Greenlake Guest House

7630 E. Green Lake Drive N., Seattle, Washington 98103
Innkeeper(s): Blayne and Julie McAferty

Hike with Locals Emily and Lisa at Daypacked 22 May 2021, 1:36 pm

Hike with Some Locals!

We recently connected with Lisa and Emily Edlin of DAYPACKED, a hiking daypack rental and hiking tour company. This mother-daughter business strives to make hiking accessible to all because they want leisure travelers to experience the splendor of the Pacific Northwest. In addition to offering tours, they also rent out fully loaded day hiking backpacks so you can explore on your own! Here are their top recommendations for hiking trails this summer:

Hiking Highlight Mountain Loop Highway

About one hour northeast of Seattle you can find a hiker’s paradise. The scenic Mountain Loop Highway covers the Western part of the Cascade Mountain Range and has access to trailheads for for everyone, from beginners to expert hikers. The road was established in 1936, as a way to connect Monte Cristo, a now deserted mining town, to Darrington and Granite Falls.

Great Hikes for Beginners and Families Along Mountain Loop Highway

Heather Lake:

Along this 4.6 miles and 1,034 feet elevation gain roundtrip hike you will find old growth trees, ferns, an old logging road, hemlock, views of Mount Pilchuck, wildflowers, berries, and of course, the lake itself.  This one might be a bit of a challenge for children, but most can do it, and they’ll feel proud of their accomplishment.

Snowy Lake
Lake 22, Photo Credit: Daypacked

This 5.4 mile (roundtrip), 1,350 feet gain hike will have you feeling very rewarded, with not too much strenuous effort.  The trail is incredibly well maintained (perhaps because this is a very popular hiking destination).  Your destination is the beautiful alpine lake, but the journey there has stunning views of old-growth trees, wetlands, and mountain views.

Great Hikes for Avid Hikers Along Mountain Loop Highway

Gothic Basin

While it’s statistics of 9.2 miles (roundtrip) and 2,840 gain may not sound too arduous, be prepared for a killer glutes workout on Gothic Basin.  Parts of the trail are very steep, but the payoff is well worth the work.  Continue onward a little bit further and you’ll reach Foggy Lake, a glacial-fed beauty.

high mountain peaks and lake
Vesper Peak
Vesper Peak

At 8 miles (roundtrip) and 4,000 ft elevation gain, Vesper Peak should only be attempted by proficient hikers in good shape.  This one is a tough hike, with a scramble that is more like a climb, at the summit.  Thankfully, Vesper Lake greets you before your final climb, so be sure to take a break there for lunch and to get your energy up for the final push.  Your hard work will pay off with glorious views of Copper Lake and the surrounding Cascades.

Emily and Lisa, Daypacked Founders

About Daypacked Staff

Lisa, a retired CPA who worked for the University of Washington for 20+ years, has abundant hiking experience, from participating in the Mountaineers program, to summiting Mt. Rainier, and Mt. St. Helens (before and after the last eruption).  Emily, an entrepreneur with an MBA, brings high energy and enthusiasm to the hikes.  Emily’s favorite thing about hiking is building deep connections with the people she’s hiking with.  In 2014 Lisa and Emily climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, and knew they needed to find a way to turn their passion into their full-time work.

Hiking supplies for backpack
What;s Included in Our Packs, Photo Credit: Daypacked

Daypacked and Greenlake Guest House

Guests traveling to Seattle without hiking gear can rent packs with the 10 essentials and snacks, hiking poles, and even boots from Daypacked. Want more support? Call or email Daypacked, or contact Julie when making your lodging reservation (if you plan to stay at Greenlake Guest House). We will be happy to help you arange a memorable guided hike this summer along the Mountain Loop Highway. A packed lunch, transportation to and from the trailhead, and pick up from  Greenlake Guest House are included with all guided hikes.








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The Best Hikes from Seattle this Spring 21 Apr 2021, 12:46 pm

The Best Hikes from Seattle this Spring

Jane out on the trail.
Where to Hike

Lately, we’ve been getting lots of questions from guests about the best places to hike and experience nature near Seattle. The Cascade Mountains and foothills are very accessible from Seattle and offer lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Washington State had some record-breaking snow this year, so many of the higher elevations still have snow on the trails. So, we consulted with assistant innkeeper Jane on the question of the best places to take a hike this spring.  Jane is a lifelong Washingtonian and experienced hiker. She is typically out hiking the Cascades about once a week. Here are Jane’s top recommendations right now for trails that are fun, close to Seattle, and clear of snow. All of them should have some pretty wildflowers emerging during April and May. Trillium, a small white flower native to the area, is especially prevalent.

Man hiking on trail in woods, Little Si
Blayne hiking through the woods on Little Si
Little Si (3.7 miles, roundtrip)

This hike offers a good workout, especially at the end. Walk through old growth forest and then get a view from the top of the valley around North Bend. A Discover Pass required to park.

Teneriffe Falls (5.6 miles, roundtrip)

The falls here are simply beautiful. It’s a great hike on a rainy day as the falls are pretty in any weather. A Discover Pass is required to park.

Twin Falls (2.6 miles, roundtrip)

This hike is just 31 miles from Seattle so it’s a nice quick drive to get there. The falls are pretty and the hike is not long. It interacts with the John Wayne trail so you can also walk along that for a while.

white flower trillium
Trillium is native to Western WA and blooms in spring.
Cougar Mountain (many hikes)

Cougar Mountain was a busy coal mining site from the mid-1800’s to mid-1900’s. This close-in area near Issaquah has over 38 miles of easy hikes and has good signage. Shy Bear Loop is a favorite hike. Coal Creek Falls is another easy, family-friendly trail. No pass or entry fee is required.

Wallace Falls (5.6 miles, roundtrip)

Unlike the previous hikes along Snoqualmie Pass (I-90), this hike starts further north, near Stevens Pass (Highway 2). The hike to Wallace Falls is a good uphill climb workout. This hike is quite popular and there is lots to see along the way to the nine dazzling falls. There are options for other side hikes along the way. A Discover Pass is required (available at a dispenser in the parking lot).

girl holding firewood in the woods
Linsy out in the Cascades
Get More Details

We recommend checking the Washington Trails Association website to get directions and up to date information about all of the trails and current conditions. Many trails require a Discover Pass to park, which is available online and at more than 600 retail locations and state parks. A day pass is $11.50 (per car) and an annual pass is $35.00. Be aware that the weather can change quickly in the spring, so be prepared with a raincoat and extra dry socks and carry the 10 safety essentials for day hikes with you.

Need more ideas? We’ll be happy to share suggestions for urban walks and hikes within the city, local gardens, and memorable day trips from Greenlake Guest House. We also have a number of Seattle guidebooks, a day pack, and even a small cooler available for you to borrow for adventuring during your stay.

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What to Do in Seattle-A Perfect 3-Day Itinerary from Greenlake Guest House (updated March 2021) 21 Mar 2021, 11:52 pm

Guests visiting Seattle often ask us for recommendations for what to do. The tough part is narrowing down the list to something reasonable whether you are staying one day or a week! Here is our favorite 3-day itinerary from Greenlake Guest House in spring and summer, updated for 2021.

buckets of tulips
Fresh Flowers at Pike Place Market
Day 1: Downtown Seattle and Waterfront and Greenlake Neighborhood

After a scrumptious breakfast at Greenlake Guest House, visit the Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. Stroll through merchant stalls with local food, crafts, and beautiful and inexpensive flower bouquets. Visit the site of the original Starbucks, opened in 1971.This is the most famous attraction in Seattle, so visit right after breakfast and beat the crowds! There is a large parking lot below the market, or you can easily take public transportation or a ride share like Uber or Lyft.

From the market, it’s an easy walk (downhill) to the waterfront. Our top recommendation on the waterfront is the 2-hour Argosy Cruise of Locks (re-opening spring 2021). This cruise is a fun way to explore the city on the water. The narrated route motors from the downtown waterfront of Elliot Bay and on through the historic Ballard Locks into Lake Union. See the famous Alaska fishing boats featured on “The Deadliest Catch” and the Lake Union Houseboats as featured in “Sleepless in Seattle.” Snacks and drinks are available for purchase on the cruise, which has both inside and outside seating.

