Christmas in Seattle.

My brother lives in Seattle, so we (my parents, sister, brother-in-law, husband, baby, two cousins, aunt and uncle) decided to rent an Air B&B in the Capital Hill Neighborhood not too far from my brother’s apartment. The house was great, except that it had this circus theme with dozens of bizarre circus-related posters and prints on the walls, featuring circus acts and attractions of yesteryear. So, for example, upon waking up from a long afternoon nap, you might find yourself staring into the sad, exploited eyes of a bathing-suit clad bearded lady, or at the unsettlingly anamorphic and viscerally indecent-looking thighs of a group of lady elephants.

Seattle Skyline 2

View of Seattle from Gas Works Park on Lake Union.

Anyway, because I don’t exactly love D.C., (despite my half-hearted attempts at making myself love it) every time I go somewhere new, I go half wondering (hoping?) it’s the city/place of my dreams. Seattle is nice enough, but I didn’t love it. Maybe I’m just too used to the tidiness and compactness of East Coast cities. Seattle seemed a little too grungy and spread out, in my humble opinion. Plus, there’s the whole lack-of-sun thing. Am I an east coast elitist partial to neoclassical and Georgian style architecture? Am I a boring suburban mom who craves organized uniformity? Is it a crime to want a little old-world quaintness and charm? I don’t know. All I know is that the cloudiness doesn’t help; I need the sun. I know, I know…the summers are fantastic, the skies cloudless and blue, the days long and luxurious. But to that I say: The winters aren’t. My soul would be dark and shapeless in a Seattle winter, and it would also probably smell like mildew. What can I say: I’m solar-powered. When the sun sets, so do my ambitions, creativity and energy. If I moved to Seattle, I’d be a sad, smelly blob on the couch for half the year, probably living vicariously through Caribbean House Hunters International reruns. So although I enjoyed my visit, I’m 99.9% sure Seattle isn’t the city for me.

Seattle Skyline 1

View of skyline with space needle from Gas Works Park. So many clouds.

Downtown Seattle

Walking to downtown from Capital Hill.

But there were some things I liked.

For example, it’s so green, even in winter. There are places you can go (e.g. small pockets at the arboretum) where you can half convince yourself it’s summer, as long as you ignore the slight chill in the air. You see every shade of green, from neon to deep olive, and that somewhat makes up for the winter cloudiness. On some mornings, the air smelled damp and earthy, which I found refreshing. And it doesn’t get that cold.

University of Washinton Arboretum

Trails at the University of Washington Arboretum, a short walk from our Capital Hill Air B&B. It was like being in the “The Secret Garden!”

 I liked the West Seattle/Alki Point neighborhood. It was laid back, scenic and quiet. If I had to live in Seattle, this is where I’d want to live. I really enjoyed the Schmitz Preserve trails, which make you feel like you’re in a rainforest. You really can’t compare east coast nature to west coast nature; the natural landscape of the American West is just so superior that our undramatic little east coast mountains seem boring in comparison.

Schmitz Preserve Park 1

Schmitz Preserve Park in Alki Point in West Seattle. It was like “The Land Before Time.”

Schmitz Preserve Park 2

Walking the trails at Schmitz Preserve. This park reminded me of the scene in “Wild” where it’s pouring and Cheryl Strayed runs into the Llama, the grandma and the little boy.

The drive from Seattle to Leavenworth was pretty spectacular: Jagged, snow-capped mountains and tall, snow-frosted pines along a windy highway surrounded by mossy forests. Leavenworth itself was a Bavarian Disneyland so bad it’s good.

Drive Leavensworth

It was like being inside Christmas!


The relentlessly hokey town of Leavenworth.

Next time I’ll visit in summer.

Categories: Uncategorized

2 replies

  1. Leavenworth reminds me of Mittenwald. Glad you had a nice visit! Perhaps Seattle in the Summer would be a better fit – I heard the hiking is great!

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