Author Archives: Alethea Myers

FREE Summer Fitness

Photo: Seattle Art Museum

Want to catch some rays while getting budget-wise exercise? There are many group classes, led by professional instructors, offered for FREE this summer. Below are many nearby locations to strengthen your muscles and expand your skills. Enjoy!

SEATTLE CENTER, 301 Mercer St., Seattle 98109
June 20th-August 23rd
Zumba Class:
Tuesdays, 6-7 pm (except July 4th), Next50 Plaza
Meditation and Relaxation Class:
Tuesdays, 7-8 pm (except July 4th), Armory Rm. 301
Gentle Yoga:
Wednesdays, 11:30 am-12:30 pm, Exhibition Hall Lawn
http://www.seattlecenter.com/fitness

OLYMPIC SCULPTURE PARK, 2901 Western Ave., Seattle  98121
On Saturdays from
July 15th through August 26th, enjoy public tours of the park, art making, musical performances, and family activities.  In addition, partake of these free fitness classes on the green:
Vinyasa Flow Yoga (all levels): 9-10 am
Hatha Yoga (all levels): 10:30-11:30 am (July 29th is “Family Field Day” from 11 am-3 pm, which includes family yoga)
Zumba: 2-3 pm
http://summer.site.seattleartmuseum.org/category/saturdays

ST. MARK’S CATHEDRAL, 10th Ave. E., Seattle 98102
Cathedral Yoga
Ongoing on Sundays, 6-7 pm (this one possibly indoors–ask)
http://www.saintmarks.org/grow/adult-groups/yoga

PARKS
CASCADE PLAYGROUND, 333 Pontius Ave. N., Seattle 98109
Yoga on the Lawn: June 10th- Sept. 30th, Saturdays at 12 noon
http://www.cascadeplayground.org

FREEWAY PARK, 700 Seneca St., Seattle 98101
Dancing ‘til Dusk: Variety of musical styles (see this pdf). 6 pm lesson, 7-9:30 dancing. Thursdays July 20th, 27, August 3rd, 10th, and 17th.
https://www.seattle.gov/parks/find/downtown-parks
Zumba: Mondays July 17, 24, 31, and August 7, 5:30-6:30 pm, West Plaza
Yoga: Wednesdays 12-1 pm July 19th and 26th, 5:30-6:30 pm August 2nd and 9th, Upper Plaza
http://freewayparkassociation.org/blog/our-events

WESTLAKE PARK, 401 Pine St., Seattle 98101
Dancing ‘til Dusk: Variety of musical styles (see this pdf). 6 pm lesson, 7-9:30 dancing. Tuesdays July 25th, August 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th.
https://www.seattle.gov/parks/find/downtown-parks
Tai Chi: June 24 – August 19, 8-9 am
Spin Cycle: last Wednesdays June 28, July 26,and August 30th, 3 sessions daily: 7 am, 12 noon, and 5:30 pm, with open cycling in-between
https://www.facebook.com/WestlakePark

OCCIDENTAL SQUARE, 117 S. Washington St., Seattle, 98104
CrossFit: every Friday morning in July at 6:30-7:30 am, and every Wednesday evening in August at 5:30-6:30 pm
Dancing ‘til Dusk: Variety of musical styles (see this pdf). 6 pm lesson, 7-9:30 dancing. Tuesdays July 11th and July 18th.
https://www.seattle.gov/parks/find/downtown-parks

The Market Opens June 1st!

The seasonal Queen Anne Farmers Market will be opening on June 1st!  Because of our unusually long rainy season this year in WA State (the longest on record in modern history), some of the farm vendors understandably had a delay with their crops. But our warm season is firmly underway now, as are abundant produce, herbs, and artisanal goods! And listen to the music provided while you shop.

Recently, Seattle was rated the 4th most fit city in the nation. One of the reasons cited for this improvement was the increase in the number of farmers markets in our area: a positive indication that unprocessed, natural food can make a difference in one’s health.

If you would like to visit other farmers markets in other neighborhoods as well, here is a list of places and hours from The Seattle Times. The Queen Anne Farmers Market will be on Thursdays, from 3-7:30 pm through October 12th. Bon appetit!

Folklife Festival 2017

Once a year, the NW Folklife Festival enlivens the Seattle Center grounds for a 4-day, homespun, music-and-dance extravaganza, as you might know. Loosely defining the term “folk”, musicians from the Pacific Northwest and far beyond cover a wide spectrum of styles, from the individual singer trying out his/her newly-written song, to a seasoned blues band, a local Norwegian or Asian acoustic group, or an African a cappella choir from across the globe. Common threads connect all these: a celebration and immersion in different music/cultures and warm connection through music and other people.

