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10 Must Try Coffee Shops in and around Seattle

Categories: Community Spotlight, Sammamish Washington, Seattle, Washington | Posted: February 22, 2019

The Pacific Northwest is famous for rainy days, misty beaches, the Puget Sound and coffee. Seattle arguably made coffee the powerhouse that it is today in the United States. Their most famous export is THE hugest, most mass marketed coffee brand on the planet.

You’ll most likely get disapproving glances for mentioning that name to true Seattleites. Locals prefer the hundreds of quirky, small-batch roasters who tend to have, cough, better coffee. These little beaneries are spread far and wide throughout the city.

Try something new, bring your caffeine fixes elsewhere and support local business in the process.

  • Caffe Umbria is located in three locations in Ballard, West Lake, and Pioneer Square. Caffe Umbria is a local and visitor favorite with some of the best coffee around. Come in and appreciate the European vibes from the good coffee to the ceramic cups they use. Large crystal chandeliers hang above the giant light-filled windows, sip and watch the world go by.
  • Analog Coffee on Capitol Hill, is a cozy little neighborhood space done right along with quality coffee, you can enjoy the newspapers lining the walls and comic books scattered around the place. It’s a friendly local haunt with a record player playing vinyl over the speakers. A funky little throwback to old school Seattle.
  • NEKO A Cat Cafe in Capitol Hill, if you love cats but don’t have one of your own or you’d like to cheat on your cat with another, this is your space. NEKO has a very popular cat room, reservations are needed and are charged $11 an hour to sit and pet the kitties. Ten cats wander the room while you sip your coffee. Most are adoptable, so take your time and get to know them. Maybe you’ll bring home a new friend.
  • Cloud City Coffee in Maple Leaf, Cloud City is a cozy neighborhood staple that’s always busy. Its comfortable, laid-back vibes keep it the perfect place to drop by after the gym or with your kids. A large child play area will keep them happy while you catch a few relaxed minutes to yourself. Cloud City makes all of their bakery items in house and they are to die for. Homemade pies, big poufy muffins, and famous coconut bread will leave you drooling in front of the case, cravings will keep you coming back.
  • Five Stones Coffee Company located in Redmond and Bellevue, this is a coffee shop worth eating at. Gaze behind the glass counter at the huge powdered sugar covered almond croissants, wide-brimmed muffins, sky-high donuts, and fluffy baking powder biscuits. All perfectly balance with a rich, soft cappuccino. Five Stones has a modern interior with subway tiles and an open kitchen concept. Dark stained wood and communal style tables make this space open and inviting. It’s a great place to bring friends, they offer a larger menu on the weekends.
  • Third Culture Coffee in Bellevue, Third Culture has a great idea, they’ve taken coffee drinking styles from all over the world and combined it into one beautiful, aesthetically pleasing café. Come in and experience a coffee styled from Japan, Italy, Vietnam, India and New Orleans. Floor to ceiling windows bring in the outdoors, and large swing allows customers to swing inside on a rainy day. A large play area for kids with a great big blackboard softens the space making it more approachable and fun. Artists are hosted monthly keeping a rotation of fresh new art lining the walls.
  • Convivial Café on Mercer Island, before Convivial came to town Mercer Islanders often complained about the lack of independent coffee roasters on the Island. Convivial has changed that with a simple, no-nonsense coffee list and a comfortable, bright, open space to spend time in with homemade pastries.
  • Boon Boona Coffee in Renton, specializes in East African pre-roasted green coffee. You can reserve a space to watch a coffee ceremony where baristas will roast the beans for you much like they do in their homes for guests in East Africa. The space is very large, interesting and artsy, big enough to bring groups. The coffee roaster is set up right in the middle of the café, so you can watch and smell the coffee being roasted while you read.
  • Anchorhead Coffee Talus is located in two locations, downtown, and Issaquah. Anchorhead has a very cool dark industrial aesthetic, with terrific coffee to boot.Impressively, all of the non-dairy nut milks are pressed in house. They source locally when possible and have a good number of vegan options available. The baked goods are made on the premises, and they have a number of interesting non-coffee drinks like pistachio matcha and an oolong drink called Shy Bear Fog.
  • Issaquah Coffee Company located in Issaquah is tucked away in Gilman Village and can be a little hard to find the first time. The Coffee Company is an Issaquah favorite, you’ll see from the crowds. The coffee company makes handcrafted coffee drinks without the sad syrup found lesser coffee shops. The Coffee Company makes pumpkin lattes with real pumpkin and spices. Local drink names like Cougar Mountain Latte and Tiger Mountain Mocha are on the menu. Handmade pies, pastries, and breakfast sandwiches line the case. The walls are covered with local chalk artwork in this cozy little wood cabin coffee shop. It’s a busy place, but there’s a cordoned off section to keep your little ones happy with a few toys so you can be comfortable knowing they won’t be underfoot.

Try going on a coffee journey, use what’s left of this winter and the rainy spring to enjoy a new cup of joe at a different place each day. Though it will be over a year before you run out of coffee locations to try in Seattle!

11 Sports Bars Where you Can Watch the Big Game on the East Side of Seattle in 2019

Categories: Bellevue, Community Spotlight, Renton, Sammamish Plateau, Seattle, Washington | Posted: January 22, 2019

The Big Game is quickly approaching and no matter who makes it through the finals the odds are that you’ll be watching the game on February 3, 2019. There are so many things to love about sports bars, the greasy food, the easy attire, darts, pool, and foosball. One of the best things about sports bars is the prices, give your wallet a much-needed break after the holidays and enjoy a pitcher of beer and a $10 burger. For one night, drop the reservations and join the masses for a rowdy, all American celebration. There are no shortages of sports venues all over the East Side, so come early, pull up a bar stool and get comfortable.

