Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day Trips

I always love it when someone else does my work for me. However, in fairness to myself and -- more importantly -- the worker bee, I do attribute full credit.

So please join me in bowing our heads low to Pagliacci Pizza (voted best pizza in Seattle for 21 years, and affectionately cited in an earlier blog posting.)

My family and I are addicted to Pagliacci and please do us the favor of not advising us about the 12 step recovery program. Yes, they know my phone number; yes, they address me by name when I call (it is pretty Orwellian actually, upon calling I don't even need to give them a clue who I am first.) Like others similarly afflicted, and like them I am a recipient of the Pagliacci newsletter.

Edition XLIII of the Pagliocci Newsletter is devoted to day trips in the Puget Sound region. Allegedly it is out of recognition of the high cost of gasoline. The reality is that recipients probably spend most of their disposable income on Pagliocci 's superb pizza. There are, however, worse vices.

So noting Pagliocci's fine epicurean taste, I'd encourage you to give serious consideration to their local tourist recommendations.

Pagliocci's recommended architectural tour pays homage to Lawrence Creek, architectural writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and author of The Year of the Boat (BTW, both it and the Seattle Times are darned good newspapers by national standards). Mr. Creek and Pagiocci's recommend, for your consideration:

Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington: "It is a wonderful example of Collegiate Gothic style, which became popular in the early 20th century on the East Coast and in England. The architecture makes you feel very humble in the face of human achievement."

Chapel of St. Ignatius at Seattle University: "It is a small, contemporary chapel designed by Steven Holl. You have to go inside because it is the most beautiful combination of light and sculpted space in the city. It could make an agnostic a believer."

REI Flagship Store : The building design (by Mithun) is exemplary and should be a model of what that neighborhood should look like. What's great about the store is that it's the perfect marriage of high-tech aircraft hanger and a would-be lodge. It achieves amazing warmth for all those exposed bones.

Novelty Hill -- Januik Winery: The modernist-minimalist design of the winery will challenge your notion of what concrete can achieve aesthetically. It's a beautifully integrated building that offers complexity in its details and an unexpectedly inviting atmosphere.

Seattle City Hall: This building takes a modern city hall to a new level. It offers great public space inside and out, and it's designed to make people feel good about city government. In that way, the design invokes a spirit that harkens back to the old days before politicians were house in boxes. (During the summer, Seattle Presents hosts free concerts on City Hall Plaza. Visit for a full schedule.)

The newsletter also offers these recommendations on guided tours in Seattle:

Tour de Chocolat: You may not see an Oompa Loompa on this chocolate tour, but you'll get an insight into the psyche of Seattle's premier chocolatiers. It starts with an introduction to chocolate at Fiori Chocolatiers before a tour of Theo Chocolate. Then it's on to sampling at Fran's Chocolates and make the treats at Oh! Chocolate. You'll end with a cup of decadent hot chocolate at Chocolate Box. To make sure that the sugar high continues, you'll be sent home with a goodie bag of chocolate samples from each stop on the tour. Sweet! Bill Speidel's Underground Tour
This popular subterranean tour has been exploring the underside of Seattle since 1965. The network of passages and storefronts give a glimpse of old Seattle before city leaders took advantage of the Great Seattle Fire to raise the city 12 feet.

Chinatown Discovery Tours: This is a great introduction to Seattle's International District. You'll learn about history and customs that are part of the daily cultural life of the Asian Community. The leisurely walking tour includes visits to a museum, market and historical sites. You'll be greeted with the fragrances of Asian cuisine and the sound of Asian languages. Be sure to take advantage of the Dim-Sum lunch!

Private Eye on Seattle: This tour is reminiscent of the Jack-the-Ripper tour I once took in London. True-crime fans will be chauffeured around town, stopping at sites of Seattle crimes scenes and points of interest. Ted Bundy, Bruce Lee and Kurt Cobain are topics visited on the tour. Private Eye on Seattle also offers a ghost tour as well.

Savor Seattle Food Tours: Founder, Angela Shen, created her signature Pike Place Market tour to showcase some of her favorite vendors and their histories. Many locals who have taken the two-hour walking tour rave about how much they learned. Another great touch is that you get a high-tech earphone that allows you to actually hear the guide's commentary.

Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Factory Tour: OK. Many of you probably work for Boeing or have worked for Boeing at one time or another. For those of you who don't, you can marvel at the complexities of jet assembly on this tour. It is the only tour of its kind in North America.

Market Ghost Tours: Just about everyone who lives in the area has purchased fresh produce, fish and/or flowers at Pike Place Market at least once. The Market Ghost Tour is a unique way to explore Pike Place Market. Although a tradition during Halloween, they are offered year-round. This walking tour is based on stories of hauntings share through the community. You can even catch an improv show at Market Theater after the tour.

Ride the Ducks: It may sound a little cheesy, but when will you have another chance to drive around town then splash into the water and boat around the lake without leaving the tour bus? It may not be James Bond style transportation, but the amphibious World War II vehicles are entertaining for kids young and old.

The newsletter promotes these destinations in Hidden Seattle noting that:

"Seattleites are proud to be Seattleites, but that doesn't mean they know every inch of the Emerald City. Check out these places:

Pike Brewing Company <noted in an earlier blog posting>
This pub and brewery is tucked inside the southern end of Pike Place Market. It doubles as a beer museum with interesting articles and photos documenting the history and culture of brewing since its first written records. You may even get a crash course in beer history from the very enthusiastic owner Charles Finkel. He knows his stuff!

Klondike Gold Rush National Park: Did you know there is a national park in Pioneer Square? The Seattle Unit, as it's called, is a museum that commemorates the 1897-98 Klondike Gold Rush. It is a part of a group of sister parks that tell the story of the gold rush. The unit is replete with park rangers.

Waterfall Garden Park: This oasis in the city is a great place to have lunch or listen to the waterfall. The privately built park also marks where the United Parcel Service (UPS) was founded."

So, thanks to Pagliacci Pizza, a righteous social justice oriented business -- with a compelling story of its own -- for its spot on recommendations about what do in Seattle.

BTW, during the NACAC Conference, Pagliacci's Seasonal Pizza will be the Prosciutto Fig Primo ("figs with prosciutto, basil and mozzarella on an olive oil base for the perfect balance of lightly sweet and salty flavors." ) Sounds like a slice of heaven to me. Bon appetite.

Michael K. McKeon
Dean of Admissions
Seattle University