I would have to say that Seattle is one of my all-time favorite cities in the world. I have been there many times, but the most recent trip was in August for the world famous Seattle Hempfest. Myself, my dad (our own Legal Connection, Dale Schafer) and my other half (The Hillbilly) all were able to make it for this amazing event and I have to say that I was profoundly changed by everything about it. I am going to write an entire piece, on Seattle Hempfest, later this month so without giving too much away I will say that Hempfest is a yearly event, which just celebrated it’s 25th anniversary and is referred to as the original protestival. It is a mixture of hippy-dippy, love, activism, music, stories and new adventures.
During my trip, in August, I was finally able to make it to Pike Place Market, which rounded out my Seattle Bucket list. The market is actually quite large and runs for 9 acres, right along the docks, so you get the salty smell of the sea and a light mist in the breeze. We happen to be visiting at lunch time so as we made our way toward the market I was trying to decide on where we should eat. A place called Biscuit Bitch serves gourmet biscuits and gravy, Mee Sum Pastry has been serving Chinese dim sum for 30 plus years and Piroshky-Piroshky has been offering a selection of Piroshkies, both savory and sweet, since 1992. The Crumpet Shop has real, traditional, English Crumpets, Michou has an amazing delicatessen with soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts, and Country Dough serves Szechuan flatbreads, lettuce rolls, Chinese crepes, and famous shaved noodles, as well as refreshing, flavored green and black teas. So many choices but I should have known that, although federal prison had forced him to become much more adventurous with food, my father was never going to want dim sum, piroshkies, or crumpets, he wasn’t feeling a deli experience and it was too late for breakfast so maybe something a little closer to home. We settled on tacos at El Borracho and they were scrumptious but I had some Dr. Who, on the way over, so that probably helped. The guys each had a beer and I found a Purple Urkle (basically grape Kool-Aid, sour grape vodka and a sugar rim of blue raspberry candy) to peak my interest. After some good food, some laughs and a full belly we headed to our next activity.
The Dockside Cannabis Museum had an exhibit of antique pharmaceutical bottles, including Cannabis Sativa, Opium Elixir and Heroin on display and it was a great opportunity to learn some new things, see some old friends and make some new ones. It was also my first opportunity to walk into a legal recreational dispensary and I have to say that I was very impressed with what I saw. Dockside Cannabis opened their second location, in SoDo, in September of 2015 and donated half of the space to the cannabis museum. They have modern, clean and inviting displays and their service seemed to be quick and friendly. They carry approximately 25 strains of both indica and sativa and closer to 30 hybrid strains. Additionally, Dockside carries pre-rolls, extracts, elixirs, baked goods, sublinguals, and capsules. I have to admit that I missed a bit of the exhibit presentation just getting lost in all of the options of products. Then, I found my “pot of gold”…The topicals. I love topicals! This probably stems from my love of all things spa related so I just could not take my eyes off of all of the products. They carry Ethos, which makes a cannabis infused bath soak product called Body Buzz. Body Buzz totes itself as the “alternative masseuse” and claims that it leaves you feeling like you have had a full body massage. I found that a company called Fairwinds has a product named The Flow CBD Deep Tissue and Joint Gel that is supposed to penetrate the skin and relieve pain within 5 minutes. Finally, the Flying Dutchman have put out something similar to an Icy-Hot in both a spray and salve. I probably could have benefited from all, after all of the walking we did, but I settled on the Juana Kiss Lip Balm by Flying Dutchman because my lips were super chapped and I wanted to know what it tasted like. It was a little over $10 but worth every penny because it had a unique vanilla peppermint sort of flavor and felt like heaven on my poor dehydrated lips.
Although I was not able to do it on this trip there are a few must-do activities, in Seattle, if you are able to make it. First, You must visit the Seattle Space Needle at sunset. Imagine watching the sun disappear over the mighty Cascade Mountains from 520 feet in the air. The moment you step out, onto the Observation Deck, your belly begins tingling, with the excitement of being almost 60 stories above the ground and it’s amazing how far and wide the view really is! The first time I ventured up this mighty structure it was 2008 and cannabis was not legal in Washington yet. However, the last time I made my way up I was blessed with a few grams of Green Crack and let me just say that my experience was invigorating. My head was buzzing, I was grinning ear to ear and my stomach felt like I was on the best rollercoaster ever. It was great! I highly recommend pairing a good sativa with an experience like stepping out onto the Observation Deck of the Seattle Space Needle.
My next recommendation, if you are in Seattle, is the Bill Speidel Underground Tour. This tour begins in Doc Maynard’s Public House where you can get snacks and drinks from one of the most beautiful saloon-style bars I have ever seen. The tour then moves into “historic Pioneer Square, Seattle’s birthplace, before plunging underground for an exclusive, time-capsule view of the buried city”. The tour is 75 minutes long and it can get fairly cold, down there, so come prepared. My favorite fun fact was that after a tragic fire, in 1889, Seattle rebuilt their city to resemble the City of Sacramento, which had just finished their progressive work the year before. Just as, a side note, I did not consume any cannabis prior, or during, this particular activity because I had heard that the underground part, of the city, was haunted and I did not want an overdose of THC to add to my healthy fear of those trapped in the underworld. Always a good idea to abstain from consuming THC if you are doing something that pushes you out of your comfort zone.
The Experience Music Project is my last Bucketlist “ToDo” in Seattle. This place is really amazing and it’s mission is to promote “the ideas and risk-taking that fuel contemporary pop culture”. They feature exhibits like “World of Wearable Art”, “Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction” and “Indie Game Revolution” as well as events such as “Sound Off”, an annual event that supports the all-ages scene by giving artists an opportunity to showcase their original music, and the “31 Days of Horror” which include the new Campout Cinema screenings, B-Movie Bingo, a Stranger Things-inspired Haunted Happy Hour, and the annual Fashionably Undead Prom. This museum is truly unbelievable and you could get lost in all of the fun and unique displays, especially if you have a bit of Purple Champagne before to walk inside. The heady buzz will leave you uplifted and energized as you explore all the new, yet familiar, parts of this museum.
I want to touch, real quick, upon the cannabis tours available in Seattle. The most prominent seems to be Kush Tourism, which offers a few guided tours including a Garden Tour and a Glass, Garden and Edibles Tour as well as private tours, parties, and vacation packages. The Original Cannabus is a 2-hour tour of a garden and visit to a shop for $25. Finally,The Weedbus Club is an educational tour, in Downtown Seattle, that travels to hemp and cannabis events and apparently made a huge splash, this summer, with their block parties. All three seem like a typical tour so if you want to see how cannabis is grown or visit a legal recreational cannabis dispensary I would highly recommend one of these.
There are lots of hotel options, for staying in Seattle, but we chose to stay closer to Tacoma since the room cost was astronomical during the Hempfest weekend. Most decent rooms are going to fall into the $150 per night range, but Hempfest almost doubled that cost so I thought it would be worth the drive. Turns out, there was a large amount of roadwork being done and traffic was terrible so it took us almost 90 to get the 25 miles from our hotel to Olympic Park, where Hempfest is usually held, every day. So a word to the wise, take a look at the Washington State Department of Transportation for information about planned road and highway delays. For that matter, it is probably a good idea to always search the Department of Transportation for the road conditions of where you will be traveling through.
I said it once and I will say it again, I love Seattle! I love the smell of the clean and crisp air, the lack of smog in the horizon and the eclectic feel of the streets. I love the museums, the markets, the shopping and food and the nightlife. I just love Seattle and I cannot wait to have the opportunity to visit again.