Bellevue

  • The Goose Pub if you’re looking for a good old-fashioned dive bar in a location that you might not expect, this one’s for you. Expect frozen, fried bar food in a relaxed, atmosphere, it’s a good place to meet some friends for an easy-going, don’t want to do your hair kind of afternoon out.
  • Tavern Hall is a sports bar you’d expect to find in downtown Bellevue, beautiful subway tiled walls, large pillars, high, wood beamed ceilings and huge hanging lanterns make this a unique venue to enjoy the big game. There’s something here to keep everyone in your party happy from big, juicy burgers to vegan nachos, small-batch brews to craft cocktails. Despite the primo venue the prices are still reasonable, everything on the menu is under $16.

Issaquah

  • Gaslamp Bar and Grill if you’re looking for a place to bring your entire family for super bowl Sunday, this is it. Gaslamp is an Issaquah institution, it has been around almost 50 years and is proudly family friendly with plenty of televisions and a traditional sports bar menu, light on vegetarian options.
  • Malarky’s Sports Grill is your traditional, neighborhood sports bar, exactly what you’d expect in any town. Malarky’s has good food, lots of regulars, and a hometown vibe. Pull up a bar stool and meet your neighbors here.

Kirkland

  • The Lime is a lively neighborhood venue tucked away in Kirkland. When they aren’t broadcasting games on their large-screen televisions, they’re hosting live bands. The Lime is a local favorite with something always happening and cheap food, and drinks to boot, but you might want to clear out your arteries beforehand.
  • Tony’s Sports Bar is a Northeast Kirkland favorite known for their wings, happy hour specials and numerous televisions. This one fills up quickly on a normal game day so come stake your spot early.

Mercer Island

  • Roanoke Inn is one of the few places to choose from on Mercer Island, and the food can be hit or miss, but this 105-year-old bar and its friendly, throwback atmosphere with a cozy interior is a local favorite. Be sure to come early it’s no secret and people from all over the city come to enjoy the famous Roanoke.

Newcastle

  • Resonate Brewery + Pizzeria, tucked away in the Newport Hills neighborhood, this little hidden gem is worth finding. If you’re looking for an easy, neighborhood joint with tasty pizza and home-brewed beer you’ve found it here at Resonate. It’s an easy order at the counter kind of place, kids are welcome with their own children’s play area to keep them happy while you watch the game.

Sammamish

  • Pine Lake Ale House is tucked away in a strip mall, but inside awaits a warm interior with an impressive small batch tap list and always a hoard of locals. Unfortunately, it might be the only sports bar in Sammamish so make sure to come early as it will definitely be packed on super bowl Sunday.

Renton

  • JP’s Williams Ave Pub, located on the website under JP’s Barroom, but on the sign out front it’s listed as Williams Ave Pub. Don’t judge a pub by its cover, Williams is a dive bar out front, but it’s warm and inviting inside with a large cobblestone fireplace and a heavy wrought iron flu. A large percentage of the menu is under $10, food and drinks are affordable and surprisingly high quality, and not what you might expect from this dive. You’ll find plenty of televisions to watch the game, but don’t expect the massive wrap around TVs like some of the larger, more polished establishments.
  • The Local 907, another local taproom as the name implies is The Local 907, it’s warm and comforting inside with deep red walls and wooden bar stools. The website isn’t up and running, but the food is delicious, they’re known for fresh cut fries, tater tots, and burgers all for under $10.

No matter where you choose to go, have an enjoyable and safe Super Bowl Sunday and don’t forget to uber your way home.

11 Awesome Locations to Discover in Seattle in 2019

Categories: Community Spotlight, Seattle, Washington | Posted: January 8, 2019

Now is usually the season where we return to normal after the rush of the holidays, but in a city like Seattle, there’s no reason to slow down. Dozens of theaters, shows, and events will keep your winter spicy with enough venues to keep you busy for years.

 

