A Seattle Day Trip For Aviation Fans

Seattle Day Trip

A Seattle day trip could mean visiting a variety of places. Think “Seattle” and images or thoughts of the Space Needle, Starbucks Coffee or TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy” might come to mind. But not far from the heart of the city is Paine Field airport where several attractions represent the past, present and future of aviation. Any one of them is worth a visit. Bundle several together and it’s a day trip from heaven for aviation fans.

Seattle’s Boeing Everett Factory houses the largest indoor manufacturing facility in the world. The space is so big that it can hold 33 football fields and make its own weather system if not properly ventilated. It’s also the home of the new 787 Dreamliner aircraft that will keep workers busy well into the future. We took a 90-minute tour, walking through the construction process from start to finish.
Next door, Boeing’s Future of Flight Aviation Center is also an interesting walk-through facility designed to stimulate innovative thinking.

Future of Flight includes an aviation gallery with interactive exhibits and displays, a rooftop observation deck overlooking Paine Field, full-size jet aircraft engines, a cutaway slice of an actual passenger jet that shows the areas passengers don’t see and more.

Voted one of the top aviation attractions in the world, visitors can take the only public tour of a commercial jet assembly plant in North America at the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour. The center features everything from airplane designs, materials, engines and flight systems to flight simulators.

Taking a unique look at the history of flight, two other places of interest to aviation fans, the Flying Heritage Collection and the Historic Flight Foundation, have nearly 30 actual, flying aircraft meant to be seen, touched and flown.

The Flying Heritage Collection has pieces created with leading technologies of the 1930s and 1940s as combat aircraft in World War II. The collection has U.S., British, German, Russian and Japanese aircraft types, many of which were often pitted against each other in great air battles.

The surviving aircraft were researched, found and sometimes recovered from former battlegrounds and airfields, then authentically restored.

Each summer, planes from the Flying Heritage Collection are flown to keep them operational and exercised on a regular basis. History buffs and aviation fans gather to witness the beauty of the vintage aircraft as they return to the skies, if only briefly. Year-round, some of the aircraft are available for hire, taking fans up in the air to view the area much like aviators of the past would have.

Another venue, the Historic Flight Foundation has engaged the best restoration resources available to return their collection to original splendor. Most always using original parts, the Historic Flight Foundation often searches the world over for what they need to keep the collection in the air. Those who work the collection are quick to point out “this is not a museum; our planes fly”.

Volunteer docents, many with first-hand knowledge about the operation and maintenance of their combined fleet, are eager to share their love of aviation with visitors.

Special events, open to the public, run throughout the summer and into the fall. Continuing this weekend, the Flying Heritage Collection continues its Fly Days series with the Battle of Britain Day on August 25, the IL-2 Debut on September 15 and the Ground Attack Day on September 29.




Photos- Chris Owen

Seattle Culinary Camp With Chef Tom Douglas Offers A Taste Of Washington State

seattle cooking classesIt’s a well-known fact amongst Seattleites that the sun always comes out for the summer starting on July 4. OK, that wasn’t true two years ago but on July 5, there it was. Anyway, it’s the official start of our summer and that means it’s also the start of the eating season. For farmers market goers and lovers of the grill and al fresco dining, July is kickoff time.

Perhaps that’s why Tom Douglas, the modern father of Pacific Northwest cooking (the late James Beard being the true granddaddy of PNW cuisine), chose July for his annual Culinary Camp. The award winning chef and restaurateur behind such Seattle landmarks as Dahlia Lounge, Palace Kitchen, Lola and Serious Pie has held a five-day culinary immersion program every July for the past six years.

Locals and visitors alike will get a taste of local ingredients such as geoduck clams, Dungeness crab, blueberries, salmon, wild mushrooms and cheese in hands-on cooking classes as well as demonstrations and tastings from Douglas – currently a finalist for the James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur of the Year award.

Additional educational opportunities will be available from other respected Seattle food and drink authorities; in the past, these have included Matt Dillon of Sitka & Spruce and The Corson Building, Mark Fuller of Spring Hill/Ma’ono, and Maria Hines of Tilth and The Golden Beetle. Former visiting experts have included acclaimed chef Nancy Oakes and her husband, sausage king Bruce Aidells and noted food writers/cookbook authors Rose Levy Beranbaum and James Peterson.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Space Needle, so citywide celebrations will make vitamin D-depleted Seattlites even more festive than usual. The Tom Douglas Culinary Camp will take place July 8-12 and tuition is $3,000. To learn more and reserve a spot, contact Robyn Wolfe at robynw@tomdouglas.com.

