Wednesday, September 25

Roadschool Trip to Seattle

You know what's fun?  ROAD TRIPS!  We like to incorporate road trips into our school - it's called roadschooling - for memorable experiences.  It often leads to better retention of the material, too.  We once had the wonderful opportunity to be full-time roadschoolers, living on the road for most of the year, and it's something we'd recommend to any family who can swing it...even if only for a month.  
Here are some of our best tips for visiting Seattle (think: long weekend) with kids!
The theme of the 1962 World's Fair was 21st Century...and the Seattle Space Needle was the piece de resistance of this futuristic event.  Touring the building is a lesson in "modern" architecture, such as that created by Frank Lloyd Wright.  Our favorite part?  The view from the top of the world!  The restaurant has a minimum purchase per guest...which is not so hot if you want to take your kids to lunch.  Thanks to doggie bags, we got lunch and dinner out of this meal, and it was still pricey.  But if you eat at the restaurant, you can walk up to the observation deck for factor that savings into your cost.  The best part of the restaurant was the rotating view of the city.  While waiting for the food, we were able to check out every corner of Seattle!  

After our extravagant lunch, we stumbled upon Seattle Free Walking Tours...and the word "free" sounded really good!!  Seattle Free Walking Tours was inspired by the adventures and travels of the organization's co-founders. Free tours are a phenomenon throughout much of Europe, and they wanted to introduce the concept in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  (Suggested donation is $15.)  There are a couple of different tour options, and they're very basic, but it's a great way to stretch your legs and get an introduction to the city from a native.  Reservations are bring a smartphone.  Here we are with Chief Seattle, an ancestral leader of the Suquamish Tribe in the late 1700s / early 1800s, and the man for whom the city was named.
The oldest Farmer's Market lies at Pike Place Market, where artisans and farmers alike have been cutting out the middle man for more than a century.  It’s a place where you can “Meet the Producer”—the farmers, butchers, fishmongers, cheesemongers, bakers, winemakers and purveyors who bring their bounty to your table.  One of our favorite parts about Pike Place is watching the 'performers' at the Fish Market.  The way they toss those gigantic fish around is a source of amusement and wonder to kids of all ages!  It's also home of the original Starbucks, so you can pop in and get a cuppa to warm up.
Spend about 90 minutes underneath the city, soaking up a history lesson all the way!  As part of the tour, we learned that the commercial district burned down in 1889, and rather than take the opportunity to move the commercial district, the shop keepers rebuilt their businesses on the original mud flat.  Then, the city brought in dirt fill and created city streets that were 15-40 feet above all the buildings!  So, the front of the building and the sidewalks were well below the streets behind giant stone retaining walls.  To cross the street, you had to climb a ladder, scurry across the street, and then climb down another ladder.  It is ironic that nobody died in the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, but nearly 20 people died years later, falling off the ladders as they tried to cross the streets.  That is just a taste of the wierdness that you will learn on this tour!!!   (Scroll down for more photos from this tour.)

Seattle Road Trip Resources:

Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints. - Chief Seattle


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  2. We lived in the Seattle area for about 11 years and never did the Underground Tour. We finally did go on a trip several years ago and thought it was totally worth the time and money. In the spring there is the tulip festival up in LaConner. That is worth seeing as well...and something we also did as tourists after living there. Go during the week (freedoms of homeschooling) as it gets terribly busy up there on the weekends.


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