It was summertime in Washington state. Or no — maybe it was fall. Maybe spring? I can’t remember.
I was visiting family on Whidbey Island (Fun Fact: It’s the longest island in the US).
I knew it was going to be one of the last times I was going to have reason to visit the Seattle area since the family had plans to move out of state. So on the last day of the visit we set out on a “tour” to visit a list of destinations before leaving, including:
- Snoqualmie — being huge fans of the show Twin Peaks, we couldn’t miss this chance to check out the beautiful water fall as seen in the opening credits. It’s only about 45 minutes east of Seattle and definitely worth the trip, the water fall is even larger and more grand than it looks in the show.
- Pike Place Market — you have to go —a mix between a shopping center, a farmer’s market and a wharf, it’s got it all. Watching the fish being thrown as the fisherman call out is an entertaining experience.
- The first Starbucks — totally cheesy for some but hey it’s landmark. I had already been multiple times but my wife hadn’t gone and since she used to work at Starbucks it seemed like a relevant stop. The last time we had tried to go, it had been New Year’s Eve and the store was closed for the holiday. What’s a trip to Seattle without a coffee at the first Starbucks location?
- The Space Needle —yes it’s a tourist trap but I’d been to Seattle too many times to remember and had never actually gone there — seemed like it was either now or never.
Unbeknownst to us, there is a blown glass art exhibit featuring a local artist named Chihuly just next to the Space Needle and let me tell you — we were NOT interested. We had lived in Colorado, where every town has a tourist shop filled with the exactly the same things — moose, bears as well as glass blown hummingbirds, glass blown roses, glass blown columbine flowers,etc. It was the same items no matter which town you visited. Heck I’d even visited a glass blowing shop in Georgetown, Colorado and got to see the process first hand. Don’t get me wrong, it was cool for sure, but the idea of spending my last couple of hours in Seattle looking at more glass blown stuff was just not appealing at all.
As chance would have it, we had to wait an hour or so to go up the Space Needle and of course there was a combo ticket option for the Space Needle & Chihuly museum — so with nothing to loose and time to kill we decided to go for it.
Nothing could have prepared me for the experience that awaited us. It was pitch black in the museum except for the locations where the glass artwork was positioned, which made them gleam, glisten and sparkle.
But the most impressive part, the glass was mixed with what seemed to be hundreds of different colors and the size of some of the artwork was so large it was difficult to imagine how such artwork was picked up and shaped.
It was the most impressive and most beautiful glass work we had ever seen. Glass of colors, shapes and sizes the likes of which I had never before seen nor imagined. The sheer ingenuity and beauty was breathtaking. We had absolutely no idea that this type of artwork was even possible. How could we have never heard of this?
It was the surprise of a lifetime. And an experience of a lifetime as well.
A year later, we were fortunate enough to be living in NYC when a Chihuly exhibit was setup in at the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and we got to experience Chihuly once again. It is some of the most beautiful, ingenious and colorful works we have ever encountered. Their sheer beautify and sizes are tremendous.
As mentioned at the beginning, my family left Washington state and we have no reason to travel to Seattle these days, but if we ever make it back there, you can be sure that re-visiting the Chihuly Museum will at the top of our list.
If you ever make it to Seattle, don’t miss out on this gem.