Exploring Seattle's Parks

25 October 2016

Leaves changing color and a slight chill in the air. These are the things I want during Autumn. I was dying for a little change from the Texas heat. This season has been unusually warm for the South and Elle and I were craving somewhere cooler. Seattle seemed like the perfect place for a girl's weekend. Good food and amazing sites, but most importantly it was a place that actually had Fall weather.  

After spending a morning at Pike's Place Market, we headed north along the waterfront. There were so many parks Elle and I wanted to explore, so we decided to try and hit them all. Give two Texas girls 60 degree weather and the possibilities are limitless! 

Olympic Sculpture Park was our first stop. We wandered amongst the sculptures, which are owned by  the Seattle Art Museum. Only 9 acres, Olympic Sculpture Park is at the foot of one of Seattle's larger parks, Myrtle Edwards Park. This waterfront park provides the most amazing views of Elliot Bay. We watched cruise ships move slowly in the shadow Mount Rainer. We even stood on the beach in hopes of seeing marine wildlife. No such luck on this day, so we regrettably moved on. 

Looking at the hill ahead of us, we Ubered our way up to Kerry Park. This tiny park space is possibly one of the most iconic spots in Seattle. The views alone were enough to make us sit and just enjoy our surroundings. Apparently we weren't the only ones either. The 1.3 acre park was packed with locals and tourists alike. It's easy to understand why. 

What do you like to do on a beautiful Fall day?

Pike Place Market | Seattle, WA

17 October 2016

  There is nothing more wonderful than a Friday morning stroll through the market. Some stalls are in full swing, prepared for the morning rush. Others sleepily set up, knowing they have a long day ahead. Regardless as to why you find yourself there, Pike Place Marker has a little something for everyone.

With the exception of St. Roch Market in New Orleans, Pike Place is one of my favorite public markets in America. Opened in 1907, it is now considered one of the oldest continuously running markets int he country. Seeing as it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Seattle, Elle and I decided to make it our first stop on our girls weekend to the city. 

Pike Place is home to a variety of stalls and vendors. The market is so much bigger than we expected, so we opted to grab a cup of Starbucks while we wandered. Now, I know what you are thinking. Seattle is known for amazing coffee, so why chose Starbucks? Tucked away in a little shop just across the street from the main market happens to be the original Starbucks. Yes, THE original Starbucks. If you plan on making to basic pilgrimage to the holy store, make sure to arrive early. We were there at 8 and there was already quite a line!

There is something I love about wandering through markets in America. The atmosphere is unique and vibrant, something that can't often be found anymore in most cities across the country. There's a reason Pike Place is the number one tourist attraction in Seattle, and the 33rd in the world. Next time you are in Seattle make sure to spend a few hours enjoying the beauty Pike Place Market has to offer. 

What are some of your favorite markets around the world?
First three photo credit: Elle 

Chepstow Castle | Wales

10 October 2016

Perched on a cliff overlooking the river is a castle sitting in ruin. It's a familiar sight in small Welsh towns, however you can tell this castle is different. Maybe because it overlooks the border between Wales and England. You aren't sure. But you are drawn in by its sheer size and beauty. 

Chepstow Castle is a beautiful example of a fortress. Its obvious changes over the centuries allowed it to stay relevant and strong. Construction began in 1067, making it one of the oldest stone fortresses in Britain. Its original purpose was to watch, and intimidate, the Welsh. Its presence would have been both breathtaking and frightening. 

Ownership passed from lord to lord, however its military purpose came to an end in 1685. Like many castles after the English civil war, it laid in ruin for hundreds of years. Its eventual rise in tourism can be attributed to the industrial revolution and the modernization of leisurely travel in the mid 19th century. With the invention of steam trains and steam ships, people began exploring some of Britain's most beautiful treasures. 

Getting to Chepstow Castle is quite easy. A 10 minute walk from the train station, the castle is hard to miss. For 6 pounds you have unlimited access to the grounds. Every nook and cranny has something interesting behind it! 

What are some of your favorite castles across Europe?