Up at 4am EST for out 7:00am flight! Our on-stop from BWI on budget airline Airtran ($215 RT!) was a smooth 5 hours and 10 minutes, and we arrived at 9:20 am PDT. We went to the car rental and got a Ford Flex, a 6-seater with fold-down third row seats. Plenty of space for 5, and all the luggage fit, too! Group was me, DW, MIL, #1S & #2S. MIL was recently widowed and we thought a vacation with us would lift her spirits (it did).
We negotiated our way to the VRBO rental in Capitol Hill. Capitol Hill is a historic residential neighborhood about 1.5 miles from city center. The houses are turn-of-the-century Victorians, and our rental house is 1 block south of Volunteer Park, a beautiful public park that sits on a hill, looking west to the Space Needle and Elliott Bay. The house was huge, with 5 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a fully finished basement with media room, laundry and children's playroom, formal dining room and living room, big, well-equipped kitchen, backyard grill and playground, 3 TVs and more space than we know what to do with. It really is a bargain at $2,000 for the week, much less than 2 hotel rooms would have run. Once we were in, me and #1S walked a few blocks down 15th Ave to QFC to get lunch makings. Although the blocks surrounding the house are very residential, just 5 blocks south, things become much more commercial, with plenty of restaurants, shops, groceries, bakers, and coffee houses. Also, the main bus line connecting Capitol Hill and downtown (no. 10) was only steps away from the front door. We had picked the perfect location!
After eating a big lunch, MIL and DW headed back down 15th Ave to Safeway to get groceries for the week. The west coast ethos seemed laid back and friendly – very unlike DC! Then, we all rested for a couple of hours. The scenery there is gorgeous and sometimes startling. After a couple hours' rest, we headed north to Fremont, a neighborhood that lies directly north of Lake Union. #1S wanted to explore on his own -- Fremont is known to be fun,, full of outdoor sculpture and cool stores. The neighborhood also sponsors outdoor movies in the summer, and was showing "E.T." at 7:30. #1S thought he would stay for the movie, then take a bus back home.
After dropping off #1S, we drove on down to the waterfront, and parked near Pike Place, walking down about 200 steps from the street level down to Pier 55, where we were lucky to get tickets for the final 1-hour Harbor Cruise by Argosy Cruises. A cruise is a perfect way to relax and orient oneself to a city after 8 hours of travelling - highly recommended for any city that has water. Even for "repeat" cities like Paris. Anyway, we immediately boarded and then had a lovely cruise up and down Eilliott Bay. We saw the Port of Seattle (love those cargo ships!), Dewamish Waterway, Bainbridge Island, and lots of postcard-perfect views of the Seattle skyline. We got back to the house at around 7:00, and cooked a simple dinner. It was hard to stay awake -- our body clocks were catching up with us. Luckily, #1S ended up coming home earlier than we expected, because he decided not to stay for the movie after all and took the bus downtown instead. I think he was getting tired, too! So by 9:30 everyone was home, tucked into bed and sound asleep. It had been a long, and wonderful, first day.
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