By: Brandy Black
We drove down the hill in search of our hotel, Inn At The Market for our weekend getaway in Seattle. Our bags were light and the car toddler-free.
We pulled up to the valet and were literally a stone’s throw away from the famous men in orange rubber suits tossing fish and yelling at one another.
The sea salt air and aroma of baked pastries beckoned us to the bustle of Pike Place Market. The hotel is tucked away in a warmly lit square of restaurants and shops right in the center of it all. We tugged our coats in tight and followed the bellman in to the inviting lobby with comfy couches and a fireplace. The view in our room was the perfect postcard snapshot of the Pacific Northwest overlooking the glistening water. We jumped in our bed and kicked back to soak in the scenery that lie beyond our windows. After a few minutes of basking in our newfound freedom and a call to the grandparents to make sure our daughter was happy, we were off to taste our way through town.
First on our agenda was coffee for the fabulously brisk afternoon. Just steps from the hotel is the first ever Starbucks. I know, I know, there are many other amazing coffee houses in Seattle with much better beans than this, but who doesn’t want to take a few snapshots of the once nascent caffeine prodigy. Along the way we stopped for a nibble of fresh crabmeat with a squeeze of lemon, then on to one of my personal favorites: Piroshky,Piroshky. These Russian morsels of insanely delicious combinations are the very essence of the market experience. With our bellies full of warmth we were ready to do a little boutique shopping.
Strolling through the cobblestone alley we found our way into an adorable children’s store to pick up a gift for our little one. Miniature hipster t-shirts reminding us of our sweet bundle of joy called to our touristy hearts. We thumbed through raincoats and petite dresses and took a moment to mourn the weekend away from our daughter.
It was an ideal toddler-free vacation, roaming aimlessly down Seattle’s charming winding streets and ending our afternoon with a glass of wine on the rooftop deck of our hotel overlooking the Puget Sound.
Dinner could not have been more fitting to cap off our perfect day. Just across the street from our Inn, down a set of stairs, tucked away under the Pike Place Market sits Il Bistro. We felt as if we had arrived in Tuscany. We were greeted by a friendly host who showed us to the candlelit bar where I ordered my all-time favorite 20’s drink- a Sidecar. We sat sipping our old-school drinks, soaking in the fabulous arches and exposed brick that warmed the place and stole our hearts. We could have skipped dinner and sat at our window table in the bar all night sampling their vast menu of tequila and stumbling back to our hotel, but we chose to go the distinguished route and partake in Chef Nathan Luoma’s fine cooking. The wine menu wasn’t as enticing as the food; personally I would have liked to have a wider selection of full-bodied reds, but that certainly wouldn’t stop me from coming back to “Il Bistro” again.
The next morning we went to Le Pichet for a chocolate croissant and coffee and meandered around the market as the hum of people began to descend upon the merchants.
Pike Place market is known as “the soul of Seattle”
The market has been around since 1907 and is now home to roughly 200 commercial businesses. It is internationally recognized as America’s premier farmer’s market. Walking around the various vendors, sniffing flowers, surveying fish, and sampling wines made me wish that I lived in this lovely city. I imagined myself shopping each morning for our family dinners and bringing home fresh calla lilies every day.
We got our exercise in –walking up Seattle’s finest hills to Pacific Place Shopping Center. Downtown Seattle is everything you want it to be: twinkling lights, street musicians, local art, restaurants and shops galore.
We could have easily stayed another night to explore the museums, Experience Music Project, Seattle Center, a cruise on the water, and much more, but we are new parents with a toddler and could not keep ourselves away from her. Had I had another night, I would have loved to check out 94 Stewart, a quaint little restaurant across the street from Inn at the Market that won me over while window-shopping. I would have also taken the complimentary car service from our hotel to Belltown for dinner at Flying Fish. The food prepared by Chef Christine Keff is known to be nothing short of fantastic.
My requirement in a vacation as a new parent is location, location, location. Make it easy on yourself and let the fun come to you. The Inn At The Market located in Pike Place with a Tuscan bistro across the street is just what this mommy ordered.
Although it was short, we experienced the charm of Seattle in every second of our time there. I encourage anyone to cruise out for a lovely stay and enjoy this fine city’s delicious food and coffee that will surely toast your toes.
-If it’s your first trip away from your little one -make it easy on yourself -go on a vacation in the same city. A hotel 15 minutes from home is still a vacation for a parent
– We all know that you want to check on your kiddo while you are away- don’t call- text! This way you get the update without the guilt of hearing your child’s voice in the background
– Call in the evening once your child is asleep so that you can get all the details of the day
– Ask the sitter/grandparents to text you a picture a day
-If you can’t bear to leave your child/children- take them with you- The Inn At The Market has Town House Suites that are two levels- perfect for a family.
[Travel tips photo credit: Flikr- Rosweed]
[Head’s up photo credit: Flikr- POD]
[Space Needle photo credit: Flikr- Papalars]