Phil and I try to take advantage of 3 day weekends, so for the 4th of July long weekend, we traveled up north to Seattle to visit my cousins, Susie and Allen and their families. Despite the large age gap between all the cousins, I noticed that as we all get older, it becomes easier and easier to connect with each other. The age difference seems to have disappeared and conversation now flows naturally. It was so great to reconnect with my Seattle family and see a little bit of the Northwest.
We spent our first day exploring Kirkland, where we were staying with my cousin, Susie. Kirkland is only 20 minutes outside of Seattle and is such an adorable area close to Lake Washington with a little downtown with everything you need. We watched the kiddos swimming at Juanita Beach and strolled along the the Old Market Street Trail in Juanita Bay Park where we saw all kinds of wild life soaring above us and swimming below us in the lake. This area is a great place for spotting eagles and other feathered friends.
We ended the night reuniting with our other cousin, Allen, and his family over dinner at the Grand Bistro in downtown Kirkland where I finally got to meet little Livy. It was so nice to catch up on the past 5 years as we enjoyed amazing food with a view of the Kirkland waterfront.
The next day, we woke up to surprisingly clear skies and set off for a morning exploring Seattle. We waved hello to the famous Space Needle from below and checked out the neighboring Chihuly Glass Museum with its gorgeous collection of colorful glass sculptures.
Then, we walked to Pike’s Place Market – a public market, tourism spectacle, and foodie heaven only about 20 minutes away. We didn’t stay long because it was just too crowded to enjoy.
We decided to head towards the Olympic Sculpture Park, which was a nice getaway from the loud crowds and pandemonium at Pike’s Place Market. The park had modern sculptures liberally scattered throughout and had a gorgeous view of Puget Sound.
In the afternoon, we headed back to Kirkland to enjoy the warmer weather and kayak in Juanita Bay.
For dinner, we checked out a Thai restaurant, Isran, where I finally found Khao Soi, a curry noddle soup specific to Northern Thailand. Phil and I have been trying to find a restaurant that served this dish in the Bay Area since coming back from our trip to Chiang Mai and were unable to find anything good. I was so deliriously happy! Of all the places to find Khao Soi, we find it in Kirkland, Washington… and it was delicious! We ended the night with some yummy gelato at Sirena Gelato, just a few blocks down the street.
The next morning, we met up with Phil’s brother and family, who happened to be visiting Seattle at the same time, at Portage Bay Cafe near the University of Washington campus. Since they live in Colorado, we don’t get to see them much aside from the rare family reunions, so we tried to relish our afternoon with them with a walk around the university campus and a fun row at the lake.
A trip to Seattle wouldn’t be complete without a visit to The Walrus and the Carpenter for the freshest Washington oysters and raw dishes. We were advised to get there half an hour before their 4 p.m. opening to wait in line, so that’s exactly what we did. And it was so worth it! Despite having a late brunch, we still managed to slurp down a dozen oysters and chow down on steak tartar and scallop crudo. The drinks were also delicious and paired nicely with all of the dishes. A serious must when visiting Seattle!
After dinner, we explored the Ballard neighborhood and made a stop for another helping of gelato at D’Ambroise Gelato.
Even though we would be in the air flying back home during the fireworks displays, we still checked out Gas Works Park for a view of the Seattle skyline and the 4th of July events.Everyone was decked out in their patriotic gear and laying out picnic spreads. It reminded me of our time in Boston waiting for the fireworks on the esplanade with a group of friends and tons of food. Too bad we couldn’t stay just a little bit longer to enjoy the July 4th festivities.
We both haven’t really spent much time up in the Northwest, but, we’ve been told there are tons of state and national parks and glorious lakes in Washington state. So, we’ll definitely be back!