  • Attend dinner and a show at The triple door, a historical, downtown theater originally built in 1926. The triple door is still going strong with a wide variety of shows from live jazz and symphony to tasteful burlesque. The triple door is an approachable theater with a laid back, Northwest atmosphere. Come in for dinner or drinks and multiple shows or bands every night, check the schedule for the type of entertainment you’re looking for and enjoy cocktails alone or with dinner served from the Wild Ginger restaurant next door.
  • Surprise your spouse with a Waterways Cruise, known for their fabulous food, you can sit while warm and toasty inside while watching the rain on the windows and the marine life swimming outside on a small and intimate cruise liner. Waterway Cruises and Events offer several different experiences depending on what you’re looking for, earn brownie points by taking your mother in law to brunch or surprise your spouse with a special Tuesday dinner on the water just because. The views can’t be beaten, and ships depart from marinas in downtown Kirkland and Seattle.
  • Model Railroad Show at the Pacific Science Center, back for its 45th year on the weekend of January 19th model train artists create miniature worlds within the science center with old steam engines and box cars running through cities, mountains and storybook villages. Kids will love experiencing the miniature world that train enthusiasts create bringing back a forgotten time during this popular event.
  • The Children’s Film Festival Seattle runs from January 24 – February 9, show your children the world through other kids eyes with International films coming from 39 countries, children ages 2 – 14 can find something to love during this festival, including short films mostly presented at the Northwest Film Forum on Capitol Hill. Special events, field trips, and workshops are all available to show your budding directors the art of filmmaking and storytelling.
  • Dust off your dancing shoes at the Century Ballroom, a full calendar of salsa, swing, tango and more are available. Most evenings start with lessons, then open up for you to practice your new skills on the dance floor. The Century Ballroom will be hosting Masquerade XI on January 25th, where you’ll have the opportunity to dance the night away in disguise.
  • Pancakes and Booze Art Show will be hosted at El Corazon on January 26th. For those of you who like your pancakes with a beer after 8:00 p.m. this art show is for you, free (with a door fee), unlimited pancakes will tide you over to enjoy over 70 artists creating masterpieces out of multiple mediums.
  • Take advantage of the off-season for tourism by becoming a tourist yourself. During the winter you won’t need to book out weeks in advance, and you might even have the tour guide to yourself. Learn about anything you’re interested in, Seattle’s small batch coffee scene and where to go, where to get the best gourmet food, brewpubs, hole in the walls at Pike Place Market or even tour the Boeing assembly plant. Take a professional, year-round tour with Clipper Vacation Tours, or meet someone new with Vayable. At Vayable, ordinary people who work during the day share their knowledge and passions with tour-goers during their off time, while making extra money on the side and meeting new people, it’s a win-win.
  • Winter is the perfect time to take advantage of all that the Seattle Public Library, has to offer in an incredible space. Free to the public with sharp lines, angular shapes and floor to ceiling windows, the Seattle Public Library is more than just an architectural wonder, it’s, of course full of books, perfect for cozy winter reading, and so much more. Check out their event calendar full of story times for children, monthly movies with discussions, and community resources. Not only is the calendar full of events, but they also offer programs, services, support and resources for business, education, arts, entertainment, book readings, book clubs, trivia nights and professional speeches. If the downtown library isn’t convenient there are over two dozen other locations open across the city, be sure to look into the one closest to you or make it a goal to visit several, they each offer unique and beautiful settings to spend your time. Don’t let these amazing free resources pass you by, there is plenty to offer for all ages and interests.
  • The Crocodile is one of Seattle’s original grunge hangouts, it’s one reason why Seattle was put on the map in the ‘90s hosting bands like Nirvana and other icons, the venue is intimate, and the staff is still rocking out every weekend. Check the calendar, for their sporadic schedule of undiscovered talent.
  • The Central Cinema is an all-inclusive experience at a retro theater serving dinner, drinks, and popcorn while you watch. The food is good, and every seat has a view, come early to order, the staff is non-intrusive. They keep the movie going interesting with a wide schedule of new and old films covering the spectrum of new, artsy, cult classics, little known, and occasional sing-alongs, give it a shot, the Central Cinema is a local favorite.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list of Seattle’s venues, poke around your neighborhood and find what makes Seattle the best city in the country. Loaded with art, food, funky vibes, and unparalleled live music, this city never gets old.

11 Winter Art Walks to Warm Your Creative Spirit this Winter in Seattle

Categories: Community Spotlight, Seattle, Washington | Posted: November 26, 2018

There are just shy of a dozen art walks that keep on dazzling through the winter in Seattle neighborhoods, they don’t board up and hide away during the rainy season. Local businesses open their doors to create warm, dry and inviting locations to come and enjoy the art scene. During the Holiday season it’s a great opportunity to find unique artwork for your home or a friend’s while benefitting a starving artist in the process.

Art walks have grown in the last few years, and although most cities usually host one or two a month, Seattle is a particularly artistic town and has 11 during the “off” season!

During these events, businesses all over the neighborhood will open their doors to display art work created by local artists. Coffee shops, banks, restaurants, theaters, salons and any other participating business stay open late and often play live music while offering wine and small bites for free while exhibiting local artwork. The artist is usually on hand to talk about their work and sometimes will take custom orders.

Meet up with friends, bring your kids and enjoy the walk from place to place. Each neighborhood art walk happens once a month, the below links will bring you to a map of participating venues.

And best of all they’re completely free.

 

  • Pioneer Square Art Walk, First Thursday with free parking from 5 – 10:00 p.m. in the Frye, Butler or 450 Alaskan parking garages, just pick up a voucher at one of the participating businesses. The Central District walk boasts that it was the very first art walk in the entire United States, it has now become a Seattle tradition 37 years old.

 

  • Freemont Art Walk, First Fridays from 6 – 9:00 p.m. Freemont, is known locally as a very artistic neighborhood and their art walk shows its stuff with poetry readings, paintings, photography, sculpture, all forms of art in one funky area with a rotation of food trucks to keep you fueled up for art viewing.

 

 

  • The West Seattle Art Walk second Thursday of every month, from 5:00 p.m. to “late” focuses on paint and print art. Local bars and restaurants will have extended happy hours and art walk specials on this night, so take advantage, and get a drink to warm you between paintings.

 

 

 

 

  • Ballard Art Walk on the Second Saturdays featuring live music and art demonstrations in downtown Ballard.

 

  • Uptown Art Walk – Queen Anne, Third Wednesdays from 3 – 9:00 p.m., the website isn’t completely up to date, but this is a reoccurring third Wednesday event.

 

 

  • Magnolia Art Experience, Last Saturday of varying months, from 4 – 7:00 p.m. Be sure to check the link for specific months, December is excluded.

 

Great art happens year-round and can be particularly inspired in the winter when you have more time to think, read and introspect. Come out and bring your family for free inspiration.

14 Festive Holiday Markets in and Around Seattle

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight, Lifestyle, Seattle, Washington | Posted: November 1, 2018

Holiday Markets in Seattle are often an amazing experience, a place to connect with people who care about their craft. They offer an old-fashioned charm and experience of hand picking the perfect gift for someone you love while enjoying time together with friends or family.

Buying local gives a sense of place, love and care that comes from picking a gift straight from the artist’s hands, from people who are proud of their products. So we recommend supporting local Washington state artisans and giving a gift to remember. Here are some markets that we’d recommend picking up that perfect holiday gift. Most of the Markets are free and they’re all child friendly. The best thing about homemade goods from the Markets is that you can often customize gifts if you have something (or someone) special in mind.

