2011 Summer Issaquah Living

July 2, 2011

Step off of Tiger Mountain at 1,800 feet and take flight — with a paraglider

July 2, 2011

Seattle Paragliding tandem instructor Matt Amend and owner Marc Chirico help a paraglider pilot launch from Poo Poo Point. By Caleb Heeringa

You know that dream where you’re flying — where you’re able to look down on the hustle and bustle of the earth from thousands of feet above and the problems that normally seem so big are now as small and insignificant as ants?

The dream is real for the paraglider pilots who launch off the west side of Tiger Mountain every day that it’s not raining buckets. For more than 20 years, Marc Chirico has been throwing people off the side of the mountain — with paraglider and emergency parachute attached, of course.

It’s a career that started as a hobby that started with a dream that many of us have had — to drift above it all.

Read more

Made-in-Washington attractions deliver one-of-a-kind destinations

July 2, 2011

Greetings from Washington

Washington, land of Sasquatch and the Space Needle, is unlike any other.

Evergreen State travelers can find kitchenware fit for King Kong, celebrations dedicated to unglamorous farm commodities and roadside oddities pulled from a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! guide squirreled in corners near and far.

“Washington Curiosities” and “Washington Icons” author Harriet Baskas said geography explains at least some of the strangeness.

“You’re on the edge of the country, you’re out here and there’s still that pioneer spirit,” she said.

Summertime offers a chance to journey to out-of-the-way attractions not as obvious as Mount Rainier or Lake Chelan. Discover 10 attractions off the beaten path — but unmistakably made in Washington.

Read more

Issaquah eateries dish up more, more, more in oversized offerings

July 2, 2011

Sunset Alehouse's The National Champ

Some meals must be confronted, in a grab-the-bull-by-the-horns style, rather than eaten.

Consider the proof: Issaquah eateries peddling a pizza as broad as a manhole cover, potatoes heaped as high as the Rockies and a gooey ice cream sundae as large as a bathtub.

Turns out that the fabled XXX Burger is not alone among belly-busting options in Issaquah. The city boasts behemoth burgers, sure, but other options abound, beyond beefy and french fried delights. Establishments revel in menu items meant to satisfy oversized appetites — and egos.

Come, gluttons and gluttons for punishment, on a grease-stained and sauce-spattered odyssey through portions the next size up from ample.

Read more

Fremont’s Lenin statue traces journey from Slovakia — and Issaquah

July 2, 2011

The statue of Vladimir Lenin casts a steely gaze along a street in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. By Greg Farrar

In Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood and, for a time in Issaquah, Vladimir Lenin, so reviled and revered throughout the 20th century, is just the dictator next door.

The reason a bronze Lenin statue came to rest in Fremont, the self-styled center of the universe, is almost as convoluted as a Cold War potboiler. The statue’s circuitous route led from Slovakia to Issaquah after a local man, Lewis Carpenter, chanced upon the statue in the former Soviet satellite state.

Overnight, after the Iron Curtain collapsed, residents discarded such Soviet propaganda symbols by the cartful.

Communism in Eastern Europe imploded not long before Carpenter, a business and English instructor at a nearby university, discovered the toppled statue in a Poprad, Slovakia, storage yard. Inside the hollow statue, a homeless man had set up camp.

The less-than-enamored Slovaks planned to melt down the statue for benches, but the college instructor offered another idea — purchasing the statue as a landmark — and cash.

So, after dropping $13,000 and slicing through red tape, Carpenter owned the statue. The transoceanic shipment to Washington cost another $40,000.

Carpenter, a colorful character and self-described playboy, could not resist the irony inherent in displaying Lenin in the Soviet Union’s archnemesis. Soon, however, tragedy caused the plan to screech to a halt.

Read more

20 reasons to ♥ Issaquah

July 2, 2011

The spectacular landscape is a reason to love Issaquah. By Connor Lee

Discover 20 reasons to love Issaquah, from the highest Tiger Mountain peak to the Lake Sammamish shoreline, and much more in between. The community includes icons and traits not found anywhere else, all in a postcard-perfect setting. The unique qualities — Issa-qualities? — start at the city’s name and extend into every nook and neighborhood. (The lineup is not arranged in a particular order, because ranking the city’s pre-eminent qualities seems so unfair.)

Salmon Days

The annual salmon-centric celebration is stitched into the city’s fabric. Salmon Days serves as a last hurrah before autumn, a touchstone for old-timers and a magnet for tourists. The street fair consistently ranks among the top destinations in the Evergreen State and, for a time last year, as the best festival on earth — in the $250,000-to-$749,000 budget category, anyway.