Kiunka band.  Photo: C. Nelson

Twirl around a big dance floor with 80 other people, try a variety of eats at the food trucks (or bring your own lunch if you’re “line-averse”), look at or buy art, inspect a new guitar crafted by a local vendor, raise your voice in a sea chantey sing-along, or just hang out on the grass. There’s street musicians (buskers) in addition to the over 5,000 performers on stages situated throughout the Seattle Center grounds. And a fun option, for those guests who are musicians themselves (especially traditional songs like “You are my Sunshine”), is to bring your own acoustic instrument or harmonize along with one of the little, impromptu song circles that spring up here and there.

Photo: NW Folklife

This Pacific Northwest gem has been around for 46 years. They are non-profit with many volunteer coordinators that strongly believe everyone, no matter their financial status, should be able to attend this event. But the continuation of this festival in the future will depend upon whether enough attendees are able to make a donation at the gate this year or as a “Friend of Folklife”. $10 for a full day’s entertainment is the suggested donation.

Left: Owuor Arung.  Photo: Piper Hanson.         Right: Mexicans of WA.  Photo: Piper Hanson

Folklife dancing in the pavilion
Photo: Alan Berner/The Seattle Times

Come enjoy the festival on Memorial Day weekend, Friday May 26th through Monday, May 29th.  Check out their website here to find a schedule of daily events to choose from.

Chocolate Happy Hour

Chocolopolis truffles in display case

For those of us who love chocolate, let’s face it, any time one is savoring chocolate is considered “happy hour”. But to have a formal chocolate tasting, one of our local, fine chocolate businesses, Chocolopolis, actually has a Happy Hour. Once a week on Thursday evenings at their store (1527 Queen Anne Ave. N.), they feature a certain theme: chocolate from a certain country, how chocolate flavors vary between different regions in the world, or tastings of different “inclusion” chocolate bars that have a surprise center, to name a few. Besides selling chocolate from around the world, their fine chocolatiers also make award-winning truffles under their own brand in their on-site kitchen.

The chocolate Happy Hour tasting table, Chocolopolis.  Photo: Alethea Myers

Washington State, not just Seattle, is home to quite a few artisan chocolatiers. This isn’t surprising in the Pacific Northwest, since other artisan foods such as single-origin coffee and microbrews are highly prized for their unique taste. Around Seattle, Fran Bigelow of Fran’s Chocolate’s experimented with sprinkling sea salt on her chocolate caramels years ago, which became extremely popular and may have started the sweet & salty combo movement we see now. Frango mint chocolates at Macy’s locations are produced locally and began back in 1927. Chocolat Vitale in northern Ballard serves their own rich, European hot chocolate made from real chocolate instead of powder (and sell other chocolates, too). Theo Chocolate, a relative newcomer, is housed in a former brewery in Fremont (a hops scent is still sometimes prevalent in the lobby air), and created the first U.S. certified-organic chocolate bar. And Dilettante Chocolates started on Capitol Hill over 40 years ago, and actually make cocktails featuring their confections (Mint Kiss Martini, anyone?).

Chocolate arranged by World Region

So back to Happy Hour at Chocolopolis: One can learn much from store owner Lauren’s mother, Marcie Adler, who has worked there for 8 years since the store opened. She was guiding the tasting theme this evening: Ecuadorian chocolate in different percentages (55%, 70%), under different brands. She explained that the key to tasting fine chocolate is to let it melt on your palate, no chewing allowed, and move it around in one’s mouth since taste buds vary.

Marcie also mentioned that cacao, which chocolate is made from, only grows 20 degrees north or south of the equator, so is a specialized crop. Hawaii is the only U.S. state that can grow it. At Chocolopolis, they divide their chocolate bars into world regions (such as Asia, South America, Madagascar, others), via a handy wall chart and labeling, which makes it easier to shop for small-batch, single-origin bars. And besides making their own, some of the other beautiful truffles they stock are from Orcas Island, Los Angeles, France, Kansas City, and San Francisco.

Chocolate labelled by region, Chocolopolis

If you really want to splurge on every artisan chocolate under the sun and even take educational classes, go to the Northwest Chocolate Festival each autumn to get your fix. Or occasionally stop by for happy hour on a Thursday night in Queen Anne.