seattle jazz trip: on ferries, new friendships & charming restaurants on tiny islands

Coming in for a landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Taken from my aisle seat when I should've had all electronics turned off and stowed under the seat in front of me. See?? REBEL!!

I'm back from Seattle and goodness, what a trip.  You wouldn't think that spending less than 48 hours in a city could be filled with so much, but astonishingly, we managed to do it, and do it well.  In fact, even though this was a really whirlwind visit, I have enough stories to last for this entire week, my friend.  So please, go get a cuppa, and settle in.

This trip came about sort of out-of-the-blue:  a lovely woman who has read this site emailed me to suggest that I fly to Seattle to do a book reading along with her husband's jazz quartet.  Now, I don't know about you, but quite long ago time ago I made a promise to myself that if ever a woman emailed me out-of-the-blue to invite me to read from my book while accompanied by a jazz ensemble, I would immediately and unreservedly accept.  So I did.  (And, incidently, so should you, should the opportunity arise.)

We quickly made arrangements, and flight schedules were such that I could arrive on Saturday evening, giving me the entire day on Sunday to myself, before the show on Sunday night.  I would've loved for Marcus and Alex to join me, but since it would've meant pulling Alex out of school on Monday to do it, we decided against it.  I planned to take the trip alone.

Over Christmas, however, I met my good friend Victoria for drinks.  I mentioned my upcoming trip, and on a whim, I asked, "Wanna tag along?"  It was a stupid question, really:  Victoria travels incessantly for her job, and I knew that there was no way her schedule would allow her to come.

"Yes," she said.  I stared at her dumbly.

"I'm sorry?"

"Yes, I'd love to.  I don't think I'm traveling that weekend.  Yes."

Hot dog.

So Vic and I landed in Seattle early Saturday evening.  After we checked into our hotel, we had just enough time before Darrah (the sweet woman who initially invited me Seattle and photographer extraordinaire), her husband Jason (a supremely talented jazz musician) and Tara Austen Weaver (also known as "Tea," a brilliant writer and author of the insightful book on the food industry, The Butcher and the Vegetarian) picked us up to take the ferry to Vashon Island for dinner.  I was filled with anticipation:  while I knew Darrah, Jason and Tea -- I'd met each of them on previous occasions -- they obviously had never met Vic; moreover, Darrah and Jason had never met Tea, even though they live in the same city.  But it turns out that the Vashon ferry is the perfect place for getting to know new faces, and by the end of the 20 minute trip, we were all old friends.

Jason and Darrah.

 Vic and Tea.


I was also beyond excited for where we were going to dinner:  if you're a foodie at all, you've undoubtedly heard of Danny and Shauna Ahern, the husband-and-wife authors of the wildly successful site Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, and their cookbook by the same name (named by the New York Times as one of the best cookbooks of 2010).  Well, it so happens that Danny is the chef at The Hardware Store, an incredibly charming restaurant on Vashon Island.  And since I had always been quite taken with Shauna and her blog, I knew that this was exactly where I wanted to have my first meal in Seattle.

Also, did I mention the restaurant is charming?  I mean, just look at the front door!

As soon as we walked in, Shauna embraced us in this wonderfully warm, welcoming hug, equalled only by the one I received from the fantastic and beautiful Giyen.  Giyen is the creative mind behind the blog Bacon is My Enemy, and although we had worked together virtually on for over a year, we'd never met in person.  Giyen also lives on Vashon Island and I insisted that she meet us all at The Hardware Store for dinner. I'm so glad I did:  Giyen is hysterically funny, wickedly smart, and as much as I admired her online, I adored her instantly in person.

So then we all sat down to dinner.  The food was amazing, the company was even better.

Shauna, Danny & their spirited little girl, Lu.

The evening was just perfect -- full of laughter and stories and confessions and we acted as if we'd all known each other for years and years instead of just a matter of hours.  It was absolutely the most perfect way to start our little weekend away, and I can't tell you how grateful I am to these fantastic people for their warmth.

But that's just the beginning -- I've got so many more images to share.  Tomorrow?  Coffee.


Images:  All photographed with the Nikon D700 that Nikon so generously lent me, with my 50mm lens.  The time fast approaches when I need to return this camera to Nikon, so I thought I'd take it out for one last spin.


SongLearn to fly by Seattle's hometown heros, Foo Fighters


Karen Walrond16 Comments