Our Anniversary Weekend Getaway In Seattle

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Last week Jon and I got to do something that all parents dream of: we left our children. Overnight. For two whole days. It was…amazing. We had a lot to celebrate last week: my birthday, our anniversary–and the fact that we are about to move 5,000 miles away from grandparents who willingly take in our offspring when we need to get away for some Mommy-Daddy time.

So where did we go for our thrilling weekend “away”? Our own hometown of Seattle! This was our first time leaving baby Jacob overnight, so we decided to stay close to home in case he started freaking out and we needed to go back and rescue him (or if I started freaking out and needed to go back and see him). Plus, Jon and I were both feeling a bit nostalgic now that we know we’re actually leaving this place for the next 2 years. It ended up being a wonderful weekend getaway that we will always remember. Here’s our itinerary if you want to check out some of our favorite local spots for yourself!

Where We Stayed:
Since there were lots of things we wanted to do in the downtown area, we chose a hotel right in the middle of all the action. We stayed at the Sheraton Seattle, located at 6th and Pike. I’ve always wanted to stay there because at Christmas time every year they host a fancy gingerbread house showcase in the hotel lobby–I have many fond memories of wandering through the hotel looking at those gingerbread houses (and wondering if anybody would notice if I sneaked a bite off one!). The hotel was every bit as beautiful and comfortable as I imagined it would be. The staff was helpful and friendly–they even sent a complimentary bottle of wine up to our room when they found out we were there celebrating our anniversary.

Where We Played:
Our first afternoon was spent shopping downtown. We went to all of our (and by our, I mean my) favorite stores. I’d gotten a few gift cards and some cash for my birthday, so it was fun for me to be able to shop to my little heart’s content with no little voices whining at me from a stroller. After my shopping spree we dropped off our bags at the hotel then started walking toward Lake Union for dinner. It was a gorgeous day–and I knew we were about to stuff ourselves silly at dinner–so the mile walk was quite welcome.

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After dinner we flagged down a cab to get us back to the hotel (the walk to dinner was great–however, my choice in cute yet inappropriate-for-walking shoes was not the best idea). Then, after a quick shoe change, we were ready to go again. Time for a movie! We love going to movies but rarely have the opportunity to get out to an actual theater. The Meridian 16 movie theater was across the street from our hotel so we just walked over a few minutes before show time. We saw the new bank-heist movie Now You See Me–it was pretty entertaining, and such a treat to see it before it hit Red Box.

On Day 2 we slept in. Late. Really, that’s all either of us wanted to do for the whole weekend away from our kids. We even got a late check-out so we could sleep uninterrupted for as long as we wanted. It was glorious. I’d be happy if the whole weekend just ended there, but we did actually have more exciting things planned for later in the day.

After our late start, we headed down to Pioneer Square so we could go on the Seattle Underground Tour. Back in the 1800’s Seattle basically burnt to the ground and the residents decided to rebuild on top of the old city. There are still about 36 blocks of underground passage ways and old store entrances that you can visit on the tour.

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We used a brand new tour company called “Beneath The Streets”. They started about a week ago so they don’t have a website yet, but it was a great tour. I’ve been on the main underground tour before, but this one went to the same places and was half the price. Their office is located less than a block away from the other Underground Tour location on 1st and Cherry.

After our tour we headed back up the hill for our favorite treat: massages! There’s a great urban spa across the street from Westlake Center called Ummelina. They start every treatment with a foot bath, tea and relaxation in their “sanctuary”. I’ve been there probably half a dozen times, and they never disappoint. We were feeling great after our afternoon of pampering, so we decided to top off the day with a delicious pizza dinner down the street.

Then, it was time to go back to reality. We picked up fancy cupcakes (for us) and a coconut cream pie (for the babysitting-grandparents) at Dahlia Bakery–then we left our dreamy “vacation” to drive back to our children. It was an incredible two days away, but somehow we still missed those two little munchkins like crazy!

