Christmas in Seattle: Day One
For the first time, we decide to take a real "Christmas Vacation"...
If you've never been to Seattle, you are seriously missing out. Take my word for it. In retrospect, I am hitting myself for not having visited this city sooner. This trip over Christmas of 2017 was actually our second time there, but our first visit was a brief stay before and after an Alaskan Cruise and we knew we had to go back....
Honestly, I don't know what possessed me to plan a trip at Christmas. I have SWORN up and down that I would never be one of those people in super major lines at the airport, praying there was no winter storm to delay or cancel their flight and I didn't want to worry about lost luggage, Christmas gifts and all that happy crappy. I think I just brought it up to my family one evening after realizing we had an abundance of American Express Delta SkyMiles that would get us three round trip tickets from Florida to Seattle.
Currently there is a bonus signup offer of 40,000 Bonus Delta SkyMiles after you use the new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months and you would also get a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. So if you're thinking about planning a trip within the next 11 months, you can open an account, spend $1000 on the card within 3 months...which is super easy to do and just pay off the balance at end of the month and Bada Boom, Bada Bing, you've got your miles for potentially a free flight. I know when I got my card, it was 50,000 miles, but it was worth it. There is a $95 annual fee on the card, but considering that you get the cost of 1 checked bag waived for being a card member, that brings the cost to $70 for those 40K miles. Not terribly bad. When those miles were added to miles that we had from previous flights, we had enough to fly round trip and only pay taxes.
"Mom, do you really need to take airport selfies?" Oh, but she'll smile when I take a picture of her and her day. Should I be offended? LOL
Things really weren't too bad at the Orlando airport, even with us flying on December 23rd, one of the busiest travel days of the year. They were fully staffed with security/TSA personnel and since I had received an offer for a free 1 month trial run of CLEAR airport pre-screening for the family courtesy of my Delta SkyMiles membership, we had no wait in line and was moved through security rather expeditiously. The line to get coffee at Starbucks post-security in the terminal was CRAZY. Seriously, people...it's just coffee. No way am I going to wait in line for coffee for an HOUR. Luckily, we had an uneventful flight that I slept most of the way through thanks to an anti-anxiety pill (yes, I have a prescription), so next thing you know we are touching down in the land of Microsoft, hipsters, coffee and rainy weather.
We flew into SEA/TAC airport and rather than rent a car right away (parking is VERY costly and we didn't need the car until the 26th) we used Seattle Town Car and Airport Shuttle to take us from the airport to our hotel. We were picked up in a Black Tahoe, our driver was professional, courteous and for $55, plus tip, it was worth not having to deal with a cab...we would experience the uniqueness of a Seattle Cab experience later in the trip, so I'm glad we had this car service. We used them for round-trip airport transportation on our 2015 trip and I would HIGHLY recommend them. I have them saved in my phone for our next trip to Seattle in June of 2019, when we do another Alaskan Cruise.
After checking into our hotel for the first part of our trip, the Hotel Theodore, unpacking and putting up the Christmas decorations, one of the first things we did was head down to to Pike Place Market to grab a late lunch at Pike Place Chowder. Although there was a location right across the street from the hotel at Pacific Place, we wanted to try the one at the market because Sarah wanted to visit the nasty-ass "Gum Wall" and I wanted to look around and do some shopping. I was thrilled to find the gorgeous watercolor print seen below in the top right corner. The artist (I need to look and find out his name) did a wonderful job and I love picking up pieces of local art like this in my travels...
Pike Place Chowder at the market was cast aside because it was way too crowded and we just decided to head back over to the hotel and grab some food at the Pacific Place location and make it a late lunch/early dinner kind of deal. We had plans a little later in the evening, going to view the supposedly amazing Gingerbread display over at the Sheraron. We knew we were going to crash early and crash hard, since we had been up at the butt-crack of dawn to get to the airport in Orlando, but now we were HUNGRY and i had a hot date with a Lobster roll and a cup of chowdah!
Pacific Place is an upscale shopping center in Downtown Seattle located at 600 Pine Street and you can see all the different stores and restaurants they have to offer on their website at http://www.pacificplaceseattle.com I love looking at the jewelry at Tiffany & Co. and debated on buying myself something pretty, but my reasonable side decided not to...THIS TIME....when we headed inside Pacific Place, we knew we were meant to be there. Literally, there was a sign calling our name!! We headed upstairs to the 3rd floor for "Lunner" (lunch/dinner) at Pike Place Chowder and I am serious when I say this is the best seafood bisque and Clam Chowder I've had since being in Maine. It is "Sell your mama for another bowl" kind of good. All I can say is thank god for stretchy waist leggings!! To learn more about the restaurants I'll mention in this blog entry, click HERE to learn more and view menus!
After dinner, we HAD to do some walking. We all felt like we were about to give birth to giant "food babies"....I know you know that feeling. Where you have eaten to maximum capacity and you walk like you're 9 months pregnant, but you don't regret a single bite of the meal you just ate. We decided to head over to the Sheraton Hotel and take a look around at their annual holiday Gingerbread display. Holy Crikey! They were amazing! Located this past year at City Center across from the Sheraton, this free display is so visually stunning and makes you wonder how long some of these creations took to make. It really helps to put one into the holiday spirit. Families together, little kids awestruck, beautifully decorated trees and cold weather outside. We might not have been back home, but it truly felt like Christmas to the three of us! To learn more about the annual Gingerbread Village that benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, visit their page on the Downtown Seattle Sheraton's website at http://www.sheratonseattle.com/gingerbread-village
Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel and crashed out...it was Christmas Eve the next day and we had tickets the MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture). I just wanted a hot shower and comfy bed to rest my weary head.Once we got back to the room, we decided....well, how about a cocktail before bed? Downstairs we went for a late adult beverage at the hotel restaurant/bar, Rider.
Next up...Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Seattle!