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3 Seattle Houses We Love

Do you ever play that game where you walk around a city and try to pick out your favorite house? Money is no object (this is an important rule in Seattle), all you have to do is explore long enough to make sure you've check out every house and can make an educated decision. We play this game. We play while we drive, walk the dog, and go for our morning runs. Seattle is full of beautiful homes, but we have a soft spot in our hearts for the truly unique. Lucky for us Seattle also has some homes that are literally like no others on earth! 

1. The Flower House

From May to October Alki Beach is home to our favorite house in Seattle. We aren't the only ones either, this house is loved by people around the world. Owner Randie Stone bought the houses in 1989 and has since spent countless hours and dollars maintaining her beautiful garden so that others can come and enjoy it. It is a sight for sore eyes nestled in between two glass and concrete condo complexes, and we always make a point to stop and take it all in when we are in West Seattle. 

  Photo cred: Alan Berner/The Seattle Times

Photo cred: Alan Berner/The Seattle Times

2. Edith Macefield House

This house has lovingly been dubbed the "Up House" because of its owner's refusal to leave her 1,050 square foot home to let it be demolished for commercial use. It is rumored Edith Macefield once turned down $750,000 to stay put. And why would she? Macefield moved into this home in 1952 and died in it in 2008. Since then various organizations have been trying to make sure it is kept safe from demolition. Right now it is sadly in a bit of limbo. No one seems to know what the fate of this little beacon of hope will be right now, so we encourage you to visit it while you can!

  Photo cred: Real Estate Gals

Photo cred: Real Estate Gals

3. The Victorian

This home sits in one of Seattle's most prestigious neighborhoods, Queen Anne. You could spend hours strolling the sidewalks looking at the homes here. You would eventually stumble upon The Victorian, a normal craftsman turned into a turreted tribute to the Victorian era. The paint is striking, the garden is beautifully maintained. The turret has the latin phrase Quo Amplius Eo Amplius which roughly translates to more is more. And you can tell the house was designed with this motto in mind, the sunflowers, the little balcony, the porch, we just can't..this house is TOO amazing. 

Want to see what it looks like behind the door? Take a tour of the inside. 

Volunteer Park

 The view from the top of the water tower

The view from the top of the water tower

You can't talk about Seattle parks without mentioning Capitol Hill's 48.3 acre Volunteer Park. It has an Asian Art Museum, sculptures, a dahlia garden, a conservatory, a water tower you can climb, a wading pool, tennis courts, lots of land to picnic, and plenty of squirrels (a main criteria when rating parks). There is so much to do here you could fill an entire afternoon wandering and sightseeing. And with Volunteer Park Café only a few blocks away, your day is set.

 Black Sun by Isamu Noguchi

Black Sun by Isamu Noguchi

 A peek of the space needle

A peek of the space needle

One of our personal favorites of this park is the Black Sun sculpture by Isamu Noguchi, which sits on the edge of the reservoir and offers views of the Space Needle, Elliot Bay, and the Olympic Mountains. It couldn't be better for Instagraming the city and it also reminds us of a donut, so all the important things art should do (Noguchi would probably cry if he read that, sorry Noguchi). It has been credited as the inspiration for Soundgarden's famous 1994 song Black Hole Sun, sadly Chris Cornell has not confirmed this so we aren't sure if it's true, but next time we run into him we plan to ask. Feel free to sit by the sculpture and blast the song and reminisce about how awesome the 90s were, though.

We also recommend stopping in at the Conservatory ($4) and checking out the tropical plant collection. It's actually a perfect winter time activity too as they have to keep the temperature balmy to support the tropical plants. We like to go in the middle of winter and pretend we are in Costa Rica.

 Tropical plants in the Conservatory

Tropical plants in the Conservatory

 Lots of cactuses in the Conservatory too

Lots of cactuses in the Conservatory too

Last stop is the Asian Art Museum. It costs $9 and the camels at the front entrance make for great photo opportunities. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but opens at 10am the rest of the week. We like to go and look at the collection of Buddha sculptures, there is something so peaceful about them. The museum has been around since 1933 and is currently looking to be restored. You can learn more about that here.

 Seattle's Asian Art Museum ( source )

Seattle's Asian Art Museum (source)

 

 

Kubota Garden

Seattle is definitely not short on parks, but Kubota Garden is a different story. It’s special because it’s not actually a park, it’s a garden! Plus, it’s the only one that is a historical landmark in the City of Seattle. This beautiful place was the dream of Fujitaro Kubota, a Japanese immigrant from the island of Shikoku. He purchased 5 acres of land in 1927 and started a garden entirely self-taught (which is pretty amazing to us since we can’t even keep succulents alive). Over time features were added, and the garden expanded to the 20 acres it is today. It was always Fujitaro’s dream that his garden would be open to the public and help promote Japanese culture. After Fujitaro passed away, the City of Seattle was able to purchase the garden and make this dream come true. The garden is now maintained by the gardeners of the Department of Park and Recreation.

The park is a beautiful and peaceful place to take a stroll and admire the Japanese architecture. There are a couple of picnic tables for you to enjoy lunch and a handful of benches throughout. Dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash and the park is wheelchair accessible.

Since no trip to a garden is complete without food (who are kidding…no trip to anywhere is complete without food!), we recommend grabbing some fried chicken at nearby Ezell’s (11805 Renton Ave. S.) or a donut at King Donuts (9232 Rainier Ave. S.).

Mailbox Peak

It's true we are no strangers to hard hikes (see: Grouse Grind), but we wouldn't say we exactly seek them out. What we do love here at Rain or Shine Guides and what we WILL seek out is weird stuff (see: Hat N' Boots). When we heard there was a 4,800 foot+ mountain peak with a mailbox installed on it, we decided, yes, that's weird and we must see it. It didn't matter that Mailbox Peak is arguably one of the hardest hikes in the Snoqualmie area. Weird stuff is always worth it.

 Our office dog, Maggie, crushed the trail

Our office dog, Maggie, crushed the trail

Nobody knows exactly why a longtime letter carrier decided to install a mailbox at this particular mountain, but it is what gives this peak its name and is what made it famous. There are two ways to get to the top of the mountain. You can go the old way, which is so steep it's considered a vertical incline, gaining almost all of that 4,800 feet in 2.5 miles. Fair warning now...it's unrelenting. It's torture. It will make you call your Mom crying. The trail will start with a well worn path but quickly becomes a mess of trees, and you must follow the white diamonds stapled to the trees to find the rest of the way to the top. Your other option is the new trail, which was built not too long ago as a result of all the injuries and rescues that were occurring on the old trail. So, why would you even consider the old trail, you ask? The new trail is nothing but a sea of switchbacks and will take you over twice the distance (9.4 miles roundtrip). We decided to take the old trail up and the new trail down, and this worked out well. It cut the distance a bit, but felt safer overall. No matter what option you take, remember to take your time. Your quads, knees, back, calves and sanity will thank you.

When you do finally reach the top, give yourself a pat on the back, crack open one of those beers you remembered to pack, and take in the 360 degree panoramic views.

Insider tip: People leave all sorts of interesting things in the mailbox. It's fun to bring a small token with you to leave or to swap out for something different. We brought a Marshawn Lynch themed poker chip because nothing is more beast mode than this hike. Also, don't forget your Discover Pass!