Seattle Has a SpokesSalmon!

God, but I love Seattle.

God, but I love Seattle. It’s a quirky city, full of distinctive neighborhoods and abundant public art. It’s liberal and highly literate. Its libraries are some of the most patronized ones in the country. It’s very urban but it also has a lot of natural space to enjoy. It delights in the unique. It’s politically active. It has wonderful food and festivals.

While the people can be reserved and sometimes incomprehensible to me, I love the earnest enthusiasm of the city itself. When I first arrived in the summer of 2014, Fremont Bridge, one of the drawbridges in which I work, was being painted. It took many months. During that time, one sidewalk or the other had to be closed to pedestrians and bicycles, and that’s a part of the city where there is a lot of that type of activity. So, to encourage people to cooperate, the city had signs put up on all four corners of the bridge. And they were in the form of poems.

Those signs were what made it official for me. I was in love with a city. I loved that it could poke fun at itself. I had just spent 40 years in Jacksonville, Florida, a city that took itself a lot more seriously than it had any right to do. It would never put up signs like these. Not in a million years. A dear friend used to call Jacksonville a truck stop that had gotten out of control. Needless to say, Seattle was a refreshing change.

Fast forward to 2021, and imagine my joy in discovering that Seattle has a SpokesSalmon. That couldn’t be more perfect, because salmon run right through the center of town. 10,000 a day, during peak season. As a matter of fact, most tourists, while wandering along the downtown waterfront, have no idea that they’re walking right on top of a salmon migration corridor that took four years to build and cost the city $410 million. We love our salmon.

According to this video, Sal the SpokesSalmon is currently living in West Seattle and encouraging people to #FlipYourTrip. In other words, seek alternative forms of transportation such as buses, bikes, and water taxis, to reduce traffic congestion in the city. This is particularly important in West Seattle at the moment because the main exit point from that part of the city is the West Seattle Bridge, which has been shut down for repairs and won’t reopen until 2022. So, yeah, listen to Sal, folks.

Can you understand my love affair with this city? It charms me. It makes me laugh. It makes me think. It never fails to entertain me. And I’m willing to bet that it’s the only city with a SpokesSalmon.

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Exploring Washington State: Vashon Island

Just a 15 minute ferry ride from West Seattle across beautiful Puget Sound takes you to a different world.

Just a 15 minute ferry ride from West Seattle across beautiful Puget Sound takes you to a different world. Vashon Island is rural, lushly wooded, hilly and remote, and yet it’s nearby. It’s quite the dichotomy.

It’s also got a lot of delightful little cabins, which is a nice change from the bulk of King County, which is rapidly being covered in urban sprawl and unaffordable housing. The island itself is 37 square miles, stretching basically from Seattle to Tacoma, and the population, according to the 2010 census, is 10,624. On Vashon, the pace is slower, and you can really breathe.

The views are spectacular, too, as these pictures attest. You can even see Mount Rainier during your ferry crossing. It looks as though it floats above everything. It took my breath away.

On Vashon, there are a few enclaves with delightful little shops and restaurants. Make sure your car is gassed up on the mainland before you go exploring, though, because gas on the island is about a dollar more per gallon! But what I liked the most was getting out into the wilderness and the quiet. We even came upon a deer, who seemed quite surprised to see us.

So, if you need a getaway, but don’t want to get that far away, I’d recommend Vashon Island. I look forward to going back again and again.

 

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Exploring Seattle—Alki and Endolyne Joe’s

I stumbled upon the Alki neighborhood of Seattle purely by accident, which made my exploration of it even more of a delight. I was meeting a friend for breakfast at Endolyne Joe’s. Several people had recommended this place to me, but I had never had reason to be in that part of town before.

According to its website, Endolyne Joe’s is “named after a ne’er do well conductor of old trolley no. 2, who had an eye for a well-turned leg and an insatiable thirst for a good time.” (I’m assuming they are referring to Joe, not the trolley, here.)

I do love a good irreverent eating establishment. And this one was quite good indeed. The food was great (I had a huge breakfast burrito), but the atmosphere was even better. It seems they redecorate the entire interior periodically. The whole staff gets involved. That must be fun. Right now its theme is Chicago. The next one will be Cuba. And if I could have figured out how to bundle one of their gorgeous chunky wooden tables into the back of my van without being noticed, the really nice waitress would be standing in the middle of an empty floor scratching her head right now.

Once the waitress discovered that we were new to the area, she gave us a bunch of sightseeing tips, and that came in handy because we had some time to kill and hadn’t thought about sightseeing. We wound up driving along the water’s edge, and were treated to some spectacular views.

Alki Point juts out into the Puget Sound, and you can look across the water to Blake Island. You also get to watch the ferries come and go. It’s quite breathtaking. There are a few parks, and even a lighthouse. The neighborhood reminds me of a sleepy Florida beach town, only with hills, and is full of arts and crafts bungalows, which, unfortunately, are so far out of my price range as to be not even worth contemplating.

I’ve no doubt the area is crowded in the summertime, as it is the site of many musical events. As we were soon to find out, this area is also known as the birthplace of Seattle (complete with monument), as this is where the first white settlement was located. I wonder what the local Native Americans think of that.

I love the fact that there is so much more of Seattle to explore! I look forward to finding more of these neighborhood gems as time goes on.

Alki Beach Seattle

Me-Kwa-Mooks Park SeattleMe-Kwa-Mooks Park Seattle 2

Alki Seattle Barb w space needle