Sunday, September 5, 2010


Ballard Locks

A few days ago, Lisa asked me if I was free to do anything this weekend. I had Sunday morning/early afternoon free, plus LocalTwist was offering a special for food at Ballard Loft ($10 for $20 worth of food). So we planned a day around that. I had never been to Ballard and I've been wanting to get out and explore as many of Seattle's neighborhoods as possible.

It was a fun day, and the weather ended up being really nice.

We started out at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, better known as the Ballard Locks. It's quite a tourist attraction, as it connects the saltwaters of Puget Sound with the freshwaters of Salmon Bay, Lake Washington, Lake Union and Portage Bay. It's interesting to watch the boats pass through from one side to the other. You can also go down to the viewing windows of the fish ladder to watch the fish (particularly salmon) pass through from one side to another, but this isn't a good time of the year for that. The fish ladder was mostly empty.

There are botanical gardens there too - the entire area is beautifully landscaped and well worth seeing. Plus, admission is free. And parking is free on Sundays and holidays.

After spending about an hour there, we headed into the heart of Ballard to browse the farmers market. This is a popular and very lively market, but parking is hard to find. We found it an excellent place to people watch and there were some great street musicians playing up and down the market. The mingling of various street food smells were almost irresistable, but we had plans for lunch already (note to self: next time, on market day, don't go to a restaurant).

We made our way to Ballard Loft for lunch. It's a sports bar with ample outdoor seating. I liked the ambience of the place, but the basketball game they were showing was really loud, making conversation difficult, even outside. I ordered a "Washington Apple," which was an apple pork sausage on a toasted French roll with cream cheese and a relish made of apples, onions, and garlic. Beer-battered fries were served on the side. Delicious.

Stuffed, we made our way back throught the market, stopping for a free wine tasting at Portalis Wine Shop & Wine Bar. We had noted a gelato shop (D'Ambrosio) on the way to eat, and we decided we had just enough room. I ordered 2 flavors: meringue (with chocolate) and Nutella - creamy, sweet, and perfect. If you like gelato, this is the real deal. You couldn't get more authentic if you were in Italy.

For our last stop, we decided to go to Golden Gardens, which is the first sandy beach I've seen since I've lived here (most beaches here are pebbly/rocky with very little sand). Golden Gardens is known as a prime spot for sunsets, but it's also a great place to just sit, feel the breeze in your hair, and enjoy the sun's warmth. It was a peaceful end to a fun day. I could've stayed for hours (stretched out on a blanket with a book), but I had to get home.

I really like Ballard. It has a laidback vibe that made me feel right at home.

Here are my pictures from today.

Also, some links:

- Ballard Loft
- Portalis Wine Shop + Wine Bar
- D'Ambrosio Gelateria Artigianale

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