Pike Place Market jump starts your senses. The sight of hundreds of vendor’s lining the rows. The sounds of fish mongers hawking this mornings catch. If you’re lucky you can watch as they entertain patrons with a tossing show. The scent of freshly baked breads and fresh brewed coffee delight people.
Started in 1907, Pike Place has been a part of Seattle’s waterfront landscape for over a century. Multi-level, this farmer’s/crafter’s market stretches over nine acres. Handmade items created by local artisans mingle with fresh fruit stands, food vendors and restaurants.
The first order of business was something to eat, as after a plane ride from Atlanta, it was supper time. Pike Place has thirty food counters and restaurants. We ate at Athenian Inn and the food was delicious.
I promised myself not to add the weight of my suitcases. After all, fellow PFHT and friend, Susan Carlisle, were there to attend the Greater Seattle Area Romance Writer’s conference. I knew I’d receive a few free books (rubs hands together). Resolve firmly in place, I strolled along mentally ooohing and ahhhing and wishing I hadn’t brought so many clothes to layer. (Later, I’d be glad I had those extra layers.)
Glass blowing is huge in Seattle. I forced myself to keep moving when my feet started dragging and finally came to a stop. A beautiful, heart-shaped paperweight caught my attention. Susan saw my eyes light up. Like a good girl, I talked myself out of the breakable item and continued on until the booth was out of sight.
I’ve never seen so many unique and beautiful crafts. Painters sold prints of their Northwestern paintings for five dollars. Knitted caps, wooden boxes & spoons & boards, pottery, metalwork, photographs, purses, jewelry, leather, hand cream, all handmade, were a feast for the eyes. Tempting myself had lowered my resistance and I reached the end of an aisle, it disserted me completely.
The teenager is a huge Star Wars fan and Darth Vader called to me. Dale, the artist stained his coppery head on a black tee. I’ve never seen anything like it. Dale and I talked for about thirty minutes and he explained his process of bleaching the image onto the t-shirt, then dunking it in coffee. The strength of the coffee determines the darkness. Remember too, Seattle is known for it’s coffee. The first Starbucks sits directly across from Pike Place. So I gave in to the dark side and purchased one for the teenager and different design for the Marine. After all I reasoned, t-shirt are flat and easy to pack.
The true test came as we had to pass the glass blowers again and that gorgeous paperweight. My feet slowed, indecision volleyed in my brain, but I refused to touch it. I turned to Susan and asked her opinion. She repeated all that I had said to her. In other words, no. If I had to take a carry-on, I’d need to check a bag, which costs extra money. So the price on whatever I was bringing home would actually cost more.
Ten feet from the stall, my friend turned to me, a guilty expression on her face. Not able to stand it, she handed me a box. “Happy Birthday,” she told me. “That’s why I didn’t want you to buy one.”
My birthday present was getting to go to the writing conference. And whole weekend was one I’ll never forget.