Home > Personal > Seattle and the San Juan Islands

Seattle and the San Juan Islands

Two weeks ago, Ashley and I were lucky enough to spend a week in the beautiful city of Seattle.  Although this was a business trip for me, we were fortunate that not only could Ashley get time off from her job, but we had a day on either side of the conference to explore what amounted to one of the most incredible cities and surrounding areas we’ve ever visited.  This has long been a dream destination for Ashley and I and we wanted to share some of that experience.

The conference itself was located at the beautiful Bell Harbor International Convention, which is situated on one of the more picturesque waterfront locations.  Staying right in the heart of the city, we were within walking distance of Pike’s Place Market, the myriad coffee, tea, and spice shops, and a stone’s throw from the water.

But enough of me blabbering on…it’s time to get on with the pictures 🙂

As you can see below, the city itself is an amazing dichotomy of luxury high-rise office space, prestine condos with what have to be stunning views, and smaller “homes” that are a combination of classic Charleston-style row houses and house boats.  It’s an amazing mix of commercial, office, and residential space that is clean and modern and feels like it is part of the surrounding natural beauty.

What’s a visit to Seattle without a stop at the Space Needle.  It might have been where we were in the city, but considering the size of the structure, it’s more or less hidden from view from many of the vantage points within the western portion of the city.  Fun fact: The Needle is built to withstand winds of up to 200 mph and earthquakes of up to 9.1 magnitude.

I think Ashley felt like she was in Sleepless in Seattle, half expecting Tom Hanks to walk out of one of these prestine house boats.  Well that and she kept mentioning that she had to meet “someone” at the top of the Space Needle.

Unlike some other “must-see” attractions that amount to a side-show at the county fair, Pike’s Place Market is literally a treasure trove of vendors selling anything from spices, finger foods, and everything in between.

The fact that the entire market is an empty ghost-town by morning  and a bustling shopping extravaganza by mid-day never ceased to amaze me.  The amount of work to break down and reassemble the entire vendor area daily is astounding.

The tulip and fruit/veggie vendors were our favorites.  Nothing like walking into the market with a few spare dollars and leaving with a bag full of fruit.

For one of our “open” days, we decided to meander our way North towards Anacortes as we set our sights on the San Juan Islands.  Since taking a ferry to the San Juan Islands long-seemed just a pipe dream, we were more than a little excited about the day-trip.

Living in the Lowcountry and having never traveled through the Rocky Mountains or any other large mountain chain, the Smoky Mountains seem big.  That is until we started making our way north along Interstate 5.  The views, although tough to capture in pictures, were simply breath-taking.

Just about half-way to Anacortes, we pulled off the Interstate and started making our way along more local roads.  As we were motoring through the Skagit Valley, we noticed a rainbow of color off in the distance.  Getting closer, we realized what we were seeing were rows upon rows of Tulips.  We later learned that 27th Annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival was in full-swing and we were treated with views we won’t soon forget.

Our final destination was Friday Harbor, which is a picturesque fishing town situated on the Southeast corner of San Juan Island.  Although we were visiting during the off-season, I can imagine it is a hot-bed of activity during the late Spring and Summer months as the Southern resident Orca population returns to the area.

Although we were several weeks early, there had been some transient Orca spotted in the area, so we took our chances and booked a 3-hour tour on the Western Prince.  Although we were unable to track down and spot any whales, the naturalist on-board was an absolute trip and we made the best of the time.  We will no doubt return some day during the peak season.

Other highlights from the trip included visiting:

  • Gasworks Park
  • Wallingford/Freemont (where Dave Matthews has a home 😉 )
  • Whidbey Island
  • Discovery Park
  • Deception Pass / Rosario Beach

For the entire gallery of photographs from the trip, visit – Seattle Gallery

~ Adam and Ashley

  1. May 11, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Great pictures! The fields are unbelievable. Looks like a great time.

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