Take a spin on the iconic Seattle Great Wheel  for beautiful views of the waterfront and Seattle skyline in your own private cabin high in the sky.

Return to the Greenlake neighborhood for an easy walk to a casual seafood dinner at Duke’s Chowder House or enjoy seasonal, European-inspired dishes at Nell’s, the fine dining restaurant in the neighborhood. Other excellent walkable options include Eight Row for a locally owned, farm to table dining experience, or our favorite, family-owned Mexican restaurant, Rosita’s. See our website for more details.

If you haven’t done it yet, walk the entire loop around Greenlake Park, just across the street, in about an hour. In summertime, it will be light until 9 or 10pm.

Exotic plants grow in the atrium below the space needle
Space Needle from Chihuly Garden & Glass
Day 2: Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, and Ballard Neighborhoods

After another hearty breakfast at Greenlake Guest House, head to Chihuly Garden & Glass (Queen Anne/Seattle Center). This top-rated, unique exhibit located at the base of the Space Needle features stunning glass installations by famous glass blower (and Seattle local) Dale Chihuly. Be sure to visit the outdoor garden as well as the quirky Collections Café, filled with Dale Chihuly’s personal inspirations and collections.

After you are finished with the Chihuly Garden & Glass, walk next door to the iconic Space Needle, which was built in 1962 as a symbol of the Seattle World’s Fair. Enjoy 360-degree views of Seattle and the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mt. Rainier, and Puget Sound. The 2018 “Spacelift” renovation added multi-level floor to glass viewing windows and a rotating glass floor for an even more spectacular experience. In 2020, the Space Needle completed another $1 million in coronavirus-oriented safety upgrades. Soak up the sunset sights and city lights from your own private, open-air covered lookout on the Space Needle’s outdoor deck with the optional “Drinks on the Deck” gourmet food & beverage experience.

If you have time, treat yourself to a unique coffee drink at the luxurious Starbucks Reserve Roastery, located just east of downtown. Taste high end coffee that you can’t find at a regular Starbucks and watch the beans get roasted. The gift shop is great too.

In the evening, we’d recommend a trip to the Ballard Locks, also called the Hiram Chittenden Locks . They are a 10-minute drive from Greenlake Guest House and are open until dusk. Watch the boats passing through between the salt water of Puget Sound and the fresh water of the cut to Lake Union. Be sure to go below to the fish ladder viewing window to watch the salmon swimming upstream. Stop and smell the roses at the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden onsite.

From the locks, walk or drive just a few blocks to get to lively Ballard Avenue, home of dozens of locally owned restaurants and bars. Ballard is a foodie’s dream! Stroll along the cobblestone streets for window shopping and people watching. Try a new board game at Café Mox. Most Ballard restaurants offer both indoor and outdoor patio and sidewalk dining. Some of our favorite restaurants in Ballard include Staple & Fancy, Walrus & the Carpenter, and Sawyer. Cap off the evening with something sweet at any of these spectacular options: Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery, Pie Bar, or Salt & Straw Ice Cream.

Airplane gallery
Boeing Future of Flight Gallery
Seattle skyline from Lake Union
Lake Union and Seattle Skyline
Day 3: Airplanes and Dinner with a View

Enjoy your cooked to order breakfast at Greenlake Guest House, then make a trip to visit airplanes. After all, one of Seattle’s nicknames is “Jet City.” You can either head north or south. The Future of Flight Boeing Assembly Plant is a30 minutes’ drive north in Everett/Mukilteo. Although the factory tour is temporarily closed, guests can see the airplane gallery, enjoy movies about the plant, and view the exterior of the plant and the flight deck. As a current Boeing engineer, Innkeeper Blayne will be happy to share lots of background about the various planes built in Everett if you catch him on the weekend helping to serve breakfast.  South Seattle offers the Museum of Flight, a huge world class museum dedicated to all types of aviation and space. Many of the docents and museum volunteers are former Boeing Employees.

If you are up north at Boeing, have lunch on the nearby Mukilteo waterfront at the Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse This restaurant is of Blayne’s favorite spots for gathering after work with other Boeing engineers. They have good food and beer, Puget Sound views, and a casual atmosphere. You can toss your peanut shells right on the floor. After lunch, take a walk along the Mukilteo waterfront after lunch or come back to beautiful Greenlake Park.

On your way back home, you might enjoy strolling through one of Seattle’s beautiful parks or gardens such as the Arboretum’s manicured Japanese Garden. See our recent Garden post for suggestions.

On your last evening, plan a special dinner with a beautiful view at one of our favorite Seattle view restaurants. Our top picks for a memorable dinner include Canlis, Ray’s Boathouse, Westward, or Palisade. We’ll be happy to make you a reservation.

Mountain with lake in front
Mt. Rainier National Park
Have More Time?

If you have more time, add a spectacular day trip on Day 4. Guest favorites include Mt Rainier, the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, Deception Pass on Whidbey Island, and the Woodinville Wineries. You can easily spend a week here!  See details on our favorite day trips on our website under “things to do.”

Know Before You Go:

Museums, outdoor sporting events, and attractions are currently open at 50% capacity effective March 22. Many attractions require advance tickets or reservations. Hours of operation change frequently so call ahead or check online. Per governor’s mandate, all guests will be asked to social distance and wear a mask when visiting local venues. Let’s get out there safely and have fun!



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Best Seattle Area Gardens for Viewing Spring Color 22 Feb 2021, 5:16 pm

In our opinion, a visit to Seattle is not complete without a visit to a lovely garden. Spring is one of the prettiest times to visit Seattle. There is nearly always something in bloom. Seattle springtime begins quite early with flowering camellias and hellebores in February, daffodils and cherry blossoms in March, and tulips in April. Other springtime flowers that thrive here include azaleas, rhododendrons, and lilacs.

Our guests frequently tell us how surprised they are at the beauty they see when simply walking around the neighborhood. Truth be told, it’s quite easy to have a beautiful garden in Seattle because our mild climate along with plenty of rain and good soil allow us to grow a variety of flowers, trees, fruits, and vegetables without a lot of fuss. Gardening is a popular and rewarding hobby in the Pacific Northwest. Here are some of our top garden picks for seeing spring color within the city limits or a short drive away.


Washington Park Arboretum

The Washington Park Arboretum is located on the shores of Lake Washington near the University of Washington. Azalea Way, a ¾ mile long walk, features azaleas, flowering cherries, and dogwoods set against tall evergreens. It is perhaps the most famous feature of the park. Rhododendron Glen, another part of the arboretum, is especially beautiful in late spring when the sizeable collection of rhododendrons of all colors and sizes burst into showy color. Washington Park Arboretum is open every day from dawn to dusk and is free of charge.


Seattle Japanese Garden

This beautiful 3.5-acre gem is located on the south end of Washington Park Arboretum. Spring brings a burst of color in the form of cherry blossoms, azaleas, and rhododendrons in a lovingly manicured garden. The winding paths and bridges are serene and restful. There is a small admission charge. The garden will re-open for the season on March 6, 2021.


Dunn Gardens

Dunn Gardens is a historic treasure located in northwest Seattle since 1915. It is the only residential garden designed by the esteemed Olmstead Brothers that is open to the public in Washington State. In springtime, the large rhododendrons and woodland shrubs are especially lovely. Currently, Dunn Gardens is open for one-hour private tours for a small fee.


Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden

This 7-acre English estate style garden is located on the grounds of the Hiram Chittenden Locks in the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle. The rhododendrons and flowering trees are very pretty in the spring. Plus, it’s also fun to see the boats navigating the locks while you visit. We like to bring a blanket or chairs and a picnic lunch here to watch the boats go by from the pretty terraces along the locks. This garden is open from dawn until dusk year-round at no charge.


