Tireless in Seattle
Three Destinations, Two Moms, One Memorable Trip
Written by Heather KW Brown | Photography courtesy of Destination Hotels Collection; Chihuly Glass & Garden; Dollar Photo Club
Lewis and Clark we weren’t, but with itineraries packed tighter than our suitcases, the promise of expeditions in previously chartered territory was just as thrilling. Reconnaissance of three destinations in 72 hours might sound challenging, but as moms typically on the run, we knew how to manage our time and exactly where to stay to make the most of it. Antsy for adventure and stocked with stamina, we set out to see Seattle and two other Washington state escapes.
On the Waterfront
A 15-minute drive from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and a warm welcome were exactly what we needed to kickstart our quest through the Northwest. The first of three boutique properties we would visit within the Destination Hotels Pacific Northwest Collection, The Woodmark Hotel, Yacht Club and Spa sits on the shores of Lake Washington and is the only Seattle-area lakefront lodging available. Here, nautical couches, a fireplace and amazing views of both the city and the Olympic Mountains assist in greeting guests into what immediately feels like a waterfront home.
From the balcony of our well appointed room, we debated an afternoon of paddle boarding, kayaking or a cruise aboard a private boat reserved just for guests, but ultimately, we decided to bike into the suburban town of Kirkland for lunch and a little shopping. It’s worth noting here that when I say biked, I mean we pedaled for less than 20 minutes. Total. Fear not, we didn’t burn nearly enough calories to even warrant calling it exercise; however, the ride home could have been tricky balancing too many shopping bags had we let willpower slip away inside Crush, a store specializing in unique and hard-to-find shoes.
Back at the hotel with enough time to explore the property’s onsite spa, cozy library and casual Beach Café, we were more than ready for dinner at bin on the lake, where Executive Chef Matthew Steffen graciously spoiled us with incredible Northwest fare. I’d love to be able to recreate his tomato soup with white cheddar and grilled bread and should culinary talent descend just for one day, I also wouldn’t complain about whipping up his S’mores bread pudding with bacon, bourbon anglaise … ahem, and the ricotta doughnut holes with strawberry jam, peanut cream and aged balsamic. A girl can dream is all I’m saying. Thankful for the pampered palate, we left the suburbs of Seattle and headed toward the Cascade Mountains.
In the Mountains
As the topography changed during our drive, so too, did our dispositions. Less than two hours in the car rarely, if ever, counts as a road trip for Atlantans, but sophisticated are-we-there-yet moments quietly surfaced, due no doubt, to anticipation of all that Suncadia Resort and Lodge, A Destination Hotel, has to offer. Awaiting our arrival was the majestic mountain lodge we would temporarily call home, not to mention miles of biking and hiking trails we would have covered, if not for scheduled treatments at Glade Spring Spa.
Located in Cle Elum (a city that few outsiders, ourselves included, can pronounce on the first try), this mountain resort is a haven for families and anyone with the slightest inclination for outdoor activities. For Seattle residents, it’s a quick commute into Mother Nature’s Playground regardless of the season. For us, it was a welcome respite in the woods, where normally we’d opt to run for hours. Instead, we chose to chill. Ready to unwind, we wandered into the mineral springs for a quick dip. Not long after, I sank into my table for the Evergreen Mountain Escape treatment, a head-to-toe organic experience that surpasses most signature massages — largely because of the warmed herbal booties and scalp massage. Relaxed doesn’t begin to describe my demeanor even before I sauntered fireside with champagne in one hand and a good book in the other. It sounds rough,I know, but we earned it.
Earlier in the day, we ate a hearty breakfast at Portals, the high-end restaurant onsite, and donned our warmest duds for a day on the water with Trout water Fly Fishing, the property’s exclusively contracted outfitter for fly fishing and river rafting excursions. Our expert guide, Johnny Boitano, whisked us from the resort, fit us with waders and the next thing we knew, we were casting for trout. The sun dodged the clouds as often as we recast our flies, but we outran the rain and each of us triumphantly caught two trout.
We adjusted nicely to mountain life, venturing later into the neighboring town of Roslyn, once the setting for the 1990s hit television show, “Northern Exposure.” There, we drank craft beer with locals at the town watering hole, better known by some as the world famous Brick Saloon. It was the perfect nightcap to our journey.
Sleeping in isn’t an option for many moms, but when said women are sent to the Pacific Northwest for a girls getaway in the mountains, let’s just say the view from our balcony of the 2.2-million acre Wenatchee Washington National Forest proved equally impressive an hour later. Our well-equipped two-room lodge was hard to leave, but city life in Seattle beckoned and so did its coffee shops.
Around the City
Here’s what everyone already knows about Seattle: it’s a very cool city, you’ll need an umbrella, the seafood is incredible and lattes are liquid works of art.
Finally settled in the Emerald City, named for its lush greenery in every direction, we were more than ready touncover what we didn’t know about Seattle. Since we couldn’t stop time, speeding up was the only option, and Espresso Vivace did not disappoint. Another favorite we discovered, Slate Coffee Bar, serves deconstructed espressos in wine glasses but requires an extended detour and a fair amount of good vision to find.
Our caffeine kick combined with the incredible convenience of Motif, our third Destination Hotel experience, nestled right n the heart of the city’s energy and culture couldn’t have been more perfect. The striking upscale property, located on Fifth Avenue between Pike and Union Streets is perched with prime access to many of Seattle’s landmarks and has the largest outdoor deck in all of downtown. Pike Place Market is easy to identify, thanks to its iconic sign. So too, is Pioneer Square, where the original Starbucks coffee shop resides — this fact we didn’t know until we saw a never-ending line down the sidewalk and a bunch of people snapping photos. Hands free of recycled cups, we shopped with little inhibition in Pike Place Market, where we tried anything and everything made with lavender — tea, lotion, skin balm, cookies, ice cream — as well as in many fashion-forward shops like Alhambra. In true journalistic style, we pulled up a stool for a necessary lunch of clam chowder and seafood tacos.
Topping our list of places to see was the amazing work of Dale Chihuly. Located next to Seattle’s famous Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass is packed with brightly colored blown glass pieces promising to take your breath away and leave you wondering how in the world he and his team did that. Throughout the exhibition are details about how he started, how he has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art and plenty of visual proof why his work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide. We opted for the audio tour, slowing down long enough to mosey through each of the eight galleries, the lush Garden and the Glasshouse, which is, as it should be, the centerpiece of the exhibition.
With a Seattle City Pass, the options were endless … should we pop into the Pacific Science Center, view the city from atop the Space Needle or explore the EMP Museum at Seattle Center? EMP, which stands for Experience Music Project, provides locals and guests alike with fascinating exhibits like “Star Wars and the Power of Costumes,” which gives a behind-the-scenes peek at some of the most iconic costumes in film history, music exhibits featuring rare memorabilia owned by Jimi Hendrix, one of Seattle’s favorite sons, and plenty more to keep curious minds entertained for hours. Housed in a 140,000-square-foot building designed by Frank O. Gehry, the EMP Museum was most tempting, but then again, when the sun is out in Seattle, it’s simply too hard to go indoors.
For dinner, we headed to Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails located on the fifth floor of our happening hotel. Amidst its vibrant décor and electric energy, we sipped craft cocktails and enjoyed a final fabulous meal, followed by more drinks outside in front of the über hip fireplace on the expansive deck overlooking the city.
Life is so good in Seattle, even moms on the run can’t help but stop and smell the flowers, even if they are glass.