 

  • Scandinavian Holiday Bazaar November 3 & 4 from 9 – 3:00 p.m. Located at the Swedish Club 1920 Dexter Ave N. Seattle Come enjoy all things Scandinavian at this bazaar. If you don’t find gifts you will find lots of Scandinavian food and Viking inspired drinks. Two floors of vendors will be there with unique, Nordic gifts.
  • Gobble Up November 17, 10 – 6:00 p.m. Located at the Bell Harbor Conference Center 2211 Alaskan Way, pier 66, Seattle. This is the event to get all of your shopping done in one place. Since everyone loves eating, you can’t go wrong. Gobble up is a one day only, free event with food, condiments and specialty items for the kitchen made from fellow Pacific Northwesterners. If you’re buying for friends and family across the country, it’s the place to go for local flavor.
  • Magic in the Market November 24, from 11 – 6:00 p.m. Located at Pike Place Market. It wouldn’t be a list of markets without the mother of all markets. This is the 23 year of the Christmas market. Santa will be available for photo opportunities, live music, hot apple cider and hot chocolate, local shopping, a tree lighting and cookie decorating at the Atrium Kitchen from 12 – 2:00 p.m. for kids under 12.
  • Holiday Market at Westlake Park Every Friday- Sunday from November 23 – December 23, from 12 – 5:00 p.m. Located at Westlake Park 401 Pine Street Seattle. Located right in the heart of downtown, the Market at Westlake is a nod to German Christmas markets. Vendors offer handmade items with quality and love in every piece. Enjoy a lovely afternoon outdoors during the holiday season.
  • Victorian Christmas Market November 28 – December 2 Wednesday & Thursday 10 – 8:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday 10 – 9:00 p.m. Sunday 10 – 6:00 p.m. Located at the Washington State Fairgrounds110 9th Ave SW, Puyallup. Buy tickets online or bring cash for the front gate. Just 30 minutes South of Renton the Victorian Christmas Market is going on its 31st year in business. 500 market stalls will be open, food, wine and holiday music will fill the festival with performers on stage, concerts, Christmas lights and actors in period costumes.
  • Enchant Seattle Open almost every day from November 23 – December 30th from 4 – 11:00 p.m. Located at Safeco Field 1250 1st Ave S. Seattle, buy your tickets ahead of time. This is an exciting event, with ice skating, Santa Claus, dinner and drinks, live entertainment, over 90 holiday vendors and a massive Christmas light maze to wow your kids. This event might become a new tradition.
  •   Geek Craft Expo Seattle Holiday Market November 24 & 25 Saturday 10 – 5:00 p.m. Sunday 10 – 4:00 p.m. Located at Magnuson Park Hangar 30, 6310 Northeast 74th Street, Seattle. Register for free online or it’ll cost you $2 at the door. This market is perfect for the nerd in your life, and who doesn’t have a little nerd in them? Buy local from people with personality, over 100 creative vendors are all in one place with funny, fresh ideas for your holiday list. Cosplay is encouraged, and free craft tables will be set up, for kids.
  • For a special adventure take a weekend and a scenic 2 hour drive, or even better take a beautiful, snow covered train ride, to the town of Leavenworth for the Christmas Tree Lighting. November 30, December 1-2, 7-9, 14-16, Leavenworth is a Fairytale Bavarian style town in the heart of the Cascades. You’ll be transported to the alps in this German town lit up with Christmas lights and a Bavarian Christmas Market. Gluhwein (mulled wine), Holiday performances, roasted chestnuts, live holiday music, sleigh rides, and Santa Claus himself. It’s a great place to take the kids for a weekend they won’t forget, they can even go sledding right in the middle of town. Book your hotel stay soon, they go quickly.
  • Shop-O-Rama Local Artist Craft Fair December 1, from 11:30 – 3:00 p.m. Located at the Wing Luke Museum 719 S. King St. Seattle in the Chinatown International District. Join for the first ever local artist fair. Santa will be available for photos during the market’s opening.
  • The Urban Craft Uprising 2018 Winter Show December 1 & 2 Saturday from 10 – 6:00 p.m., Sunday 10 – 5:00 p.m. Seattle Center Exhibition Hall 301 Mercer Street, Seattle After 14 years this show is going strong full of handcrafted products, from local artists. Come find jewelry, bags, wallets, toys, housewares and anything else you can think of. It’s free to enter and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a door bags for the first to enter, but you have to come early to stand in line for this popular event.
  • South Lake Union Winter Market December 5 & 6 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Van Vorst Plaza 426 Terry Avenue North Seattle, Free to enter. Another great Urban Craft Uprising Event one week after the big winter show. This event is open for two days and with a rotation of different vendors each day.
  • Winter Night Market December 7 from 6:00 – 11:00 p.m. December 8 from 12 – 8:00 p.m. Magnuson Park Hangar 30,6310 Northeast 74th Street, Seattle Located inside an airplane hangar, 100 local, handmade vendors, live music, street food and a show welcoming the winter solstice. Free entry, suggested donation of only $1. Per person will benefit a local charity.
  • Makers Market Dec 8, 12 – 6:00 p.m. Located at Inscape in SODO 815 Seattle Blvd S, Seattle Come the studios open up to the public with a juried Makers Market with over 30 artists and craftsmen. Find hand-made clothing, jewelry, and more creative gift ideas.
  • Winter Feast and Holiday Bazaar December 16, from 10 – 4:00 p.m. Located at the Freemont Sunday Market 3401 Evanston Ave North, Seattle. Find over 100 local vendors and holiday activities. Nice handmade ideas for everyone on your list. And don’t forget yourself, this is a street food bonanza with a killer line up of food trucks and stalls, come hungry.

 

Come out and enjoy a winter day with family and friends while finding something special for the people you love. Buy local and contribute to the hard work of a local artist.

Bring the Outside in for Elegant, Uncultivated Autumn Decorating Ideas

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight, Home Design Trends | Posted: October 15, 2018

Thanksgiving is around the corner and before you go running off to the craft store, take a look at the outdoor bounty around you. All of your fall decorating needs can be found from the great outdoors, pumpkin patches and with a few things around the house.

