When wedscn0160 headed out to see friends in Seattle and Tacoma this summer, I was not prepared for the sheer beauty of the area. The Emerald City with its plethora of evergreens is nestled between Puget Sound and Lake Washington with freshwater streams cutting throughout the city, thereby creating amazing bridge views (a perk considering the traffic congestion) with the Olympic and Cascade mountains in the distance. With only a short amount of time in Seattle, we enjoyed four classics: Seattle Japanese Garden, a tour of Theo’s Chocolate, the Space Needle, and Pike Place Market.  The market had incredible bouquets that were so reasonably priced I wanted to rent an apartment to have a place to put them. The classic “fish throwing” was definitely fun, and for lunch we decided on Maximilien for its incredible views on the terrace to go with the lovely French fare. To enjoy the Space Needle, I recommend what we were not able to do: book a lunch reservation and enjoy the view as the restaurant rotates 360 degrees to avoid paying for the admission ticket to the observatory and museum. (That said, I really enjoyed the museum, very Jetsons feel.) The Japanese Garden had such an air of peace and tranquility and was miniature dscn0345perfection. While that visit meant skipping the Arboretum and GasWorks Park, which I’d been excited about, we weren’t disappointed in our choice. As a chocoholic, I can’t recommend Theo’s in the Fremont District enough with its amazing samples both on the tour and in the gift shop.

It’s said that Seattle and Tacoma, its southern neighbor, “fight” over who owns Mt. Rainier, which to be completely accurate is a several hour drive from each city. However, each city offers different and stunning views of that mountain. I was particularly taken with the beauty of Point Defiance Park in Tacoma; I wish we had planned to be there for hours instead of a quick visit at sunset. The full moon rising over Mount Rainier was breathtaking. Driving up and down the San Francisco-like streets of Tacoma (who knew it could be so hilly), we stopped and enjoyed Corina Bakery and Ice Cream Social. We had a delicious supper at the Marrow, which sadly closed a few weeks after our visit. Tacoma is not lauded like Seattle, but it would make a great day trip if you’re in the area.