Getting to Know Seattle: From Old to New

Seattle neighborhoods are known for Craftsman homes, built at around the same time as my stucco Tudor home in Rochester, NY — late 1920’s, early 1930’s. The Craftsman homes are not usually very large, and they are often on small lots — making adding to their space difficult. But they are filled with fine architectural detail and skilled wood work. These are features you don’t get in newer condo buildings in downtown Seattle — even at a 1M price point for a two bedroom. The home I live in now, belonging to daughter Sara, is a fine example of the period.

Slowly, the Craftsman homes are being razed and replaced with modern structures — more space efficient, but they change the character of the neighborhood. I passed these homes today on my way downtown, on opposite sides of a steep street.

Old giving way to new…

If you had a choice, which place would you live in?

What Do You Look for When Eating Out?

Friend and regular reader Phyllis sent me this piece from the New York Times, and it made me smile. Nice to know I’m pretty similar to other 50+ year olds when it comes to eating out.

Seattle is a fabulous foodie town. We have lots of good restaurants in all price brackets, and new ones open all the time. People here have lots of disposable income, and we have the economic base to support a wide variety of cuisines and settings. Finding out about good places to eat isn’t hard. You hear about a new restaurant because someone you know has gone there, or because you walk by and check out the menu, or because Yelp or OpenTable sends a list of places you should visit, or because it’s restaurant week and they all advertise their specials online.

That said, you probably think I go to new restaurants all the time. 🙂

Nope.   Like many older diners, I value places that are quiet so I can enjoy conversation along with my food, where a good glass of red wine isn’t secondary to a long menu of fussy drinks whose ingredients are mostly a mystery and whose prices are through the roof, and where I can find something I know I’ll like. I don’t so much want to try “new” as I want to find something I know I’ll enjoy. Like most people my age, my metabolism has slowed — even with all the exercise I do. If I’m going to eat and drink less, I want to be very sure that everything I put in my mouth is going to be spectacular. I hate to admit this, but not only do I frequent a lot of the same places, I know pretty much — unless that night’s special really catches my eye — what I’m going to eat. That’s absolutely true of the three breakfast places where I’m a regular. The server meets me at the table with a hot cup of coffee as I enter and sit down, but no menu. There is no need.

I really do enjoy going out to eat. But, like favorite pieces of music or favorite clothing styles or favorite resort destinations, I have my favorite eateries. As opinion writer Frank Bruni says in his piece, “It’s not just sex and sleep that change as you age. It’s supper.”

Who knew?


The beautiful Craftsman homes that populate several Seattle neighborhoods like Queen Anne are architecturally significant, but typically not large. Nor are the lots on which they are built. Rather than additions that build out, homes are often enlarged by building up: the entire home is raised, and space added below.

The house across from me was renovated that way last summer. Now, the house next door to that one has been jacked up. It’s an interesting process to watch, although I could do without another summer of nail guns, hammers, and buzzing saws.

Getting to Know Seattle: Spring-Like

Seattle hit 77 degrees on Tuesday, which certainly won’t last but is a wonderful taste of consistently warmer weather to come. I clicked off the heat and opened all the windows, upstairs and down, and let the breezes sweep away the stale air of a house that’s been closed up all winter long.

Here in Seattle we have a clear harbinger that the season has changed: cruise ships to Alaska start lining up at the piers around May 15th. Amy’s Aunt Joyce and Uncle Ray live in Iowa, and they have a similar kind of marker: barges start transiting the Mississippi River.

Does the place where you live have any kind of tangible marker that a new season has arrived? If so, share it with us. 🙂

Getting to Know Seattle: Back Deck

This pic was taken mid-day on Sunday, when the temps were mid-50’s, set to reach 60 later in the day. The angle of the sun isn’t yet right to keep the back deck in full sun at this time of day, but you can see that setting the furniture in place and getting ready to sit out isn’t really premature. 🙂

Getting to Know Seattle: Old and New

I had to be downtown early, so took the chance to visit my favorite Crumpet Shop. This pic caught my eye as a demonstration of Seattle old and new, living side by side. Old is the dirty old man peep show, and new are the high rise office and condo buildings that form the backdrop.  Gradually, the old is giving way to new construction; the land is too valuable for low rise buildings. But somehow the dirty picture show lingers on. I wonder if the summer tourists that flock to Pike Place Market even see that the theater is there. Hardly fits Seattle’s urban hip image.