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Friday, March 14, 2014

A Weekend at the Edgewater

A Weekend at Seattle’s Edgewater

Two days at one of the Emerald City’s most well known landmarks

Story by Kelly LaClaire

Recently, my wife Traci and I spent a well-earned weekend sightseeing and soaking up the culture in the most diverse and engaging city in the Northwest. Two days was all it took to discover again why the Emerald City is so enticing. 

We arrived Friday evening and drove along the bustling waterfront, past the giant Ferris wheel and ubiquitous seafood restaurants selling fresh chowder and steaming baskets of fish and chips, to the famous waterfront Edgewater Hotel. Resting atop Pier 67 on Seattle’s sparking Elliott Bay, the four-story 223-room Edgewater is Seattle’s original waterfront hotel. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, The Edgewater Hotel has become a beloved local landmark.

The valet parked our car while a sharply dressed doorman took our luggage and showed us into the expansive lobby overlooking the waters of the Puget Sound. Sleek luxury yachts and graceful sailboats cruised by while guests enjoyed drinks and conversation in large leather chairs surrounding the stone fireplace.

Our room featured a gas fireplace, pine furnishings, a plush comforter, the amenities of a top-notch hotel and a dramatic view of Puget Sound. The hotel also boasts a great fitness center, an eco-chic boutique, a coffee bar, business services and a pet friendly policy. The Edgewater was recently awarded the 2 Green Eco-Leaf Rating by completing a 70 point comprehensive eco-audit survey administered by iStayGreen.org—the online social network of environmentally friendly travel.

After a few moments taking in the view of the towering Olympic range across the bay, we walked along the boardwalk and turned into the heart of the city center.

One of my favorite aspects of Seattle is just how accessible the city is on foot. From The Edgewater, almost everything we wanted to see and do was just a few minutes stroll in any direction. To the south, the Seattle Aquarium is literally right next door and Century Link and Safeco fields are no more than a 20-minute walk if you’re taking your time and stop for a few snapshots along the way. To the east, the Public Market and Seattle Art Museum are less than a ten-minute walk (and that leaves you time to grab a local cup of fresh brewed coffee). To the north, Seattle Center Park, the Space Needle, Science Museum and EMP Experience are less than fifteen minutes on foot if you don’t dawdle. In fact, for two days, we had no need of our car or public transportation of any kind.

Public Market

We spent our first afternoon wandering the maze of flower vendors, artist stalls and eccentric curiosity shops that make up Pike’s Place Market. If you don’t mind lines, stop by the original Starbucks store for a coffee break or pop in to get a fresh pastry at Le Panier, a French bakery that you can find by closing your eyes and following the aroma of buttery croissants wafting out into the cobblestone alley.

The crafters here make up the heart and soul of this experience, so be sure to peruse the stalls and take time to talk with the artists. In the hustle and bustle of the market walkways, it’s easy to breeze by these talented artisans and miss the chance to see some amazing artwork and meet some wonderful folks ready with friendly conversation. Like our personal favorite, Mr. Dan, a multi-talented pen and ink artist who has hand drawn and airbrushed over 14,000 custom hats, shoes, bags and skateboards for locals and tourists all over the world.

Downtown

Welcoming and unpretentious, Seattle’s energetic downtown is somewhat of a retail melting pot filled with grungy independent bookstores, quaint chocolatiers, sidewalk pubs serving infinite varieties of micro-brews and, of course, an endless string of coffee houses, each roasting and brewing up exotic blends found nowhere else.

Traci and I tried to sample a bit of everything and by the end of the day we had a bag of musty old paperbacks, a passel of decadent sweets, several quirky toys for our nephew and a few pounds of fresh roasted coffee beans to take home.

The weather was cooperating, so we walked several blocks through Bell Town and up to the Space Needle, wanting to catch a glimpse of the city skyline before it got too dark. The sun was setting as we arrived at the top and we watched the lights of the city come on from 600 feet above the ground.

Seafood and Wine

We waited for our table at the Edgewater’s restaurant, Six Seven, in the richly appointed reading room that displays the hotel’s wall of fame. Celebrity guests such as The Rolling Stones, The Monkeys, Led Zeppelin, Ray Charles and The Beatles have all stayed in the master suite looking over the sound.

Executive Chef John Robert has created an outstanding local seafood menu and a significant wine list featuring local, award-winning wineries. We started our meal with lobster cakes over arugula pear salad with candied walnuts and Gorgonzola. The entrees, cedar plank salmon with truffle cream potatoes for me, and butter-poached shrimp over risotto for Traci, were absolutely divine. We followed those up with a spiced apple and caramel tart that was so good that if we hadn’t been in public, I probably would have licked the plate clean.

Farewell

As we drove south, the city’s skyscrapers of edgy steel and colorful glass swiftly gave way to the swaying firs and rolling hills of the countryside. That’s the wonderful part about the Pacific Northwest; we are surrounded by the tranquil beauty of Mother Nature, but anytime we feel a bit restless or want a little added excitement, the alluring pulse of a thriving metropolis like Seattle is just a short drive away, ready and waiting.

Edgewater Hotel

2411 Alaskan Way, Seattle

206-728-7000

www.edgewaterhotel.com

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