Helen’s Travel Corner

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Seattle Trip in a (rather large) Nutshell

May 23rd, 2008 · No Comments

Monday night while on the plane to Seattle:

While most travelers have lists of the most exotic locations around the world to visit, I always try to discover as many American cities as I can interspersed with my international travels. On my list of cities to visit in the states is Seattle. As I’m in route and on the airplane typing this, I’m trying to pinpoint exactly what it is about the city that’s intrigued me. Am I just a victim of jumping onboard the Seattle’s environmentally social popularity or is there something else…or does there have to be something else? Besides constant rain, I’ll I’ve heard about Seattle has been good things. From the music scene to the population who all embody a laid-back and environmentally-conscience ethos. Underneath it all, I just want to see for myself what all the hype is about and decide on my own how cool Seattle really is. Maybe somewhere in me, the marketing person wants to owe homage to the birthplace of Starbucks. Really, where would we get our caffeine intakes if Starbucks hadn’t revived and popularized the coffee industry?

So how did I scheme my way into this trip? As usual I’ve found a way through the school system to travel. Grad students at Emerson are allowed to apply for one Personal Development Grant while enrolled. This allows students to attend conferences that will enhance our education beyond the classroom. Since I’m graduating on Monday I thought I better use the grant while I still can. On top of wanting to visit the city, I have relatives and study abroad friends who live out there too….and have been promising to visit them for what seems like decades. The marketing nerd inside of me is really excited about the conference. It’s called MarketSmart; and REI, JetBlue, Dry Soda and the guy behind Nike’s “Just Do It.” slogan will all be there. And of course, I’ll arrive back at Boston knowing all the latest marketing trends!

Fast forward to Sunday morning at my layover to Boston at JFK:

I’ve got about 2 and half hours to kill on my layover back to Boston. I just landed from an overnight flight from Seattle to JFK in NYC. Luckily I got upgraded to business class so it was easier to sleep on the redeye trip that my jet setting self thought was a brilliant idea. My overpriced Starbucks coffee hasn’t quite kicked in yet but while I have time I wanted to do a recap on my trip to Brewtopia. In the end, I give Seattle two thumbs up with a disclaimer that I definitely need to spend more time there. Five days and beautiful sunshine was enough time to get a good tease of the city and have a lingering urge to want to discover more. As short as I can, here’s what consumed my five days.



Coming from Boston which is 3 hours ahead of Seattle time you would think that I would wake up early on my first full day in Seattle; however that wasn’t the case. To my credit, my flight arrived at 10:40pm, my luggage didn’t arrive with me and by the time I chowed down on delicious Thai leftovers and caught up with Ellen and John it was around midnight, so 3am in Boston time, when I finally went to bed (See the end of this posting for all of my family and friends explained). Tuesday was a typical rainy Seattle day and my luggage was supposed to land around 11:30am and be expedited to me shortly after that. Big surprise– that wasn’t exactly the case. By the time 3pm-ish rolled around we got antsy and my aunt Ellen took me to check out 10,000 Villages, a store that practices fair trade and sells a great collection of art, crafts, and home décor from all over the world and displayed everything in color-coded schemes. She had wanted to go for a while and what better excuse to go then share the experience with me! It was a great find and I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in Seattle or another city that has the store. Ellen found a great piece to hang some of her beautiful quilting from while I on the other hand mused what my dream apartment would look like decked out with some the art pieces imported from Africa.


Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo

By the time we got back to the house, my luggage arrived. After dinner it was on to Cirque du Soleil which was an absolute treat courtesy of John and Ellen! I was absolutely mesmerized by the performance. The show lived up to all the hype that I’d drooled over in regards to its stunning acrobatics, creative set and over-the-top performances. One of the acts that stands out is when two of the performers were suspended in the air by holding onto two ropes that extended from the top of the tent to the stage’s floor. Through shear strength they did aerial-esque acrobatics while at one point the ropes were circling and twirling around each other and the two performers swooped over the entire stage’s rounded edges suspended some 60+ feet in the air. The acrobats were lifting themselves into graceful and elegant positions in ways I’m sure my body will never bend. The grace and muscle that was behind the act was mind-blowing and I sat in complete awe watching it. Not to mention enjoying some of the acrobat’s muscular physique!



Kayaking with John on Lake Union

My Uncle John is really big into boating and jumped on the chance to get out on the water with me in town. He steered a rowboat and I kayaked at Lake Union…trying to act as pro as I could. John actually built the kayak that I used! We rode by University of Washington and through the Arboretum. It was amazing how removed we felt from the urban life with the tall evergreens dividing the water from the rest of Seattle. While eating a packed lunch at the Arboretum, we enjoyed the sights of ducks and herons. The weather held out for us and it was a great way to experience Seattle from the water.

