How do two newcomers to the Seattle area get in the Christmas spirit? They go out and do things – lots of Christmassy things! As we discovered, there are a plethora of activities in Woodinville and around Seattle to get you in the spirit. Our quest to find the spirit of Christmas had begun!
To kick things off, we started with the Woodinville Tree Lighting Ceremony and Winterfest Celebration. After reading about the Community Tree and all of the people that helped get the new tree to its’ temporary home in DeYoung Park in time for the tree lighting, we knew we had to be there. It was a nice night, and great to see friends and family members enjoying the evening together.
Then we were told about the poinsettias at Molbak’s and knew we had to check it out. Wow – we had definitely come to the right place to see gorgeous poinsettias plants in so many beautiful color variations. Molbak’s knows how to celebrate the holidays! www.molbaks.com
Our next stop was to take in some great theater in the form of Irving Berlin’s “Holiday Inn” at the 5th Avenue Theatre. Our holiday tradition is to watch the original movie with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, and we pretty much know every scene and song by heart. Although the play understandably was a little different than the movie, the actors were great and the singing and dancing was Broadway caliber. Needless to say, we loved it! It’s playing until December 31st if you’d like to check it out. www.5thavenue.org
We visited Green Lake for two separate events. The first was the Green Lake Pathway of Lights. Luminaries lined the 2.8-mile path around the lake and boats were decorated with lights in the water. Thousands of people turned out on the beautiful December evening and strolled. On one side of the lake, hot air balloons glowed in the night sky. On the other side, carolers entertained the crowds. We will do this again next year for sure, but we will plan our evening out a little better and prepare for the crowds and the tough parking availability. www.facebook.com/GreenLake PathwayofLights/
Our second trip to Green Lake was to see the Seattle Public Theater’s original play “The Flight Before Xmas.” In short, it was awesome, and this play’s message absolutely captured the true meaning and spirit of the holiday season. The Bathhouse is the theater’s home, and the intimate seating surrounding the stage on three sides makes you feel as though you are part of the scene. The show was touching at times and laugh out loud funny at others. Every one in the cast was very talented including the seven actors that were under the age of 18. We loved it because the show was a matinee (at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.) so you can enjoy a stroll around the lake before settling into your seat. There are just a couple more shows before it wraps up on Christmas Eve, but if you have a chance, go! www.seattlepublictheater.org/the-flight-before-xmas
Our search for the Christmas spirit concluded with a trip to WildLights at the Woodland Park Zoo. Every night until January 1st from 5:30-8:30 p.m. (closed December 24 & 25), you can enjoy terrific light displays at the zoo’s exhibits that showcase a variety of animals. A few of the indoor exhibits with nocturnal animals are open, but this is a chance to see the zoo in a different light so to speak. The kiddos can meet Santa, ride on the carousel, or have an indoor snowball fight in Snowmazium. Our advice – go on a weekday! We went on Saturday night, and it was packed! For more information visit www.zoo.org/wildlights.
My family and I took to the ice for this exploration…the ice at Xfinity Arena to see the Everett Silvertips Hockey Club that is. We saw the Silvertips in action against the Spokane Chiefs on November 24 to extend the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Although we scored a box suite for the occasion, there did not seem to be a bad seat in the house. The complex holds about 8,300 people, which is a really great size space to see all the action easily. There are many food and beverage options throughout the arena, and there were many families enjoying the game. Attending a hockey game in person far exceeds the experience of watching a game on television. The speed, grace and agility of these great athletes is much more obvious seeing them in person. The Silvertips play an exciting brand of hockey, and the organization works hard to get the crowd fired up!
We arrived early to see the teams warm up on the ice and get a feel for the game. The Silvertips are members of the U.S. Division in the Western Conference of the Western Hockey League (WHL). There are five teams in that conference and a total of 20 teams in the WHL. All of the other conference teams hail from Canada. Both teams played great with a lot of action (and penalties) with the Tips coming away as victors at the end 4-1.
Per usual a sporting event wouldn’t be complete without a great mascot and theirs is a silvertip bear named Lincoln who did a great job of entertaining the crowd. Oh and the music on the PA system between plays always makes games that much more entertaining.
Before the game we had dinner at the Scuttlebutt Brewing Company and enjoyed a casual meal that was reasonably priced. The place was packed so I was glad we had reservations for our group of eight. If you are not very familiar with Everett (like us), I would recommend using Google Maps as the restaurant is on the waterfront and can be a little difficult to find as it was on this dark and rainy night.
