Heh. I didn’t intend to go AWOL for a few days there…but I had an excellent excuse! My good grad school friend, Jessica, contacted me earlier in the week saying she missed me and would like to visit me up in Olympia…so she came up to Washington on Friday and we had an epic weekend of activities!
Friday evening, Jess arrived in Centralia via the Coast Starlight route. We had a long, lovely supper there at the Olympic Club, and Jess picked up a few souvenirs there since it is a McMenamins and her current lover has a thing for going to all the different McMenamins. Afterwards we trekked back up to Olympia just in time to catch the tail end of the Art Walk, which meant a lot of shops were open past 10. We had a blast tooling about downtown…which was especially cool for me since I’ve not actually spent much time there. We ended up coming home with cupcakes from Bonjour and a new silver bracelet for Jess. Then we got set up at the house and watched Sleepless in Seattle until we fell asleep.
Saturday was an especially big day. Despite getting a late start, we drove to Seattle. Of course, I was nervous the whole way up since I am NOT a city driver…but I kinda knocked it out of the park. Despite all the construction that our GPS systems did not account for, we eventually made it to a parking garage that just happened to be exactly where we needed to be: The Seattle Center! After cutting through the amazing EMP Museum (oh, I want to spend more time there! Pop culture is amazing!) we lingered at Chihuly Garden & Glass. It’s an innovative museum that opened this year, and it features some of the works of Washington glass artist Dale Chihuly. Let me tell you, I would go to that museum every weekend of my life if I could. One of the exhibits brought me to tears. I’d never seen anything so weirdly beautiful. I know this will sound a little crazy, but the thought entered my mind that if humanity was capable of producing something like this exhibit, we were an amazing species. Anyway…
After the Chihuly exhibit, we rushed over to the Fisher Pavillion to see what I’d initially planned on going to Seattle to see before Jess called: The Northwest Tea Festival. It was a wonderful exhibit, but we didn’t stay terribly long since I wasn’t of the mood to go crazy and buy a million types of tea. Instead, we ambled about the Seattle Center a little more and ended up going to the top of the Space Needle! I think we did that just so we could feel like real Seattle tourists, but the view was incredible and Jess and I had a great time posing for pictures.
While we were up in the Space Needle, we realized that Pike Place Market wasn’t too far from the Seattle Center, so we decided to try and make it there before it closed. Amazingly enough, we did. Better yet, we didn’t have to fiddle with parking since we found a magically open spot right in front of the market! Jess went wild taking photos of all the fish and produce for sale in the market stalls, as well as of the street performers and all the neon signs above the walkways. As we went down one, I happened to look over and notice we were standing in front of a restaurant called the Athenian! Visiting it had been on Jess’s wishlist since a classic scene from Sleepless in Seattle was filmed there. We hadn’t realized it was actually in Pike’s Place Market and had struck it off the list after we got such a late start on the day…but we happily went in and took pictures of where Rob Reiner and Tom Hanks sat. We ended up eating dinner there, too!
We ended the night by going to the Knee High Stocking Company, which is a Prohibition-era themed speak easy in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. To get there, you have to find the intersection of Olive St. and Olive St. Then you go up to a nondescript door at the base of an apartment complex. Ring the doorbell waiting for someone to answer. Soon, a waitress will usher you past a black curtain that screens the speak easy from the world outside, and you’re in for a treat!
Honestly, I think the bartender and waitresses here were probably the most liquor-savvy people I’ve seen anywhere. People were making drink orders by saying really abstract things like “I want something that feels like the first time Annie heard Daddy Warbucks say ‘I love you.'” Apparently the waitstaff can deliver! My favorite drink I had there was called “A Shrubbery”, and it was a potion of Sauza Plata Hornitos, amaretto, house-made peach and basil shrub, lime, and bitters. It was kind of like the most sophisticated margarita on the rocks I’d ever had. It was completely amazing how well the almond-y amaretto and the vinegar from the shrub played with the lime and tequila. Jess had an “Art Rock Phase”, which was a sweetly fruity blend of vodka, lemon, orange, and agave with a red wine float. Everything was so good we had a second round: “Love and Violets” for me (Crème de Violette, St. Germain, cherry bitters, topped with sparkling wine) and a “French Kiss” for Jess (Lillet Blanc, Chambord, sparkling wine with orange zest). Unfortunately, drink #2 made us both too tipsy to drive back to Olympia, so we sobered up over a couple lattes at Bauhaus Books and Coffee.
After a surprisingly small lie-in (especially given the alcohol, caffeine, sugar and Benadryl in our systems), Sunday saw Jess and me driving north to Shelton for their 31st annual Oysterfest. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting it to be as big a deal as what it was. Cars were parked for miles, it seemed. It was almost like everyone was going to Disneyland or something. They certainly had a good beer garden, and there was more food there than I expected! I think the highlights for me were the BBQ oysters (I went back for 2nds), watching an oyster shucking heat, and learning to shoot an air pistol. Jess freaking loved that pistol. We ended up staying at Oysterfest a lot longer than we had planned on, since there was so much there. However, we did make it back to Olympia to tool about the waterfront on a gorgeous afternoon. We even lucked out and took a tour of a large sailboat! After picking up Coffee at Batdorf and Bronson’s and taking another gander at some Olympia stores (including our own McMenamins: the Spar Club) , we went back south to Centralia so that Jess could catch her train out: this time, the Cascades route. To kill time, we went rollerskating at the Rollerdrome, and then–to kill even more time because Jess’s train was super late–had a last meal at the Olympic Club.
Needless to say, I spent Monday lounging about in my room reading trashy novels. That was one heck of a busy weekend! I’m so thankful Jess came up to see me. I almost can’t recall the last time I had so much fun!