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Swannee Apr 19th, 2005 04:16 PM

Post cruise advice for first-time visit to Seattle

We are planning to visit Seattle after our Alaska cruise and need some advice as we have never been tp Seattle. Our cruise ship lands in Vancouver, however, and we know that city very well. Because we are flying on points we have the option of flying from Vancouver to Seattle or renting a car in Vancouver and going across the border. We only want to do this if it is worth the trip for the scenery -- which some of the posts say is not great unless you get off the highway. And I wonder if we have time.

Right now we bascially have a half-day to get to Seattle and full day in Seattle and we are leaving for home the next day. I can still extend the trip to possibly one more day but cannot stay longer.

We know it's only 119 miles between the two cities and the airport has a 2 hour wait plus a 50 minute flight. I don't know how bad it is to wait at the border by car. Is the drive worth it within our short time frame?

We also made a reservation for a car at Seattle airport should we fly in but we were also wondering if we needed a car in Seattle; however we do want to visit the wineries (Chateau St-Michelle and Columbia Crest --- I love Washington wines!! )

Are these wineries on the way from Vancouver to Seattle or are they in another direction? How far from the city?

Also do you have any recommendations for a nice B&B in town --if there are any or a charming hotel?

Thanks for your help

gonewriting Apr 19th, 2005 05:17 PM

If you only have a day in Seattle, I would suggest staying at the Edgewater hotel downtown (on the water) great food and nice hotel - hey , the Beatles used to stay there!) and just spend the day walking around downtown, visit Pike Market, shops, waterfront, etc.

NorthwestMale Apr 19th, 2005 05:36 PM


You should adjust your thoughts to expect 140-150 miles between Vancouver and Seattle if you're driving.

Given all you've said:

*never been to Seattle
*time constraints
*only interested in the drive if scenery is available

I would FLY to Seattle if I were you.

Unfortunately those wineries are a zillion miles from Seattle, and in the wrong direction for you.

I would do all you can just to give yourself some time to stop and breathe-in the Seattle experience.

Speaking of which, the "World Barista Championship" was just here recently, to the surprise of no one, perhaps.

happytrailstoyou Apr 20th, 2005 05:34 AM

The drive between Seattle and Vancouver on I-5 is not particularly scenic. The distance is 140 miles, and delays at the border are frequent.

There are several wineries in Woodinville, 30 miles north of Seattle and about 45 miles from SeaTac. (See

If you rent a car, you can avoid rip-off parking rates in downtown Seattle by staying in the Woodinville area. If you're into up-scale hotels, check out Willows Lodge in Woodinville. The Herbfarm restaurant in Woodinville is considered one of the best in the state, but the Barking Frog and Red Hook Brewery are other good places for food or fun.

Kirkland or Bellevue are cities south of Woodinville that have many lodging and restaurant options.

Swannee Apr 20th, 2005 06:20 AM

Thanks for the info. I'll look at Edgwater; however in the meantime I have checked some B&Bs which seem lovely -- they're on the Karen Brown web site and her recommendations are usually right on for our likes (we stayed at some of her recommended places in France and they were splendid) Do any of you know the Gaslight Inn, The Amaranth B&B or the Salisbury House?

Also someone told that the wineries are 15 miles from Seattle. I'm trying to see if we can get another day in the city but am still waiting for the airline to confirm.

Thanks happytrailstoyou for that wine web site -- I did not know it and it is very informative (I've bookmarked it!) Yes we like upscale but not the prices!! I wonder if it is smart to stay at one of the B&Bs that I mentioned (free parking) hang around and visit Seattle and then get in the car to go to Woodinville. (We're used to driving) ? The dinner places sound greaté

Are there any toll roads between Seattle and Woodinville or on highway I-5?

Also have any of you any info on something called the Dinner Train? Is it worth it?


suze Apr 20th, 2005 06:33 AM

I know of Gaslight Inn, since it's in by my house. It looks very charming from the outside. This is in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.

I would have guessed Woodinville and the wineries about 1/2 hour from Seattle driving time. There are no toll roads.

The scenery on I-5 is nothing to speak of between Vancouver and Seattle, I'd fly in your situation.

Swannee Apr 20th, 2005 07:18 AM

Thanks Suze,

I heard that's a nice district. How far is it to downtown? Can one walk? If not is it best to leave the car in the garage there and take public transportation if we're going to walk around the downtown area or take our car. This is of course before we head out to the wineries.

I think the Salisbury House is also in the Capitol Hill area a few blocks from Volunteer park (wherever that is), the Amaranth is at the edge of the International district (??) -- any comments on that area?


zozozo Apr 20th, 2005 08:31 AM

There is a b&b in Woodinville but I have not stayed there.A big red barn bed and breakfast.
and there is the Shumway mansion which is a historical b&b next town over in Kirkland.
This is if you want to stay close to wineries and red Hook brewery.
The washington dinner train leaves from Renton and goes to Colombia winery. I have not taken evening train only for lunch. It was fun. You could see Columbia winery without driving but I don't remember how long train ride is. I don't know about Columbia crest I thought that was in eastern washington. I would also recommend SAM (seattle art museum)which is downtown. Trip advisor is showing 26 b&b in Seattle. Have good time.

