Topic: Lake Union
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November 8, 2013 at 6:31 PM
Sketched Nov. 1, 2013
Every November, as soon as we turn the clock back and it’s suddenly dark before 5 p.m., a case of early-winter blues strikes me. This year I took a preventive measure, though. I jumped aboard a Ducks tour for a dose of cheer that may last me through the season. Call it a flu shot for the soul.
The 90-minute excursion took me to familiar places — downtown, Pioneer Square and Fremont — and ended with a splash in Lake Union. But it was the entertainment, not the views of the city on a dreary day, that put me in a good mood. Capt. “Phlip Dover” (get it?) drove the amphibious truck while cracking jokes and swinging to the beat of James Brown’s “I Feel Good.” By the time we pulled over at Seattle Center, I was singing “Who Let the Dogs Out” and speaking to the Puerto Rican couple next to me as if I’d known them forever.
Capt. Phlip, who just earned his employee bobblehead for “quacking since 2009,” said that nothing beats being a tourist in your own city. At the end of the day, “You get to sleep in your own bed.”
January 11, 2013 at 9:08 PM
When the Museum of History & Industry moved to the old Naval Reserve armory last month, the art-deco building from the Depression era became its newest, and largest, exhibition piece.
I’ve seen the monumental building many times, but I had never noticed how much it looks like an actual ship ready to sail into Lake Union.
The design wasn’t just a cute idea. Built in 1942, the armory was a training center for the Navy for more than five decades. Inside its “bridge,” which faces the lake, Navy reservists sharpened their navigational skills overlooking the water.
That room now features MOHAI’s maritime galleries, including a 40-foot submarine periscope that gives visitors a 360-degree view above Lake Union Park.
Below are more drawings from my visit. Give any of the sketches a good click to see them large!
This is the view of the armory as you walk into Lake Union Park. The Virginia V can be seen on the edge of the lake.
The drill hall where sailors used to practice marching formations showcases some of the best known items in MOHAI’s collection. The Boeing B-1 seaplane seemed much bigger than when I sketched it in one of the hallways of the old museum in Montlake.
Another cool exhibit located in the drill hall is an interactive display of Seattle-area symbols. Spin around a wheel and you’ll make the props move. Ann Farrington, the museum’s creative director, called it the biggest “calliope” you could think of.
July 6, 2012 at 1:09 PM
Sketched June 21 and 28, 2012
I’m sampling sweet potato pie at a farmers market and watching floatplanes land and sailboats cruise by. Can you guess where I am?
The FarmBoat Floating Market, held every Thursday aboard the historic Virginia V steamship at Lake Union Park, is billed as the only floating farmers market in the country. That sounded like a marketing gimmick to me at first. But farm boats are part of the Puget Sound history, says FarmBoat founder David Petrich.
“The Virginia V was used to transport farm produce from Vashon Island back in the 1920s,” said Petrich, whose goal is to bring sustainable food and artisan crafts to Puget Sound ports using restored boats – he’s already turned a Monterey clipper into a Taco Boat and is restoring a 1911 schooner.
Pie maker Richard Tynes said he wanted to be part of this unique market. “Look at the view, man, you can’t beat that.”
Sweet new beginnings: Tynes launched his business, Ms. Margies’s Sweet Potato Pies, after he got laid off from his construction job in 2009. He said his mother, who passed away in 1991, would love to see what he’s doing with her recipe. “It tastes like Christmas and Thanksgiving wrapped in one,” said Tynes, 54, before handing me a sample.
Ten years in the baking: Kaili McIntyre, 48, started Wheatless in Seattle a decade ago, but this was her first time at a farmers market. All her baked products are gluten-free, including
mint brownies, lemon bars, chocolate croissants and blueberry muffins.
Native plants: Alan Hensley, 42, operates Pipers Creek Nursery, where he sells native plants out of an old English double-decker bus. He said coming to the FarmBoat helps him promote his business up north. His best-selling plants of the day were huckleberries and wild blueberries.
Coffee lover: A trip to a coffee farm in Hawaii inspired former Starbucks barista Matt Ehresman to start his own business, Hart Coffee. “It’s a nerdy passion,” said Ehreshman, 24, as he prepared a tasty cup of Rwanda-Gitesi coffee for me.
Straight from the farm: A farmers market wouldn’t be the same without fruit-and-vegetable stands. This one was attended by Amanda Slepko, a cool 25-year-old who seemed to be having a lot of fun selling curly kale, cauliflower and carrots. “I get to hang out in the sun and sell veggies. It’s wonderful.”
