Jun 13, 2020

Neighborhood walks and bakery stops: The perfect COVID-19 outing

Rose Ralson displays mask cookies at the Edmonds Bakery

Escape to the tropics by way of a Hawaiian bakery in an industrial section of Seattle called Georgetown, then explore a neighborhood dotted with quirky garden art, and a Godzilla-sized cowboy hat and boots.

Taste-travel to Japan near Expedia's new  headquarters, then burn off the calories with a stroll along Elliott Bay.

Line-up for croissants and sprouted rye in urban Fremont, then stop by the giant, concrete Fremont Troll for a rare photo with no tourists in the way.

A neighborhood walk combined with a bakery stop ticks all the  boxes for a close-to-home COVID-19 outing.  Bakeries open early, and sell coffee to-go. Parks and walking paths are quiet and uncrowded in the morning, perfect for a breakfast picnic and brisk walk alone or with a friend.

Part of this post ran in the Seattle Times today, but it's an idea that could work in any city. Start making your own list. In the meantime, here are four of my Seattle-area favorites:


The bakery: Cakes of Paradise, 6322 6th Ave S.

This family-run Hawaiian bakery closed for a month in mid-March when COVID-19 hit, then re-opened in April, selling its tropical treats from a walk-up window under a Seattle Seahawks canopy. 

Lining the cases inside are rows of Long Johns, a traditional Hawaiian crispy donut with a custard filling; nine types of cookies and slices of its best-selling strawberry cake topped with homemade guava sauce.

Pualani Kani-Sims at Cakes of Paradise

 "We weren't sure if we would be busy," says Pualani Kani-Sims, one of the owners.  "But we discovered that people really want their comfort sweets during this time."
The walk: 

My husband and I found a sun break on a recent rainy Saturday to enjoy our Long Johns and coffee at nearby Oxbow Park, site of the giant "Hats n' Boots sculpture relocated here from a western-style gas station in Georgetown. 

Hats 'n Boots

Picnic on the seats under the 44-foot-wide cowboy hat, then explore the neighborhood featured on the annual Georgetown Garden Walk. Plans for this year's walk were undecided at press time, but a stroll along Carleton and Flora Avenues South turns up well-tended gardens and some funky yard art.  

Notice the kinetic mobile pieced together from foil, tin cans and old bicycle parts in the median at Carleton and Warsaw Street South. At the corner of South Eddy and Ellis Avenue South., a fake frog hooked up to a motion sensor croaks as you walk by. 

Funky yard art in Georgetown

Heading back towards the park, view the restored historic Gessner mansion at 6420 Carleton. The brass marker notes it was once a rooming house, a brothel and home to a ghost named Sara.

Interbay (Queen Anne/Magnolia) 

The bakery: Fuji Bakery, 1030 Elliott Ave. W. 

Painted bright pink and strung with white lights, this Japanese bakery with a French twist sits across the street from Expedia's new headquarters on the Seattle waterfront.

Breakfast picnic on the Seattle waterfront

Lining its cases are trays of elegant and colorful sweet and savory treats including crunchy creams, its signature Brioche donut coated with corn flakes and filled with vanilla custard; fresh pear croissants; and Portuguese Malasadas oozing with Ube, a purple sweet potato filling. 

The walk:

Cross Elliott Avenue, and walk over the futuristic pedestrian bridge to Centennial Park with paved paths, picnic tables, benches and views of the ferries and fireboats plying Elliott Bay.

Elliott Bay views from the beach

Walk north and see the many improvements Expedia made to the park, or walk south past a rose garden, beach areas and the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park.  


The Bakery: Sea Wolf Bakers, 3621 Stone Way N. 

Brothers Jesse and Kit Schumann loved the idea of having a space where customers could watch their bakers work, but when COVID-19 hit, they shifted into farmers market mode, selling their breads, croissants, plant starts and pantry products from an open-air tent next door.

"We shifted everything outside and turned the bakery over to the bakers," says Jesse Schumann. Customers wait patiently in line as bakers ferry croissants, muffins and baguettes from the ovens onto rolling pastry racks. Recommended are the cinnamon rolls made with croissant dough and the salt and sesame lye rolls. 

The walk:  

Explore the neighborhood that calls itself the Center of the Universe. Start by walking west on North 36th Street to the Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge. 

Fremont Troll

Take a picture of the concrete creature crushing a Volkswagen Beetle in his hand. From there, head south on Troll Avenue N. and west on North 35th Street past the Fremont Library to the A.B. Ernst pocket park with a stairway down to North 34th St. 

Walk west past the Fremont Bridge and then south on Evanston Avenue N. to the Quadrant Lake Union Center.  A plaza with stone sculptures and wavy concrete steps leads to a  paved path along the Lake Washington Ship Canal. 

Washington Ship Canal path

Enjoy the views here, or walk east to where the path connects to the Burke-Gilman trail with waterside benches and picnic tables. Among the public art projects is the "Dreamer of World Peace," a bronze sculpture that commemorates Sri Chinmoy, a life-long ambassador for peace and world harmony.  

Sri Chinmoy statue on Seattle's Lake Union 


The bakery: The Edmonds Bakery, 418 Main St. 

Forget fancy French pastries. Old-fashioned cake and glazed donuts and fat cinnamon rolls await at this American-style bakery that's been in the same location since 1927. 

Ken Bellingham bought the shop in 1993, decorating it with a collection of 400 ceramic cookie jars. 

Edmonds baker Ken Bellingham 

He favors the pastries he learned to make in baking school in the '80s.  Think jelly donuts, apple and cherry turnovers and "chicken bones," long raised donuts with a crunchy coconut topping. 

When COVID-19 hit, he was making a batch of yellow daisy-shaped cookies. He added eyes and a strip of blue icing around the mouth, and voila, mask cookies.  

The walk:

Explore the Edmonds waterfront from Brackett's Landing North and South, named for George Brackett who founded Edmonds in 1876. Where shingle mills once stood, there are twin parks with paved walking paths, beaches, benches, picnic tables and art skirting the railroad tracks near the Washington State ferry terminal.

Brackett's Landing North

Brackett's North is the bigger of the two, and includes the 22-acre Edmonds Underwater Park popular with scuba divers. 


  1. Lovely recap with such a delicious amount of idea and hope in the midst...

  2. SO why didn't we do one of these walks yesterday?! Next time.
    Love them all.