# 22 of 100 Things I Love about Seattle

BallardRailwayStation2When I was looking for my first home in Ballard in 2005, I got lost. On NW 57th St where it hits 37th Place NW, I turned south onto a gravel and dirt road to turn my car around. What I found made me fall in love forever with Ballard. It was the train station pictured here.

Seeing that sign and station suddenly connected Ballard integrally with the rest of the continent. It made Ballard both a sweet neighborhood, and the portal to parts far away.

BallardRailwayStation

I’m looking into specific plans for this train stop and will write more about that soon. If you’re curious, you can read a bit about Washington State rail plans here.  In the meantime, I love thinking about the possibility of walking from my house to this platform and stepping aboard a train that takes me where ever I want to go.

(Photos by Ed McKillop)

 

# 42 of 100 Things I Love about Seattle

 Golden_GardensGolden Gardens is a magic kingdom of space and ocean. It’s fun in the summer. You can even build a fire and sneak in alcohol (although you didn’t hear it from me).

But it’s now, in the Seattle winter, that it’s at peak visiting time. Depending on the time of day and the weather, you can sometimes have the beach to yourself. I can even handle the drizzle and gray when I’m there—it makes sense at Golden Gardens. So if the weather is giving you SAD, take a field trip here. (Photo by Joe Mabel.)

Stanley Says! GO HAWKS!

Allow us to introduce our special blog section, “Stanley Says!”
Yes, by popular demand, Stanley has graced us with his poochie presence and has agreed to contribute to our Random Seattle Blog.

StanleySaysHawks…and here’s what Stanley has to say,

It’s almost Super Bowl!
Get out and get your gear on!
Show some Seattle Seahawk pride!

That reminds me of the poultry that I had the other night. I really, really love me some chicken… Mmm… What the what?!? Sorry, checked out for a second there.

Back to it… It’s going to be a PAR-TAY weekend. Need a place to watch the game?

Here are a selection of choice Super Bowl options:
Auto Battery, Capitol Hill
The Bridge, West Seattle
Buckley’s in Belltown and Buckley’s on Lower Queen Anne
Spitfire, Belltown

All have decent sized screens and great pub fare. Drinks, you ask? Yes PLEASE! Awesome selections of beer, wine and spirits. Arrive early as it’s first come, first serve.

Regardless of whether you’re out and about or staying home, the entire city is going to be watching.

SEAHAWKS ARE GOING TO WIN!
GO HAWKS!!!
WOOF!

Walk and Eat: Disco Park

I love walking to wherever I’m going for dinner or drinks in the evening. Or, eating and then walking. Or, best of all, the expanded program: walking, eating, and watching the sunset. Pick up food, walk somewhere, and have a pick-a-nick while watching the sunset. I have one secret Seattle place where I do that often, and I’m sorry, but I’ll never reveal it. But a second place I love to go, and that I will share, is Discovery Park in Magnolia.

DiscoPark

Disco Park is a huge and amazing green space in our beautiful city. There are lots of walking trails, and many places where you can access the shore. To watch the sunset, find your way to the beach—here’s a map of the trails. Every time I go not only do I think “why don’t I come here more often?” I also am amazed that so few other people are around. I think Seattleites forget about it because it’s tucked away in Magnolia.

To cover the “eat” part of “walk and eat”, if you’re walking through Magnolia, pick up some yums at Ichiro Sushi and Teriyaki. Or, if you’re coming through Ballard, get a burger or whatnot at The Sloop. From Ballard, you can walk through Chittenden Locks park and over the bridge to get to Disco.

It might be a bit creepy after sunset. So, go with friends. Or like a friend of mine told me, if someone gets in your space, punch them as hard as you can and then run like hell. Either way, take advantage of this great outdoor space in Seattle.

You’ll get exercise, great food, and a gorgeous sunset. And you’ll officially be part of the “eat and walk” program.