If you don’t already have a pumpkin on your doorstep it’s time to get at least one. Put pumpkins on small tables, benches, over turned wooden apple picking buckets, chairs or even cake stands to add height, color, dimension and style to flat surfaces. In the last few years we have seen an incredible increase of variety, colors, shapes and sizes of gourds and pumpkins. French Fairy tale pumpkins have made it to most pumpkin farms and retailers stateside over the past few years and match a variety of home colors. White pumpkins, and warty orange and green pumpkins can bring color and texture to your doorstep.

The wonderful thing about decorating for fall is that the simplest decorations are the most beautiful. Store bought decorations, are pretty, but in the PNW it’s more rewarding to find your own. Go foraging for acorns, branches, leaves and grasses. Bring the outdoors in for some of the most perfectly beautiful, and inexpensive décor.

Centerpiece for Thanksgiving Ideas

A simple sprig of wheat or rosemary tied with a nametag and a raffia bow make the perfect centerpiece on your plate for Thanksgiving.

Bring home acorns from the giant oak trees surrounding Green Lake, pour them around a candle in a crystal candle holder or vase, or even just place them on a dinner plate with a wide candle in the center. Find things around the house to compliment your outdoor findings, look at the glass throughout your house with a new perspective, drinking glasses, vases, platters, candle holders and lanterns can all be used. Mixing in different shapes and sizes will add interest. Popcorn kernels, pinecones, lentils, or any type of bean can be used in place of the acorns giving alternatives to match to your décor.

Put pumpkins and gourds of different sizes on table tops and mantles. Use wooden blocks or risers to create height and interest.

Preserve Autumn Leaves for Decor

Preserve colorful fall foliage in a glycerin solution, this method is perfect for creating soft, pliable leaves as if they’d just fallen off the tree, or leave them on the branch to use in vases. Mix 1-part glycerin with 2-parts water and submerge leaves in the solution. Not much is needed, just enough to cover the leaves and branches. Put a weight on top, for instance a plate on top to hold the leaves under the solution and leave it for 2-6 days. When you pull out the leaves, dry them with a paper towel. You can then glue them onto a Styrofoam wreath form for the front door, sprinkle them across your thanksgiving table and over the mantle and they’ll stay looking beautiful for 6 months.

If you’re not afraid of a little glitter mess, sponge paint Elmer’s glue onto the leaves and sprinkle them with orange, gold and brown glitter for sparkly fall leaf beauty.

A long wooden board down the center of the table can become an elegant canvas to decorate with colorful gourds, small orange pumpkins, tall white or cream-colored pillar candles, colored leaves and cedar greens. Neutral colored candles can be left out and reused for Christmas. Weave stripped birch branches throughout the candles for a pretty, rustic look. Birch branches are bendy and can be easily manipulated to swirl around obstacles. If you have a small round or square table, cut tree rounds will make a perfect place for your centerpiece.

Is there anything better than a beautiful fall garland?

Create a darling acorn garland, thanks to the neighborhood oak tree. Very carefully drill a small hole through the top of the acorn making sure to drill through the cap and center if they’re still intact, if they aren’t you’ll first have to glue the top onto the nut. Then just string them up, this is an entertaining task for children who’ll love to help out. You can string the garland over chandeliers in the dining room, over the mantle and door frames. Leave them up for Thanksgiving and Christmas, they can also be hung on the Christmas tree.

If you want an even easier garland without the drill, string up your preserved fall foliage, or better yet, colorful silk leaves. Silk leaves will last for next year and hold up to wear and tear. Waxed twine or hemp rope is grippy and will hold the leaves in place. Thread a string onto a needle with a wide eye and pull it through each leaf twice so the leaf will stay front facing. Delicately string all of the leaves until you have a long, colorful garland you can hang around the house or over your front door.

Cake Stands to Decorate

Use platters, cake stands and bowls to display your fall finds and foliage on shelves and bathroom vanities. Dried Wheat bundles are simple and structural and can be used on fireplace mantles.

Simple little vases with mums cut to fit is a beautiful way of using flowers you might already have in your yard. Twigs with colored berries, soft grasses, cat tails and wild foliage can all be used with different shapes and sizes of vases, glasses and candle holders to add height, color and texture to your center piece.

For finishing touches, swap out your summer colors with fall inspired throw pillows on your couch, it’ll feel like a new room, without making any major changes. Toss a red or orange blanket over your couch for a useful, cozy vibe. Red can be left throughout the Christmas season too.

Now you’ve got the perfect atmosphere to host friends, with hot cider and get maximum enjoyment out of your home in the fall.

Why Sammamish is One Of The Best Places To Live in Washington State

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight, Sammamish Homes, Sammamish Washington, Seattle, Washington | Posted: September 17, 2018

Sammamish, Washington was just awarded the honorable spot of #9 out of the top 50 Best Places to Live in America for 2018 by Time.com! And it’s not the first time Sammamish has won a place in the heart of the its residents in the USA. In 2015 Sammamish was voted the Best Suburb to Raise a Family and in 2012 it was also voted America’s Friendliest Town.

Peppered with stunning lakes and the Snoqualmie River running nearby, the towering green rolling hills of Sammamish act as a perfect escape from the big city life of Seattle. One of the many reasons the Sammamish is booming is its proximity to beautiful spaces, miles of trails, access thousands of acres of parks and some of the most pristine lakes in Washington.

Sammamish has been proved time and time again as a picture-perfect place to raise a family while keeping an easy commute around to the top leading corporate campuses.

