Thursday, November 18, 2010


I am spending a few days in Seattle. Ray has been here for two days at a conference and I came up on the train yesterday. Today was the last day of Ray's meetings, so I went out and walked around downtown Seattle. We are staying just up the street from the famous Pike Street Public Market.

You can see that it was a gray day in Seattle, but it wasn't raining. I love Seattle so much. I have spent many happy times in this city. Many years ago we came to visit our friends, Kathleen and Gary here several times and I always think of good meals and shopping in the import stores near the waterfront and driving, with them, through the city at night and singing along with the radio. The space needle and near it the beautiful arches of the Pacific Science Center, and of course the market--these were here then and here now. So was the pig at the entrance to the market.

And there have always been street musicians--maybe this very guy was here all those years ago!

And Starbucks. This is where they started. Right here at the Pike Street Market. This used to be the only place you could get Starbucks coffee and it was special and a real treat. The store here at the market still uses the original logo with the bare-breasted, double-tailed mermaid. It was deemed too racy when the company hit it big and became a national chain. I think she's pretty charming.

And the market is most famous for the fish. They put on a big show for tourists of throwing the fish back and forth, but not today. It was business for real.

Something that wasn't here all those years ago was the spectacular new Seattle Public Library, just a few blocks from our hotel. I had driven past it, but never gone inside until today. It was designed by architect Rem Kuhlhaas and while the outside is interesting, the inside is awe-inspiring.

Here is a street view.  When you walk into the library this is what you see:

Beautiful. Glorious, really.

This is a view of the main floor taken from the second floor balcony. The patterns are a carpet with photographic images. When you are there, walking on the carpet it appears to be random, abstract. When you view it from above it resolves into grasses and leaves.

Near the entrance there is a compact little gift shop and next to it a coffee/snack bar. The lower left in this photo is an auditorium set into the main floor and descending down to the bottom floor. Light, space, utility and beauty. One more thing to love about Seattle.


  1. Well, that was fun. I used to get to Seattle once or twice each year. Doing watercolor workshops in Cannon Beach, we flew to Seattle as it was so much easier than Portland from Charlotte. I came to love many of the things you describe and miss that visit. It has been 8 years.

  2. racy? Why didn't they give her a bra and keep her?

  3. Thanks for the library photos. I did a project a couple of years ago on it and it's nice to see 'live' shots of the place.

  4. One of my favorite places to visit also. I am quite sure the original Starbucks was where I tasted my first Cafe Mocha. The market is always a hoot. But, am I ever envious of your visit to the new library. It looks incredible.

  5. Anonymous10:32 AM

    My grandparents lived in Bellingham. We always stopped at the Seattle waterfront & market on our way to visit them.
    My favorite as a child was the Olde Curiosity Shoppe with the mummified cowboy. I know that predated Starbucks!

  6. The library was the only sightseeing I got to do when Jerry and I were in Seattle for some medical stuff a couple of years ago. I loved it, too; blogged about it at the time: . I didn’t notice that cool carpet, though; I wonder whether it was in place at the time and I just overlooked it?

  7. Happy Anniversary! We're celebrating here in Atlanta, and wonder if you are back home or still in Seattle. Can you believe you and Ray have been married 40 years? The time has flown by for us!
    Thanks for the tour of Seattle, which is also one of our favorite cities. Next time I'm there I'll need to check out the library.

    Enjoy your day, and bask in the knowledge that you have spent 40 years in a loving relationship with a special person!


  8. The hotel we stay at is right across the street from the library, and we go through it almost every time we are in Seattle. The first time we were ever in the city we lived in Kansas and were absolutely stunned by the Pike Street Market. Had my first sushi there.

    Because of your trip, Jer and I are going to the Picasso exhibit in December -- thanks for the reminder!
    Oh, and my bridesmaids wore red velvet dresses; mine was white velvet; they were made by a cousin; and the ladies auxiliary of the volunteer fire company set up the reception hall and made the cake(s). Our radiator froze, so we borrowed my father's car for our honeymoon trip -- in a snowstorm. Ah youth!

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