 

A Viking Funeral

Ballard’s Viking Tavern closed, at the age of 53, on May 1, 2013. I was sad to see it go. There were the obvious things I loved about the Viking: It was close to my home. Visitors could tie their dog up outside and keep an eye on it through the large picture window. Sometimes those same dogs could sneak into the bar with impunity. It had bar stools and vinyl booths whose authenticity mocked the doofus hipsters who found it all ironic. You could get a drink for $5 or so. The pulled pork sandies were so delicious, and made more so by the pickle spear on the side.

VikingTavern

Those were the obvious loveable bits. The less obvious was it being a friendly, unpretentious, and inexpensive place in a neighborhood that is beginning to struggle on two of those counts. I will give that Ballard is still a very friendly neighborhood. I love my neighbors. But it’s become expensive and a bit pretentious. No longer a welcome place for the working class people who settled it for many long decades, while Ballard was home to fishermen, builders, shingle makers, and all manner of skilled workers. You know—the people who know how to make the things and fix the things that make our comfortable lifestyle possible.

Full disclosure: I’m one of the yuppies who moved into this neighborhood and made it more expensive for everyone. Three years ago, I paid way too much for my tiny and adorable house. Before that, I was a renter in Ballard.

Sidenote: With that mea culpa on the books, I’d like to partially redeem myself by sharing that I unyuppified myself a bit by quitting my stressful and joyless corporate gig last year. Like a smoker who quit the habit before dying, I naturally bore all and sundry by encouraging them to quit their corporate gigs also.

But if you’re one of those who doesn’t have a white collar job, or wishes you didn’t, you might be feeling squeezed out by high housing and entertainment costs in Ballard. The Viking was a remedy to that. Just a fun place to relax and talk to friends and strangers, without spending a ton.

If you’re in the mood for the Viking atmosphere, I’m happy to say there are still a very few places left in Ballard to cater to you. (And, readers, if you know of more, list them in comments!):

The Sloop: I love this place. The fish fry is pretty darn ok. As is the one-liter Sloopersized beer. Although the Viking can’t be replaced, this is a good alternative.

Vera’s: An old school diner with all the foods you’d expect. Lots of regulars seem to come here for breakfast.

Ballard Smoke Shop: Both a diner and a dive bar. Theoretically, you could come for early breakfast and stay to drink all day. The place only closes from 2 am to 6 am.

Like all good things, the Viking lives on in memory.

–Carola Klass

Random Night Out

We love cities. And we love Seattle.  We’re two friends who were out drinking (perhaps a bit too heavily) one night, and decided to share our love of all random things Seattle. Sure, we were out at a bar, but we do all kinds of things in and around the city. We’re going to write about them. And we hope you write back! Add comments whenever you want, we’d love to read them.

You might be asking: “What bar were you at (perhaps drinking a bit too heavily) when you decided to create this blog?” Star Brass Works Lounge in Georgetown. Georgetown is the best—gritty, friendly, low-key, with a good urban vibe. I’m guessing you already know the area. If you don’t, no need to admit it—just take a quick look at this map (the red star marks Star Brass Works Lounge).

StarBrassWorksLounge

Eric was our bartender. In the piccie, he’s just about to work one of his best magic tricks: pouring a drink. All kinds of friendly people were at the bar that night. One man, though, won the triple crown of bar prizes: most drunk, most talkative, and most opinionated. The opinionated came into play when he started disparaging high consumption of crap in our society, especially around Christmas. We agreed with him on that.

He was just talking crap, and some ideas might have gotten lost or mistranslated in the slurring of words. The real moral of this story is: when you’re out and about in Seattle, talk to your fellow citizens. If you do it while you’re at a bar, you’re also spending money locally. Way better than supporting high consumption by buying weird, mass-produced items. That’s right, what I’m saying is, going out drinking is a great way to support Seattle.

EricStarBrassWorks

To sum up our first post: visit Star Brass Works Lounge! While you’re at it, take a walk around Georgetown. Let us know what you think.

Cheers to a random 2014 in Seattle!

–Carola Klass