Bellevue Botanical Garden

The 53-acre Bellevue Botanical Garden has beautiful formal gardens as well as more natural wetlands and a woodland area. The garden offers a living demonstration of many of the flowers and shrubs that thrive in the Pacific Northwest garden. During springtime, the Yao Japanese Garden’s many azaleas and rhododendrons are in bloom. The Rhododendron Glen also has over 50 different rhododendrons that are in bloom through spring and early summer. The Iris Rain Garden typically begins blooming in April. Finally, the Perennial Garden offers a variety of spring-blooming bulbs and other perennials. The Bellevue Botanical Garden is an approximately 20-minute drive from Greenlake Guest House. Admission is free and it is open daily from dawn to dusk.

Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island

The historic, 150-acre Bloedel Reserve forest garden is only a 30-minute ferry ride away from downtown Seattle. The estate and gardens are extremely peaceful and it’s one of our personal favorites. The Japanese Garden is considered one of the best in North America. The Moss Garden, common in gardens in Japan, was created in 1982 and is a rare feature in public gardens in the United States. We think it’s also interesting to walk through the historic home. The Bloedel Reserve is open Tuesday-Sundays. Tickets are timed to avoid crowding and reservations are required at this time. Admission is $17 for adults and $12 for seniors.


Daffodil and Tulip Festivals in the Skagit Valley

The Skagit Valley, north of Seattle, is one of the most photogenic regions around. It is especially irrisistable when the fields of daffodils and tulips are in bloom against the backdrop of majestic Mt. Baker. The look of those rustic old barns in the fields also make me want to pick up my camera. The Skagit Valley grows and ships thousands of spring bulbs all around the world.

The La Conner Daffodil festival happens during the entire month of March, and the bigger, Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, runs from April 1-30. Both festivals are designed as driving tours. Bloom maps are available online. Tulip Town and RoozenGaarde are two gorgeous display gardens that grow and sell bulbs. Be aware that the Tulip Festival can get very crowded. If visiting, we recommend avoiding going on the weekend. Skagit Valley is a little over an hour away by car from Greenlake Guest House.


Green Lake Park

We hope you have an opportunity to see some of our beautiful Seattle area gardens. Our own beloved Green Lake Park, right across the street, also has a lush display of flowering cherry and plum trees and hundreds of beautiful daffodils blooming each spring.

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What to Do When Visiting Seattle this February (Updated 2-1-21) 22 Jan 2021, 2:25 pm

Let’s face it, we’re all getting a little stir crazy these days. Why not consider a Seattle visit or staycation? Here are our best recommendations on what to do in Seattle this winter and early spring.


Patio Dining in the Neighborhood and Beyond

Most restaurants are open in our vibrant, historic Greenlake neighborhood. Some are limited to takeout and delivery, while others have outdoor patio dining and are now able to serve indoors at reduced capacity (25%), effective February 1. While you are welcome to bring your takeout back to the Guest House, we recommend bundling up and enjoying the outdoor ambiance. We’ve enjoyed getting out to the walkable neighborhood spots for a cocktail and a meal. It’s a fun break and we feel very comfortable with the safety precautions. The best patios are at Duke’s (heated), Eight Row, Greenlake Grill, and Zeek’s. Other neighborhoods that offer the best outdoor dining include Old Ballard, University Village, and Pike Place Market. Hours and operations are changing frequently during this time so check online or call ahead before heading out.


Urban Walks

Seattle days are typically mild in winter and the days are getting longer. Locals put on a rain jacket and get outside to exercise year-round. Besides the 2.8 mile walking trail at Greenlake Park across the street, some of our favorite nearby places for walking include the Burke Gilman Trail along Lake Washington, the trails in Washington Park Arboretum, and Union Bay Natural Area. Additional recommended in-city hiking trails are located in Ravenna Park, Carkeek Park, and Discovery Park. If you are willing to drive a little further, the Alki Trail along Alki Beach in West Seattle offers some stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and the city skyline.


Area Attractions Are Open

Many iconic Seattle attractions remain open with reduced capacity during the pandemic. Popular indoor/outdoor attractions include the beautiful Woodland Park Zoo (located very close to Greenlake Guest House) and the inspirational Chihuly Garden & Glass. Next door to Chihuly, the newly renovated Space Needle & Observation Deck is offering a special “Drinks on the Deck” outdoor patio package. Soak up the sunset sights and city lights from your own private lookout. Just down the hill from the Space Needle, the 9-acre Olympic Sculpture Park offers incredible views, a beach, and large outdoor art installations.

Pike Place Farmer’s Market is also open, without the usual crowds. Purchase fresh fish, produce, flowers, and locally made art directly from the farmers and artists. Locally owned Market restaurants are offering indoor and outdoor dining and takeout in a festive atmosphere. From the Market, you can walk down to the Seattle waterfront to Pier 57 to ride the Seattle Great Wheel in your own, private gondola.


Tasting at Local Breweries & Wineries

Many of the local breweries, wineries, and distilleries are now offering outdoor tasting. Some require reservations and hours may change frequently, so do call ahead.

Fremont Brewery’s Urban Beer Garden is one of the most popular breweries and a favorite of ours. They don’t serve food, but you may have it delivered from local restaurants. Some of our other local, recommended breweries with tasting rooms include Georgetown, Peddler’s, Hales, and Maritime.

Over 100 of the State’s wineries are located in nearby Woodinville. One of the most famous, and a favorite of ours, is Chateau Ste Michelle. This winery has very cute, covered tasting tents and picnic style food available by reservation. Here in Seattle, we would also recommend a visit to Charles Smith Wines Jet City. It’s one of our favorite wines.


Play in Snow in the Cascade Mountains

Fortunately for us, the Cascade Mountains are only an hour’s drive from Seattle. Downhill skiing is available at 4 resorts at the Snoqualmie Summit. Online reservations are required to keep the crowds down. Cross country skiers and snow shoers can rent gear and ski on 50K of groomed trails at the Summit Nordic Center. It is located 3 miles east of the downhill ski area. If you have your own gear, you can also ski or snowshoe at Cabin Creek with a Discover Pass for $10, available online. The Cabin Creek parking lot can fill up fast, so get there early. Gear rental is also available at Ascent Outdoors.


Scenic Drives

Seattle and the surrounding area are beautiful in any season. It’s fun to get in the car and take a scenic drive. Some of our favorite drives include stunning Snoqualmie Falls in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains (35 minutes each way), Whidbey Island (this can be done as a loop, including a 30-minute car ferry ride, about 2 hours each way), and historic La Conner.  Within the city limits, we really enjoy the drive along Lake Washington Boulevard from the Arboretum to Seward Park (about 30 minutes each way from Greenlake Guest House).


Stay Inn

Get cozy! Many guests enjoy staying “in the Inn” and enjoying our on-site amenities including our extensive movie collection, in-room gas fireplace, jetted tub, lake views, cooked-to-order breakfast delivered to the room, and complimentary wine and homemade cookies and snacks.  Optional add-on’s include a fruit and cheese plate or our late checkout package. We hope to pamper you and help make your stay at the Greenlake Guest House in Seattle both fun and safe.


Healthy Washington:

Seattle and greater Puget Sound are currently under a travel advisory and in Phase 2 of the governor’s new “Healthy Washington-Roadmap to Recovery.“ Masks are required inside all businesses and whenever 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. Know what to expect. Let’s mask up, wash hands frequently, socially distance, and go!

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25 Days of Christmas Cookies 2020 (Updated 12-25-20) 1 Dec 2020, 2:46 pm

Background for 25 Days of Christmas Cookies:

For the past few years, we’ve enjoyed delighting our guests with 25 Days of Christmas Cookies each December. Every day from December 1-25, we bake a fresh batch of Christmas cookies, choosing a new recipe each day. Next we take some photos, share the best ones on social media, and then we give the cookies away to our guests and friends and family.

It’s always tough to decide which cookies to make in December. We bake many kinds of cookies here all year long. In our opinion, Christmas cookies should be cookies that we don’t normally bake at other times of the year, and should reflect the flavors of the season. Ideally, the cookies should be especially photogenic and festive looking. Finally, we try to include cookies that reflect our family heritage and traditions while making opportunities to find new favorites each year.


