We didn’t need an excuse to go out on a beautiful day that popped up today between rainstorms in Seattle. It was a last-minute decision after breakfast. The destination was Queen Anne where we intended to go only two days ago in conjunction with Seattle Center, but decided to forgo after spending a long enough time at the Science Center.
While Queen Anne is a residential neighborhood, its high elevation affords fantastic views of the mountains, sound, lake, islands and skyline. Because of this, Queen Anne is a desirable place to live. Many older, restored homes share space with mature trees, a good number of parks and the legendary, 120 public stairways that traverse Queen Anne’s many steep hillsides. Another feature of Queen Anne Hill are the three television transmission towers that are aligned east-west.
We found a parking spot along W Highland Dr, then made a grand loop on foot. Almost immediately, we came upon Kerry Park that has the most dramatic viewpoint. The Seattle skyline highlighted by the Space Needle is clearly visible. Elliott Bay and West Seattle are likewise in view and further afield, Mount Rainier (on clear days, like today). In a slightly different direction, you can see the Magnolia Bridge, Smith Cove with its Elliott Bay Marina and cruise ship terminal, and the Olympic mountain range.
The street along 8th Ave W was bolstered on the left with retaining walls topped with a concrete balustrade and decorative light posts. Several stairways connecting 8th Ave to streets below were the first we saw today. At Galer St, another stairway connected 8th and 9th. In fact, Galer Street has a fair share of them along its entire length from Kinnear Park to Lake Union.
Our walk up to 5th Ave wound through the neighborhood with its Queen Anne style homes, many of them with spectacular views. A good number of the trees look as old as the neighborhood itself. En route, two baseball games were being played at West Queen Anne Playfield.
Taylor and 5th Ave are the largest streets that define the eastern edge of Queen Anne. We stopped to admire a P-patch at Trolley Hill Park along Taylor that also has a nice picnic area. Along 5th Ave is Bhy Kracke Park, so named because it’s homonymic to a favorite expression of the 19th century (“by cracky”), which I’d heard in a movie when I was a kid. It was a favorite expression of Werner Kracke who owned the land before it became a park. At first, it just looks like a small park with a pergola and play equipment for kids, but toward the back, there is a narrow opening for a trail that switchbacks along the steep hillside. At the top, there is a very good view, partially obscured by trees, of Lake Union, Capitol Hill and the Cascade mountains to the east.
After the two-hour walk, we were ready for lunch. The area around the intersection of Queen Anne Ave and Boston St has many restaurants. Unfortunately, Mezcaleria Oaxaca is closed on Sundays, so we walked around until we came across La Luna where we had a nice meal before heading home.
- Intriguing stairways of Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill (seattletimes.com)