Mat & Emily’s Unintentional West Coast Tour: Day 1

What began as a quick visit to Portland for Jamie and Kim’s wedding has become a protracted drive from the top to the bottom of the left coast. We just might never come home.

We flew in to Seattle this morning, non-stop from DC on Alaska Airlines. Catherine and David kindly gave us the use of their air mattress last night (did we mention we’re homeless) and drove us to National this morning. I booked the flight back in May when the impending future revealed only our boring govie jobs and the sweetness of living three blocks from the Metro. So at the time, booking the only non-stop flight to Seattle from the only Metro-accessible airport in DC was a major excitement. How shortsighted was I…

Anyhow, we got in about 10:30 this morning and took a taxi to the Ace Hotel. Our room was already clean and ready so we checked in to Room 107 (the corner room highly recommended on And the room is phat. We have huge windows on two walls overlooking a busy corner of Belltown. The room feels twice as spacious because of it. One whole wall is a collage of red and orange OBEY posters. It’s a great example of clean modern design on a budget. You can see where they cut corners (unspecial neutral wall-to-wall carpeting, industrial stainless shelving in lieu of bulky dressers and armoires, 13″ JVC TV, and a simple platform bed), but they’ve managed to create a friendly funky little hotel in a great location for $89 a night. (I think our room is on the cheap end since we opted for the Euro-style shared bathroom.)

After checking in, we walked down to Jai Thai and had lunch. I’ve been on a Thai kick that won’t quit. I don’t know what it is. I think I could swim in chicken panang. Mmmm…

Resisting the urge to return to the hotel and soothe our expanding rice-filled tummies with a nap, we headed down to Pike Place and walked through the market. Visions of Real World Seattle and flying fish danced in my head. (I’ll forever associate flying fish with Lyme Disease because of that show. And also dirty hippies, but that’s another Lyme-ridden chick-with-issues story.)

The place is huge! There were at least three or four levels of stalls selling all kinds of food and tschotschkes. There were homemade donuts, yeasty baked goods, vibrant fragrant flowers, wreaths of hot peppers, luscious peaches and nectarines, and the deep pink Pacific salmon. Eventually, the crowds and strange mix of edible and non-edible smells forced us to move on. But not before indulging in a bag of roasted toffee peanuts.

We continued down First Avenue and stopped in a handful of design stores. I’m surprised by how many there are here. We went to Ann Sacks, whose website I’ve often drooled over for their incredible (and pricey) tile, then Design Within Reach, Maison Luxe, and a couple other little shops whose names I’ve forgotten. For some reason, my heart does a little leap when I see a fancy coffee table in person at which I’ve only previously gazed admiringly on my monitor. It’s like a celebrity sighting. Oh, look, I can touch it! I can sit next to it and spend time with it as if it were actually in my living room. It looks as pretty in person as it does in pixels! Ooh. Aah.

We walked all the way down to Pioneer Square and found the Underground Tour that Mike had recommended to us. It was a little cheesy in that we-tell-thousands-of-tourists-the-same-poo-related-jokes-fifty-times-a-day way, but nonetheless historically interesting.

And then we caught the free bus back up the street. We stopped for yummy Seattle coffee and ganache then back to relax before dinner. We’re thinking tonight we’ll grab some dinner and then maybe take a nighttime tour of the Space Needle. Tomorrow, we’ll spend most of the day at the Experience Music Project and then maybe grab some fish and chips at the pier and take the ferry to Bainbridge to watch the sunset, as recommended by Dennis. Then Monday, we’re on the San Juans!

3 Responses to “Mat & Emily’s Unintentional West Coast Tour: Day 1”

  • Yeah boy. Welcome to the west coast. We cant wait to have you down here. Iam happy that you will have perfect west coast weather for your trip here. I hope you guys have a great time in Seattle. I liked the underground tour as it is such an interesting piece of history.

  • I second the underground tour. Good fun and very interesting. Glad you guys made it out there okay. Isn’t it nice to gain three hours?

  • Yeah, The tour was cool. We actually have EVDO service here in Anacortes, WA waiting for the ferry to the San Juan Islands… Kinda neat… We’re such dorks!

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