REI flagship store

From the interstate REI’s rock climbing wall stands out like a sore thumb. The marketer inside me along with being an avid REI member, I had to check this place out. The store is absolutely massive but what really makes it unique are the grounds surrounding the store. Serving as a mini forest that hides it from most onlookers, REI has trails for hikers and bikers to test equipment. There’s even a waterfall juxtaposed to the entrance! Of course I had to stock up on a couple of necessities for my upcoming trip to China!

Drinks at Prost with Deepak and Amy at the Green Lake area

Amy met up with me at REI and before I knew it we were reminiscing about London over beers at Prost, a very cool neighborhood bar in the vibrant Green Lake area. Deepak and a couple of his friends were there too which made the evening all the better. Conversation is never short of entertaining with my London friends! For example, one of the funniest Tube memories I have is when Deepak and I were openly discussing with everyone in the Tube car our opinions on British kissing techniques! It was one of those scenarios when everyone was listening and cracking a smile while trying to hide the fact….it was hilarious!


This posting is getting long and it’s taking me forever to post it…so the following days are the very condensed updates on my trip J

MarketSmart Conference

It was awesome! I talked to a top marketer at Jet Blue, heard from and bought Scot Bedbury’s book, saw presentations on Dry Soda, REI and Weyerhauser…and won an iPod shuffle! It was a wonderful afternoon filled with networking and marketing which was topped off with a reception overlooking the water.

Dinner with Wes, Susanna and Mihkayla

I hadn’t seen Wes and Susanna since their wedding so it was such a treat to get to hang out with them and see Mihkayla for the first time. Before I knew it I was playing leap frog and doing the chicken dance with Mihkayla who is a little fireball filled with energy and definitely wasn’t shy around me. She equally had a fun time playing with my camera so you can see what Wes and Susanna look like from a two-year-olds perspective!


Susan, Brian, Jessica and Austin arrive

During the day not too much to report on except that Susan, Brian, Jessica and Austin arrived. They literally went straight from the airport to interviews and by the time they got to Ellen and John’s were ready for a little downtime. Austin was in good spirits and to my surprise, didn’t run away from me this time. I had bought him a Boston lobster which he didn’t find that amusing over Easter!

Night out on the Town

The big night out on the town with the London crew was set aside for Friday night. Amy’s boyfriend, Brian, picked me up from John and Ellen’s place where we headed to her apartment. Before meeting everyone for dinner we checked out a dog park at the same place as Cirque du Soleil was held. The place was absolutely massive and a dog heaven with a river and trails so any dog could play to their hearts content.

Dinner was at a Mexican restaurant in Green Lake where the Sangria was surpassed by the pineapple enchilada that I had for dinner. Deepak and his roommates and Megan joined us for an evening of good food with good friends. Next stop was a British pub but to my dismay they only served beer and wine but we all appreciated the London theme. After that, we headed to a fun bar in Fremont where it looked like a lively place for nightlife activities…and we were quick to participate! Before we all crashed at Deepak’s place, we took a quick photo detour to the troll in Seattle.


family | helen\'s travel corner

In the a.m.

The Weiss/Good crew pick me up from Deepak’s and we head to Pike’s Market where I got to see the ORIGINAL STARBUCKS!!! We also sampled Dry Soda which was refreshing with the sun shining so bright for us! Lunch was at Totem Pole beside the Locks and then we checked that out. Chilled back at the Weiss house and had dinner with Wes, Susanna and Mihkala at a Chinese restaurant near Lake Forest Park.

8pm the Shuttle bus picked me up to take me to the airport. Whew…an awesome week and definitely wish I had more time to explore more. Onward to graduation, New York and spending quality time with Mom while playing tourist in my own backyard of Boston…more to come on that.

My friends and family

My trip was packed with visiting friends and family from Seattle. To keep them straight I thought I’d introduce them.

  Aunt Ellen and Uncle John Weiss – Ellen is my aunt via John, my stepdad. They’ve lived in Seattle for around 13 years and put me up in their house for the week. I couldn’t have had better hosts!

Aunt Susan Good– Susan is also my aunt via John, my stepdad. She came in with Brian, Jessica and Austin on Friday to help with Austin.

Brian, Jessica and Austin Good—Brian is Susan’s son and my first cousin. Jessica is his wife and Austin is their adorable son who’s 19 months old. They’re moving to Seattle sometime between now and August and arrived in Seattle on Friday for interviews and to check out neighborhoods. Jessica will be getting a degree in midwifery from University of Washington.

Wes, Susanna and Mikhayla Sweet—Wes is my first cousin via my dad, Alvin, and son of my Aunt Rosemary and Uncle Gary of which Rosemary is my dad’s sister. Susanna is Wes’s wife of 5 years and Mikhayla is their adorable daughter who’s 2 years and 7 months old. They also live in Seattle.

Amy, Deepak, and Megan—These friends comprise my London crew. We all studied together in London fall semester in 2005 and were my closest friends while there. All now live near or around Seattle. Amy’s boyfriend Brian joined us along with Deepak’s roommates and friends when we hit the town on Friday night.

Tags: Places · Seattle · Uncategorized

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