Photo of the Week: The Seattle Waterfront

 

Each Wednesday I’ll be spotlighting a different photo from my travels around the world.

This weeks photo comes from a place near and dear to my heart,  Seattle.  Growing up I took my location for granted, always longing to go elsewhere, but now, after having traveled to more than 35 countries, I can honestly say Seattle is one of my favorite cities in the world.  I’m always so excited to get back to explore more of this place I called home for so long, and my favorite way to explore?  Well, just like Dr. McDreamy, I love my ferry rides, and this view of Seattle’s waterfront proves why.  You can get some pretty incredible views!

Feeling the Peace at Lake Bonaparte

 

 

In the Okanogan region of Washington state, 20 miles from the nearest town and down a dusty gravel road is Lake Bonaparte.  Surrounded by tree covered mountains teaming with wildlife, the view couldn’t be more gorgeous, and as we pulled up to our cabin on the lakes edge I knew I was going to get just what I came for, peace and quiet.

Although Lake Bonaparte isn’t a small lake, speedboats and jet ski’s aren’t allowed, and, while I usually prefer to zip around a lake with the wind and water in my face, the opportunity to enjoy pure stillness is so rare, that in the end I felt more rested than I had in years.  Often, as I sat on the shore, reading a book the only noise that would break the silence was the distant cry of a loon, which also sounds eerily like a wolf howling, and I’ll admit it, I went running the first time I heard it.

Lake Bonaparte

For those of you wondering what the heck you do on a lake if you can’t speed around it, the answer is fish.  Apparently it’s one of the best lakes for making a big catch in the region.  I don’t fish.  I don’t have the attention span for it, but I did see some people hauling in some big ones.  So if your heart leaps for fishing, this is a lake to visit.

I do however swim, and Lake Bonaparte is a great swimming lake.  See I have this phobia of things touching my feet when I’m in water, and so many lakes I swim in are full of seaweed.  I know it’s irrational, but when seaweed touches my legs I have a panic attack.  Lake Bonaparte does not have seaweed.  At least not in the swimming area.  So, in the afternoon, when the hot eastern Washington sun forced the temperature to climb into the 90’s you would find me in the water, for hours, and hours, and hours.

Lake Bonaparte

And for those rare moments I wasn’t in the water, I was looking at it, my eyes peeled for wildlife.  This region of Washington isn’t only home to Northwest usuals like bears, mountain goats, deer and cougars, but occasionally you can hear or spot some rarer creatures.  Although I didn’t have the pleasure of seeing one, we were told Moose are often spotted in some of the shallower areas of the lake, and, while I’m really thankful I didn’t run into a wolf, one of only 5 known wolf packs in Washington call this area home as well.  But really, this lake goes to the birds.  Osprey, Bald Eagles, Cranes and Loon’s are an ever-present site.  I’m not a bird watcher, just like with fishing I don’t have the attention span for it, but I can’t deny that bit of excitement I feel when I spot something you don’t see everyday, I mean, there are some pretty cool birds out there!

Our home for the week was a 1940’s log cabin, complete with bunk beds, an ancient fridge and no bathroom.  It was rustic to say the least, and you will be hard pressed to find anything nicer unless you haul your own RV or trailer up there.  I personally didn’t mind the old-fashioned accommodations, and as a budget traveler, the price was perfect.

Lake Bonaparte

Would I go back to Lake Bonaparte?  Absolutely.  Like I said, I had one of the most relaxing weeks of my life, I got a tan, read 4 books and didn’t empty my bank account.  Perfect.  Would I recommend making a trip to Washington solely to visit there?  No, but, it’s an easy pit-stop off of the amazing Cascade loop and a definitely worth a visit.

Lake Bonaparte Lake Bonaparte

Details

Location: Tonasket, Washington
Activities:  Swimming, fishing, fly fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, relaxing
Places to Stay: Lake Bonaparte Resort, National PArk Service Campground
Boat Rental (Lake Bonaparte Resort): $25/24 hours (rowboat or paddle boat)
Places to eat: The Lake Bonaparte REsort Restaurant has amazing food and it’s surpassingly cheap.
Cost of one night cabin rental at Lake Bonaparte Resort: $50, each cabin can fit up to 6 people.

Tips

– To save money grocery shop for everything you need before you get there.  There’s a Walmart in Omak and a grocery store in both Republic and Tonasket.  Unfortunately, if you forget something you’ll have a pretty decent drive back to town.

–  If you’re staying in a cabin they have a full size fridge and a pretty lousy hot-plate to cook on.  There is no cookware, plates or utensils, so you will have to bring your own.  I also recommend bringing a BBQ, gas stove or fire pit grill.  If you try to cook only on the hot plate you might never have hot food, or coffee for that matter.

–  It does get chilly at night so make sure you bring warm clothes and a warm sleeping bag.

Pike Place Market Seattle

A Stroll Through Pike Place Market

Growing up in Seattle few places captivated me the way Pike Place Market did.  The vibrancy, the colors, the culture.  Pike Place Market is pure northwest and pure Seattle.

Pike Place Market Seattle

Originally opened in 1907, Pike Place is one of the oldest continuously operated farmers markets in the US. Today, among the throngs of tourists hoping to catch a shot of a flying fish or waiting in an obnoxiously long line just to say they grabbed a latte at the original Starbucks, you’ll still find locals, searching for the freshest produce or the most vibrant flowers for their dining room tables.

Pike Place Market Seattle

As you approach the market from Seattle’s colorful waterfront you may pass through Post Alley, a narrow street that winds it’s way around the shops surrounding the market and is also home to the world famous gum wall.  A place where people from near or far can become united by sticking their chewed mound of bubblicious on top of someone else’s chewed mound of extra.  Colorful yet disgusting.

Pike Place Market Seattle

When you walk into the south end of the market you’re immediately overwhelmed by the stench of seafood. Straight ahead is the Pike Place Fish Co. with mounds of every type of fish, crustacean and mollusk imaginable packed into mountains of ice.

And then the fish fight starts.  Someone is having seafood for dinner, men are shouting, and suddenly a 3 foot Salmon flies by so fast it’s impossible to capture a picture.

Pike Place Market Seattle

As you turn to explore the rest of the market the salty stench of the sea soon gives way to the sweet aroma of flowers.  Thousands and thousands of flowers, sold by Hmong flower farmers.  Lily’s, daisy’s, peonies, if you can think of a flower, you can find it here, and for cheap!  Most bouquets can be purchased for $5-$10.

Pike Place Market SeattleBut flowers and seafood aren’t the only products you can find at the market.  As you continue to stroll down the hall you’ll see local artisans and farmers selling everything from cherries to organic honey, silver jewelry and tie dye shirts.  A year-round eclectic assortment that rivals any summer street fair.

Pike Place Market Seattle

Just when you’ve reached the end and are ready to brave the line at Starbucks you see a sign that says “lower floor.” And you think, there’s more?

Why yes.

Pike Place Market Seattle

While the top floor has the traditional farmers market vibe, if you journey to the lower floors you’ll find quaint little shops, life-size cardboard cut outs of the cast of “Doctor Who?” and Chinese noodle kitchens, but my favorite part is the curios a la Ripley’s believe it or Not.  Like the shoe of the “Worlds Tallest Man,” an element that truly transports you back 100 years to the time when the market first began and the national public was enamored with oddities and circus sideshows.

Pike Place Market Seattle

So there you have it.  A little stroll through Pike Place market, one of Seattle’s top attractions and a must on any persons visit to Seattle, tourist or local.

Have you visited Seattle’s Pike Place Market?  What did you think?