Weekend Getaways: A Great Break from Stress

The last few weeks my boyfriend and I have been feeling overwhelmed with stress about work, money, the future, you name it. Our lives always seem to be so busy, running from one thing to the next. Then my best friend came to town last Thursday to visit with her fiance. They wanted to visit Seattle for the weekend. At first, I felt like this would be too much to fit into four days. I wasn’t keen on it.

Then we arrived at our fancy hotel in downtown Seattle, and I realized how much my boyfriend and I really needed this weekend away. The best part was that we only had to drive 3 hours from home to feel that way. I’ve been to Seattle many times, but not quite as often as you would think for living so close.

We started the weekend off right with a surprise bottle of champagne purchased by Ronnie and delivered by the hotel to our room. Once we told the guy that it was Tony’s 30th birthday and that Ronnie and him just got engaged, he offered to make the bottle on the house. We cheersed to their future and our weekend ahead. I immediately let go of all the stress I was carrying on my shoulders, when I sipped my champagne and smiled with my friends and Ethan. This was exactly what I needed.

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I’ve seen all the tourist attractions, but my friend’s fiance had not. So, we visited the bustling touristy Pike’s Place Market. The smell of fish tinged the air, accompanied by the aromas of sweet pastries, and fresh brewed coffee from the Original Starbucks Coffee. Tourists snapped photos of the men tossing fish and hollering out the name and pound of it. We weaved our way through the crowds to get a taste of what the market had to offer. I stopped for a chicken, pesto, and mozzarella calzone, while my friends were in search of something more fishy. Ethan, my boyfriend, and Ronnie, my best friend, chose some clam chowder to eat in a steamy hot cafe over looking the Sound. We could see for miles in each direction. The sun glistened on the waters and the blue shadow of Olympic mountains painted the background.

We meandered around for a few hours through the market and down to the water. The sun was hot and kissing my nose and cheeks with red lipstick. I burn so easily. We stopped for some fresh crab cocktails and enjoyed the bustling street full of tourists from all over the world. The boys bought some fresh desserts at the pastry stand before we headed back to the hotel. Tony at his chocolate layered cake cup with a huge grin on his face like a little boy in a candy shop. Ethan followed suit and devoured half of a German chocolate cake brownie. Ronnie and I refrained.

We laid down at our hotel for a few hours to relax and wait for our reservation at Purple, the fancy wine bar we passed on the way to the market earlier. We all dressed up for dinner and hit the street at 8:30pm. The restaurant was buzzing with delighted voices, enjoying bottles of wine and warm plates of food. The metal doors at the entrance required two strong men to open them. I felt like I was entering a grand ballroom in a medieval castle as the tall metal doors swung open for us. The black iron spiral staircase at the center of the room wrapped around a column of wine. The bartenders climbed the stairs to retrieve different bottles.

We were directed to our table. The chairs were so heavy, I could barely pull mine out to sit down. Both Ronnie and I were too short to put our feet on the ground once we sat in the iron backed chairs. Our napkins were held by a metal ring. The whole place felt very medieval. We joked about being on the Game of Thrones. I felt like a real adult eating here. Being 28, I constantly feel like I’m on the border of adulthood and the last reminiscence of youth. It took a while to decide what to order, but the Sommelier helped us choose a bottle of wine at the end of our price range. We all cringed at the thought of how expensive our check would be.

The Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla had a robust fruity taste with hints of blackberries and complimented our meat plate very well. We ordered the baked brie and a beet and arugula salad. The Sommelier gave us all complimentary tastings of the white wine pairing they suggest for the brie. They were definitely right, it bounced off the palate perfectly alongside the fruity apricot topping on the brie. I don’t normally like white wine, but it worked well with this plate. The filo dough was twisted at the top of the brie like a crispy present. We all dug in hungrily. We were given long thick crackers to place the melted brie on. The saltiness of the cracker mixed well with the sweetness of the cheese and apricot. I took pure joy in every bite. We indulged until our pants could not expand any more.

We left having drank two fancy bottles of wine and having eaten two flat bread pizzas, a meat plate, baked brie, and a salad. We were all beyond satisfied. By the time we left Purple, most of the heavy chairs were empty as parties had left long before us. I could feel the warm vibration of wine percolating through my body. We wandered the streets, staring up at the tall skyscrapers. We stopped at Rock Bottom for a beer. I passed out in the red bench seat. Wine always makes me sleepy.

We made it home just before 1:30am and crashed into our beds. In the morning, we woke to achy muscles and throbbing headaches. My aunt and uncle, who live in Bothell, WA, came down to Green Lake to meet us all for brunch. After a hearty meal and good conversation, we all strolled along the gravel path circling the recreational lake. A man walked alongside his pet African tortoise in the grass. Children and parents gathered around to tap the shell of this mellow creature. Two young girls glided along the water on the paddle boards, wearing shorts and tank tops like it was summer. Several people cycled in the water on their paddle boats. Ducks played joyfully in the flat waters, skimming the surface. We all walked slowly and talked. It was nice to see my family.

After saying our goodbyes, we drove to Seattle Center. Ronnie and Tony wanted to go up in the Space Needle and visit the Chihuly Glass Museum. Ethan and I opted out to save money and not see something twice. While they visited in the museums, we laid in the grass. A mother screamed angrily at her daughters as they passed by. A couple of smaller people hung out on the edge of the grass. Several homeless men took this opportunity to nap in the sun. We snapped silly pictures with the Space Needle in the background.

Once they were done, we met them at the Experience Music Project and bought our tickets. I had visited the museum several years ago. This time was unfortunately a disappointment. Normally, there are many different music-focused exhibits. This time they only had the grunge exhibit, the guitars through history, and a very small Jimi Hendrix exhibit. The featured exhibit was on Hello Kitty of all things. Then they had a whole section of the museum dedicated to Scifi movies, Fantasy movies, and Horror Movies. These were interesting, but took away from the purpose of the museum being focused on music. We all left feeling a little cheated, after paying $25 to enter. I wouldn’t recommend anyone visit there now.

We grabbed a quick bite to eat in the food court above the Children’s Museum. There were various moonbounces blown up around the center of the court. Kids bounded around, from one moonbounce to the next. On the stage, a group of 6-7 year old’s performed all the songs from the movie, The Lion King. They were adorably dressed like animals of the African Serengetti. We each grabbed something different to eat and met at a table. Once we finished, we hit the road back to Portland.

Even though it was only a two day trip, it felt so refreshing to get out of town. I didn’t once check my work email and neither did Ethan. Ronnie, who felt so overwhelmed with stress leading up to the visit, seemed to really relax and enjoy herself away from home. Stress can be so overwhelming sometimes. It is wonderful, if you can just take a step away from it. Go camping for the weekend or visit a nearby town. It doesn’t require going far away, but it can really help you relax and forget all your troubles for two days. Staying home every weekend really keeps you trapped in this stressful cycle. I really felt renewed after a visit to Seattle and now I know I need more weekend getaways.

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