As of late, I've been traveling out to the land far, far away. The land to which few have traveled due to the excruciating long voyage that's required to step onto it's soil. Yes, I'm talking about West Seattle.
You mention the words "West Seattle" and any self-respecting Seattliete will gasp and throw their hands in the air in distress.
"It's so far away!"
"Are you crazy? You might as well go to Timbuktu."
"It's like the Bermuda Triangle. You go there and you don't come back!"
I took the challenge head on, which has now resulted in my love affair with West Seattle.
To my pleasant surprise, West Seattle is only a quick 10-15 minute drive from downtown Seattle - even with taking a bridge and the construction-packed viaduct (which I'll admit is not for the faint of heart). West Seattle has a quirky personality (okay, hippy-like) where all of the residents take life a little slower and enjoy the peace and quiet just beyond the city.
What sparked my instant love, though, beyond the boutique shops and variety of community restaurants, was Lincoln Park.
Lincoln Park sits on a bluff that overlooks the Puget Sound. Trails criss-cross through the park and up and down the bluff - perfect for a small hike with the dog. While the park features tennis courts, kids playground and vast fields, it's the trails that drag me in.
Take a walk down to the water and there's picnic tables and a long walking path that carries you right along the ocean. Even on a busy, sunny day the beach is anything but crowded - unlike Alki Beach, Lincoln Park's northern sister.
Being surrounded by the expanse of ocean water, a calm engulfs you. I now understand West Seattle's slow pace. You can't help it.
Lincoln Park should easily be among Seattle's best kept secrets. (Oops, the cat's out of the bag.)