If you’re visiting Seattle, first time or not, Pike Place Market is a must-see. Equipped with this advice, my camera and some cash, I pulled the hood over my head and braved the wind on an adventure toward Pike Street. Along my journey I met a homeless man who hailed from Arkansas. He held a very distinct sign which read something like, “Homeless, Fire Hosed, Abused…” etc. I asked him about the fire hosing and he mentioned his involvement in the 1960′s race riots. Where most signs embody humility and often shame, he chose an honest, bold approach in seeking public assistance. Being in Seattle for the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) Journalism conference, I wanted to bring him back with me for a session on advocacy. His candor and the morning air were refreshing.
When I approached Pike’s Place at 7:30a.m. it was confirmed by an employee of one of the many farmers markets that I am of a “rare breed.” Apparently a morning person is hard to find these days. For all of us who’ve gone out of town whether for business or pleasure, you understand that a disruption in routine is nearly inevitable (junk food, no sleep, ridiculously excessive networking). I decided to get some rest and embark on this early venture primarily in an attempt to regain a few good habits, and I thought seeking out a few pieces of healthy fruit to enjoy before my first session would help my cause. What can I say, there’s just something about the scent of morning mingled with fresh produce. What’s more, this is undoubtedly the best time to hit this landmark, and the locals agree.
Neighboring this market I found one location I had sought out in particular as a vegan called The Crumpet Shop. I opted for the all-fruit apricot jam to remain health conscious (no sugar added!) but also to appease my sweet tooth. I paired this with a cup (literally, a tall coffee cup) of groats (not oats!) and a steamy soy latte and was ready to rock ‘n roll. Not only was their food amazing, but they possessed the rare gift of customer service. Absolutely awesome.
If I were to describe the ambiance of these few famous blocks, I’d have to call it invigorating, organic and peaceful. Consider, however, that this is before the morning market bell rings at 9 a.m., and prior to the shop openings at 10 a.m. I assume the word ‘bustling’ may be appropriate at that hour. While it’s still gray outside, shop workers are unloading cargo, arranging produce and preparing their shops for the day’s business. It’s a fascinating hour.
On my trek back to the hotel I reflected on my morning experience and realized I had a case of the warm and fuzzies. I’m not talking about the heat from the toasty crumpet, steaming coffee or my uphill hike toward 6th Avenue, but the overall experience of good food and good people. This morning will be remembered for a long time.