If you look through reviews written by residents about what it’s like to live in Sammamish, you’ll see that not only do locals overwhelmingly love it here, but it’s also one of the safest neighborhoods in the entire state. It’s located a short 10-minute drive to Redmond, Bellevue, Issaquah and only 20 minutes from downtown Seattle. It’s a suburb with all of the conveniences and benefits of living next to a large city.

Sammamish is growing quickly like all of the surrounding Seattle areas, with the growth have come beautiful new community centers, a new library was recently built with floor to ceiling windows, a glassed in fireplace and even a bicycle repair station. A beautiful new YMCA was just built complete with a nursery and several pools including an Olympic sized lap pool. The popular farmer’s market is held during the summers with live music and local produce for a family friendly filled day. Sammamish has everything you need is within arm’s reach: parks, schools, lakes, nature and culture.

 

  • Sammamish Landing is the best place to swim on Lake Sammamish and allows exhilarating boating opportunities to launch your boat from the park. Unobstructed views of Mount Rainier can be seen above the lake on a clear day. Two public docs are available for swimming and docking. The East Lake Sammamish trail is located right next to the park, a paved 11 mile trail wide enough to bring the family with their bicycles to enjoy the lake while getting exorcise. Travel on your bike all the way from Redmond through Sammamish to Issaquah on this beautiful trail that was part of the rails to trails program.

 

  • The Evans Creek Preserve is 179 acres of a stunning, natural park with 3.5 miles of trails or more if you choose to weave through the different options of paths splitting off into different directions. It’s great for small children and dogs, the footpaths are an easy walk with a mingling of nature, meadows, forests, streams and hidden forest gnomes to keep the little ones on their toes.

 

  • Ebright Creek Park is a gorgeous 12-acre gem hidden in a neighborhood. With three distinct areas. You’ll find basketball and tennis courts in the front, from there you’ll find a well-built wooden walk way guiding you to a large playground and climbing wall up to a giant slide. Keep walking to find a quiet meadow and trails in the back. Two streams run through the park making peaceful bubbling noises adding to the tranquility of the space.

 

  • Pine Lake Park, is a popular, 19-acre, waterside park with a long public doc to walk along and sunbathe. The Lake is flawless and reflective, showing cedar trees along its shores. Sometimes the lake has misty mornings with low laying fog rising up above the water. Go swimming on a hot day and bring your rafts and kayaks in the summer. This is a good lake for small kids as it has designated swim spaces with shallow water and lifeguards on duty. Big shady trees give shelter on sunny days while you picnic.

 

  • Beaver Lake Park, has 83 acres of trails and fishing year-round (with a permit). This is yet another waterside gem in Sammamish. With two parking areas and street parking, it’s easily accessible. Beaver Lake Park has everything; waterside grills, shelters, ball fields, a dog park and of course, the forest. Clear your head after a long day by spending some alone time in the trees drinking in the soft breezes and scent of evergreens. With no accessible boat ramp, only boats you can carry can be brought to this tranquil spot. The small lake size means that it warms up well in the summer for swimming.

 

  • Duthie Hill Park, If you’re not into mountain biking, it’s time to start. This park is amazing! 120 acres of trails connected to three other parks making a total of 2,000 acres of trails to cover. Duthie Hill is the mother of all mountain biking parks, with beautiful guided jumps, wooden bikeways and smooth, root free bike trails under a soaring canopy of evergreens. There are regular cross-country paths here for beginning riders, so there’s no need to feel intimidated if you’re new to the scene. For advanced mountain bikers there is no end of technical jumps and turns to practice your skills. It’s open year-round, so come get nice and muddy when you need a winter pick-me-up.

 

  • Soaring Eagle Regional Park covers 600 acres, with 12 miles of trails. Make your walk in the woods as difficult or as easy as you’d like with a wide flat trail available or rolling hill options. This park is great for any form of road or mountain biking as it has paved and unpaved trails, running or hiking and if you have a horse bring her out as well. This is a popular place for equestrians. The grounds are loaded with wildlife, if you are lucky, or not you might spot a bear, cougar, mountain lion or dozens of birds that live here and pass through. Bring bear bells or a can of bear spray just to be on the safe side, but it is frequently used, so most of the animals know when to stay away.

 

  • Big Rock Park is a whimsical new park with natural themed play structures. A slide is built right into a hill, different heights of logs to jump on, tunnels are built through slopes, there’s a giant bird’s nest where you can pretend to be a bird and a hulking wood gnome built of sticks. Big Rock Park designers had beautiful visions of natural and imaginative play for kids. The trails are easy and enjoyable. Try making a woodsy scavenger hunt for your little ones, find a rock shaped like a heart and a big leaf maple tree. The city is planning to use this space as a place for educators to bring classes. It’s a fun and interesting park, feeding imaginative play in children by using the labor and education of high school students to create it.

Sammamish is an exceptional place to raise children, while adults love it here just as much. With friendly neighbors, safe neighborhoods and tons to do, it’s refreshing to know there are still places like this.

Best Bars to Discover If You Are New To Seattle

Categories: Community Spotlight, Lifestyle, Seattle, Washington | Posted: September 12, 2018

Seattle is known for its massive amount of transplants, so we want all residents (new or established)  to make themselves familiar with all that Seattle has to offer. We all work hard, so we all deserve to play hard as well, which is why we want to pass along our recommendations for the best bars to check out in Seattle.

Most “Interesting” Bar

Unicorn is a florescent carnival themed bar, it’s ridiculous in an awesome way. Who ever heard of a carnival themed bar? It’s eccentric, colorful and has large, reasonably priced, unicorn themed drinks. The menu is full of non-traditional, greasy themed bar food. A word of caution, it’s very hard to look cool while eating a corn dog, but between the taxidermy heads, pinball machines and blinding colors you might sneak by. Check the calendar for karaoke, drag queen bingo and trivia nights.

