June 14, 2018 (Arboretum/Montlake)

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 tree enthusiasts for a tour of the Arboretum. Trained volunteers lead free walks focusing on seasonal topics and special plant collections this Sunday (and every Sunday through November) from 1pm to 2:30pm. Tours meet in front of the Graham Visitors Center (2300 Arboretum Dr E).

Help out at the Puget Soundkeepers summer cleanup. On Saturday from 10am to 12noon, hit the waterways of the Arboretum in a kayak or canoe and help pick up trash and debris. If paddling isn’t your thing, you can clean up the shorelines on foot. A picnic lunch will be provided following the cleanup. RSVP online. This event also meets at the Graham Visitors Center.

Get Out! and bike the Arboretum/520 trail. Explore the brand new Arboretum bike path from the Graham Visitors Center to the intersection of Lake Washington Blvd and E Madison (or vice versa). Looking for a longer ride? Veer off the Arboretum path at the old footbridge (#4 on bike trail map), and follow “Lake Washington Loop” signs through the Montlake neighborhood (yes, it does meander through alleyways) to the 520 overpass. Turn right and you’ll be on the 520 bike trail, on which you can ride across Lake Washington and stop at scenic viewpoints along the way.

Prefer to explore on foot? The Arboretum has a vast network of trails among the trees and plants (with many hidden nooks and crannies to discover) and along Union Bay on a series of islands and boardwalks.

Fuel up at Fuel. The longtime Montlake cafe (2300 24th Ave E) serves Caffe Vita from 7am to 6pm on weekends (opens at 6am during the week).

Nearby Cafe Lago (2305 24th Ave E), another Montlake favorite, is open for dinner, offering wood-fired pizzas and handmade pasta from 5pm daily.

Picnic fare can be found at Montlake Boulevard Market (2605 22nd Ave E), which offers a full-service deli, groceries, and prepared items to take away from 6am to midnight.

Leaving the car at home? You (and your bike) can ride the light rail to UW station, then follow the “Lake Washington Loop” signs to the 520 trail or Arboretum.

Metro bus #11 runs from downtown to E Madison and Lake Washington Blvd. And the #43 and #48 run along 24th Ave E. Check the transit map for additional routes.

Weather forecast: This weekend’s forecast predicts mostly sunny skies with highs in the 70s (74 on Saturday and 79 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.