Where We Ate:
Pasta Freska
A great Italian restaurant recommended to us by my sister-in-law. There are no menus: the chef comes out and personally greets each customer to discover their food preferences. Then he goes back to his kitchen and prepares you a custom 7-course meal. Everything we ate was delicious and we’ll definitely be going back!

Specialty’s Bakery– We stopped by to pick up a late-morning breakfast on our way down to Pioneer Square. We both ordered warm ham and cheese stuffed croissants. I also bought a peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie to munch on after our tour.

Serious-Pie-in-SeattleSerious Pie-Tom Douglas’s iconic pizza kitchen in downtown Seattle. They had a great happy hour until 5:00 with personal-sized pizzas for only $6 (there were also drink and appetizer specials). We ended up getting three wood-fired pizzas and a ham terrine–all were fantastic.

Dahlia-Bakery-2Dahlia Bakery– Another Tom Douglas institution. They’re known for their coconut cream pies and fresh sandwiches. The “fancy cupcakes” weren’t half-bad either.

Date With My Dad: The Seattle Great Wheel, Dahlia Lounge, and…A Mishap

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My dad and I have a tradition of going out for a “Daddy-Daughter Date” for my birthday. We’ve done this every year since I was a little girl, and it’s something I always look forward to. My birthday is not until June but, with our big move looming on the horizon, we decided to do our date a bit early this year before things get too crazy.

I wanted to do something Seattle-y, so we went downtown for a little adventure. We started at the Seattle Great Wheel, a giant new ferris wheel on the Seattle waterfront.

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My dad had called ahead and scheduled us for the VIP treatment at the wheel. We got to go to the very front of the line where they had some nice cushy chairs–thrones, if you will– waiting for us so we didn’t have to stand while we were waiting to board. Then we got to ride in a deluxe “pod”–instead of the usual benches we got nice leather chairs with seat warmers, we had a port where we could plug in our phones for music, and we had a glass bottom on our pod so we could see below us as we lifted into the air and over the water.

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We even got T-shirts and a champagne toast! The views weren’t too shabby either.

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It really was a fun experience and I would definitely go back there with my tourist-friends (hint, hint–anyone want to come up for a visit?!).

After the Wheel we hailed a cab (my first time actually waving one down–can’t believe I’d never done that before!) and headed back downtown for dinner. We dined at Tom Douglas’s Dahlia Lounge and it was incredible. We had fresh baked bread from the Dahlia Bakery, Tuscan Bread Salad (probably the best salad I’ve ever eaten), and spice-rubbed pork. Delicious. Everything was just amazing. We finished off the meal with the most decadent Coconut Creme Pie, also from the Dahlia Bakery. Everything was perfect.

Until…

After dinner my dad walked me across the street to the parking garage where I’d parked my car (such a gentleman!). When we got there, however, there was something a bit strange–all of the garage doors were shut. Hmmm….

We took the elevator down to the level where my car was parked and saw that the parking attendant was still in his kiosk. Alright, I thought, they must just close the garage doors when it’s getting late so nobody else will come in to park. Well, that’s partly true. But they also close the garage doors when it’s getting late so nobody will go out.

Turns out my garage closed at 8:00 (who closes anything at 8:00???) and we were there at 8:03. And that parking attendant? He was just locking up the kiosk and in the 1 minute (literally one minute, I was parked as close to the exit as you could be parked) that it took me to get there, he was gone. Vanished. Never to be seen again.

All of the phone numbers in the parking garage took me to centralized answering stations somewhere NOT in Seattle and all they could say was, “Well, someone will be back tomorrow.” Tomorrow. Uggh.

So, long story short (OK, long story long) my helpful dad drove me all the way back home (in the opposite direction of his home, by the way). Then, at 5 AM this morning (WOOHOO!) my ever-endearing husband drove me and two sleepy children back down to Seattle to retrieve my poor, caged-up car before Dear Husband had to get to work. Lesson learned: always know when things close if you need them to be open.

It was a birthday date we will always remember–for better and worse!