November 29, 2018 (Lake Washington-Southend, Renton)

Welcome to Seattle Close to Home — a weekly round-up of ideas for time-crunched Seattle-area residents, who want to get outside, volunteer, and eat good food, but don’t necessarily want to drive far (or at all).

Help out those in need. It’s Christmas Ship season (through December 23)! Board an Argosy vessel this Sunday at Hyatt Regency Lake Washington (1053 Lake Washington Bl. N, Renton) from 2pm-4pm and journey to Seward Park with Bellevue Youth Choirs — or an evening cruise with The Dickens Carolers (7pm to 9:45pm) that stops at Mount Baker Beach, Stan Sayres Park, and Ferdinand Street Park. Check the website for the schedule and pricing. A portion of all ticket sales is donated to The Seattle Times Fund For The Needy.

If you’d rather stay on land, the ports of call listed above are hosting free bonfires, ship viewing, and music from the choirs and carolers. Schedule: Seward Park () at 3:05pm, Mount Baker Beach () at 7:40pm, Stan Sayres Park (3808 Lake Washington Bl. S) at 8:15pm, and Ferdinand Street Park (5018 Lake Washington Bl. S) at 8:50pm.

Join your fellow winter walkers. Seward Park Audubon Center (5902 Lake Washington Bl. S) is leading free nature walks on Sunday, which highlight the park’s plants and animals as winter approaches. Three times are offered: 11am to 12pm, 12:30 to 1:30pm, or 2pm to 3pm. Register online.

Get out! in Gene Coulon Memorial Park. Situated on Lake Washington in Renton (1201 Lake Washington Bl. N), Coulon Park features two miles of paths and trails.

The park is also on the popular Lake Washington loop cycling route, as are the ports of call on the Christmas Ship cruises above.

Fuel up at Bent Burger. This southend spot in Seward Park (5100 S Dawson St) serves my favorite burger: the Black Cat Bleu Bacon with sweet candied bacon and blue cheese crumbles. I haven’t tried the Bent Burger, but if you’re game, it has two grilled cheese sandwiches for a bun with candied bacon, a hotlink, and a fried egg. Bent also serves breakfast items, shakes, and draft beers from 11am daily.

Leaving the car at home? Metro bus #50 goes to Seward Park and Bent Burgers and connects with several other bus lines. The #14 and #27 stop within a 10-minute walk of Mount Baker Beach and the #14 within a 20-minute walk of Stan Sayres Park. You can get to the Hyatt/Coulon Park in Renton by light rail and bus by connecting to the F Line at Tukwila International Blvd. Station (it just takes between 60-90 minutes, depending on where you board the light rail).

Weather forecast: Saturday and Sunday are forecasted to me partly cloudy/mostly sunny with highs in the mid-40s.

October 25, 2018 (Seward Park)

Welcome to Seattle Close to Home — a weekly round-up of ideas for time-crunched Seattle-area residents, who want to get outside, volunteer, and eat good food, but don’t necessarily want to drive far (or at all).

Help out the Leukemia and Lymphona Society. And celebrate Halloween! “Dress up as your favorite decade” and run/walk around Seward Park (5900 Lake Washington Blvd S) at Run Scared, which includes a 10K, 5K, 4K, kids’ dash, treasure hunt, and costume contests for people and dogs. Proceeds benefit blood cancer research. Takes place on Sunday; registration begins at 7:30am.

Join South Seattle writers at Third Place Books. On Thursday evening at 7pm, speakers and contributors to Emerald Reflections 2: A South Seattle Emerald Anthology will be at Third Place in Seward Park (5041 Wilson Ave S) for an author event.

Get out! on the Lake Washington Boulevard lakeside path. Enjoy fall color and lake views on a walk north from Seward Park. If you go all the way to Mount Baker Park, it’s more than a six-mile round trip.

Fuel up at Raconteur. Located inside Third Place Books, this new neighborhood hangout offers a coffee bar and full-service restaurant upstairs and a pub downstairs. Brunch items like Belgian Waffles and Corned Beef Hash rank among our favorites. The coffee bar and restaurant open at 8am on weekends. Lunch, dinner, and happy hour are also happening.

Leaving the car at home? Metro bus #50 serves Seward Park and Third Place and connects with several other routes.

Weather forecast: Cloudy with a high right around 60 degrees; periods of rain on Sunday.

May 24, 2018 (Mount Baker/I-90 Corridor)

Welcome to Seattle Close to Home — a weekly round-up of ideas for time-crunched Seattle-area residents, who want to get outside, volunteer, and eat good food, but don’t necessarily want to drive far (or at all).

