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birthday trip

It’s definitely our year for great birthday presents — for Nancy’s birthday, her brother Robert plus nephew Aaron and niece Shelby flew out from the midwest to spend a week!

The first day we visited the local Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

Then we hit the road for the three hour drive to the center of downtown Seattle, where we checked in to the penthouse suite (ooh ahh!) of a resort hotel. It was our home base for the rest of the week, and we walked pretty much everywhere went went. Of course we had to visit the Space Needle and have lunch at the revolving restaurant at the top, with its view of Mount Ranier southeast of the city.


Close by the Space Needle is the Experience Music Project, a very interactive musical history museum. Nancy and I spent most of our time in the Jimi Hendrix exhibit. My favorite display was a mixing board where you could try your hand at re-mixing some famous Hendrix songs.

One day, we took a one hour boat tour of Elliott Bay, the part of Puget Sound where Seattle is located. The view from the harbor shows clearly how much larger Seattle is than Portland. Seattle is also much busier working port.

(click to see the full image)

The tour guide told us some interesting facts about Puget Sound. As an offshoot of the Pacific Ocean, it contains deep-dwelling octopuses up to 20 feet long, even in Elliott Bay itself. She also explained that Seattle gets much less rain than Portland, because the wet Pacific winds are blocked by the high mountains of the Olympic Peninsula. But paradoxically, it gets fewer sunny days than Portland does, so the sunny warm weather we had all week was very atypical.

Shelby on deck: too cool for school

Another thing that Seattle has lots of is art, whether in museums, galleries, or in the many many coffee shops all over downtown. I must confess that I can spend a looooooong time in an art museum, so Nancy, Robert, Aaron, and Shelby often had to do some waiting outside, strolling the grounds; after the first museum they figured out that they could just leave me there, go on and do some shopping and come back and get me later! :-)

On our last day in Seattle, we finally connected up with our friend Mary who lives on Queen Anne Hill, just north of downtown Seattle. This just happens to be the same neighborhood where Frasier Crane lives (for fans of the Cheers or Frasier tv shows). Mary took us to one of her favorite local restaurants, and then showed us the view of the city at night from a park very close to her house.

Mary had also provided us ahead of time with a long list of the great things to see and do in downtown Seattle, which made it easy for us to have a great time. Thanks, Mary! We’ll definitely be back :-)

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