lcuy Apr 20th, 2005 09:49 AM

I've taken the dinner train. We went with another couple, so that made it fun in itself. We had a great dinner and enjoyed tasting, walking around at the winerey. It was an enjoyable evening.

christy1 Apr 20th, 2005 09:56 AM

You could walk from Capitol Hill to downtown-I always did when I lived there. It's a steep hill coming back up, but there is plenty of easy, frequent bus service. I'd stay there (there's a ton of great restaurants in the neighborhood, too), not in the suburbs, if you've never been to Seattle. The neighborhood is a great one for walking-there are some tremendous views from the area just north of Volunteer Park, and the park itself has a water tower you can climb for views, as well as a conservatory. Lots of lovely homes in that neighborhood.

suze Apr 20th, 2005 11:57 AM

Capitol Hill is 2-3 miles from downtown Seattle. Volunteer Park is a wonderful old in-city park, that would be an even better location than the Gaslight is the B&B's a similar. Both are on or near 15th Ave East sounds like, but Gaslight maybe 15 blocks further south. Volunteer Park is slightly nicer part of "the Hill" mostly filled with mostly big old mansions.

It takes about 45 mins. to walk to downtown (all downhill!). Usually I walk down & then catch the #10 Metro bus back up the hill, it runs right along 15th past both these B&B's.

Also along 15th are all kinds of great neighborhood restaurants, literally a couple dozen of them!

Capitol Hill is a much more upscale area IMO than International District/Chinatown.

NorthwestMale Apr 20th, 2005 01:08 PM


Please observe that you mentioned two wineries by name in your original post, and that BOTH of those wineries are well over 100 miles from Seattle, and in the wrong direction.

That is the simple truth vs. what "someone told you".

Swannee Apr 20th, 2005 02:13 PM

Ok everyone, thanks all for the tips. We're opting to fly in, and will stay in the Capitol hill area.

Re wineries I was getting mixed up in directions between Columbia and Columbia Crest. We're now staying an extra day (!!!!)-- it all sounds so nice I wish we could stay even more! -- so we'll see about driving around.

I don't think we'll go to Columbia Crest, but Chateau St-Michelle is close by (I called their 800 line) and they are in Woodinville which we're anxious to see especially after some of the nice tips Fodorites have sent me.


suze Apr 20th, 2005 02:47 PM

Northwest Male- Where are you getting this 100 miles thing? I assume Swannee is taking about distance from Seattle (not Vancouver) in the original post.

Chateau Ste Michelle is in Woodinville... 18 miles from downtown Seattle, it also includes Columbia Crest. Columbia Winery (not Crest) is right across the same street NE 145th in Woodinville.

Swannee Apr 21st, 2005 04:27 AM

Yes, Suze, I did mean the distance from Seattle, not Vancouver.


suze Apr 21st, 2005 07:01 AM

If you end up booking one of the B&B's on Capitol Hill, let me know if you want restaurants recommendations in the neighborhood. Many nice choices in easy walking distance.

Also street parking is pretty easy in this area (if the B&B doesn't provide) since it is mostly single family residential.

Swannee Apr 21st, 2005 12:09 PM

That's great Suze, thank you. Yes we did book the Salisbury House (it's on 16th avenue east) and there is parking available. I'd love to get good recommendations on restaurants. I took note of some of the ones the others have suggested in the Woodinville area and the lady with whom I spoke at Chateau St-Michelle also gave me some for Woodenville (some of the ones that Happytrailstoyou and zozozo mentioned).

We had decide on flying from Vancouver to Seattle ,however the flight is not available anymore on points (just found out this morning) so it will either be driving or there seems to be a very reasonably-priced Amtrak bus (the train only leaves very late) from Vancouver to Seattle train station and we could pick up a car there. Any thoughts?

Anyways would love to get info on good places to eat -- something typically Seattle --or just plain good-- I'm kind of a gourmet and love to try charming and delicious places.


kimamom Apr 21st, 2005 12:47 PM

If you do make it to the Herbfarm, please report on your experience there. It sounds like a wonderful place! ***kim*** ((f))

suze Apr 21st, 2005 02:11 PM

OK then... These restaurants are all quite nice and all within a short walk of your B&B (you can tell which block by the address numbers & which street by the street numbers):

Kingfish Cafe
upscale southern cuisine
602 19th Ave E
No reservations, people line up for the 1st seating, doors open 6pm

asian with seafood emphasis
615 19th Ave E

Vios Cafe
greek/mediterranean small plates or fixed price dinner menu
615 19th Ave E

Coastal Kitchen
lively grille, world cuisine
this month Argentina is featured
425 15th Ave E

neighborhood favorite for Thai food
509 15th Ave E

I'd consider the group of these restaurantas "typical Seattle" only because of the diversity of choice among them.

suze Apr 21st, 2005 07:11 PM

Also on 15th Ave E:

North Hill Bakery, excellent! For pastries, coffee, a quiet place to sit. Sandwiches available at lunch. Daytime hours.

EVS (european vine selections) favorite wine store.

Other coffee shop options are Cafe Ladro and Victrola (younger crowd).

QFC, Safeway, (2 major groceries) and Walgreen. Rainbow Natural Foods and Rainbow Natural Remedies.

Gifts: Casita and Tildens.

Walks: Up to Volunteer Park, don't miss the lookout point on the east side of 15th a bit north of the park.

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