For years, I have dreamt of living in Seattle. I had grown to admire the creativity and talent that came from the Washington city, and the look of it in the constant comforting rain had me hooked too. So when my research was accepted from Clarion University’s Honors Program to present at the National Collegiate Honors Council 51st annual conference I had heard two years back was to be held in Seattle, I couldn’t have been more hyped.
Calling the Westin Seattle my home for four days and nights, I finally realized that everything I had imagined about the city was true, and that certainly was not all. Exploring the restaurants, streets and shops in the city’s center, I saw an amazing variety and explosive cultural identity I had not seen in any other place before.
Every café, station and hotel I visited had its own flair. Peet’s Coffee was adorned like a cozy log cabin interior. The Cheesecake Factory was filled to the brim with dim lights and painted ceilings like a modern, commercial cathedral. The Palace Kitchen bloomed with neon signs from the drizzling rain out front and sported a porcelain rooster inside. Zeeks Pizza proved the perfect setting for intimate bar-time meals set against the reddish candlelight and rough wooden furniture.
This certainly has got me thinking about food at this point, and man, was there plenty of it in scrumptious quality! In the above alone, I experienced decadent Oreo extreme cheesecake, specially brewed strawberry basil ice cream, thick, oozing macaroni and cheese, smartly seasoned sandwiches, melt-in-your-mouth salmon and much more.
Food was a big part of my overall cultural experience, which went far beyond me being able to say I enjoyed a salted caramel mocha in Starbucks’ home setting. No, just walking around and observing let me as a tourist break through the stereotypical notion of a picture-obsessed, one-track mind of such a visitor to transform me into someone, with the help of the guidance of the conference, to really try and learn about the people and quirks that make up the city.
You can discover this on your own just about anywhere, but thankfully (as I enjoyed gorgeous sights and drastically new experiences) this quest ushered me to the Pike Place Market, Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, City Centre and Central Waterfront of Seattle among others notable locales.
In the near future, I will be talking about some of those experiences in-depth; the benefits of the honors conference, artistry of Dale Chihuly, magnificence of the Space Needle and uniqueness of the Pike Place Market all deserve that. You can look for those stories in The Clarion Call’s features both on print and online. With so much to write about and equipped with the memories, photographs, film, notes, teachings and new friends, Seattle is somewhere I’ll never forget, placing itself on the top of my list of destinations that must be revisited.