Best Relax and Game Bar in Seattle

Come play at Mox Boarding House, with an extensive library of board games available for check out, play a different game every week without filling up your closets. There are two locations with bars, restaurants, private rooms, a board game store and a family area to play. Games can build young minds, quality time with kids and friends and make long lasting memories. Gaming tournaments are hosted in stores regularly and it’s open seven days a week almost all the time.

Best Bars to Bring Groups of People

Flatstick pub, with exposed brick, colorful, cartoonish paintings, indoor mini golf, giant Jenga and foosball. Unique games called duffleboard, stick putt and cup hunter created by the Flatstick pub owners are only available here. Kirkland, South Lake Union and Pioneer Square. Each have locations that partner with different restaurants, some neighboring restaurants will deliver to your table, but all offer a great place to have large groups of people. A huge selection of draft beers from independent, local breweries line the walls. And note it’s ok to bring your dogs to the Kirkland and Pioneer square locations.

Art Marble, built in a revived 1920’s building, a beautifully restored space houses a variety of events. A bar and restaurant serving local beers and locally sourced ingredients. A 3,000 square foot game room holds pool, shuffle board, bocce ball and over a dozen other games. The best thing is, the games are completely free!  Reserve a table in a room with a round fireplace or the posh bourbon room.

Looking for an unbelievably cool bar with artwork, funky speakers, and a bathtub filled with ping pong balls that’s perfect for any instagram post? Then Spin is the place to be. And yes this ping pong bar is amazing and we love it, Spin has a small, locally sourced menu with special attention to detail is on order between games.

Go down memory lane with classic arcade machines at Add-a-Ball in Fremont. It’s a hole in the wall, a legitimate vintage arcade. Revisit 1982 when pin ball was the best game out there and realize again that it still is.

Best Artsy Bar

For a modern, artsy dive, Jupiter Bar in Belltown is your hipster hero. Huge murals from a large number of artists grace the walls and front of the building. Hilarious vintage pinball and arcade machines line the walls. You can often find DJ’s, live music or live painters, painting while you drink.

Best Dog Friendly Bar

If your dog is feeling lonely or stressed and needs a bone after a long day of terrorizing mailmen, bring her to Norms for dogs. Norms has an entire menu just for dogs including chicken feet and bacon pupcakes. Bring friends on her birthday and get the hound dog cake it serves six dogs and is gluten free for those with celiac disease.

Best Themed Bar

Octopus Bar; awesome, tiny, nautical themed bar. The patio is bigger than the inside. Not only that, but the menu is affordable, delicious and fun. The décor is eclectic and unconventional. In a big city like Seattle reminders of the city’s roots to the sea are welcome.

Best Drink Bars

Be sure to make a reservation for Canon, this little gem has beautiful décor, amazing drinks and flavorful food. It is to liquor what a great library is to books. With every bottle on display the presentation is entertainment itself, Canon has a great reputation as food and liquor artisans and it doesn’t disappoint.

Don’t get caught up by the title, the whiskey is awesome, but so is everything else at Radiator Whiskey. Tucked away upstairs in Pike Place. Mixed drinks are flavorful and well balanced. The food is equally impressive. If you’ve been wondering where to pre-order a pig’s head for your 16 friends like everyone else on a Wednesday, search no further. It’ll set you back $500, but it will leave you with a lifetime of delectable pig-headed memories, but Radiator Whiskey isn’t just dinner it’s an experience.

This is just the short list. Seattle is an artistic and culinary delight with a never-ending array of entertainment for every type of interesting person.

The Best Wineries That Are Only Around 30 Minutes From Seattle

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight, Events, Lifestyle, Seattle | Posted: September 4, 2018

Why go to Napa, Italy or Walla Walla, when there is so much to offer West of the Cascades?

The Sammamish River valley is a lush, green, fertile lowland that runs through King County just North East of Seattle. Like many great river valleys, the Columbia, Rhine, Mosel and Rhone to name a few, it has become famous for its wine. Similar to European wine rivers, the Sammamish River valley is also known for its bike trails, green sweeping views and numerous wine tasting rooms. Unlike these places however it’s only a short, 30-minute drive from downtown Seattle, $1,200 plane ticket not required.

As the weather begins to change and the leaves turn orange and red, it’s a wonderful time to get out and enjoy the crisp autumn scents. There are a whopping 130 tasting rooms and wineries to visit in Woodinville. Washington State has an unbelievable range of grape varietals grown from sweet dessert wines to bold, robust dry varieties. The fall harvest season is upon us and with it brings more reasons to come out to enjoy changing leaves and cozy, stone fireplaces while drinking your weight in wine. With these many wineries, you can come every day for months.

Many of the Woodinville wine tasting rooms are actually satellite vineyards from the Columbia Valley wineries. They were nice enough to bring their wines to the main Washington hub, so you don’t need to go so far to enjoy them. Woodinville has so many wine tasting rooms that it is separated into four districts in order to distinguish each region and help tourists to find their way around.

The Hollywood District is known for the landmark Hollywood Schoolhouse. It is no longer a schoolhouse, but currently is a lovely event space rental. The Hollywood and Warehouse Districts have the largest number of tasting rooms.

The Warehouse District has more wineries per square foot than anywhere else in the world! Don’t be fooled by appearances, on the outside it appears just as the name implies, a warehouse district. But, within each door there are intimate, cozy spaces each with its own personality, charm and friendly face pouring wine behind the counter.

The West Valley District is the newest and smallest district with fewer rooms to choose from and a little more space in between. A pretty place to drive, sit outside and not feel rushed to make it to the next space. This district is growing quickly and is the new hot spot for winemakers coming to the valley.

The Downtown District has its fair share of wine tasting rooms smattered around with everyday downtown-y living things like grocery markets and a famous, locally owned, gift and garden store named Molbaks.

