Monday, March 30, 2015

Seattle: Day Trip to Vashon-Maury Island

Since my husband and I come back to Seattle quite often, I thought it might be nice to take him to some of the islands around the Puget Sound.  It's a great way of seeing the greater Seattle area and also experience something new!

We'd just been over to Bainbridge Island last week, so this week we decided on heading over to Vashon Island.  

Vashon Island is a great place to visit when you want to visit:

1.  Discovering beaches or parks

2.  Want to shop in local Vashon art, curio, and antique shops

3.  Doing some outdoor activities:  kayaking or biking

How to get to Vashon:
From Seattle, we caught the Washington State Ferry from Fauntleroy (West Seattle) to Vashon Island.

The fair depends on the vehicle/passengers

We drove over and had three adults, which came out to under $35 USD.

***Some photos of Vashon's main town area***

One of the handful of gallery and art shops

Pacific Northwest gear

The town center stretches a few streets

Our favorite shop because it was stocked with antiques

Kona Coffee!

The Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Museum

The mural where we parked

Another beautiful mural
After we walked the downtown area, we drove around the island to check out some of the beaches.  We actually didn't really know what to expect.  We sort of just punched in places onto the GPS and sought out such places as KVI BEACH, which was a nice find.

It was a nice find because it was one of those beaches that were filled with rocks!   And skipping rocks on the Puget Sound is one of our pastimes!

Driving around is a pleasure in itself because it's lovely to see how the Vashon Island locals live.

For lunch, we headed back into town and asked around at which places were highly recommended.  Two of the people we asked said to try The Hardware Store.  So, we headed on into The Hardware Store and were really satisfied with everything.  They had amazing service, great food, and an awesome ambiance.


The Vashon Breakfast

Fish and Chips

In the afternoon we drove over to Maury Island's Pt. Robinson Park.  Our waitress said that this was one of the most beautiful scenic spots on the Island.  It was probably about 4 miles from downtown Vashon.  The main draw, for us, was probably the lighthouse.  Who doesn't love lighthouses?

Mout Rainier off in the distance

Spending the day on Vashon was quite relaxing.  Next time we head over here, we are planning to bring our bikes.  The roads are so smooth and long and winding and just perfect for biking.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Seattle: Chinatown

I feel like Chinatowns are always popular places to visit when in any big city.  Seattle's Chinatown (International District) is pretty all right.  Mainly, it's a place to see some of Seattle's oldest buildings, eat some Chinese/Japanese/Vietnamese/Asian food, shop at the Uwajimaya, and probably see the latest exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum.

Uwajimaya is one of the main reasons I would find myself down in Chinatown.  It is an awesome Asian food market, where you can get food products from China, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, and even Hong Kong.  We went down here, initially to get some groceries for the hot pot that we wanted to make for my family, but ended up buying most of our groceries elsewhere.

Chinatown has some of the most beautiful buildings in the Seattle area.  There is a lot of history that went down in this neighborhood, most of which can be learned by talking to some of the tour guides at the Wing Luke Museum.

Fun Fact:  The majority of what is now Chinatown was once apart of the burgeoning Japantown back before World War II, where a lot of the Japanese Americans were relocated to internment camps.

The Chinatown district is quite small, running mainly down Jackson, King and Weller Streets from 5th Ave up to 12th Ave.  There are a few produce/grocery shops, video shops, bookshops, travel agencies, and the like.  There are quite a number of restaurants, bakeries, bubble tea joints, dim sum houses, and the like.  And there are a few hotels, residencies, and hostels that can be found within the blocks of Chinatown.

For the purposes of blogging about Chinatown, my husband and I decided to take a visit to the Wing Luke Museum, which can be found at 719 South King Street.  I wasn't expecting much because I had been to the original museum, but I was so impressed at what the new museum was showing.

Wing Luke Museum Info:
719 South King Street (between 7th and 8th Ave. S.)
Seattle, WA 98104

Open Tuesdays - Sundays
Open from 10 am - 5 pm

Admission runs at around $15 for adults and $10 for kids

Free admission on the FIRST THURSDAYS of each month from (10 am - 8 pm)

There was a Bruce Lee exhibit, which was actually quite awesome to view.  A lot of his life in Seattle was presented and also videos of his most famous movies.  It also displayed a lot of his personal letters, theories on martial arts, and sports gear that he used while teaching.

The museum also gave us a tour of the general/grocery store that was donated to the museum a few years ago.  The tour guide told us that this grocery shop was the place for new immigrants to stay in and integrate into the community.  At times, there would be twenty Chinese immigrants sleeping in cots on the upper level of this shop.

The funny thing about the shop is that it looks pretty much like the general/grocery stores in Hong Kong.  But, it just seemed so much more intriguingly interesting because it was apart of the museum tour!

The tour also took us to the building right next door to the museum.  This was where we could view an exclusive community hall (where patrons of the same surname were invited to join),  a mahjong room (where members of the community hall would pass the time), a kitchen (where you could see what was cooked, the old stove, and table setting), and sleeping quarters (where immigrants would settle into while saving money to make their lives better).

The sleeping quarters totally reminded me of Hong Kong:  Small, cramped, community kitchen/bathrooms, and many roommates.

There was also a contemporary skateboard exhibit in the Wing Luke Museum, which was a nice change of pace to view.

The main exhibit was probably my favorite because it displayed a lot of the history of the neighborhood and the people who shaped it.

Chinatown, I would say, is a good day's worth of activities.  The Wing Luke Museum took us about 3 hours to get through…especially when we went on the tour with the museum's tour guide (highly recommended!!!)

If you are looking to not traveling around the city too much, spending the day in Chinatown is a good idea!  Have a little dim sum for brunch, walk around and feel the history of the alleys, head into the Wing Luke Museum for a perusal, have a late lunch at Tai Tung (where Bruce Lee used to eat at), and perhaps spend the afternoon wandering around Little Saigon or Japantown.

Definitely, this is the place to be when looking for dinner too!