I definitely recommend heading to a game this winter. It is a great night out. I noticed on their website that the Everett Silvertips are offering a great Stocking Stuffer Pack with four tickets to any game and a hat at the team store for only $50. What a great value in this day and age! Visit http://everettsilvertips.com/ for tickets and more information.
If you have the opportunity to see a musical legend…by all means GO!
We had just that chance when the Taj Mahal Quartet recently performed at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley in downtown Seattle.
Taj Mahal is arguably one of the most prominent and influential blues and roots musicians of the last 50 years. He has had a tremendous career and in 2014 he was the recipient of the Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a self-taught musician and he plays over 20 instruments. His career began with American blues, but over the years he has broadened that scope to include music representing virtually every corner of the world.
The band was led out to the stage through the packed cheering crowd, and they jumped right in and started playing. The band featured Taj Mahal (vocals, guitar, piano, banjo and more), Bill Rich (bass), Roger Glenn (vibes and winds) and Kester Smith (drums). Although the band members can’t be described as spring chickens, that didn’t stop them from really grooving to the music. They were all terrific, professional, and seasoned musicians and were really in sync with one another. What a show!
We had been to Jazz Alley over 10 years ago to see Wynton Marsalis on a getaway from Montana to Seattle. Frankly, we hadn’t remembered the specific venue until we were seated for dinner.
The small club atmosphere is perfect for listening to jazz music in an intimate setting. We opted to have dinner at Jazz Alley prior to the show for two reasons: 1) we had to eat and 2) it gave us seating priority for the show. It was worth it for this show as we did indeed have great seats. Although from where we sat, it looked like just about every table and seat has a good view of the stage.
Dinner was good, but a little pricey. We understood considering the venue, but we had already paid for our tickets so over all it was an expensive night on the town. A good bonus was that free parking is offered one block from the club with a validated parking stub.
For the music, we will certainly return and will probably try the non-dinner option next time for comparison. Jazz Alley is definitely a great date night venue!
Some of the musicians performing in the coming months include: Sweet Honey in the Rock®: Celebrating the Holydays, Average White Band, Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, Pearl Django, and WAR. Needless to say there is always great music on tap at Jazz Alley.
For more information on Taj Mahal visit www.tajblues.com.
Visit www.jazzalley.com for upcoming schedules and venue information. The FAQ tab is particularly helpful.
Are you ready for some football?
We were able to experience our first University of Washington Huskies football game on November 18 versus the University of Utah. Wow – what a game!
The funny thing is we received our tickets from friends in Montana that are UW alums and still had kept their season tickets over the years. We definitely wanted to experience a game at Husky stadium so we were happy with the gift.
My husband and I joined our neighbor’s tailgate about three hours prior to the 7:30 p.m. kick off. I have been to some great tailgates over the years, and the Husky fans are right up there with throwing a great tailgate party. The “party” parking lot is north of the stadium, and by the time we arrived there were tents and barbecues covering just about every available spot. We feasted on burgers, salads, shrimp cocktail, chips, and cookies as well as enjoying a few adult beverages so were happy that we carpooled with a designated driver. It was a great start to the evening, and we met a whole group of new friends during the tailgate from our immediate group and surrounding cars.
We headed to the stadium about 30 minutes before kick off to find our seats and watch some of the pre-game festivities. The stadium is awesome. If you haven’t been to a game there, you can get an idea of the inside from the massive structure easily seen from Lake Washington or even I-5 with the two sides resembling claw like hooks that flank over the field. The capacity is listed as just over 70,000 and at this game there seemed to be very few empty seats. Our seats were terrific on the 45 yard line in the 10th row behind the Huskies’ bench.
The Huskies have a good football team with a record of 9-2 and are ranked 15th in the country as of press time. The game we saw was a nail biter (and we’re new fans!). UW was favored to win but UU gave them a run for their money, and the score went back and forth until the very last seconds. Not a soul left the stadium as Huskies prevailed with a field goal as time expired. It was great to witness such a terrific game for our first outing to Husky Stadium. Unfortunately by the time this hits the stands, the season at the stadium will be over with perhaps a bowl game out of the area for the team.
One way or another, we will definitely plan on a couple games next fall.