We were in Seattle for a few days.
A bustling, vibrant city with an accessible, down-to-earth vibe and boundless beauty and charm, Seattle is one of my favorite places to visit. We're lucky to have family and friends there, and I hope we always do.
#1) Seattle and San Francisco have a lot in common--just the hills, preponderance of coffee shops, and susceptibility to inclement coastal weather could make the two hard to distinguish--but Seattle feels decidedly more masculine than San Francisco.
San Francisco: pastels, gingerbread Victorians, beaux-arts facades. Seattle: None of that silliness.
Seattle: Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon... San Francisco: conventions, ticky-tacky tourism.
#2) The overpowering north-south axis. Seattle is all about going north or south. Surely I'm not the only one who's noticed... Are you like me--do you have a strong, innate sense of the cardinal directions? Do you know what direction you're moving in, almost always? In Seattle, it's pretty much either north or south. With Puget Sound on the west and Lake Washington on the east, there isn't anywhere else to go. Unless you take a ferry. #2.5) Islands, lots of them.
#3) Astonishing botanical diversity. Plants you can ID on the side of the road driving by on the freeway in the Bay Area: quercus, acacia, cotoneaster, pyracantha, melaleuca, eucalyptus, baccharis, oleander, brooms. In Seattle: Pinus, picea, abies, taxus, cedrus, sequoia, thuja, cryptomeria, fagus, magnolia, populus, corylus, betula, ilex, malus, prunus, acer, fraxinus, arbutus, hamamelis, platanus, laurus--ET CETERA. Buddleia volunteers in abandoned parking lots. Hydrangeas reach the eaves in neglected front yards. A representative sidewalk planting in residential Seattle looks like this:
Or, maybe you prefer vegetables.
If you're ever in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood you must see this front garden (okay, yes, it's a gingerbread).
Designed by Glenn Withey and Charles Price, surely this is one of the best front gardens...anywhere.
Come back later and I'll have some pictures of the Japanese garden in Washington Park and the Conservatory in Volunteer Park.