Don’t feel left out if you’re a beer or whiskey drinker, there six local breweries, two cideries and four distilleries here in Woodinville as well. Pouring local rum, vodka, whiskey, gin and even absinthe, if the prohibition ever returned the entire city would fall into the ground.

Many of the wineries have their own calendar of events and each has its own charm.

Afterhours Woodinville is an event on September 13th & October 11th in the Hollywood District and September 27th & October 25th in the Warehouse District on Thursdays from 4-8, for $25 a ticket you can taste 14 or more wines from 12 cellars, with a total of 35 cellars participating, it’ll be easy to find a new favorite.

Gorman Winery gives a feeling of a Tuscan countryside villa with its open-air doors, overhead pergola and stone façade. With live music almost, every Friday and Saturday and happy hour prices.

The famous Chateau Ste Michelle made Washington wines what they are today by starting it all. They were the very first winery in the State and are proudly one of the most famous. Come see the beautiful grounds and French style castle hosting September concerts with a very impressive line-up including Lake Street Dive and Lyle Lovett. Check their busy calendar for concert dates, olive oil tastings, wine releases, cheese classes and Oktoberfest for wine lovers to name a few.

Columbia Winery, is another of Woodinville’s most famous, with an impressive façade bold event space complete with wine barrels adorning the walls, large hoop candelabra chandeliers and beautifully manicured gardens. Stop in for live music every Friday night through September and on October 12th.

Although most of the tasting rooms close early around 5:00 p.m., dinner is right around the corner. Not only is Woodinville famous for libations, but where there’s a vibrant wine and beverage scene, dynamic restaurants and local nightlife are sure to follow. Woodinville has over 100 restaurants in every form, specialty and price point concentrated close by, some bringing renowned chefs into town. Have your choice of any cuisine you can imagine from Vietnamese, Indian, taverns, fine dining, bistros, Italian, pizzerias, burgers, sushi or anything else your heart desires.

Plan your visit now for Woodinville wine, catch a fabulous dinner and the tail end of the live music scene for the year. Just don’t forget to take a ride share when you go!

Why Laurelhurst is one of the Best Neighborhoods for Raising Children in Seattle

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight, Lifestyle, Seattle | Posted: August 23, 2018

The beautiful Laurelhurst neighborhood is known for its meticulously manicured lawns and stately homes. Home owners here have a sense of pride and community, many of which have grown up in this neighborhood and stayed to raise families of their own.

Schools here are no less impressive. Roosevelt high school is ranked the best high school in Seattle and seventh in the State. The Seattle Children’s Hospital, in Laurelhurst is famously one of the best in the country.

Laurelhurst covers an entire mini peninsula jutting into Lake Washington creating phenomenal water views on two sides. It’s an exclusive location close to the University district, Sand Point and only minutes from downtown. A boutique neighborhood that’s been around since the early 1900’s, it’s age only showing through the variety of architecture and charm.

The Laurelhurst Community Center is situated on top of a hill with views of Lake Washington below. The center offers toddler, preschool and afterschool programs and year-round events for kids. Located in the large Laurelhurst Playfield Park. The center creates a community linking neighbors together through events and play.

  • September 6th the Community Center is holding its very popular, annual Backyard BBQ Salmon bake. Attended by 600 people last year, the BBQ is an entertaining community event including a carnival and kids bounce houses.

Next door to Laurelhurst is the University of Washington Botanic Gardens the gardens are beautiful resources for educating young minds. With programs from toddlerhood all the way through teens. The botanic garden offers summer camps, night hikes, free educational weekend walks, story times and a forest school.

  • Forest schools are quickly becoming popular in Seattle, children learn to love nature by spending all day outside learning about botany, moss, bacteria, bugs and wildlife. Check the calendar for an extensive list of family activities.

Magnusun park is a 350-acre gem located only 2-3 miles away. Previously a naval base, the City of Seattle turned it into a recreation dream with the largest playground in the city including a climbing wall and a wading pool for toddlers in the summer.

Magnusun is the second largest park in Seattle, next to Discovery. Come enjoy the mile-long Lake Washington beach, boat launch, kite boarding and trails through marshes. Art installations and art deco areas give the park a feeling of cultivation. Off leash areas for dogs and beautiful sports fields are top notch thanks to a 13 million dollar make over in 2012. Not only did the city make life better for humans, they created wetlands for birds and wildlife to find refuge amid a growing city after breaking up landing strips and large amounts of concrete the navy left behind.

  • Bring your kids to enjoy miniature golf in the summer.
  • An architectural sound garden plays on the NOAA campus making music in the wind.
  • Summer nights in the park have classic movies and food trucks.
  • Kite hill is the perfect place to make lasting memories. Build a kite together and come fly it over the peninsula while enjoying views of Lake Washington and Mount Rainer in the background.
  • Don’t miss the Children’s Garden and the Children’s Community Garden this is a perfect place for kids, four acres of fun with free events including family fun days, gardening classes, a community garden and continual educational opportunities keeping little ones bodies and minds busy in nature.
  • Activity camps are open for older children.

The Laurelhurst Beach Club has a gated, private beach and is available exclusively to residents of Laurelhurst and Windemere who pay the annual dues. It’s a social hub of the neighborhood and an easy way to get acquainted with the community. They offer a junior sailing program for kids 8-14 to learn the ropes and youth swim lessons for kids to get comfortable with their sea legs.

The Burke Gilman trail connects the North side of the neighborhood to safely access the rest of the city by bicycle. Take the trail to parks all over the city without worrying about straying child bicyclists on busy city streets.

Laurelhurst is a haven for families within a big metropolis. Where you can enjoy all that Seattle has to offer while feeling safe on quiet streets. Known for good restaurants, friendly people and peaceful, treelined boulevards. Laurelhurst is a neighborhood where families build warm, happy memories so much so that kids might just stay to raise their own children.