Saturday, July 2, 2016

North by Northwest- On the Waterfront

* Disclaimer- Chris and I traveled to the Pacific Northwest and a cruise to Alaska in June 2016 as a 10 year anniversary trip. This will be a multiple entry blog that will highlight our activities, our reflections and of course pictures of these gorgeous locations! I have highlighted the tips and tricks of each post in red. I hope this helps in planning trips to Vancouver, Seattle or Alaska! Thanks again for following along! 

Day 3- June 18, 2016
Seattle, WA 

After a good night's sleep in a hot room we got up and headed to downtown thinking the commute would be loaded with traffic. It was Saturday and we were able to make the 15 mile commute in just 20 minutes and even find parking fairly quickly. Our Pike Place Market Tour did not start until 9AM so we decided to be smart and go to the Original (1st) Starbucks Store at 7:30AM instead of the planned 1PM. This turned out to be one of the bet decisions of the trip as it was already packed with people. We had about a 10 minute wait time before we got our Pike Place Special Reserve coffees. They were delicious and worth the wait, plus the uniqueness was very special. This is a must see and do in Seattle but I would suggest getting there EARLY as it was loaded with a 50-100+ people line every time we went by. 

Our first glance at Pike Place Market! 

Good morning Seattle! 

It was worth the wait and the best Starbucks I have ever had! 

We walked around Pike Place Market for a few minutes before making our way to the "Gum Wall" and locate our tour guide. The "Gum Wall" was absolutely disgusting and was really stinky.
Absolutely disgusting but I HAD to get a picture!
No... we did not contribute to the wall! 

Once our tour started we were really excited as this tour was highly recommend to us from 4 sources. We came hungry and excited to try all of the specialty places inside the market. This VIP Early Access tour began at 9AM and the market officially opened at 10AM but several places were already open and oddly enough the market was already crammed with people as the tour started. We were able to visit and sample from the following stores/ booths: 

Honest Biscuit  
This biscuit was heavenly and despite the large amount of butter it was very good.

Sevens Coffee and Market Spice Tea
This is the longest running business in the market at 108 years old. 

Daily Dozen Donuts
I had heard so much about this place... i was ready to try it out! 

Holy Moly... It was AMAZING!
All I can saw is WOW! These were perfection in the form of a small circle. They make 14,000 donuts a day and can make 30 in one minute. Chris was not impressed.  We sampled the Maple Bacon flavor on the tour but within the next few days we sampled them all. This is a MUST stop when at Pike Place. 

Pike Place Fish

Teasing UT fans NEVER gets old! 

This is the famous fish stall in the market and it did not disappoint! The worker was a UT graduate so we had a little fun with that. We sampled Alaska King Salmon, Garlic and Pepper Smoked and Salmon jerky. It was all incredible... Once again, the stupid baggage fees hindered our purchases. 

Frank's Produce
This was the absolute most fresh fruit I have ever had. We sampled Taylorville pears (Oh my gosh... wow) and Chuckered Cherries. It was about at this point that I decided I wanted to live near this market! 

Beecher's Cheese
This is a Pike Place staple and it did not disappoint... to some degree. But the Mac & Cheese was just OK and not as good as we had hoped. This stop was a little disappointing as far as the tour goes!  

Country Dough
This was just weird and odd! This is pretty much where I was disappointed in the tour. Random chinese vendor with a crazy dough sandwich. Neither of us were impressed. 

Rachel's Ginger Beer
We didn't realize this was the last stop. There were so many stops we expected to sample and were not able to. This was not an alcoholic stop but dessert actually. Fancy soft serve ice cream with fancy preserves. This too was somewhat of a disappointment. 

Look at this gorgeous arrangement Chris picked out for me. 

The VIP Early Access Pike Place tour turned out to be our biggest disappointment of the entire Pre-cruise Seattle trip. It cost $57/ per person and there was hardly anything VIP or Early about it! We did not leave full but hungry rather. It took nearly 3 hours and did not hit or go to the most famous places and vendors within Pike Place. I truly believe that we must have had a different tour than those who recommend it to us. Either way, we will not be doing this tour again! 