Issaquah Alps

The majestic title for the forested peaks surrounding the city, the Issaquah Alps, is a catchall term for Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains. (Credit the late mountaineer and conservationist Harvey Manning for the sobriquet.) The setting is a playground for outdoors enthusiasts. Trails — some official and others less so — for hikers, bikers and equestrians crisscross the mountains, like haphazard tic-tac-toe patterns.

Read more

Lake Sammamish is ultimate summertime destination

July 2, 2011

Kyle Ritland, working for his mother Barbara Gronseth, of Issaquah Paddle Sports, takes inventory on Sunset Beach of the paddle boats, canoes and paddleboards, and kayaks for one, two or three passengers. By Greg Farrar

The crystalline lake is much more than a swimming hole

It has a sunken forest, great blue and green herons, and canoes dipping up and down in the waves. At seven miles in length, Lake Sammamish is a refuge and an entertainment spot for boaters seeking solitude or a good time.

Whether on a motorboat or in a kayak, or balancing on a paddleboard or a Ski-Doo, outdoor enthusiasts flock to Lake Sammamish for its views, wildlife and watery expanse.

Boat owners can purchase a $7 daily watercraft-launching permit at the park if they choose to use Lake Sammamish State Park as their take-off point.

Teresa Eneix, of Marysville, took her boat out on the water with her family on a warm day June 5 to go “droll cruising,” a term she defined while laughing as “looking at all the neat houses that we could never afford.”

She said she spotted a brace of ducks and a gaggle of geese, but the best part was that boaters don’t use Lake Sammamish as much as Lake Washington, meaning the water is less choppy.

Read more

Preston tree houses for grownups offer Tarzan-style luxury lodging

July 2, 2011

A rope bridge leads to the Temple of the Blue Moon, the largest treehouse at Treehouse Point. By Christopher Huber

The croaking frogs and fresh granola seemed to do it for Stephanie Cusick and Gregory Roper during their recent stay at Treehouse Point, a bed and breakfast near Issaquah. It could have been the quiet strolls through trails that ran along hundreds of feet of riverfront and acres of heavy forest, too.

The couple’s first stay at Treehouse Point — they celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary — was so refreshing and tranquil that they decided to book a summer overnight stay among the trees along Preston-Fall City Road.

“It seems like the perfect setting,” Cusick, of Seattle, said after her stay at the bed and breakfast May 17. “It’s rustic, but in a very elegant way.”

Read more

Outdoors for All offers opportunities for disabled adventurers

July 2, 2011

Outdoors for All participant Laszlo Jajczay paddles with two volunteers at Green Lake Park in Seattle. The nonprofit organization invites volunteers to help participants throughout the summer. By Ed Bronsdon

The world of Susan Camicia, an avid Issaquah bicyclist and skier, turned upside down on June 19, 2006.

She had registered for a triathlon and was cycling on Mercer Island during a training session. As she neared the Mercer Island Park & Ride, some fence work threw her off guard and she ran into a pole, toppled over the handlebars of her bike and broke her neck.

In an instant, Camicia essentially became a quadriplegic, except for limited use of her hands.

“People always think that they work, but I have no strength in them at all,” she said. “If someone hands me a cup of coffee, it’s going to fall on the ground.”

She has learned to use both hands when picking up a cup of joe at her favorite coffee cafes. With such limited mobility, she worried that a sedentary life would be her default fate, until her recreational therapist recommended she try the Outdoors for All Foundation.

“It’s a great organization,” she said. “It has great volunteers.”

Read more

Adventures abound for boys and girls in scouting groups

July 2, 2011

Dads are on the losing end of a tug-of-war against 16 Cub Scouts at Hans Jensen Park. By Greg Farrar.

Despite decades of history in America, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts still endure narrow views of their efforts.

The girls are famous for their cookie sales, the boys for their camping trips. That sometimes plays against them.

“A common misconception is that all Girl Scouts do is sell cookies,” said Julie Wendell, with the Girl Scouts of East King County. “The leadership opportunities, travel experiences and wonderful programs offered by Girl Scouts go way beyond selling cookies.”

Similar troubles beset the boys.

“A misconception is that Boy Scouts is for suburban white kids. And we don’t do programs for people of other ethnic backgrounds, and that all we do is tie knots and go camping,” said Sharon Moulds, with the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which encompasses all of King County.

Read more

Next Page »