Dad and Lady do Seattle

As you know, I’ve been looking forward to an inter-holiday visit from my parents for the past several months.  Now that I live on this side of the Mississippi (and within driving distance of Reno), they wanted to come see my place, explore Seattle and spend time yours truly.

This meant getting the house into parent-ready state, of course, but it also meant putting together an appropriately fun and exciting itinerary for the three and a half days they’d be here.  After all, I have to maintain my status of Favorite Uncle even if there aren’t any grandkids involved!

They arrived late Saturday afternoon.  After hugs and a quick tour of chez moi, we headed out for a low-key dinner of tacos at my favorite taqueria in Wallingford . . .


. . . followed by an evening screening of Into the Woods.

My parents saw a local production of this musical in Oregon back in the mid-90s and haven’t stopped talking about it since.  And since it’s my favorite Sondheim musical, it seemed like an obvious way to kick off the weekend!

Sunday morning dawned bright and boring with three hours of church, the effects of which I quickly countered with a lunch/sightseeing/shopping trip to Pike Place Market.

We started with lunch at Pear Delicatessen, which makes terrific sandwiches and sells a variety of other tasty goodies.

Once our tummies were full, we wandered through the market, past the fish-throwing fishmongers and lovely florist stands.  We snagged a dozen fresh-made donuts from the Daily Dozen and ate them overlooking the Puget Sound.  Then we stopped at Frank’s Quality Produce and picked up some vegetables to make a hermit’s stew at home.

And of course we couldn’t leave the market without grossing out over the infamous Gum Wall.


We spent the rest of the evening at home making dinner, talking and introducing my parents to all my favorite BBC television shows (QI was not a hit; Orphan Black, however, had it’s typical addictive effect).

On Monday morning we ventured into the wilds of Seattle’s Magnolia Park, a large natural area (and possibly military base) on a peninsula that juts out into the Puget Sound.  The hills were steep, the parking illegal, and the views stunning.  You’d never guess that there was a major city just around the bend.


Once we felt we’d pushed our luck with the parking police long enough, we climbed back in the car and headed to Tilikum Place Cafe, where we warmed ourselves with a hearty brunch.


Warm and well-fed, we headed back out into the sunny cold for our next adventure — this time aboard a WWII amphibious vehicle driven by a crazy man with a duck-shaped kazoo.


The duck tour was silly and fun; short on history and facts but long on lighthearted sightseeing.

Crossing the Aurora bridge. The duck put us up high enough to see over the cement guardrail.
Great view of Lake Union and the Cascades in the distance.
In the water!  We didn’t sink!
Some super-nice houseboats on Lake Union.
Gasworks Park and a sailboat.  My house is only a couple of blocks behind that green knoll.

One fun thing about the duck tour is that it runs right past my house.  In the summer, when I have the windows open, I hear those things passing every twenty minutes.  It gets to where I know exactly where I am in the soundtrack, and every time, I hear the driver saying loudly, into the microphone, “Okay, now, we’re going into a residential district, so I’m going to be quiet for a while.”  I told my parents that I was planning to call the company and ask them to make that announcement about 30 seconds earlier, so they’d be quiet by the time they passed my house.  Our driver must have a hidden mind-reading talent, because this time, as we passed my house, he blared out, “Okay, now, we have to be quiet here because there’s a person here who has hateful personality disorder and complains when I am too loud.”  Ha!

The duck tour started and ended near the Seattle Center, which is where the Space Needle is, as well as a bunch of other museums, arts/sports venues and food courts.  We stopped long enough to refresh ourselves with a kebab before heading into the Chihuly Museum.

One sign of good art is that every time you see it, you find something new.
For example, this time I discovered some tiny cherubs posing immodestly amongst the
abstract shapes of Chihuly’s Persian Ceilings.

Once we’d had our fill of art and culture, we went home for dinner and 18 episodes of Orphan Black.

Tuesday dawned brighter and even colder than the day before, so it worked out well that I’d planned a day of (mostly) indoor activities.  Seattle, as you may know, is kind of the birthplace of modern commercial aviation — Mr. Boeing set up shop here in the early 1900s and his company continues to crank out a significant share of the world’s airliners.  I got us tickets to tour the Boeing manufacturing plant in Mukilteo (a town about 40 mins north of Seattle) so we could see how the proverbial sausage is made.


All personal items and electronics (including phones and cameras) were strictly forbidden, so no pictures, but I will say that the tour was super interesting and I’d recommend it to anyone if they’ve got the time.  I was particularly impressed with the scale of the operations — the planes are built in a building that is the largest in the world by volume; each plane has millions of components, and yet the whole thing was spotlessly clean and exceedingly organized.

After seeing the manufacturing plant, we drove to the other Boeing campus (in Renton, about 20 mins south of Seattle) to see the Museum of Flight, where we saw an impressive collection of historical and current airplanes and spacecraft.  We even got to climb inside a few of them!

Lady and me before boarding a sales model of Boeing’s new Dreamliner.
(New goal: Fly on one of those planes!)
The Concorde.  It’s astonishing to think of a 3-hour transatlantic flight.
Airforce One.  This one served Kennedy, Johnson and maybe one or two more.
It was cool to see the ancient telephones and Mid-Century design aesthetic.

By the time we’d finished with the museum, it was time to head back into town for dinner and a movie.  We had reservations at the very tasty Boat Street Cafe (where I failed to take any photos) and tickets to a late showing of final installment of The Hobbit at Cinerama, a stylistically retro but technologically cutting edge movie house downtown.

The time flew by and before we knew it, it was Wednesday and time for Lady and Dad to drive back home.  We spent our last morning making waffles and fresh orange juice before loading the car for the long drive home.  It was a fun time, and I can’t wait for the next time they visit!


  1. Vanessa · · Reply

    Looks like you need a membership at Chihuly! Loved it. All the best for 2015.


  2. The whole trip was so fun! It was great to get to spend so much time with our favorite oldest son. Jason is a fabulous host!


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