Sharing Family Traditions:

This year, we lost several elderly family members: Julie’s dad Gerry, Blayne’s dad Wayne, Julie’s stepmom Elizabeth, and Julie’s great Aunt Bette. The holidays will be a little less bright without these loved ones here to celebrate. Fortunately, we can honor and remember them through cooking and family traditions. With that in mind, this year we will be sharing more favorite family cookie recipes that have been passed down to us via family cookbooks and handwritten recipe cards. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Woman with 2 young girls in garden
Julie’s mom Kay with sister Kristen and Julie back in the 60’s.
3 apple pie cookies
Apple PIe Cookies

December 25: Apple Pie Cookies

I made these Apple Pie Cookies in honor of my mom, Kay. She was famous for her pies. The crust was always so tender and she could practically whip them out in her sleep. These cookies are delicious and so cute to look at. They have a caramel glaze on the bottom and a cinnamon and spice flavored crust. If you make them, be aware that the recipe makes way too much apple filling and caramel sauce for the amount of dough…either double the dough or cut the filling in half.  My mom made lots of cakes and pies but she usually left the cookie baking to my sister and me! I miss her a lot, but it’s fun to honor her memory on Christmas with these cookies. Thanks for following along with the 25 Days of Christmas Cookies.

Middle aged woman on steps
Blayne’s mother, Ann McAferty, in the 1980’s
2 waffle-style cookies
Norwegian Stryl Cookies

December 24: Ann’s Stryl Cookies

Stryl Cookies are thin, waffle-style Norwegian cookies that are made on a special decorative iron. Blayne’s mother Ann and her sisters made them at Christmas. They are similar to a Krumkaker or to an Italian Pizzelle cookie. The iron is heated on the stove, the batter poured in, and then rolled around a wooden spoon handle. Blayne made these special cookies on the iron passed down to him from his Aunt Thelma. They are crispy and delicious!

Here is the family recipe:



1 cup whipping cream

2 eggs

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar



Whip cream into soft peaks, then fold in sugar. In a separate bowl. whisk together eggs and vanilla. Alternate adding egg mixture into cream, then flour into cream. Rest overnight in refrigerator or for at least 2 hours.

Heat stryl iron on medium heat and lightly grease it with cooking spray. To bake the cookies, drop a teasponful of batter into the center of the iron. Bake until both sides are golden-this takes abouta minute on each side. To remove, slip the tip of a blunt knife under the cookie and slide it off, then immediately roll onto the handle of a wooden spoon and set aside to cool. Remove spoon handle when cookie cool.



December 23: Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescent Cookies)

Originally from Vienna, these Vanillekipferl are traditionally made at Christmastime throughout Bavaria and Europe. We ate them for the first time last December while visiting the incredible European Christmas markets along the Rhine River. This recipe is from Viking River Cruises. They are a new favorite at Greenlake Guest House, and have become an annual tradition.

3 crescent-shaped sugary cookies
Vanillekipferl Cookies

3 3/4 cups flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cups ground almonds (we used Bob’s almond flour)

1 1/2 cups butter, preferably unsalted

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup vanilla sugar or granulated sugar for dusting (vanilla sugar is commonly found in European grocery stores and also available on Amazon)



Preheat oven to 375F. Combine all ingredients except vanilla sugar to form a dough (dough will appear quite dry). Chill dough for at least 30 minutes. Next, pinch off sections of the dough in walnut-sized chunks and roll with your fingers into a tube, then bend it into a crescent shape about 3 inches long while placing it on the cookie sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the edges are just barely golden brown. Dip in vanilla sugar while still warm. When cool, store in an airtight container.


Older woman and toddler girl
Grandma Pond and Julie, 1960’s
5 cookies on a plate
Grandma Pond’s Sugar Cookies

December 22: Grandma Pond’s Sugar Cookies

My paternal grandma, Vera Pond,  kept a tin of these sugar cookies on hand nearly every time we saw her during my childhood. The cookies are much different than the usual ones I bake because they are made with more eggs, shortening instead of butter, and with the addition of sour cream. Grandma would often just cut them into squares with a knife after rolling them up, and would top them with a sprinkling of sugar and some chopped nuts or coconut. My aunt pointed out that Grandma probably would not have chilled the dough because she would not have had the space to do so. Prior to the 1950’s, she kept her perishable food in a special small, vented kitchen cupboard (common in older homes) with a block of ice that was replaced daily. Perhaps this is why she made them with shortening instead of butter. Grandma passed away in 1995, at the age of 101. Grandma always ate half a cookie (just half!) after breakfast. She liked to finish every meal with something sweet.

The cookies are light and a little bit crunchy. The texture is almost like a cracker, and they keep for a long time.


1 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup thick sour cream

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

flour (Note: I added 5 cups of flour and it seemed about right….the dough was still quite shiny and sticky but I was able to roll it)


Flour enough to handle on board. Be careful not to get dough too stiff. Roll. Cover with sugar, nuts, or coconut. Cut in squares and bake in quick, hot oven (about 375-400F).


3 chocolate shortbread cookies on a plate
Salted Chocolate Chunk Shorbread with Dried Cranberries

December 21: Salted Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

Thank you to my fellow innkeeper and friend Linda Dike of the Guest House B&B for sharing this recipe for Salted Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies. She and I often exchange recipes and ideas and this one is a definite keeper! I sliced these at half an inch as the recipe suggested which made for a nice, moist cookie. However,  I think they would look prettier if they were a little thinner. They are hard to slice when right out of the refrigerator so do let them sit for about 30 minute to make it easier to prep them for baking. I added a half cup of chopped dried cranberries to the dough for a little holiday color and flavor. Dried cherries or pecans would also be a delicious addition to this scrumptious cookie.


Chocolate candy with pretzels and M&M's
Christmas Crack Toffee

December 20: Christmas Crack Toffee

I’ll admit that this Christmas Crack Toffee is not technically a cookie. This confection seems to be well known to many people, but I had never tried it and was intrigued by the sweet-salty combination.  Plus, it is made from a base of soda crackers and includes a simple homemade caramel sauce and M&M’s. What’s not to like? I made this version with milk chocolate chips and a drizzle of white chocolate, and added crushed pretzels to the top for a little extra salt and crunch.


round cookies sprinkled with sugar

Aunt Janet’s Ginger Cookies

Older Woman hugging toddler
Aunt Janet with her great nephew Andrew back in the 90’s.

December 19: Aunt Janet’s Ginger Cookies

When I told my Aunt Janet that I was including more family recipes this year in the 25 Days of Christmas Cookies, she asked me to include her Ginger Cookies. Aunt Janet is 90 years old and still lives independently in her own home just 10 minutes from us. She has been baking these soft, spicy cookies for decades now.


¾ cups shortening

1 cup sugar

¼ cup light molasses

1 egg

2 cups flour

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. ginger

Sugar, for rolling the cookies (Note: I like to use sanding sugar to make the cookies sparkle a bit.)


Mix shortening and sugar together until fluffy. Add molaasses and egg, then dry ingredients. Chill dough for at least 2 hours. Make into small (1 inch) balls. Roll in sugar.

Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375F for 7 minutes and NO LONGER, if you like soft cookies, according to Aunt Janet.


striped shortbread cookies
Black & White Striped Cookies

December 18: Black and White Striped Cookies

These Black and White Striped Cookies are epecially pretty and flavorful refrigerator cookies. The “black” layer is chocolate” and the “white” is vanilla. Jane prepped this batch and, as usual, she did an excellent job of getting the layers precise and even. They are a little time consuming but the dough can be prepped ahead of time and refrigerated for a couple days.

fig filled pastry on a red and white plate
Italian Fig Cookie (Cucidati)

December 17: Italian Fig Cookies (Cucidati)

I saw a beautiful photo of these Italian Christmas Fig Cookies and decided to try making them this year. There are many recipes and variations for this deliciously most and tender, fruit filled cookie. This version is made with dried figs, dates, almonds, and Grand Marnier. I hope our guests enjoy them as much as we did.


decorated chocolate cookies on red platter
Chocolate Cutout Cookies

December 16: Chocolate Cutout Cookies

These tasty Chocolate Cutout Cookies are a nice alternative to traditional Gingerbread Cookies and are fun to decorate with buttercream or royal icing. They are one of our favorites!

