Follow Shelley Rotner to Seattle, a big city with a small town feel. The weather is nothing when you’re surrounded by sustainable parks, over 70 wineries, plenty of farmer’s markets, and dog friendly lodging!
I flew into Seattle at the end of December, the month statistically known to have about twenty days of rain or snow. From the air on a cloudless day, the sun was illuminating the silver bays and inlets-giving shape to the land and islands beyond.
Clearly visible were the Olympic Mountains to the west and the Cascades to the east. Adding to the drama, was Mt. Rainier, towering high above. The presence of nature was dramatic.
Coming closer, I could see the urban stage composed of a sprinkling of skyscrapers and the mountains becoming the backdrop of a somewhat surreal setting. With the geography setting the stage, the play is about a resourceful, entrepreneurial people. Seattleites are relaxed with a consciousness. Seattleites walk the walk.
It’s a laid back town — I mean city -– made up of many neighborhoods.
Some people know Seattle as the Emerald City because of the abundance of green space throughout, thanks to the Olmstead brothers (sons of the famous landscape architect Frederick Laws Olmstead who designed New York’s Central Park). Starting back in 1902, they designed and built 37 parks and playgrounds to secure and protect the land with water and mountain views.
These well-designed parks are still preserved. The sustainable theme started long ago and is ever-present. Seattle is a place where the people embrace the lifestyle of integrating nature and source into their daily existence and play an active role to respect and preserve it.
Outfitting at REI
I needed some cold weather gear so I headed to REI,(Recreational Equipment Inc), the 100,000 sq. ft. flagship store. Choices to explore the great outdoors were abundant. One wall displayed nearly 100 pairs of snowshoes.
A newsletter posted classes, like Women Snowshoe — Romp to Stomp. The link to nature goes beyond consumerism. REI is the largest consumer cooperative in the US. But there is a greater mission here too — an educational component to raise awareness to its citizens, businesses and government through education, advocacy and community.
What Prada is to New York, REI is to Seattle. Backpacks are the fashion statement. Bikes outnumber taxis. A sales person said, “There isn’t bad weather here — just bad choice of clothes.”