Autumn season always one to savor

As we stride into October, I’ve found myself wondering where the year has gone (like we all do). It was a year ago this weekend that I journeyed to Seattle from Chicago and was spontaneously whisking my way through Seattle with a friend and touring the gargantuan Mt. Rainier. And though the temperatures are quite brisker this year than when I visited last year, longtime residents have insisted this year’s September weather is an anomaly. But there’s nothing like watching the lush greenery morph into bright reds and oranges and leaves dance from trees. Autumn has always been my favorite season, so, in spite of my sometimes overwelming schedule, I’ve been taking advantage of some of the local events. With Fremont just a stone’s throw away from my home, enjoying Oktoberfest was a given, though it seemed slightly overhyped.

Both the Fremont and Ballard farmers markets have become mainstays when it comes to my Sunday routine. When I first dropped by Ballard’s market, I could not believe the breadth of the vibrant vendors and just the vast amount of fresh fruit, fish, dairy etc. all centered in one dwelling. The Pacific Northwest and the Midwest versions of farmers markets, not surprisingly, are just not comparable.
Recently, I managed to take a jaunt via the Victoria Clipper to Victoria, B.C., with my Mother while she was visiting from Chicago. Our weather could have been a smidge better during the morning portion of our trip, but the afternoon sun that poked its head through the ominous clouds more than made up for the initial gloom. The absolute pure beauty of Victoria is just breathtaking; it melds modernity with antiquity in a dynamic that gives it a cozy and classy, yet hip feel. If you have never been there, you must try High Tea at the picturesque Empress Hotel (pictured), which is nestled amid much grand beauty. Replete with tea sandwiches, petit fours and other delicacies, the overall afternoon tea experience is something analogous to what you would enjoy in London, and you should not skip it if you plan to spend time there.

Now that fall is upon us and the full-fledged rainy season is soon to set in, I am quickly warming up to Rihanna’s hot last-summer song, “Umbrella.” It seems it will be a good IPod song now that I am riding the bus to work and grad school – yes, I barely drive my car anymore and I can’t stress enough how much it thrills me. Banished from my mind are the days of braving brutal Naperville, IL traffic. It always seemed no matter how prematurely I left for work there was always a snag (usually random, unannounced lane closures, courtesy of seemingly construction) that would prevent me from being punctual.

Although I have some trepidation about Seattle’s impending winter, when I think about trudging through Chicagoland’s cumbersome snow and the street salt and muck that constantly encapsulated my car, and often my clothes, I’m hardly fazed. The tepid temperatures here have been a welcome change and as long as we don’t have to cope with negative figures, frequent clouds and snow, it will be a breeze to endure.

22 thoughts on “Autumn season always one to savor

  1. If you ever need a little sunshine, just give me a call. There’s always plenty over at my house. I never get the winter blues!

    The next nice day we all take off from work…cause itΒ could be our last until next year! πŸ™‚

  2. I think you girls just gave me an idea of a name for one of my recipes for my book. (I am working on the non-alch. beverage section at the moment.)

  3. Hi Karen,

    It’s good to hear you’re enjoying your move to Seattle…Puget Sound really is one of the most gorgeous places on earth…particularly on a clear day!! πŸ™‚

    As you know, Windy City winters are absolutely brutal. “Rain City” winters, by comparison, are tepid little affairs. Usually, a couple weeks of potentially freezing weather in January are about all we have. I’d suggest that you avoid driving if at all possible when it’s icy…too many hills w. too many people who don’t know how to drive on ice in Seattle…a recipe for trouble. My only complaint on our winter weather is that we never see the sun…try slipping away to CA, Vegas, or Mexico about February…our constantly grey skies can really get you down. πŸ™

    It’s also good to hear you discovered Victoria, BC!! πŸ™‚ I’ve always considered Victoria my London-away-from-London-city. I see you had High Tea at the Empress, which is always fun. Hmmm…did you see the Madam Tusseau’s (sp?) Wax Museum, see the Royal BC Museum, buy a book at Mundo’s Book Store, have a bitter shandy at the Irish Pub, or take the evening Ghost Walk tour? A great B & B to stay at is the English Inn & Resort (formerly the Olde English Inn); Regrettably, I have to say this place has changed quite a bit in the last couple years. It used to have LOTS of character…it was originally built to be a Tudor-style mansion, and was fitted out with lots of medievil and Victorian-era goodies…a suit of armor inside the main door, large copper shroud over the main fire place, crossed swords over the fire place, uneven creaky floors, 4-poster beds, stockade in the back courtyard, along with a full-scale replica of Anne Hathoway’s Cottage (Shakespeare’s wife, I’m told). Now, unfortunately, it’s been completely remodelled, and many of these things are gone…it’s quite “corporate” and “sterile”. πŸ™ Last year when I was there, I was told by their staff that the new owners were planning to install a state-of-the-art Japanese-style parking garage (which I’m certain will clash with the character of the place…ugh). πŸ™ Nonetheless, although I lament the changes, it’s still something cool to see, even if only to enjoy a quiet picnic lunch in their courtyard. πŸ™‚

    Have you had a chance to compare which state has the prettiest coastline…OR or WA? If not, that’s something fun to do too…bring your camera!! πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks all, I’m really overjoyed to be finally living in Seattle!

    Joe, yes I did go to Munro’s (I thought that is what it’s called :), and actually got a book there. Very neat and antique. Reminded me quite a bit of Elliott Bay Bookstore downtown. Didn’t get to see the Wax Museum, my Mom has been to too many so we forewent that, unfortunately. Hopefully, when I’m back there, I’ll get to see it. We took a double-decker bus tour also and whizzed by the million-dollar home section of Victoria. And the Ghost Walk sounds fun, I don’t remember seeing signs for it. Have to see OR now, haven’t been down there yet! Will keep you all posted when I do! πŸ™‚

  5. Hi Karen,

    Lets not jump on midwestern farmers markets quite yet, I think you’re experience is a product of Chicago’s lack of interest in them. Before moving down here from Wisconsin, there were a wealth of great farmers markets, particularly Saturdays around the capitol in Madison. But here in Chicago, the benefits of such are often forgotten and hence never utilized!! I guess everyone here is comfortable with the promises from grocery chains in town!

    It is my hope someday to also make the jump out to Seattle, and one can not describe the jealousy of those who have escaped this impending winter! Been a relatively wet fall back here, so we’re gearing up for the snow.

  6. Yes, George, your right, Midwest farmers markets have their own unique goods. Saying Midwest is too much of a blanket assumption. You def. will have to make it out here someday, the grey’s not all that bad. Madison is great, have a few friends who went to school there. I hope your winter isn’t terrible, but living in Chicago, yes, it will be brutal. The snow can be enjoyable if you’re not driving though πŸ™‚

  7. I gotta say that I’ve really enjoyed reading your blogs. And they’ve given me things to think about for my upcoming move. I’m heading out there from Atlanta and I am really looking forward to it.

  8. Thanks Shaun, for checking in! I’m glad my blog has been helpful to you! My brother used to live in Atlanta, and I still have an uncle there; it’s a great place! You will like the more tepid temperatures here though πŸ™‚

    Good luck with everything, you’ll have to keep us posted on the move; it is such an exciting change to undergo!! Have fun with it, and try not to stress about the small stuff. That’s what I tried to do and had more fun with the move than I expected. It will be great!

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