Sunday, June 8, 2014

A day in the parks

Seattle is a young city, founded in the mid 19th century, but it shares it's love of green spaces with many other older American cities.  It has a kind of Elmerald Necklace of its own, similar to the string of parks in Boston.  In Boston we owe our Emerald Necklace to Fredierick Law Olmstead, the great American landscape architect.  Many of Seattles green spaces were designed by Olmsted's son and son-in-law.  Saturday's skies had cleared as we drove north through the Queen Anne and Walingford districts to arrive among the iconic architecture of Capitol Hill. We parked and set out to find a spot for our picnic.  Danielle had brought baguettes, strawberries, tomatoes and roast turkey.  We sat on the grass in our own version of Déjeuner sur l'Herbe.  Juliette rolled on the grass as we admired the ancient trees.
 The plantings were so recognizable that we realized immediately that this was an example of Olmsted vision.  It reminded us of Moraine Farms, which is close to home in Beverly, of Forest Park in St. Louis, of Central Park in NYC and especially of Boston.  The tall trees, the curving paths, and the wide meadows were a delight.
After lunch we made our way to the Asian Art Museum at the center of the park. We were pleased to realize that we had arrived on the weekend when admission is free.  There was a wonderful exhibit of Japanese Art Deco design, along with some beautiful Chinese pieces.
From Volunteer Park we continued to the Washington Arboretum where we strolled among native and imported varieties of trees and shrubs.  Only occasional blooms were left from the earlier banks of azaleas and rhododendrons,  I experienced my first mosquito bite of the trip, but it was worth it.
From ther we went in search of coffee, which is never hard to find in Seattle.  Danielle says it is because of the dark, rainy winters that drive you to hot, stimulating drinks.
We were lucky to land a table without a wait at the Kingfish Café where home style soul food is the only choice.  We had fried green tomatos and hush puppies for an appetizer.  Our menu choices included fried chicken, grits and gumbo.  But we all save room for cake.  They served up a slice of Coconut Cake which was enough for five of us to share.
On the way home Danielle suggested we stop for "a killer view."  There were about ten couples taking prom pictures and various others doing the same.  We took our own shots and headed home.

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