See Mom Run: Slept Well in Seattle
Ever since I saw "Sleepless in Seattle" nearly two decades ago, I have always wanted to visit but for some reason, my travels never took me to that beautiful city. But now, thanks to my new book See Mom Run and Swiffer WetJet, I got the chance to experience the movie first hand, but in my version, I got to sleep in a comfortable bed, it didn't rain one bit and I had a relaxing time away from home. I have always been a huge fan of "Sleepless" and decided that as soon as I'd arrive I'd visit all the places visited by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. What I discovered, is that when you've got an event planned in a location that's 45 minutes from the heart of Seattle, it's a little tough to do sight seeing when you've got a flight to catch the next day. While I didn't get to re-trace Tom Hanks' and Rob Reiner's steps during the "tiramisu and cute butt" scene (yes, I've scene the film at least 2 dozen times), I did discover that the next time I'm back, I can take the Sleepless in Seattle tour and visit the house boat where Tom Hanks' character lived! Though my trip was brief, I did manage to see a few highlights - we drove passed the Space Needle while heading towards the highway (tourists can actually go up to the top of the Space Needle and view the city and state in all its glory). We caught a beautiful glimpse of the snow capped mountains while on a bridge to Woodinville and even stole a glance at Pike Street Market which not only was featured in "Sleepless in Seattle" but is a must see location for anyone visiting the city. In fact, someone told me that watching the men throw fish is a highlight - I don't know why, but trust me, they say you can't miss it.
Our hotel also wins a top prize for the second favorite place to stay during the See Mom Run Tour (top honors goes to Janie Meyer's house in Charlotte). The Marriott on the Waterfront is centrally located with a great view of the water (hence the name). The hotel lobby and lounge are beautiful - there's even a cozy area with a fireplace and grand piano. Plus, the rooms are great - ours even had a balcony with a view of the water! While we were only there for 24 hours, we managed to do our two favorite things - shop and eat. After we unpacked, we took a stroll along the waterfront (during freezing temps) and managed to purchase tons of knick knacks for my kids. We also dined at a restaurant called Anthony's that offered eclectic seafood entrees and side dishes and the lobster bisque was absolutely delish. While I grabbed a few tour brochures and my mom and I relaxed in the hotel lobby, I discovered another Seattle highlight - the Underground Tour, a guided walking tour beneath Seattle's sidewalks and streets. Bet you didn't know this, but Seattle was actually built upon another city that now exists underground...can anyone say ghost tour! Incidentally, while chatting with a friend who has visited Seattle, she told me I need to return to Washington with my family and stay at San Juan Islands - it's about 80 miles from Seattle and offers everything from bicycling to beaches and gorgeous scenery.
A visit to Seattle wouldn't be complete without my favorite thing...shopping! As I mentioned, while the gift shops fit the bill for the kiddies, I discovered that the founder of Nordstrom's got his start in you guessed it...Seattle! As my mom and I walked through Downtown Seattle, a photo of the original Nordstrom's caught our eye and at that moment we realized we hadn't found time to shop for ourselves during our entire weekend together. Although we braved freezing temperatures, we managed to find the one place that always reminds us of home....Ann Taylor Loft. What can I say, I couldn't resist - they were running a buy one sweater get one free sale. Armed with half a dozen sweaters and wondering how I'd keep my suitcase from going over the weight limit at the airport, we headed back to the car to get ready for our drive back to the airport. But first, we had to grab a grande skinny vanilla latte at one of the fifty bazillion Starbucks located all over the city.
Incidentally, while there's a Starbucks on every corner, if you travel to Seattle with your husband, your girlfriend or if you take your mom, you can also pay a visit to wine country. In fact, while we did a reading at the Tot Spot Cafe in Woodinville, I discovered that several amazing wineries were right nearby. Though we didn't have time to do a tasting tour, we did manage to tour Top Foods which features a child care area and a a wine steward in the heart of the supermarket! Plus, we also were able to sample a flight of wine at the airport. Seattle is officially my pick for favorite US airport. In addition to a wine bar, they have the best gift shops (especially a boutique called Fireworks Gallery) and great restaurants too. Best of all, the people there are so nice - including the staff at the check in counter at Delta Airlines and the security crew too. No angry faces, no accusatory looks at my oversized messy purse. Just wall to wall smiles as they searched my bags and then sent us to our departure gate.
While mom and I had to go our separate ways (she was flying to West Palm Beach and I was going back to New York), we decided that from here on out, we were going to do a mom/daughter getaway every year. So if you're busy planning your family vacation (or staycation) - take a moment and steal a weekend away with your mom (or dad) - trust me, you'll have the best time being a kid again.