4 cookies on a green plate
Rosemary-Walnut Cookies

December 15: Rosemary-Walnut Cookies

We’ve been making Rosemary-Walnut Cookies at Greenlake Guest House for a few years now with rosemary from our own garden. This pretty shortbread cookie is considered an “icebox” cookie and is simply formed into a log, rolled in toasted nuts, then sliced and baked. The dough can even be frozen prior to baking. Simply thaw the log overnight in the refrigerator and then bake.

three cookies on a plate
Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

December 14: Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies are a new recipe for us this year. I am a fan of peppermint and chocolate so I loved the candy cane pieces and the mix of white chocolate and semi sweet chocolate. These cookies are easy to make and the dough keeps well in the freezer after they are portioned into individual scoops. They do tend to spread, even when baked from frozen. Note: I personally prefer a puffier cookie so would recommend adding an extra quarter cup of flour to the dough to make them spread less. Also, be careful to tuck the candy cane pieces inside the dough before baking so the candy cane doesn’t melt all over the cookie sheet.

chocolate candies in a dish
Peanut Butter Balls
Woman holding tray of cookies in front of Christmas tree
Coral at Greenlake Guest House December 2019

December 13: Coral’s Peanut Butter Balls

These no-bake Peanut Butter Balls are absolutely delicious and are gluten free. Thank you to our interim innkeeper Coral Simdorn for sharing this fabulous recipe. She made them for Greenlake Guest House last December, when Blayne and I were in Europe.  Today, I  used my double boiler to melt the chocolate and froze the balls for about 30 minutes to make them easier to dip. I tried using a toothpick, a bamboo skewer, and even a fork for dipping with limited success. Coral says she always uses the toothpick. I think I could use a little more practice on dipping them so I may have to try these again! They are so good that I don’t want to give up.

Ingredients for Balls:

1 c peanut butter

1 cup powdered sugar

¼ cup butter, softened

2 ½ cups rice krispies (add more if needed)

¼ cup chopped nuts (prefers pecans)


Ingredients for Dipping:

6 oz chocolate chips

1 square semi-sweet chocolate

1-inch square paraffin (Note: I did not have paraffin and didn’t use it-it makes the chocolate shiny)



Mix peanut butter, powdered sugar butter, rice krispies, and nuts and make into balls. Chill.

Melt dipping ingredients in a double boiler.

Dip into chocolate using toothpick. Set on wax paper.


man holding baby with older woman looking on
Julie’s Great-Aunt Rhoda with Julie and her father Gerry at Christmastime.
3 cookies on a plate
Aunt Rhoda’s Almond Cookies

December 12: Aunt Rhoda’s Almond Cookies

Julie’s Great-Aunt Rhoda worked for the California Almond Growers Association back in the 1940’s and 50’s.  She baked these shortbread-like cookies for years to give to friends and family. Rumor has it she would stay up all night baking massive quantities of cookies, before traveling to Seattle to visit her brother and his family each Christmas. These cookies were a special favorite of her niece Janet and nephew Gerry.  I’m not sure if the original recipe came from the Almond Growers Association or were a traditional recipe that was passed down from Rhoda’s aunts, who immigrated from Sweden. Enjoy!



1 1/2 cup blanched almonds, ground fine (about 1/4 pound)

2/3 cup butter or shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1-1/3 cup flour

1tsp. vanilla

pinch of salt

powdered sugar



Cream butter, then add sugar, flour, salt, vanilla, and almonds. Work with finger tips. Shape into small balls and flatten with fork.

Bake 25 min. in slow oven (300F). Sprinkle powdered sugar over baked cookies



crescent shaped cookies on a plate
Cranberry Rugelach

December 11: Cranberry Rugelach

These Cranberry Rudglach Cookies are another new cookie for us at Greenlake Guest House. In fact, I’d never even tried one. These tender, pastry-like cookies are popular during Hanukkah and can be filled with a variety of fruits and nuts or even chocolate. This version is from Sunset Magazine and the filling is made with fresh cranberries, ginger, white chocolate, and walnuts. They are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar prior to baking. We give them a thumbs-up!


Star shaped cookies with
Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Shortbread

December 10: Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Shortbread

This Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Shortbread Cookie is a new one for us and it may be my favorite 2020 cookie yet. The cookies look very pretty and are quite simple to prepare.  The taste and texture is amazing too. They are hard to resist!

I dipped the corners of some of the cookes in chocolate and sprinkled them with the crushed candy canes as the recipe suggested. However, I thought they were even prettier with the chocolate drizzled diagnally across the top. This method is my usual “cheat” way of quickly frosting cookies. I put the frosting in a ziplock sandwich bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner. Easy peasy.


Gingerbread men cookies on platter
Gingerbread Men

December 9: Gingerbread Men Cookies

These classic Gingerbread Men are another holiday tradition at Greenlake Guest House. Christmas would not be the same without them! My family did not make them so I’ve tried a few different versions. This one is from McCormick Spice and I like the flavor and soft texture.  These cookies hold their intended shape without spreading too much, even when rolled to a quarter inch thick.  Jane frosted them with Royal Icing.


4 women in front of Christmas tree
4 sisters…Blayne’s Aunt Thelma is third from the left.
tart-like cookies on a red tray
Aunt Thelma’s Sandbakkels


December 8, 2020: Aunt Thelma’s Sandbakkels

Aunt Thelma invited Blayne and me to her home to learn how to make Sandbakkels (Norwegian sugar cookies) many years ago when we were first married. She embraced her Norwegian heritage and cooking, and usually had a tin of cookies in the freezer for impromptu guests. Blayne used to sneak a half dozen or so of these into his sleeve or pocket on Christmas Eve when the extended family would gather at her home. Aunt Thelma wanted to him to appreciate how much work they were. She also gave us a box of the traditional tins for making them.


1 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter

1 beaten egg

1 tsp. almond extract

½ cup ground almonds (optional)

2 ½ cups flour


Cream butter and sugar, then add remaining ingredients. Form into balls and place each one into a sandbakkel tin. Using your thumb, press into tins and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Cool 3 minutes then remove from tins (tap on table or loosen with knife).

Note: We found it helpful to spray the tins lightly with cooking spray. The cookies can be very difficult to remove from the tins sometimes without it if the tins are not well seasoned.



round cookies on parchment

round cookies on a tray
Classic Linzer Cookies

December 7, 2020: Classic Linzer Cookies

Today we baked these Classic Linzer Cookies. We’ve tried these before, and they are a little tricky because the dough can be so sticky. This version worked well and tasted great too. They are much easier to roll out if you use a silicone mat and top the dough with a piece of parchment paper so it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin. I rolled them out fairly thin, so they only took 7 minutes to bake. The cookies with the cutouts in the middle bake a little faster than the solid ones so you may want to bake them on different cookie sheets. Raspberry jam is a classic filling, but we had some lemon curd in the refrigerator so tried filling them with that too and it was absolutely delicious.


chocolate biscotti cookies on a serving tray
Chocolate Almond Biscotti

December 6: Chocolate Almond Biscotti

We’ve been making this Chocolate Almond Biscotti here at Greenlake Guest House for a few years now. This version is our favorite. The biscotti has a nice crunch, but it is soft enough to enjoy on its own, without dunking in a hot beverage. Sometimes we like to dip these cookies in chocolate or drizzle a little white chocolate over the top to make them look a little fancier. They are delicious either way!


trees and star cookies on a tray
Sugar Cookies with Jane’s Buttercream Fondant

woman holding plates with breakfast

December 5: Sugar Cookies with Jane’s Buttercream Fondant

Frosted Sugar cookies are a staple of any Christmas Cookie collection. They are beautiful and delicious! These cookes were a Greenlake Guest House team effort,  baked by Linsy and frosted by Jane. The frosting is a special Buttercream Fondant that Jane has created. She says she likes using fondant instead of royal icing because:

This fondant recipe is quick and easy to mix and actually tastes like buttercream frosting. The fun really begins when you add color to the fondant and start to decorate your cookies. In the past I’ve enjoyed working with royal icing, but it can be very sticky and difficult to get the consistency just right. And, the colors can run into each other if you don’t wait long enough between layers. Fondant doesn’t run, and if you can roll and cut cookies, you can roll and cut the fondant to exactly fit the cookies. Then, you can cut out smaller shapes of different colors to add accent, and even use rubber stamps to press in an image or words. The final product is amazing, and I usually end up with far fewer fails than when using icing.


