On Saturday we decided to stick around Federal Way for the Federal Way Festival Days. The town closed down one of the main roads for a parade, festival rides were set up in the mall parking lot, and booths of food were set up. It was one of the most pathetic festivals I've ever seen. So to make up for out terrible local disappointment, we decided to head to Ballard on Sunday for a day of exploration.
Ballard is a neighborhood in Seattle that seems to have a little bit of everything. After spending the day there, it is one of my favorite places so far. We started our day at the Farmer's Market, which we first visited last weekend. (Well on our way to Ballard we tried going to Red Mill Burgers to get some amazing onion rings, but they don't open until 12 on Sunday and we were there at 11:15. So no onion rings this week. It's interesting to know that I will never be able to eat onion rings anywhere else again. If I do I'll be so disappointed!) So we bought some veggies for the week at the farmer's market (Farmer's Market pictured below) and stepped into a couple of local boutiques. We went to the Chai House to get some chai tea. I've been on a mission to find the best chai, since I don't like coffee. It's a really cool looking place, and while Robb liked his chai, I wasn't a huge fan of mine. We ate lunch at Hi-Life. I think it's known for it's breakfast and wood-fired pizza. However, I got a tostada and Robb got a chicken sandwich. My tostada was wonderful. Robb's sandwich was horrible. However, we will go back at some point and try the breakfast and/or pizza. The restaurant was very busy and the breakfast platters did look delicious.
After lunch we walked down Market Street, popping into local shops; but out true destination was Archie McPhee's (http://www.mcphee.com/). When researching what to do in Ballard I came across this store and thought it sounded perfect for Robb. Little did I know that since he was a kid, Robb has been ordering toys from Archie McPhee's. When I told him where we were going, he was very excited. This store has the weirdest items: boxing nuns, bacon flavored candy, librarian action figures, pink flamingos, etc. Robb resisted buying the kitsch crap and just looked around in childhood glee. Next we headed further down the street to visit Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. The locks allow boats to pass from Lake Washington into Puget Sound (think of the Panama Canal when imagining locks.) We took a free tour and learned a lot about how to keep the salt water and fresh water from really mixing, saw the water levels rise and fall as boats passed through, and most interestingly, saw migrating salmon. This is the season when salmon go back to their breeding grounds in fresh water after spending years in the ocean. We saw salmon jumping over the steps in the lock and fighting against the current. I'm not going to bore you with everything I know about salmon now, but, believe it or not the whole process is fascinating.
After that we headed back to the car, stopping at Cupcake Royale to try the yummy cupcakes. We then drove a few miles to Golden Gardens Park. This Ballard park has a beach with beautiful views of the Olympic Mountains (although cloudy yesterday, you could still just make them out) and Puget Sound. It was already early evening, but the park was crowded, but still felt intimate. We sat on the beach and looked at the water and mountains. Have I mentioned how much I love it here yet?