and is magnificently modern and postmodern with diamond-shaped windows covering the structure in an effective asymmetrical pattern. Inside are spacious areas to sit, read and research. Neon green escalators have sound effects that are more often found in art museums. My only complaint was that I wished the coffee shop section of the main floor were larger, but that's only because I wasn't using the library as a regular patron. The Central Public Library is an excellent public space, and one I highly recommend, especially for the readers out there.

STAGE THREE: (Part Two, Scene Three) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, Elliott Bay

Later I went back to the waterfront, to check out the afternoon and evening on Elliott Bay. This is a beautiful scene where you have the Mountains all around and beyond the sea and City of Seattle right behind you. I wish I had taken the touring ferries, which are available throughout the days. Half-price specials are offered on off-peak hours.

The evening was great, and I got to see more of the brimming nightlife. I eventually stopped at a decent Mexican restaurant, which was more hippy than hipster, but that suit me just fine. While walking near the waterfront, I passed by the Edgewater Hotel , which is right on the bay. It was famous (or infamous) as the host of such famous bands as the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. I saw no rock bands congregating there, but it definitely looked like a place to enjoy on my next stay. Eventually I made it back to my hotel, and readied for my last day.

STAGE THREE: (Part Two, Scene Three) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, Sea–Tac Airport

On this day, I headed once again to Pike Place Market to pick up a few more souvenirs for friends. This day I was able to see Mount Rainier, "The Mountain" as locals call it. Even though it is nearly 60 miles (96 kilometers) from Seattle, it hovers massively like imminent presence that could overwhelm the landscape. It is also one of the most active stratovolcanoes in the Continental United States, which means that one day it should either erupt or huge volcanic mudslides, or lahars will pour down it's peaks. But that is one day. Today the view is spectacular.

Ironically, I would get closer to Mount Rainier because I had to head to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac), which is south of Seattle near Tacoma, Washington. The weekend I was there, the City of Seattle was promoting its light-rail system. I was able to get very close to the airport, but unfortunately it stopped short. I had to get a taxi for the last leg. As with Minneapolis, while the light rail was helpful, it was nowhere as extensive as that of New York. Still I passed Safeco Field on the way to the airport. Before long, I was able to check in, and board another plane for home.

Final Thoughts

Seattle had more to offer than I could take in a single weekend, which is what made it so special. It has everything one would like in a great cosmopolitan center, but more importantly, it has its own special character. I turned out to be the right cap to my cross-country trip, and I will go back there again, Lord willing.

I hope you enjoyed my accounts of my summer vacation and hope you found some ideas of your own. Until next time, happy travels.


Originally Published on Associated Content
New York October 28, 2009
Revised September 1, 2014

Tags

Moore Hotel, Pike Place Market, Seattle, Space Needle, Washington

Meet the author

author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
Poet, playwright, commentator. I write wherever I can. Currently I reside in the City of New York.

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Comments

author avatar C.D. Moore
1st Sep 2014 (#)

Good travel log!

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author avatar Retired
1st Sep 2014 (#)

It's as if I were there! A wonderful account of a beautiful city. And great photos!

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author avatar HacBao
2nd Sep 2014 (#)

You have the exciting journey

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author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
2nd Sep 2014 (#)

Thank you all for your wonderful and insightful comments.

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