Jane’s Buttercream Fondant for Cookie Decorating

1/3 cup butter (softened)

1/3 cup syrup (Brown rice syrup, cane sugar syrup or light corn syrup)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

4 ½ cups powdered sugar


In a stand mixer, blend the butter, syrup, vanilla, and salt. Mix this together on medium speed with a paddle attachment, until it is smooth and well combined.

Add the powdered sugar and mix slowly at first, until everything is combined. Be patient it takes a while for it to all mix and come together.

Now you have a ball of fondant. It dries out quickly, so keep it wrapped.

To color the fondant, use your favorite food coloring (paste, gel, and liquid can all work). Take a portion of the fondant and knead in a small amount of coloring, until it is completely combined.

To roll it out, lightly dust the work surface with powdered sugar, roll it out flat (about 1/16” to 1/8”) and cut out with cookie cutters. You can use the same cutters you used to cut out the cookies. The fondant can also be molded into shapes (like clay)

To adhere the fondant to the cookie, lightly brush the back of the fondant piece with simple syrup (or purchase “Dab & Hold”, a Wilton product) then carefully stick the fondant onto the cookie.

Be creative with cutters and even rubber stamps to personalize your cookies. Note: Leftover fondant can be tightly wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. If frozen, allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator when you want to use it.



middle aged woman kneeling on beach
Grandma Gerty Botts, 1960’s
3 cookies on a plate
Grandma Gerty’s Raisin Cookies

December 4: Grandma Gerty’s Raisin-Filled Cookies

These raisin-filled cookies were a special treat when I was growing up. The recipe I’m sharing came from my great-grandmother Katie Weber Reiman’s “little notebook” and were submitted by Grandma for a family cookbook back in the 1980’s. My grandmother, great-great Aunt Lena, Aunt Bette, and my own mother baked them when they wanted to make something a little extra special. I made them for the first time this year and they were just as good as I remembered, and less work than I was expecting. Be sure to seal the edges because the filling can leak out if you are not careful.

Dough Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup butter or shortening

1/2 cup milk

3 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

Filling Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups raisins

2 tsp. flour

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup water


Cook filling ingredients until thickened, stirring carefully, as it burns quite easily. Let cool.

Mix dough, roll thin and cut into rounds. Place cookies on lightly greased pan and place a teaspoon of filling on each. Sprinkle a little sugar on each cookie, if desired. Place another round over each and bake at 350F for about 10 minutes.



cookies on a tray
Peanut Blossoms, 3 ways
Smiling older woman
Julie’s Great Aunt Bette

December 3: Aunt Bette’s Peanut Blossoms

Betty Crocker may have written a lot of cookbooks, but Julie’s Aunt Bette could teach her a thing or two! Aunt Bette was famous for her huge homemade platters of cookies at the holidays and family gatherings. She has been my inspiration for 25 Days of Christmas Cookies. Actually, I could have spent the entire month baking only her recipes and have had plenty to choose from. There are many recipes for Peanut Blossoms, but hers is my favorite because it is so tender. The original recipe calls for rolling the dough in granulated sugar, but don’t be afraid to try rolling them in peanuts or sprinkles or sanding sugar to add variety to your cookie tray. They are prettiest if you keep the size small.



1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 Tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

1 3/4 cup flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

granulated sugar for rolling the dough before baking

48-60 chocolate kisses, peeled


Cream sugar with butter and peanut butter; mix in milk, vanilla, and egg. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt and stir into dough. Shape in small balls (one inch or so) and roll in granulated sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes at 375F until light brown. Remove from oven and press candy kisses in centers until cookies crack. Return to oven for 2 more minutes. Remove from sheet and cool.

round cookies covered in powdered sugar
Mexican Wedding Cakes


December 2: Mexican Wedding Cakes

Mexican Wedding Cakes (also called Russian Tea Cakes) are Julie’s personal favorite. This buttery shortbread cookie is rolled twice in powdered sugar. It looks festive and tastes delicious. Julie likes to make them with pecans rather than walnuts and keeps the cookie size down about an inch in diamater so they can be eaten in one or two bites. Favorite recipe for this cookie? Read it in the Betty Crocker Cookbook!


2 women hugging
Julie and her stepmom Elizabeth

December 1: Elizabeth’s Joe Frogger Cookie

Today we are sharing Joe Frogger cookies. This recipe was given to me from my stepmom Elizabeth Pond. It was one of her very favorites and well remembered by her children. Although it is a humble looking cookie, the flavors of molasses, rum, ginger and nutmeg are perfect for the season. Joe Froggers date back to the 1700’s and were created by Joseph and Lucretia Brown, African American tavern owners in Marblehead, Massachusetts. The original cookies were the size of pancakes and were popular with fishermen and sailors because they kept well and could be taken on long voyages.


1 1/2 cups molasses, hot (Elizabeth said she just warmed it in the microwave for a minute or so)

1/2 cup boiling water

2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/3 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar (preferably dark)

1 egg, beaten

1/3 cup honey

1 tsp. vanilla

2 Tbsp. dark rum (or rum flavoring, which is what Elizabeth used)

6 cups sifted flour

2 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg



In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the molasses, water, and baking soda. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and blend well. Add the honey, vanilla, and rum and blend everything together.

Combine dry ingredients (flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg) together in a bowl. Slowly add a third of the dry ingredients, then half the molasses mixture, then a third of the dry ingredients, remaining half of the molasses, and the last third of the dry ingredients, blending between each step. Continue until all ingredients are incorporated (dough will be quite sticky and soft). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour, preferably overnight.

After dough is chilled, break the dough into walnut sized pieces and roll them into balls between your palms. Roll the balls in granulated sugar, then arrange 2 inches apart on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Press the bottom of a drinking glass onto each ball of dough, gently flattening it before baking. (Note: Elizabeth’s recipe says that the dough can also be rolled out to a half inch thickness and cut into 2-inch circles with a glass or cookie cutter but personally I found the dough to be too sticky to recommend this option.)

Bake the cookies at 375F until they have set but still seem soft in the middle, about 10 minutes.


The post 25 Days of Christmas Cookies 2020 (Updated 12-25-20) appeared first on Greenlake Guesthouse.

Why Stay at Greenlake Guest House This Holiday Season? 25 Nov 2020, 5:19 pm

Why stay at Greenlake Guest House this holiday season?


Lakeside Location

Guests love our location right across the street from beloved Greenlake Park. The 2.8-mile pathway around the lake is beautiful for walking and jogging even during winter. We have loaner umbrellas available if needed. With most of the trees bare now, the lake views from our common areas and guest rooms are looking spectacular, especially at sunset. There are restaurants and shops within walking distance, and even a new wine store. Let’s admit it, this year we are all grateful for a change of scenery!

stockings by the fire at Greenlake Guest House

Private Breakfast & Guest House Amenities

Enjoy a private, cooked to order breakfast in your room each morning delivered contactlessly, right outside your door. We’ve got lots of choices from savory egg dishes to French toast, fresh fruit, and homemade pastries. In the afternoon, sip a glass of our complimentary local wine, homemade cookies and snacks, and savor the beautiful view. Watch a movie from our large DVD collection or read a book in front of your own private fireplace or in your jetted tub. The house will be festive and decorated for the holidays. Want to stay a little longer? Upgrade to our Late Checkout Package and stay until 4pm.