After that tour we were supposed to go to the Argosy Harbor Tour but it was rather cold outside (50*) and rainy so Chris decided he would need long pants so we made a run to Ross and Target. Then we went down to the waterfront to get our tickets to the harbor cruise and grabbed some lunch before the tour started. Elliot's Cafe on the waterfront was affordable and very good! If you are in a hurry be mindful that it is pretty slow and in no way fast-food!

The Clam Chowder was good but no surprises here! 

The salmon BLT was AMAZING! I didn't expect such good salmon on a sandwich. 

And of course, what meal would be complete without a cupcake?
Cupcake Royale originally started as a bakery for the president in the 1960s.
They were delicious! 

The Argosy Harbor Cruise was incredible and well worth the money. It was part of the Seattle City Pass which was $74/ per person but you can purchase them separately for $25. This tour was very informative with tons of information about the city of Seattle and it was comfortable and we could hear everything the host said. We learned that Seattle has 196 Starbucks in a 2 mile radius and that does not include the water and after being in Seattle for just a few hours I could see that. I would highly recommend it as part of the city pass or alone. If we ever go back to Seattle this will be an attraction we repeat. 

The boat we rode for the Argosy harbor cruise of Elliot Bay. 

We are on the boat and ready to go! 

This is the BLACK pod on the Great Wheel of Seattle. This will cost you $50 per person but includes champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. 

Pike Place Market from the harbor cruise. 

The Norwegian Jewel was embarking on this day headed to Alaska! 

Olympic Park in Seattle. 

The Space Needle and Seattle Center! 

A view of downtown Seattle from the harbor. 

Starbucks Headquarters in downtown Seattle. 

After the harbor tour we went to the Seattle Aquarium. This was a fantastic aquarium and we were able to see it all within 3 hours. This too was part of the City Pass but is $25 if purchased separately. We enjoyed it very much but if we return we would not go to the aquarium again, at least without our kids. 

We really enjoyed the hands on areas of this aquarium.
I know our kids would have LOVED this! 

Hey y'all... I am a jellyfish! 

This type of halibut grows sideways and swims sideways! It was so cool! 

We loved this aquarium! 

After the aquarium we were in somewhat of a pickle with our parking as there was a 12 hour time limit so we had to go back to the parking garage and exit then re-enter again. We parked at 3rd and Stewart and it was a large covered parking garage. It was a hassle but paying the $7 weekend special was much better than the $37 unlimited access. We then walked to the Columbia Center in downtown near Pioneer Square. This is where the SkyView Observatory is and we purchased a Groupon for 2 people to access the observatory for only $18 but the original price was just $14 per person. This was a typical skyscraper observatory and it was absolutely gorgeous. Plus you get views of Seattle WITH the Space Needle. I would recommend going to the SkyView Observatory instead of the Space Needle in fact. It is cheaper, better views and a lot less crowded! It too offers plush seating and a small cafe! Be sure to check it out if you are in town. 

73 floors up and we are loving the view! 

Hello Safeco Field... I will see you in a week! 

A view of Seattle's homeless area from 73 floors high! 

While we were 73 floors high in the sky we noticed a rain storm approaching the city from the north so we went on down and ran down to the waterfront to eat dinner at Ivar's Clam House. This was a delicious meal and our most expensive while on the trip at plates that were $50-75. We were able to eat Copper River Sockeye salmon which was absolutely divine. I would recommend this restaurant and especially that filet and type of salmon as it was the best we had ever had. 

Wow... this was INCREDIBLE! The best salmon I have ever had! I will be looking for this style of salmon at home from now on! 

The Great Wheel... reminded us of the London Eye but unfortunately we never found time to ride it! 

We then went and got Seattle souvenirs and called the kids. By this time it was after 11PM in Louisiana where they were traveling with my parents but we knew they would still be awake. They play hard with Gigi Shirley and Poppy and sure enough, they were. We told them about our trip thus far then made our way back to our home away from home at the hotel. It was a LONG day and we were exhausted. The following day we would be taking a bicycle tour of Seattle so we knew we needed our rest. 

The first day in Seattle was busy and tiring but we were falling in love with the city and the gorgeous scenery and most of all the perfect temperatures. 

God is good... All the time! 

Missed a day?

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