Local exploration, Uncategorized

A Visual Tour of Fremont’s Sunday Market

Whenever my long runs are on a Sunday, I always end up going past the Fremont Sunday Market. Every single time I wish I could stop and walk around, but I’m either constrained by time or so sore that I know I wouldn’t be able to run again if I stopped.

By happy chance, I happened to be free most of Sunday this week and too injured to run long (that’s another, less exciting story).

Landon (my boyfriend) and I bused the three miles from my apartment to Fremont on Easter morning, which we normally would have run or walked but… again, I’m injured. Ugh.

We crossed the bridge and hopped off the bus right after, into one of my favorite areas in the city- the edge of Fremont. It’s a very serene area, lined by verdant pathways and stuffed with fun shops and eateries. I love stopping for samples at the Theo Chocolate factory, grabbing hot chili from the lunch bar at PCC, or snacking on something I can be sure I’m not allergic to at Flying Apron, a gluten free and vegan bakery.

Notice all of my favorite things here are food related…

But there’s more than just food! The Burke-Gilman trail runs along the water, connecting you to the path that circles Lake Union, and it offers a stunning view of sparkling water and verdant greenery. On one side you can run to Gasworks Park and look across the water at the city, and on the other you can follow the trail all the way to the Ballard Locks.

I’m getting off track here. What were we talking about? The Fremont Sunday Market!

Despite my frequent trips to the area, I hadn’t been to the market since maybe last summer, and didn’t quite remember what to expect. After a quick detour to Dusty Strings for Landon…

We were welcomed to the market by a table selling all sort of crystals and fossilized shells! This was such a delight. Though in what is a very New-Age-y part of Seattle, I wasn’t too surprised. Landon bought me a beautiful hunk of rich purple amethyst, which is supposed to be good for creativity.

DSC01559

After I pulled myself away from the tables of crystals, we meandered through the rest of the market. I was expecting more vegetables, actually, but it’s more of a craft fair than a farmer’s market (I think the correct term is flea market). We saw people selling clothes, lamps, shoes, artwork, tools, furniture, designed-to-order T-shirts, cookware, handmade mugs… The list was endless!

There were also a ton of food vendors and food trucks, because of course. This is Seattle.

One woman was selling succulents, and although I see these every day at work I couldn’t help but be drawn to her unique potting methods. It looked as though she had basically gone to Goodwill and picked out every container she could find, then arranged beautiful collections of plants and stones inside! They were so creative, deliciously lovely in a quirky way.

She’d also planted a bunch of mini ones in wine corks, which I also thought was a fabulous idea

My favorite was this little guy exploding out of what was once a milk steaming jug, which I ended up taking home and is now sitting on my desk in a sheaf of sunlight as I type.

Now that spring is finally here, there were a million flowers bursting out from under one tent- mostly tulips but some other varieties as well. Right next to them was this tiny table covered with candles. but not just any candles…

Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, these candles were made from hot wax poured into vintage tea cups!

It seems Fremont and I might share an affection for things placed in unusual containers.

In addition to the length of street we walked down, there’s a whole giant vintage/antique garage sale thing that happens in a parking garage off the side of the street. We only popped in for a second, but there was such an array of items! Ornate, gilded antique mirrors; records; your grandpa’s unfortunate mustard sweater in 20 different styles; great deals on Smartwool socks- unfortunately they’d already sold out of the small women’s running socks… There were paintings and light bulbs and wacky shoes, handbags and more crystals/fossilized things, jewelry and bizarre hats, old wardrobes and goodness-knows what else.

Overall, it was exactly as one would expect a market in Fremont to be. Wonderful, weird, artistic and tons of fun!

Local exploration, Travel

Discovering Redmond

Redmond, WA is not the first place Seattleites think of when they want to check out a nearby city. We’re more likely to head to Vancouver or Portland, eschewing the smaller cities in favor of places with hipster coffee shops and organic grocery stores. Around here, Remond is pretty much known for two things- Microsoft and Marymoor Park.

However.

By chance I ended up there this weekend and discovered a pleasant little niche of the Pacific Northwest.

The reason I was in Redmond at all was an envelope containing two tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia at Marymoor Park.