Poached eggs with vegetables and a glass of orange juice

Outdoor Dining Experiences & Shopping

Enjoy local dining and have an opportunity to do a little Christmas shopping in a festive outdoor atmosphere. Many of our local restaurants have created cozy and creative outdoor dining options that are worth exploring (in a warm coat). Duke’s Chowder House, always a guest favorite, has a heated and well lit patio, and is within walking distance. You might also enjoy driving to nearby Ballard to visit the many small, independently owned shops, restaurants and breweries with covered outdoor dining set up along Ballard Avenue. Other popular locations with lots of outside options and local, independent stores include the iconic Pike Place Market neighborhood downtown, and beautiful, upscale University Village. Another unique Seattle experience currently open at limited capacity, afternoons only, is  top-rated Chihuly Garden & Glass. Experience outdoor dining in the Art Plaza, glassblowing demonstrations, shopping, and stunning gardens. Washington State restaurants are currently limited to outdoor dining and takout until December 14. We will be happy to provide extra dishes or silverware for takeout upon request.

holiday lights on trees at Woodland Park Zoo

Christmas Lights

After dinner, you might enjoy visiting the Christmas Lights. Drive to local, adorable Candy Cane Lane during the month of December. Candy Cane Lane has been a free holiday event since the 1940’s and is only a few minutes away. This year, the nearby Woodland Park Zoo will be hosting Wild Lanterns each evening from November 13 to January 17. Wild Lanterns is a brand new, outdoor holiday light festival with over 300 individual lantern pieces depicting zoo animals. Food and drinks are also available for purchase there. Buy tickets online via the Woodland Park Zoo’s website.

Decorated Christmas Sugar Cookies

25 Days of Christmas Cookies

During the month of December, Julie and the staff at Greenlake Guest House will once again be baking 25 Days of Christmas Cookies. Each day from December 1-25 we will offer guests a special, new cookie. We’ll be sharing photos and recipes all month on our social media. All guests visiting in December will also receive a plate of festive, homemade cookies to take home.


Safety First Amenities

Seattle holidays will definitely be quieter in 2020. However, we are still open and will safely and warmly welcome you if you need to travel to Seattle for any reason this winter. We are also noticing more locals wanting a change of scene and we’re happy to provide a safe and private getaway for our neighbors too. Our Safety First Amenities include limiting the number of guests on the property as well as blocking a night before and after every reservation to allow for more social distancing and extra time for cleaning.


Holiday Gift Certificates

Not ready to travel yet? Please consider purchasing a gift certificate for a future stay for yourself or to give as a gift. Purchased gift certificates never expire and are fully transferable. When you are ready to travel, we are ready for you!

The post Why Stay at Greenlake Guest House This Holiday Season? appeared first on Greenlake Guesthouse.

Our Favorite Seattle Museums and Attractions Now Open and Ready to Visit This Fall 2 Oct 2020, 11:31 am

With Covid-19 cases dropping in Seattle and King County, we are happy to report that our museums and many attractions are now open again. New practices are in place to keep visitors safe such as limiting capacity to 25%, face masks and social distancing required, increased cleaning and sanitation stations, and timed ticket entry. With no cruise ships or conventions in town, this is a good time to visit Seattle like a local, without the crowds. Here are our top recommendations.



Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo’s beautiful outdoor exhibits have been open for several months now. This beautifully landscaped zoo has a large variety of animals and natural looking exhibits. Fortunately for us, it is located only 2 miles south Greenlake Guest House in Woodland Park. In fact, some of our guests even walk to the zoo. Most outdoor exhibits have covered areas that are comfortable even in rainy weather. Stay tuned for a new lights festival called Wild Lanterns that will be happening in the evenings after 4pm on November 13-January 17.


Museum of Flight

The Museum of Flight reopened on September 5 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays). This huge museum in South Seattle offers lots of space for social distancing. It is the largest independent, non profit air and space museum in the world and includes the original Boeing Red Barn, many vintage planes, and a Space Shuttle trainer. Plan to spend at least 2-4 hours there in order to see everything.


Chihuly Garden and Glass

The Chihuly Garden and Glass features spectacular indoor and outdoor glass installations by Dale Chihuly, who is a Seattle native. It is located just below the iconic Space Needle and is consistently ranked as Seattle’s top attraction on Trip Advisor.


Seattle Space Needle

Seattle’s Space Needle, built in 1962 for the World’s Fair, was completely remodeled in 2018 to include an all glass floor below and an open-air deck above as well as a new lounge 500 feet above Seattle on a revolving glass floor. With a new state of the art UV-C sanitizing program it is safer than ever. You can save money by purchasing a combination pass with the Chihuly Garden & Glass.


National Nordic Museum

The National Nordic Museum reopened on September 4 and is open Wednesday-Sunday. Located in the nearby Ballard neighborhood in a new, architecturally stunning building, it is dedicated to the history of the area’s Nordic immigrants.


Seattle Japanese Garden

The Seattle Japanese Garden, located in Washington Park Arboretum northeast of downtown Seattle, recently reopened (advanced reservations required). This 3.5 acre, meticulously groomed garden is especially lovely in the fall when the leaves turn brilliantly red and gold.


Pike Place Market

This fall may be the best time to visit the partially outdoor Pike Place Market  because it is so uncrowded. Fall is the perfect time to purchase local produce like apples and pears and fresh items with a pumpkin or harvest theme. Many of the restaurants like Matt’s in the Market, Il Bistro, Radiator Whiskey, and Le Pichet are now offering pop up patios, street-side dining, and rooftop balconies. We are told that these outdoor dining spaces will be extended for at least a few more weeks to take advantage of Seattle’s typically mild, early fall weather. Be sure to stop in for handcrafted cheese across the street in the Post Alley at Beechers, a bouquet of fresh flowers, or some fresh fish for the full Seattle experience.

If you are traveling to Seattle, we think these are the not to miss museums and attractions. Be sure to call or by a ticket or make a reservation ahead of time in order to avoid disappointment. Advanced purchase is recommended at most museums and attractions to allow for timed entry.

The post Our Favorite Seattle Museums and Attractions Now Open and Ready to Visit This Fall appeared first on Greenlake Guesthouse.

Our New Guest App (Updated November 25, 2020) 28 Aug 2020, 10:19 am

Frictionless Guest App Logo

Something New!

Have you seen our new Greenlake Guest House Frictionless Guest App?

This app provides our guests with our personalized local recommendations while staying at Greenlake Guest House to make the stay “frictionless” and fun so that you can get the best experience possible while visiting us in Seattle.  While our website is a great source of information when planning your trip, we hope that the Guest App will be the most convenient way to access our personalized recommendations once you have arrived here.


Why Have A Guest App?

We have enjoyed the ease and convenience of guest apps on a few occasions ourselves while traveling in Australia and Europe.  The mapping feature with directions was especially helpful when we were out and about. We liked visiting the restaurants and attractions that our innkeepers recommended.So, we were delighted to finally find a product like Frictionless Guest App that we could customize for our own guests too.


No Need to Download It.

The Greenlake Guest House App can be viewed from your mobile phone, tablet, or PC and doesn’t need to be downloaded. It’s more hygienic and convenient than printed brochures and maps and is available anytime. The handy map feature allows you to get directions from our property or from your current location if you are out and about.


How to Use the App:

The categories we use include Eat, Play, Shop, Our Offerings, Bars, Events, and Local Services. For example, on the “Contact” page you can easily call or text us.  Everything you need to know when staying on our property is listed under “Our Offerings.” For example, the breakfast page in “Our Offerings” includes our menu, which Julie updates daily. Need a doctor? See our “Local Services.” Want to know the best running store in Seattle that happens to be in our neighborhood? See “Shop.” Our favorite restaurants and activities are listed under “Eat” and “Play.”


Now You Can Order Breakfast Too (November 2020)!

Now you can order breakfast right from the app with our easy to use form.  Have as much or as little as you want, and choose the time you would like to eat. We’ve added some new options available every day, including cooked to order omelets and thick cut french toast. Of course, we’ll continue to offer our daily specials too. It’s all really easy to order on the app.

We’re continuing to add more details to the app to make this app more helpful to our guests. Please let us know if there is anything you want to see added!


The post Our New Guest App (Updated November 25, 2020) appeared first on Greenlake Guesthouse.

Get Outdoors in Seattle This Summer (Updated July 9, 2020) 27 May 2020, 4:39 pm


kayaker waving on the water
Blayne kayaking on Puget Sound


Practice Healthy Habits and Get Outdoors

This will be a unique summer in Seattle, as we gradually re-open businesses and resume more normal life during the Covid-19 era. We anticipate that August and September will be the best times to visit this summer.  Those who choose to travel can look forward to cheaper airfares and fewer crowds because most conventions and cruise ship sailings will not be happening this year.