Historic landmark: A bonus of coming to the FarmBoat Floating Market is getting a free tour of the Virginia V, a national historic landmark. Volunteers are eager to show you around and explain how the steamship works. Alan Graves, a boat engineer, said I should join one of their regular sailings to see the hundred-year-old engine at work. Watching all the moving parts is “very hypnotic,” he said.
What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places and people to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!
August 19, 2011 at 6:45 PM
Sketched Aug. 3, 11:01 a.m.
To understand the recent transformation of this shoreline on the east side of Lake Union, you have to go back to 2002.
That’s when Wards Cove Packing Co. closed its salmon operations in Alaska and decided to turn its headquarters along Fairview Avenue East into a mixed-used waterfront community.
For decades, fishermen stored their nets and fixed their boats here, explained Wards Cove real-estate director Joel Blair, whose grandfather started the business in the 1920s. But little trace of that remains now. With room for 12 floating homes — three already in place — a marina and an office building, the site is the last floating-home community to be offered in Seattle, said Blair.
The redevelopment also includes a 200-foot-long public access beach where I sketched as ducks waddled by and kids played on a tree swing.
“What a peaceful place in the heart of the city,” said Rose Palmer, a native Seattleite on a run with her daughters.
What draws you in? I invite you to send me your suggestions of interesting places to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!
September 10, 2010 at 7:37 PM
Sketched Sept. 8, 12:58 p.m. [Click sketches to view larger]
Seventeen years after “Sleepless in Seattle” romanticized houseboat living, curious tourists still sneak into Lake Union docks searching for the home of Sam Baldwin, the sleepless widower played by Tom Hanks in the 1993 blockbuster.
I felt a bit like one of the tourists when I visited Eugene Nutt and Ann Bassetti at the houseboat where they’ve lived since1988. From their living room, they had a front-row seat for the making of the movie. They recalled holiday decorations and a “big crane with a massive shower head” to produce rain in August.
There are only about 500 floating homes now, down from a couple of thousand in the 1930s, so I’m not surprised this unique community is such an attraction. On Sunday, more than 1,000 people will attend the sold-out tour offered by the Floating Homes Association every two years. I’ll have to make my reservation early for September 2012.
A view of the dock where Eugene Nutt and Ann Bassetti live. Life here “feels very rural,” Nutt said. “It doesn’t have the ding of a city even though it’s a hundred feet away.”
Quick portraits of three of the houses on this dock that are part of Sunday’s tour. Nutt said the one on the left was built somewhere else and floated into the dock. The other two are examples of the old, one-story houses more common around the floating community.
August 19, 2009 at 2:26 PM
Aug. 18, 7:25 a.m. [Click image to view larger] [Sketch location]
The first time Evan Jacobs came to Seattle from Southern California in the mid 90s, Lake Union was an unexpected discovery. “There’s no other bigger open space in the city. You can come here and be by yourself,” he said as we watched the city come to life from a 28-foot double-seater scull early Tuesday morning. Other rowers went by and a couple of float planes landed while I sketched the striking view.
Jacobs, 36, now calls Seattle home and the lake his training ground, where he rows for 90 minutes every morning before heading to his job as software programmer at Amazon. This Saturday he’ll be racing in the Great Cross Sound Race between Alki Beach and Bainbridge island, which he has won the last three years. “It’s a really wonderful event with a mass start of more than 50 human-powered boats,” he said.
An international rower and member of Lake Washington Rowing Club, Jacobs recommends everyone in Seattle practice at least one water sport. And he is obviously partial to rowing. “I like the culture, the movement… the feeling of the boat going fast above the water. It’s a magical sensation,” he said.
During the crash course, Jacobs taught me how to “feather the oar” — control the movement of the paddle — to avoid “catching a crab” — rowing speak for sinking the oar. I think I didn’t do too bad, only caught a crab two or three times. “At the end you were sort of a natural,” he said.
Maybe I should think seriously about taking a rowing class. But, wait, I just had one! Let’s go rowing again!
Lake Washington Rowing Club
May 20, 2009 at 4:12 PM
May 18, 3:48 p.m. [View large]
I made a stop by Seattle Seaplanes on South Lane Union, where the docked floatplanes are screaming to be drawn. I’ve had my eye on them for a while and blog reader Bob Messina of Seattle recently sent me an email suggesting this location.
While I was sketching the blue vintage plane parked at the entrance of the business (top left corner,) a pilot/mechanic who works here showed interest in my drawing.
May 18, 4:14 p.m. [View large]
Later, I stopped by the dock where he was fixing a plane. His name is Kyle Walker and he just moved to Seattle from Michigan two years ago. He’s 24 and has been fixing and flying planes for about eight years. He loves what he does. “It’s awesome,” he said.
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