Greenlake Guest House

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

Greenlake Guest House Top 10 Picks for What to Do in Seattle during the Holidays 27 Oct 2019, 12:49 pm

walkway lined with luminaria by a lake
Greenlake Pathway of Lights

December is such a fun time to be in Seattle, despite the rain and the short days. It’s cozy and bright inside, and not terribly cold for being outside.  We love the Christmas Lights and special holiday shows and traditions. Here’s our “Top 10” list of fun holiday events around here this month:

  1. Kick off the holiday season with Julefest at the nearby Nordic Heritage Museum November 23 and 24. Enjoy live music, authentic Nordic food and spiced wine, see the museum exhibits, and find perfect handcrafted gifts from dozens of vendors.
  2. Our personal favorite: the annual Greenlake Pathway of Lights. This event is always held at Greenlake on the second Saturday in December (December 14, 2019). Volunteers line the entire 2.8-mile pathway with luminaires, and thousands of people come to walk the lake and enjoy live carolers, hot chocolate, and lights. Even the kayaks and canoes are decorated with lights.
  3. See a Christmas play at Seattle Public Theater’s Bathhouse Theater at Greenlake. This year you can choose from “Christmastown” or “A Very Die Hard Christmas.”
    The Theater is a 10 minute walk from Greenlake Guest House with several local restaurants along the way to stop for dinner or dessert before or after the show.
  4. Attend Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Nutcracker” at Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall. This Nutcracker is a magical production of the popular ballet, with over the top sets and costumes and runs all month. A Seattle tradition!
  5. Holiday Shopping in downtown Seattle or nearby University Village, an upscale outdoor mall with a mix of local and national stores. Enjoy the decorated windows and lights and a wide variety of stores while you finish up your shopping
  6. Visit “Wildlights” at the nearby Woodland Park Zoo, with over 600,00 lights in animal shapes, food and wine, and carolers. A 5 or 10 minute drive away from Greenlake Guest House.
  7. Visit the amazing Gingerbread Village inside the lobby at the downtown Sheraton Hotel. Admission is free. These houses are designed by architects, and donations benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. This is one of our annual family traditions.
  8. Ride the Argosy Christmas Ship and see the parade of decorated boats throughout the month of December. Join the parade, or listen to the live carols broadcast from the ship from a beach bonfire at one of 45 locations throughout the Seattle area.
  9. See the sweet holiday lights at nearby Ravenna neighborhood’s Candy Cane Lane, a Seattle tradition since 1949.
  10. Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Space Needle watching a free light show and midnight fireworks show shot right from the top of the Needle! Or be fancy and get tickets to a New Year’s Eve Party at the Chihuly Garden & Glass or at the Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Center or right at the Space Needle (21+).

You have many choices to make fun memories during the holiday season in Seattle. Spend a night or a week here and enjoy the B&B fully decorated for the holidays and special Christmas cookies baked daily. We love this season and look forward to sharing it with you.


The post Greenlake Guest House Top 10 Picks for What to Do in Seattle during the Holidays appeared first on Greenlake Guesthouse.

Innkeeper Linsy’s Top 3 Local Hikes 25 Sep 2019, 9:55 pm

Innkeeper Linsy hiking in the Cascade Mountains

Hi there, this is innkeeper Linsy writing for the Greenlake Guest House Blog.

Born and raised in the neighborhoods of the greater Seattle area, I grew up exploring, playing, and getting muddy all around the Pacific Northwest.  There is still plenty I’ve yet to explore, but what I have found is that there is something to offer everyone, no matter the age or physical restrictions. There are lots of great day trips and weekend trips to pull together. On days when I’m really craving a nature fix in my life and don’t have the time to get far out of the city I have three hiking spots where I typically end up. Hopefully you find a little magic in them.

Discovery Park beach at low tide

Discovery Park – Seattle

If you are looking for some of that classic PNW trail, greenery, and views without heading too far out of the city and not too taxing on the body I’d recommend heading over to Discovery Park, about 20-30 minutes from Greenlake Guest House, depending on traffic. This loop trail is 2.8 miles roundtrip, just the same length as Greenlake, but with more hilly trails and waterfront. If you start out at the Visitor Center you can grab a map and start exploring.

You could easily spend up to 3 hours or more wandering around this park and discovering all the gems or you can choose to do a quick loop in a little over an hour. Do check a tide chart before heading out and try to get down to the lighthouse during low tide so you can peruse the beach for shells and crabs and anemones! On the way to the lighthouse, depending which way you start the loop, you’ll find lots of birds, ferns, historic buildings and more.  And even if you get down to the beach in high tide there is lots to play in and discover.

Poo Poo Point – Issaquah

Poo Poo Point is a near and dear hike to me as I’ve spent many years returning to this trail and rediscovering myself. I’d also consider it a ‘backyard’ hike in my books as I went to high school in Issaquah and could pop on over as I pleased in those years. Now the highlight of this hike is timing everything just right to catch the paragliders jumping off the top of the mountain in late Spring and Summer. If I recall, around 12p, 3p, 5p, and 7p were when the crew would jump off but it is all dependent on weather conditions and bookings.

