Posted by: Tara Aarness | February 20, 2010

A Life Worth Exploring

With the exceptions of truly inadvisable weather and illness, my family and I regularly take opportunities to enjoy life to the fullest, as most of us are aware, we only get one shot at this rather short life. Our normal interests take us out into the wilds of Washington, and with today’s brilliant early Spring warmth, we headed into a different sort of wild. Downtown Seattle.

The canyon of concrete pointing the way to the Sound

Driving northbound, we noticed the magnolias with their variance of either just blooming or in full bloom, the Japanese Cherry bursting with soft, sweet pink petals, camellias showing off their vibrant, dark pink blossoms against their evergreen leaves, and the sweet scent of Spring filled our senses.

Reaching the heart of Seattle, the scents changed from the life of gardens to the life of the city. Various restaurants emitting tantalizing smells from the world over mingled with the freshly cut flowers vendors offered, and occasionally, Seattle’s signature scent of the Puget Sound marine air that is truly indescribable, kissed our cheeks briefly in welcoming us back to the city of our birth.

One of the many great buildings our city has to offer

Awestruck with the sheer magnitude of beauty that Seattle offers, we popped into our local haunt for a bite to eat and enjoyed the incredible food, as well as unbeatable ambiance. This little well known place truly offers the best of everything Seattle has to offer at a reasonable price. Often busy, we were delighted to find ourselves amidst the rarity of between waves of diners. Just after we ate, we joined other passer byes in the celebration of two people giving their nuptials near this iconic establishment.

The bright sunlight played upon the buildings, casting irregular shadows that even seasoned Seattleites couldn’t resist noticing, and we made our way toward another famous icon – the Pike Place Market. Making our way down the cobblestone streets, we passed people from literally all over the world, as well as many locals. Every nationality, every age range intermingled and conversed while in queue at Le Panier, or while waiting to pass the overly congested streets or halls. Established in 1983 when a Frenchman living in the US was home sick for decent croissants’ and baguettes, he opened Le Panier, the only pastry shop in Seattle where you can get a genuine taste of France.

The iconic Pike Place Market

After exiting the shop with my brown bag full of carbs (at a very low price, I might add), I noticed two young boys of roughly seven or eight years of age, walking toward me, cups of Seattle’s Best Coffee (locally known as Seattle’s Best) in hand. They each complained about the amount of people in the Market and how closely one of them came to spilling their coffee. Only in Seattle, it seems, would this seem natural.

Standing on the street corner waiting for the light to change, my husband nodded to the couple next to us and said, ‘Beautiful day.’ The man replied, ‘Yes, The Mountain’s out and you can see the Olympics. Hope this lasts, but hear rain’s coming.’ Ah, locals.

The Olympic Mountains across the Puget Sound

The Pike Place Market with the Olympics in the Distance

Walking up the hills, away from ‘the Sound,’ as it’s known here, we catch whiffs of it’s purity and it never ceases to amaze me at how this city can smell so clean! Reaching Benaroya Hall where music has filled the soul for years, we bump into an old friend of my husbands from a good decade ago and exchange information; listening to their banter I think of how often this happens. Geez, I just can’t take him anywhere.

Heading south toward home, Mt. Rainier in all of her majestic glory, stands tall and proud, guiding us toward more of our country home, ‘out in the sticks,’ as some have called it, leaving a city filled with anything your mind can create, behind (for the time being, of course).

Mt. Rainier - through a dirty lense

With the warmer weather licking at our heels, our weekends will be filled with searching our rainforest for Bigfoot, flying kites or clam digging at one of our magnificent beaches that play in the Pacific Ocean, kayaking the Sound where we‘re protected from the harsh ocean winds, camping in the desert among the various lizards or snakes, hiking throughout the Cascade Mountains, riding on one of the worlds largest fleets of ferries, or visiting the many museums the city has to offer. For as long as I live, though, I will never be able to see or experience all that Washington has to offer.



  1. That was wonderful– you really captured home! With your vivid description, I knew exactly where you were. BRAVO!

    • Ah Theresa, I’m glad you enjoyed this and was able to do our home town proud. Keep readin’, my dear, as this weekend holds yet another adventure!

      All my best,


  2. The photos in this post are really great.

    Seattle seems as if it’s the kind of sprawling, picturesque metropolois that we are sadly lacking here in England.

  3. Thanks Jay-Jay!

    To me, I think London would equal Seattle, only it has better history and cooler cabs/taxis; I’m jealous. 🙂



  4. Nice post! It’s always good to hear someone relate the experience of another place – it makes me want to get out there and enjoy life, whether it be a big city or just a local park. Keep it up!

  5. I think you succeeded in making all of us want to visit Seattle! Great blog… Love the way you said you headed into a different kind of wild. (I like living in the woods, but visiting the City can be awesome, too.) Thanks for visiting Lake Superior Spirit and commenting. Good luck in the blogging world.

  6. Oh my…. I am feeling so homesick now! The pictures and your descriptions were amazing Tara. Great job!

  7. I dream of living on a houseboat in Seattle. I’ve always had a strong desire to at least visit the city, and over the years that desire has grown into a dream to live there, and I’m beginning to formulate a plan to make it there.

    With this wonderful article, I’m reminded once again why I’m so madly in love with the idea of relocating to the Emerald City of Goodwill, Seattle.

    You have made my day complete.


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