Walking Northwest Seattle

Have you noticed that Monday's travel posts have become a bit scarce around here lately? Well, about a month ago I took a step towards crossing off an item on my life list and signed up for Matador U's travel writing course. This means I'm edging the throttle back on my travel posts here so I can focus on learning more about travel writing. I'll still be sharing wanderlust inspiring photos on Fridays, other travel related posts will just become a bit more infrequent but hopefully the writing will be of a higher quality. 

I'd like to share my first assignment with you - a short piece about walking in my adopted hometown of Seattle.

Walking Northwest Seattle Cherry Blossoms 

Of all the places I’ve lived, I’ve never explored any of them by foot the way I have in my adopted hometown of Seattle, Washington. Perhaps it’s something about the unique personality of the Ballard and Phinney Ridge neighborhoods or perhaps it has more to due with the lack of West-East/East-West public transit. Over the course of a typical weekend, I find myself taking a number of walks to explore the neighborhood along with my husband and our pup. 

The weekend starts on Friday night, with a walk up the cherry blossom lined hill to Phinney Ridge. Along the way we pass mini neighborhoods that house small businesses ranging from the Barking Dog, often open late into the night for local customers to walk in to Makeda Coffee, where the laid back baristas makes a killer hemp milk latte. Other local curiosities include a giving tree, Little Free Libraries, and friendly folks saying hi to our dog. On the ridge, with a bit of light still in the sky, we see the outline of the Cascade Mountain Range – including one mountain that always reminds me of a brain.

On Saturday, we take advantage of the clear skies and trek west across Ballard to Sunset Hill Park. Passing through our old neighborhood of Loyal Heights, where front yards are filled with edible gardens, urban chickens, and artistic touches to the craftsman homes. When we make it out to our dream neighborhood, Sunset Hill, life looks perfect. We can see the snow capped Olympic Mountains on the horizon and the sparkling waters of Puget Sound just below us. It’s my favorite Seattle sight – the place I know to go if I ever need a reminder about why I love it here.

Walking Northwest Seattle Sunset Hill Park View www.glutenfeetravelette.com

On Sunday we walk southwest, heading to the Ballard Farmers Market. We pass a number of curious homes, which I like to qualify by saying; “an artist must live here – seems like a place I would like.” Once we cross the demarcation line, also known as NW 65th Street, we find ourselves in the land of condos and shoebox homes. This part of the neighborhood lies in stark contrast to the rest of Ballard with neutral modern box condos instead quirky craftsman homes in bright shades of purple and blue.  When we make it to Market Street, the brick buildings and quirky shops bring us back into the unique part of the neighborhood that I love so much. The market itself fills a full block with freshly caught shellfish, locally foraged mushrooms, artisan soups, and organic gluten free treats from D:Floured Bakery.

Over the course of the weekend, I notice a pattern of things that illicit positive feelings to me and suggest why I love my adopted hometown so much. The combination of such a strong local community with those amazing views of distant mountain ranges. It offers that perfect combination of a fulfilling home base and plenty of wanderlust to escape to.