Stormy winter days on Puget Sound are a perfect day for a little stroll to cure the soul. It has been a long time since I have been to Golden Gardens Park and little did I know I returned on the same day as the wedding I went to two years ago. A lot has changed since that day, and the couple who’s wedding it was is now clear across the country in Wisconsin with a daughter, and the guy I met them through long gone. But the place still looks the same as ever. Somethings never change in Seattle, and a park is one of them.
The morning started out with the sun out, but as soon as I parked the car in the lot the clouds started to roll in off the sound. Strolling along the beach I caught glimpse of the Olympic Mountain range across water with snow on it’s peaks. I have seen these mountains my whole life, and the sight never gets old. Even with the wind blowing across the beach, there were still people with their cameras out snapping what little was left of the sun gleaming off the snowy peaks of the Olympics. Just another beautiful day in Seattle and another day of Pacific Northwest beauty on full display.
To get me in an art museum is to bribe me. Really bribe me. So when it came to a Facebook event posting about a free three days at the Seattle Art Museum, I believed it was a bribe enough. This past Sunday I went on one of the free days with my Mom to see what the whole collection is about. While there I got to see the newest exhibit to got on displace Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series. Overall it was fascinating to see a series of paintings dispiriting the great migration of African-Americans moving from the South to the North and West parts of the country. Worth a look.
Mouse vs. Man
While touring the museum I realized I am not much of a fan for contemporary art. Some of those things look like a kindergartener painted them. The mouse versus man was interesting, but a bunch wooden stick wrapped in barbwire is something I just don’t get. The room full of china had a few pieces I am familiar with or seen in some of the great houses in England. A lot of art comes from old masters of European paintings. One such paintings are the Greek Orthodox Christian painting depicting Christ’s birth and crucifixion, along with statues of saints (some I have never heard about) on display.
Birth of Christ w/ the Saints
After seeing all of Seattle Art Museum, we headed to Pikes Place Market for some lunch and to walk through the stalls. The weather as always was cloudy with a some sprinkles. We both decided to try out Beecher’s Mac n Cheese for the first time. An 8oz is the smallest they have, and boy is the mac n cheese very rich (yes it is not Whole30 compliant but it is worth the cheat!). There is reason this is world-famous, the cheese is real wholesome cheese.
After a filling lunch of mac n cheese, we both had to walk some of it off by ambling along in the Pike Market Stalls checking out all the flowers, produce, and even the fish stalls (no fish throwing at all). There was even tulips at one flower stall, and dried flowers for sale as well. Since the rain was holding off, we decided to go visit the park down the road to have a glimpse of Elliot Bay and the Seattle Wheel before the Viaduct come down for good.
I am Danish and Norwegian on both sides of my family, and being Scandinavian, I do have those Viking like tendencies to “head for the castle” and do it well. Guess there is one thing genetic mutations cannot touch, and it is being a Valkyrie. Ballard was settled mostly by Swedes and Norwegians, but that doesn’t mean a Dane cannot take on the neighborhood. Because what happens in Ballard does stay in Ballard if you know what I mean (or is that Fremont during the Summer Solstice Parade?). For one day this weekend I decided to conquer the neighborhood and I may have checked in with my ancestors along the way.
Nordic Heritage Museum is where I first stopped to check in with the ancestors. Nordic Heritage Museum is the only museum in the US that represents the cultural heritage of all five Nordic countries: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland. Best part of going was timing it with free admission day (First Thursday of the month is free admission to museums in Seattle area)! *smile.* Learning about what made my great-grandfather emigrate to America and what he had to go through to get to here. I did see a trunk similar to the one my great-grandfather used when he came from Denmark back in 1910. I could feel going through the exhibit of Journey to America a complete understanding of the struggles to a new life in America was like. Scandinavians coming from Europe had similar struggles as the Irish immigrants did. Some of the reasons to leave the mother land was lack of opportunities for majority of the population and political unrest in certain regions.
What does Laura Ingalls Wilder and Scandinavian immigrants heading west have in common? The Homestead Act. Majority of the places in her books had a lot of Scandinavian immigrants passing through. Eventually families started settling in the area we call Ballard around 1880s. Ballard’s maritime industry and logging was born from the surrounding the area’s natural resources. Does the show Deadliest Catch ring a bell? The fleet docks in Ballard’s Fisherman’s Terminal.
The first floor displayed Dream of America exhibition about immigration to the United States. Second floor was all about how Ballard came to be and the surrounding communities. And the third floor was devoted to each of the five Nordic countries. The fascinating thing I got out of all five was each familyhad a sewing machine from various brands. I find this observation strangely weird.
Larsen’s Bakery where Danish pastry aficionados stock up on sweet pretzel shaped Kringle and all the baked Scandinavian goodies was where my hungry stomach needed to go. Around Christmas time I make my way down to this bakery for Christmas Kringle in late November early December time. Raspberry or strawberry filling with cream cheese is “uff da”(an expression of sensory overload across all Scandinavian dialects) and I would live on this stuff if it meant never getting fat. On this particular day there were no more Danishes, so I decided to try their Turkey Havarti Croissant for lunch. The picture does not do it any justice because whats inside is a melted cheese with slabs of turkey wrapped in a flaky croissant. I had flakes of pastry all over my lap when I was done with this yummy lunch.
After this yummy lunch I took a stroll down Market street to browse a few shops before heading home. I have always loved Ballard, and I would say this neighborhood has been my favorite place to be. In the past I have gone to the Ballard locks, soaked up sun at Golden Gardens and even caught a movie at the Majestic Bay Theater. I would highly recommend exploring this neighborhood, especially the Nordic Heritage Museum and check out the Farmer’s Market during the summer on Sundays as well.
You can say this Dane did get in touch with her roots, and did find out a lot more about how Ballard became…well Ballard. The only thing this Dane did not do is taste lutefisk jellied in lye and will never do!
*The Nordic Heritage Museum is moving in late 2017 to their new location in Ballard. Please see their website for more details.*