[Flickr Photo via cbcastro]

Top 5 Travel Attractions of Seattle, Washington

Needling replaces planking as the new meme in Seattle

Planking is so early 2011.

At least that’s the case in Seattle where locals and tourists have moved on to “needling,” i.e., posing like the Space Needle. Started about two weeks ago by a few bored PR folks who wanted to “disrupt Seattle’s weather doldrums with a little fun,” the needling meme now has its own Tumblr website Do the Needle, where anyone can submit needling photos. So far, Do the Needle has collected photos of people needling in front of Seattle landmarks, such as the, uh, Space Needle and Pike Place Market, and as far afield as Boston’s Fenway Park.

It’s easy to see how needling could catch some buzz, as it’s far more inventive than planking or the equally silly owling. But I wonder if this show of Seattle pride could lead to modified versions around the world? Maybe by this time next month, we’ll bring you news of people posing like the Burj Khalifa, the CN Tower, or the Washington Monument.

What famous landmark would you like to see turned into a meme? Tell us in the comments below.

[Photo credit: Do the Needle]

Galley Gossip: Seattle – places to stay & things to do (with a 13 year-old boy)

Are you familiar with downtown Seattle? My 13 year-old son and I are going there for 5 nights in late August. What do you think is the coolest downtown hotel? We are looking at Hotel 100 and The W but can’t decide. We are open to all suggestions as well as any other hints you may have – Carole

I’m not sure what the “coolest” hotel in Seattle is, but I do know I’ve always wanted to stay at The Inn At The Market ever since my mother, who is also a flight attendant, told me about the place after having stayed there a few years ago. When I asked her if she thought it might be a nice hotel for a mother-son team, she said, “Well….the rooms are a little old lady-ish, but nice and clean.”

Old lady-ish? That doesn’t sound good. And something tells me this is not what a thirteen year-old boy has in mind when he’s on summer vacation. So I asked my mother to elaborate.

“I think the thing that may have made it seem old lady-ish was the flowered comforter,” she said.

That’s easy enough to fix. Just pull it off the bed and throw it on the floor! (Trust me, you don’t want to use that thing anyway.)

My mother also had this to say, “The view out the window of the Puget Sound was incredible. From the hotel we could look right down on the market. I literally stepped out the door, turned to the right, and within a few steps I was at Pike’s Market (pictured below). The hotel has an outside patio area where you can sit and watch the sun go down at dusk. Off in the distance you can see the ferry lights. It’s beautiful. “

I don’t know about you, Carole, but location, for me, is everything, regardless of a floral comforter! And I can’t think of a better place to be in Seattle than right next to Pike’s Market. Yeah, it’s touristy, but so what! I love that place. All flight attendants do. It’s always a big part of our layover routine.

If you’re determined to keep it cool, a few people I know suggested these hotels:

Hotel Max & Hotel 100: “Both are hip and cool,” said Shannon

Sheraton : “For best location, rooftop pool, and Chihuly glass throughout,” said Scott Laird. (I can second that!)

Hotel Andra: “It’s quite nice – and Lola (one of Tom Douglass’ restaurants) is on the 1st floor. Mmmm!” said Geraldine

The Edgewater: “It’s right on Puget Sound, amazing views, walk to aquarium and Pike’s Place,” said Allison Carter.

As for things to do with your son, take him on the underground tour of downtown Seattle or have the hotel arrange a tour of the Boeing plant. Take the ferry to Bainbridge Island and have lunch. The scenery on the ride over is just breathtaking. Ride the monorail to the Space Needle. Or just walk around. There are so many things to do and see. A pilot on my last trip went hiking. I’m not sure where, exactly, but I bet the hotel can direct you if you’re interested. There’s a little red trolley you can hop on and off for a quick tour of the city. This might be a good way to familiarize yourself on your first day. Of course you can’t leave Seattle without eating clam chowder out of a bread bowl at Anthony’s. Again, touristy, but I do it on every single layover!

Check out my other Seattle post about Seattle- it’s all about kids, trains, and food!

As well as these other Gadling posts…

10 places to eat in Seattle

Budget Vacations from Seattle: Puget Sound and San Juan Islands

Budget Vacations from Seattle: Bainbridge Island

Photo of the day (8-20-09)

My family and I are currently on vacation in Seattle. So how could I pass up this picture of the Space Needle for today’s photo of the day. Not to mention it was the scene of my first date with my (now) wife back when we were in high school.

This photo by AnBok captures the iconic symbol from the perfect vantage point – just behind Lake Union.

Well done AnBok!

Are you a Flickr user who’d like to share a travel related picture or two for our consideration? Submit it to Gadling’s Flickr group right now! We just might use it for our Photo of the Day!