We come to the Pacific Northwest every summer and fall, and fantasize about living year round amid the wet ferns, moss covered boulders, rivers and trees. What’s a little extra rain and cloudiness? We’re from San Francisco after all. We like rain! Our son moved to Seattle last Autumn and warned us how surprisingly COLD it is in winter, and he spend 4 years in Upstate New York. We shoulda listened!
We put the dream to a test: we stayed for the month of February in Seattle. Three big snowstorms, two hail storms (making our neighborhood look like a snowy village), and most days with high temperatures around 39 degrees, were a big dose of icy reality.
Then we foolishly kept trying to bicycle in these conditions, adding wind chill factor and wet gloves to the mix. Brrrr! We stayed bundled up in coffeehouses and bars, trying to warm up.
It took a search on several floors of the very popular 7 story Central Public Library to secure an empty seat inside in the warmth. The cool architecture with neon green escalators is eclipsed by the glow of red walls and lights making you feel warm just walking through.
The Frye Museum is free and showcases their own collection, and contemporary works like this one below made by one huge ink pen almost as tall as the artist, Jim Woodring.
The Botanical Garden has a warm tropical Greenhouse, and a beautiful Winter Garden, featured above. It specializes in plants that cannot attract pollinators with summer blooms, but instead have to entice with enhanced scents. The Hamamelis x intermedia “Winter Beauty”, seen below, exudes a strong smell of jasmine, even in the snow.
The restaurant, bakery and bar culture is thriving, but so are the high prices. It is so beautiful here, even in winter that over 100 new people move to these inviting Pacific Northwest cities every day…”Californicating” the real estate prices here and the cost of living.
In spite of the cold, there is always a crowd and a party atmosphere at Gas Works Park on Lake Union. There’s something about dogs chasing frisbees, sailboats catching the wind, and seaplanes taking off and landing in front of you, that makes for a warm and festive atmosphere regardless of the weather.
A frigid day on a Puget Sound beach, is more for the dogs, ducks and beavers, but you’ll feel very deserving of your next hot libation…indoors.