Day Two of Seattle was filled with food, neighborhoods, and coffee, so I was a very happy camper. We started our day off at Volunteer Park Cafe. Their coffee was good, but the lemon blueberry muffin and relaxed atmosphere stole the show. We then walked to next-door Volunteer Park and enjoyed the beautiful weather and great views of the city down below.
We then drove into the Wallingford neighborhood where we visited one of the best stores ever for travelers: the Wide World Travel Store. They have travel books and gadgets to help you prepare for an upcoming trip. Some customers there were planning for a trip to India, so it was kind of funny that I was visiting this store on a trip while they were visiting to plan for a trip. At any rate, after lingering there for a long time, we stopped by Fuel Coffee where they make a good iced cappuccino.
Our next stop was to Theo Chocolate in Fremont: Theo was the first maker of local, organic, and fair trade chocolate in the country. They’re based out of Seattle, and their factory is open for tours. For the first part, you sample some of the company’s different bars while learning about the production of chocolate (it’s really striking to learn how many cacao pods go into making one chocolate bar). Next, you go onto the floor of the factory, see the machines, and then visit the confection kitchen where you can taste their ganache and caramels. You finish in the gift shop where there are plenty more free samples and a huge sale on their peanut butter cups as of last week.
For lunch, we went to Homegrown where we shared the best sandwich I’ve ever had: smoked ham and Beecher’s cheese. Everything about it was perfect, and it’s definitely not a place to pass up for lunch. At that point, the weather was too gorgeous to spend anymore time inside, so we walked around the Fremont area, visiting the famous Fremont Troll and Gas Works Park. The troll was pretty odd, but a fun, public art piece with people climbing all over it and enjoying the gigantic troll under the bridge (no goats were harmed in the production of this troll). Gas Works Park is definitely a quirky, Seattle place. An old gasification plant is now a center for gathering and enjoying the sunlight. People were lying down on blankets and drinking local beer, throwing around frisbees, and just napping. It was a really nice place to feel like we were on spring break.
With some difficulty, we managed to leave the park behind and head back into the heart of Fremont. We visited the Fremont Vintage Mall where I scored a $15 pair of Converse and a cool print of the city. We poked around there for a while, and I puzzled over= why somebody would buy old black and white photos of real people (why does every vintage store do this?) Finally, we stopped by Fremont Coffee Company, which in my opinion had the best coffee in Seattle that I tried. There’s a beautiful porch outside where people were reading, talking, and basking in the sunlight. Fremont was one of my favorite parts of Seattle, and I would definitely devote the better part of a day to exploring this neighborhood and all that it has to offer.
We finished off our day in Ballard. First, we visited the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and watched a boat going into Puget Sound using a water elevator system. We were there right around sunset, so it was a pretty and relaxing place to be. We walked through the neighborhood, looking for Molly Moon’s Ice Cream but instead ended up at Full Tilt Ice Cream, which was a perfect and satisfying ending to a long day of exploring.
The second day was probably our best in Seattle: we fit in a lot of non-touristy stops, ate really great and fresh food, and got a feel for some of Seattle’s funky neighborhoods.