Join your fellow hikers. While the destinations aren’t in the metro area, access to the trails is via free weekend transit to trailheads along I-90. Metro vans will pick you up from the Mount Baker Light Rail Station and take you to the trailhead of your choice in the Issaquah Alps. Vans from the Capitol Hill Station and other Capitol Hill stops go to Mount Si and Mount Teneriffe in North Bend. Crowds can be thick on these close-in trails, so an early departure is recommended.

Help out at a neighborhood park. Volunteers are needed to help restore and maintain parks throughout the city, including Mount Baker Park and Mount Baker Ridge Viewpoint. Inquire by email about helping at these two parks, or investigate other opportunities throughout the city.

Get out! and explore Mount Baker Park, Colman Park and the I-90 trail. Whether on foot or bike, our suggested route (all or part) begins at Mount Baker Park, joins Lake Washington Boulevard to head up through Colman Park, then down to the South Irving Street to join the Mountains to Sound Greenway through the tunnel and along the trail to Beacon Avenue.

Fuel up at Mioposto before/after. This locally-owned Italian-style bar, located at 3601 S McClellan across from Mount Baker Park (with 3 other Seattle-area locations), serves wood-fired pizzas, espresso, gelato, local beers, and more from 7:30am to 10pm daily. The breakfast pizzas are recommended, as is our favorite: the Clam Bake pizza topped with whole roasted Hood Canal claims and pancetta.

Need picnic supplies? A couple of doors down from Mioposto at 2809 Mt Rainier Dr S, The Feed Store offers sandwiches and grocery items to take away. Open Tuesday-Saturday from 8am to 8pm and Sundays 9am to 6pm.

Leaving the car at home? Meet your hiking van at the Mount Baker or Capitol Hill light rail stations. The Mount Baker Station – as well as the Mount Baker Transit Center – is just one-half mile from Mioposto and Mount Baker Park. Several buses stop at the transit center, including the #14, which continues on to Mioposto/Mount Baker Park.

Departing from/Arriving at the Capitol Hill Station? Nearby Tacos Chukis (219 Broadway E) serves authentic (and inexpensive!) Mexican street food daily from 11am to 10pm. For caffeine needs, local coffee roaster Café Vita (1005 E Pike St) opens at 7am on the weekends and is just a four-block walk from the Capitol Hill Station.

 Weather forecast: Upper-60s to low 70s with sun and clouds.

May 17, 2018 (Columbia City/Seward Park)

Welcome to Seattle Close to Home — a weekly round-up of ideas for time-crunched Seattle-area residents, who want to get outside, volunteer, and eat good food, but don’t necessarily want to drive far (or at all).

This is our inaugural post; future posts will be available on Wednesdays.

Join your fellow cyclists. Bicycle Sunday on Lake Washington Boulevard starts this weekend and continues on selected dates through September. From Mount Baker Beach to Seward Park, enjoy a peaceful, view-filled, car-free ride, walk or run from 10am to 6pm. Up and back is about 6 miles – add 2-1/2 miles by doing the Seward Park Shore Loop. Bring your bike or grab a LimeBike on the trail.

Help out and repair bikes. BikeWorks in Columbia City’s Hudson Building (3709 S Ferdinand) is hosts regular a drop-in volunteer party, where you can learn to repair bicycles for a good cause — and there’s one on Sunday from 10am to 1pm.

Get out! in the woods of Seward Park. Old growth forest awaits, and you’ll feel like you’ve left the city once you duck into the canopy and explore the inner trails. Download or pick up a map at the Seward Park Audubon Center (worth an in-person visit).

Fuel up at Super Six before/after. Check out this Columbia City eatery for brunch, happy hour, or dinner with a Hawaiian vibe, featuring outdoor picnic tables and menu items like The 98118 Sandwich with seared SPAM. Located at 3714 S Hudson, it’s a great jumping-off point for a bike ride or walk through Genesee Park to Lake Washington Boulevard (about 1-1/2 miles).

Also recommended: Columbia City Bakery (4865 Rainier Ave S) and Full Tilt Ice Cream (5041 Rainier Ave S‎). And PCC for picnic items or takeout (3610 S Edmunds).

Closer to Seward Park? Try Both Ways Cafe for coffee and breakfast (don’t miss the fresh-baked biscuits) (open 7am-3pm M-F, and 8-2 on Sundays) and next door neighbor Flying Squirrel Pizza Company (opens at 5pm). Both are located at the corner of Genesee and 50th.

Leaving the car at home? Ride Metro to Columbia City on the #7, #9, or #106, or avoid traffic entirely and take the light rail to Columbia City Station. The #50 stops near Seward Park.

Weather forecast: Mostly sunny, low 70s.