For starters, I got an outline of what a couple of the city's residential neighborhoods are like. I stayed with Brian, who lives in the Madrona neighborhood, due east of downtown on the other side of Capitol Hill. He lives above a coffee shop, where he went and got me a scone and the Times in the mornings. We took the bus downtown. Glenn stayed with Lee, who lives in what I believe to be Ravenna, north of the University district. Lee, Brian, Glenn and I had dinner at a nice Italian restaurant nearby (Marcello's), where Lee is a well-known regular. We drove around the University, and stopped at a retro branch of Top Pot donuts. All that added up to a sense of the city a random tourist might not experience.
I began my trip hanging out with about half a dozen friends at the Elysian brewpub in Capitol Hill, and I finished up my trip by meeting up with some friends of Brian's for drinks at Barca, also in what I believe to be Capitol Hill, followed by a brief walk to a nice Greekish sort of restaurant, then back again for beers at C.C. Attle's. All that, for me, contributes to a sense of connecting to a city and its life.
I did many Guidebook things as well.
My first morning in Seattle, Brian and I headed down to Susan Dennis's place in Pioneer Square. Susan herself can be considered something of a pioneer, given the general reputation of that area when she first moved there. But now Pioneer Square seems to be on the upswing, and it is Susan's Home with a capital H. It was such a beautiful sunny day that we walked to Pike Place Market, looking at the buildings and hearing Susan's neighborhood tales. We went to Pike Place Market because I have this great memory of my first (of now three) trips to Seattle, 20 years ago, when I found what seemed to be a restaurant out of time overlooking the Sound, with a menu that could have come from the 1940s. I actually ordered shad roe. The crowd I'd met at the Elysian the previous night, on my memory description, all agreed that I was looking for The Athenian Inn. It was just the perfect place for us. There was no shad roe this time, so I had clam hash, Susan had corned beef hash, and Brian had something equally quaint. The server was silly as can be, and the view over the Sound was stunning. We walked back along the Waterfront.
After we left Susan, Brian and I picked Glenn up at the airport. Glenn, despite the travails of travel, was game for driving around the city. Brian took us to the Queen Anne neighborhood, in quest of tiny Kerry Park which offers wondrous views of the city and Sound. But Brian wasn't entirely sure where to go, so we had some great meandering drives and strolls through some very fancy neighborhoods, with hidden drives and walkways you would have trouble finding on purpose. We found the Betty Bowen Viewpoint, and ultimately Kerry Park itself. From there we drove across the bridge to Ballard, and thence to Golden Gardens where there is something of a beach by a park, a perfect spot for Morris Dancing. Glenn waded in the water. Then it was east to meet Lee at his place in Ravenna. That's a full afternoon.
On day two, Brian and I met Lee and Glenn at Pike Place Market, for the standard tour and walk. Since my trip two decades ago there seem to be more shops that cater to foodies. In addition to the fish and vegetable stalls, there are shops that sell olive oils and handmade cheeses and truffle cream and Spanish chocolate and good wines. I want to return to Seattle just so I can organize an appetizer party, for the luxury of shopping in the morning at the market when there is a reason to buy the luscious tempting edibles. For lunch Lee had arranged for us to eat at the VERY tiny and VERY wonderful Matt's In The Market, where each of us ordered the wild boar sausage risotto. After lunch we walked around some more, ending our visit at the new Seattle Public Library. Brian and I continued up the hill, to an Internet cafe, and I got to see some more examples of the sort of hillside apartments that pepper the city. And that was pretty much all the time I had.
By popular demand, I close with another picture of the boys, this one courtesy Lee. They don't look like such twins here, but the key thing to note is that at the time this picture was taken Glenn had been up for well over 24 hours. I think you can see it in his eyes.