Scattered thundershowers may have put a damper on some Labor Day plans, but Janice and I enjoyed the last weekend of a busy summer. We’ve traveled out of state at least once per month all year, and we’ve had house guests during at least one weekend for each of the past few months.
I’m of course glad to see friends and family, but it’s also nice to have a few relatively quiet weekends. The previous Friday, Janice and I went to the Fiddle Master’s Concert put on by the Suzuki School at Lassell College. We enjoyed the mix of Celtic, Scandinavian, bluegrass, and even some big band music.
On Saturday, 31 August 2013, we visited our usual bookshops in Harvard Square, Cambridge. We did have to contend with some traffic, since I had forgotten that students were moving into Boston’s many colleges.
Although my gaminggroups have had some difficulty getting quorum over the past few weeks, I did meet Beruk A. and Thomas K.Y. & Kai-Yin H. at Thomas’ place in Lexington, Mass., on Labor Day. We had Buffalo wings from Wings Express, as well as cheese fondue, homemade pea and fava bean soup, brisket, and fruit.
Thomas shared some recent anime series with us, and we talked about recent and upcoming genre TV shows and movies. I’ll try to blog more about these soon. In the meantime, enjoy autumn’s approach!
As I’ve already mentioned, Janice and I did what tourists are expected to do in Seattle — visit the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. We did get rained on, but less than expected. There was no shortage of things to see in the city, and we got glimpses through the mist of the green and mountainous Northwest beyond.
On Sunday, June 23, Janice and I went to historic Pioneer Square. We had a real character as our guide during the Underground Tour, and we also enjoyed browsing at the Magic Mouse toy store and the Seattle Mystery Bookshop. We also checked out the impressive modernist Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library, which was only a block from our hotel.
We walked up to Kobe Terrace Park, but we didn’t fully explore the International District, where many Asian-Americans live. After the harbor cruise the next day, we wandered among the tourist traps of various piers before heading to the Seattle Aquarium. It might be smaller than the New England Aquarium, but it was informative about how humans have both lived off the sea and (belatedly) tried to protect it.
We also saw some fun public sculpture and goats grazing beneath an underpass. As I noted in my blog post about Seattle food, Pike Place Market was great, while Pacific Place and other urban shopping malls cater to the locals and business people. I’ve been asked whether I was interested in visiting the headquarters of Microsoft (or Wizards of the Coast), but that would have been too much like work.
I’m glad that Janice and budgeted most of Tuesday, June 25, to see the Museum of Flight, which is next to Boeing’s sprawling campus. It featured lots of exhibits on the entire history of aircraft, from the Wright brothers through the World Wars and the International Space Station.
We’ve been to the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., as well as the Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport, and this was as impressive as either of those. Among the aircraft we saw were the P-51 Mustang WWII fighter, the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, and one of the jets designated as Air Force One through several presidential administrations.
Wednesday, June 26, was the quietest day of our vacation, since we expected heavy rain (which never came). We went to the Seattle Art Museum, which had small but strong collections of ancient through modern art. I didn’t take many photos in the museums because most prohibited the use of a flash. Janice and I also visited some art galleries and shops of First Nations or Native American art such as Northwest Tribal Art.
On Friday, June 28, we walked to the Olympic Sculpture Park and Myrtle Edwards Park for a mostly clear view of the Olympic Mountains. We then walked to Seattle Center, spending our last afternoon in town in the same way we had spent our first one — near the iconic Space Needle.
At the Pacific Science Center, we saw the usual planetology and paleontology exhibits, as well as the Air Racers IMAX film, which was timely because of our visit to the Museum of Flight.
I did check e-mail periodically during the vacation, but it was nice to get away from the usual routine. I did follow the news, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on the Voting Rights Act, which I disagreed with, and the Defense of Marriage Act, which I’m glad was struck down, as were people who gathered at the courthouse near our hotel.
In future trips to the Pacific Northwest, Janice and I hope to see more of the great outdoors, First Nations and Asian culture, and maybe other cities, such as Portland and Vancouver. I’d be happy to return to Seattle anytime!
Since then, I’ve been busy catching with work (especially after the latest reorg), gaming, and genre TV. I look forward to seeing friends during the coming weekends.