What can healthy travelers do to have fun in Seattle this summer, while maintaining safe practices like social distancing, wearing a mask when spending time in close spaces with others, and frequent handwashing? We know that being outdoors is generally safer than being inside, so our recommendation is to focus on outdoor activities this year. Enjoy mild weather, many hours of daylight, and stunning outdoor scenery that is typical for summer in our corner of the world.

We anticipate that most Seattle leisure activities will be available in a few weeks. Restaurants are open and offering limited indoor and patio dining at 50% capacity now.  Non-essential travel and most leisure activities (except for large sporting events and conventions) will be opening up  in our area during Phase 3, hopefully in late July. For more details on Washington’s planned re-opening, see

Here are our top picks on what to do in Seattle this Summer!

Green Lake at dusk

Local City & State Parks

Over 100 years ago, Seattle city planners created an ambitious plan to create a park or playground within one half mile of every home in Seattle. There are nearly 500 parks in Seattle. Here are just three of our favorites for exploring this summer:

Green Lake Park offers 2.8 miles of walking and jogging trails  around the lake, staffed beaches in summer, non-motorized boat rentals, tennis courts, and a community swimming pool. It’s located right across the street from our B&B.

Discovery Park is the largest park in the city. It offers numerous hiking trails and access to Puget Sound shoreline.

Volunteer Park & Conservatory is located a few minutes away on north Capitol Hill neighborhood. This beautiful park offers an observation deck as well as the historic conservatory and is home to the Seattle Asian Art Museum. It’s also fun to walk around the nearby mansions just north of the park on Seattle’s historic Millionaire Row.

Lake Union and Seattle Skyline

Outdoor Attractions & Gardens

Seattle is fortunate to have a number of outdoor attractions open year-round that are perfect for spending time outside and allowing more distance from others.

The Olympic Sculpture Park is located on the waterfront in downtown Seattle and was created by the Seattle Art Museum back in 2007.  This 9-acre, free public space offers a number of large art installations as well as access to Puget Sound and the beach at Myrtle Edwards Park.

We also love spending time at the Hiram Chittenden Ballard Locks & Botanical Garden, especially in the summertime. It’s fun to watch the boats coming and going through the historic locks and walk through the lush garden and go under the water to the viewing window for the fish ladder. One of our favorite summertime activities is to bring a picnic to enjoy at dinner and watch the sunset in the distance to the west. Although the Locks are currently open to boats, the grounds and visitors center remain closed until Phase 3.

University of Washington’s Arboretum & Japanese Garden is located just a few minutes’ drive southeast of Greenlake Guest House, on the shores of Lake Washington. This 200-acre park offers several gardens with extensive plantings and walking trails. Its 3.5-acre Japanese garden is a gem within the park and is considered one the oldest and most authentic Japanese Gardens in the United States. While currently closed due to the pandemic, the Japanese Garden is normally open March -November and has a small entrance fee. We expect it will re-open soon.

Finally, the Woodland Park Zoo & Rose Garden is located inside Woodland Park, just 2 miles south of Greenlake Guest House, and adjacent to Green Lake Park. The large, award winning zoo is known for its natural looking and humane exhibits and spectacular plantings. The Rose Garden is located on the south side of the zoo and is the site of numerous small weddings in the summer. The zoo is currently open at limited capacity,  but reservations are required.

young people with paddleboards on boat dock
Renting Paddleboards at Ballard Kayak

Boat Tours & Rentals

Seattle has many bodies of water within the city: Puget Sound, Lake Washington, Lake Union, and Green Lake, to name just a few. We tell guests that you can’t really experience the true Seattle without getting outside on the water. Here are a few of our favorite options.

Ballard Kayak is located at Shilshole Bay Marina in the nearby Ballard neighborhood and offers kayak and stand up paddleboard rentals, as well as guided tours. Highly recommended for all ages and abilities. Ballard Kayak is currently open for tours and rentals by reservation only.

We’ve also rented boats at the Electric Boat Company on Lake Union several times with friends and family. These private rentals are quiet and easy to drive and can accommodate up to 10 people. Lake Union is a working lake with lots to see, including houseboats and seaplanes. Stop and pick up dinner at the boat dock at Ivar’s Fish Bar or bring a picnic with you on the boat. It’s a great way to see Seattle. The Electric Boat Company is currently open.

The Greenlake Boathouse is located across the street from us on the north side of the lake. They rent stand up paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, sailboats, water bikes, and paddleboats. We have some beach towels and chairs available for guests to borrow at the lake. The boathouse is currently closed, but we anticipate that it will be opening soon.

Argosy Cruises are another great option for getting out on the water that is less active and more relaxing. They offer 7 narrated cruises on Puget Sound, Lake Union, the Locks, and Lake Washington. Our personal favorite is the 2-hour Locks Cruise. We appreciate this tour for the variety of the scenery and the fun experience of actually going through the locks. There is both indoor and outdoor seating available on these spacious boats. In the past, the boats have offered snacks and cocktails for purchase. Argosy Cruises is open and offering a limited number of itineraries from their primary location on Elliot Bay on the Seattle waterfront (the Lake Union marina and Locks and Lake Washington cruises are not yet operating).

Patio Dining at Duke’s

Outdoor Dining with a View

Seattleites love the opportunity to eat outside when the sun comes out. This summer is the perfect time to eat under a patio umbrella or directly under the stars. With our northern latitude, it stays light until well after 9pm for most of the summer. This year, restaurants in Seattle will look a little different. Expect tables at least 6 feet apart, and servers that are wearing masks and maybe gloves. To promote social distancing, you might be ordering your meal at the counter or from an app on your phone. Even so, expect great food and warm hospitality from this “foodie” city. Many restaurants are also offering takeout. Here are a few of our tried and true favorites for outside patio dining with great food and a view. All of the restaurants listed below are open.

Duke’s Greenlake is located just a few blocks away from our B&B and has a lively patio with a view of the lake and park and really fresh seafood. Casual and friendly.

Ray’s Boathouse & Café is located on Shilshole Bay in the nearby Ballard neighborhood. The view of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains never gets old. The upstairs deck at the casual café is a personal favorite of ours for enjoying fresh seafood, burgers, or cocktails, especially at happy hour. The sunsets are incredible too!

Westward is located on the shores of nearby Lake Union. The outside deck and “beach” with a fire pit and Adirondack chairs is a lovely way to spend an hour or two. The view of downtown cityscape beyond the lake is stunning too. The food is mediterranean with an emphasis on seafood. It gets very busy, especially on weekends.

Ivar’s Salmon House & Fish Bar is practically an institution in Seattle. It sits on the north side of Lake Union and has a great view of downtown Seattle and all the marine traffic on Lake Union. Watch the sailboats, seaplanes taking off and landing, and kayakers as you enjoy unpretentious salmon or fish and chips from the deck of either the extremely casual fish bar or the less casual Salmon House.

Terra Plata is located on the east side of downtown next to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, on the edge of Capitol Hill.  We love the fresh and innovative farm to table menu and the magical atmosphere of the rooftop garden overlooking the city neighborhood. More expensive than some of the other options but well worth it if you want to splurge a little.

Mountain with lake in front
Mt. Rainier National Park

Day Trips

Want to eplore further? Try one of our recommended day trips to Mt. Rainier National Park, Whidbey Island, or the Bloedel Reserve on Whidbey Island. We’ll be happy to share the insider tips on how to make the most of your time.

table and chairs outside on patio with coffee cups
Patio available for guests to enjoy

Stay at Greenlake Guest House

When you are ready to travel again, we hope to see you in Seattle at the Greenlake Guest House. We are located in a residential neighborhood across from beautiful, spacious Green Lake Park and are just a few blocks away from a number of restaurants. Downtown Seattle is an easy 10-15 minute drive away. We have free on-street parking. With our small size, flexible low-contact check in and breakfast options, and meticulous houskeeping standards, we believe we are a great option compared to a large, impersonal downtown hotel.

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