Marymoor is a massive greenspace filled with meadows, sports fields, bike paths and a well-known velodrome, beaches, a dog park and more. It’s home to numerous outdoor concerts and events every summer, largely because of it’s ability to host so many people. It’s a nice place- not super exciting, but a good way to get out in nature while not straying too far from the city.

I’m the type of person who always wants to be everywhere waaay early, just in case, so my boyfriend and I headed over to Redmond several hours before the start of the show. We planned on just wandering around a bit, maybe grabbing a bite to eat or exploring the park. Our plan was essentially no plan- and aren’t those often the best?

45 minutes after leaving my apartment, we got off the bus across the street from Victor’s Celtic Coffee. On the outside, it looked like a little hole in the wall, with some gorgeous outdoor wall paintings.

Inside, though, was a whole other story. The place was huge and well lit, stuffed with people. A sign was hung up next to their in-house roasting room that read “no wifi- talk to each other! pretend it’s 1995!”

We were delighted with the find before we even noticed the menu, which confused us for a moment.

“Wait… Banana Split? Almond Roca Mocha? These are coffees? How do they even get banana in the coffee?” I kept asking. Victor’s serves all your usual espresso drinks and pastries, but the highlight of the menu is definitely their unique creations, with fun names like “Zebra Mocha”, all topped with chocolate whipped cream.

I loved the fact that there were signs posted all over about no laptop use on weekends and no business meetings- so many lovely coffee shops in Seattle have been overtaken by that ALL WORK ALL THE TIME vibe of the tech industry that it was refreshing to be somewhere unapologetically pronouncing that they weren’t into it. Later I went on Yelp and unfortunately, it seems like a lot of people can’t deal to be parted from their laptops for an hour and are leaving negative reviews. Don’t listen to them! If you need your barista to suck up to you and craft your grande sugar free triple shot mocha with 3 pumps of hazelnut syrup, extra hot, go to a big coffee chain. If you want an authentic coffee shop, go here.

After coffee we realized we were hungry and ended up grabbing burgers next door. And I mean next door quite literally.

Feed Co. Burgers  was adjacent to the coffee shop. It was a bit of a contrast from the old-school vibe of the building we’d just left. As in Seattle, the trend with new eateries revolves around minimalist design, stark lettering on a typically contrasting background, and imagery to evoke days of primal eating (in this case, a butcher’s outline of a cow in white paint against a black wall- I can think of two places in Seattle already that have an almost identical mark on their property).

Luckily, it seems as though the health trends of Seattle (and I suppose, the PNW in general) are seeping into nearby cities. I remember days when, if you weren’t in a big city, good luck finding anything to supplement an alternative diet. But here we were facing a menu offering gluten free buns, antibiotic and hormone free meat, and sweet potato fries.

I haven’t had a good gluten free burger in years. These guys did an excellent job of making up for lost time and crafted an absolutely amazing, guilt free meal for me.

After that we thought we’d grab some snacks for the show in case we got hungry, so headed to Trader Joe’s. In the Redmond town center area there’s also a Flying Apron (gluten free and vegan bakery also located in Fremont) and a Whole Foods, both places that me and my boyfriend, who are gluten-free and aiming for healthy diets, can eat. We bought some veggies at Trader Joe’s (I love the prepackaged bags of snap peas- they’re super portable and will taste fine after being in a purse for some time) and then found a trail to Marymoor park. We also passed a Super Jock n Jill, a Seattle based running store I absolutely LOVE.

So many bikers whizzed by as we ambled along… Redmond is known for being incredibly biker friendly. This little green trail is called the Sammamish River Trail and it took us along (what else?) the Sammamish river until we arrived at the park.

I didn’t take many pictures of the Cirque du Soleil show- too busy watching- but that’s not the point of this post. I was truly surprised by what Redmond has to offer, and wanted to share the experience of that discovery.

 I’m still not a suburbs person- I prefer either the grind of the city or the peace of the countryside. I find the in-between somewhat unsettling. But Redmond exceeded my expectations, and it was great to get out of my usual routine and go exploring. Of course! It always is. 🙂