Depending on your experience I’d plan 1-2 hours to hike to the top. I think it is on the more moderate side of hiking difficulty. Of all the trails I’ve done, this one always seems to get my knees a bit cranky on the way back down but I can’t seem to resist the views. So, bring some walking sticks, a good amount of water, and some sunscreen/sunglasses and you’ll be good to go. If you are stopping for some food or sips in town I’d recommend Rogue Issaquah Brewhouse where the locals go, or anything along Front street if you’re fancying a little more variety.

Twin Falls – Cascades

There are a plethora of easy/moderate hikes in the foothills of the Cascades but if you are looking to make it a day of seeing waterfalls I’d recommend hiking Twin Falls in North Bend. I like to start my own hiking season with this one as I’m just starting to get into shape. If I recall this is about a 2 hour hike roundtrip give or take depending on your speediness to get through. It is a heavily used trail so parking may be challenging on the weekend. However, on a week day you should easily get in. A Discovery Pass is required for this hike which you can find at the local Seattle REI, or for purchase at the trailhead entrance to Twin Falls.

This is a great hike to soak in some of that piney Pacific Northwest air, vibrant moss, and lots of falling water. Afterward, you can head into North Bend for a bite and sip or head over to Salish Lodge to rest your legs and see beautiful Snoqualmie Falls. A classic destination point for many locals and tourists, Snoqualmie Falls never fail to impress. The Falls are great on their own, but I enjoy making a day of it by doing a day hike to Twin Falls and grabbing a small bite or beer at the Salish Lodge and Snoqualmie Falls on the way back into town.


The post Innkeeper Linsy’s Top 3 Local Hikes appeared first on Greenlake Guesthouse.

What to Do in Seattle this Fall 23 Aug 2019, 7:10 pm

Fall is one of the prettiest times of the year to visit Seattle. The afternoons are typically dry and warm and sunny even if the mornings and evenings are cooler. It’s the perfect time to be outside before the winter rainy season begins. Here at Green Lake, the Maple trees across the street along Green Lake Drive put on a spectacular show of color with vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds. It’s a beautiful sight see. Enjoy the changing season with some fun, fall-themed events around the area. Here are some of our recommendations:

Seattle Cider Summit September 6 -7

Washington State is famous for its apples, and is becoming known for its craft cideries as well. This event features over 200 ciders, cider cocktails, and apple spirits. The Cider Summit takes place on September 6 and 7 at nearby Lake Union Park. Blayne attended this event last year and really enjoyed it!

Green Lake Oktoberfest September 14- 15

people celebrating OktoberFest, drinking beer

Prost! This  brand new Oktoberfest celebration in the Green Lake neighborhood will include live music, dancing, German-style food, costumes, games, and local craft beers and ciders. Sponsored by the Green Lake Chamber of Commerce. Since we are members, we definitely plan to attend.

Fremont Oktoberfest September 20-22

Fremont calls itself the “Center of the Universe” and is located just a few minutes south of Green Lake. Celebrate the fall with a traditional German Oktoberfest with beer, food, music, and games September 20-22. We are told that the Fremont Oktoberfest is considered one of the top 10 places in the world to celebrate Oktoberfest.

St. Demetrios Greek Festival September 20-22

Enjoy homemade Greek food, live Greek music and dancing, Greek wine tasting, and church tours in Seattle’s nearby Montlake neighborhood on September 20-22. A Seattle tradition since 1960! It’s been a few years since we attended this event, but it is a Seattle classic.

Fall Festival at Craven Farm September 21-October 31

Craven Farm’s Fall Festival is now in its 37th year, with a pumpkin patch, corn mazes, food, farm animals, and hayrides happening September 21-October 31. Located in Snohomish, a 30-minute drive from Greenlake Guest House.

In closing, we encourage you to visit Seattle and Washington State in the fall! It’s a nice time to visit because the summer crowds have died down a bit, the weather is still warm and pleasant, and there are so many festivals and beautiful fall colors to enjoy.

The post What to Do in Seattle this Fall appeared first on Greenlake Guesthouse.

Innkeeper Katie’s Daytrip Recommendation: Hurricane Ridge on Olympic Peninsula 16 Jun 2019, 2:21 pm

Hello, this is Katie writing a guest blog for Greenlake Guest House.

Originally from Kentucky, I love the outdoors and try to go outside whenever I can. Recently, my boyfriend and I did a day trip to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains, across Puget Sound on the Olympic Peninsula west of Seattle. The drive is about 3 hours each way, which sounds a little daunting at first. However, there is plenty to break up your drive on the way there, so it is more of a journey and an adventure, rather than just sitting in the car for hours. I loved my first trip to Hurricane Ridge and I intend to go back again!


After your hearty breakfast at Greenlake Guest House, drive the 20 minutes to Edmonds. If you have time, splash along the saltwater shore and look out for seal, cormorants, and blue herons. Hop onto the Washington State ferry from Edmonds to Kingston (it comes every 45 minutes and the crossing is approximately 35 minutes). Once you are on the ferry, get out of your car and walk up to the upper deck and look straight ahead to get a glimpse of the beautiful Olympic Mountain range.


In Kingston, my favorite place to grab a quick lunch is The Cup and Muffin. It is a drive through or walk up stand and they serve nice coffee, sandwiches, and other goodies.

Port Gamble:

After stopping for a quick lunch, our next destination is about 10 minutes down the road to Port Gamble. Port Gamble is a cute historic village from the 1850’s and was a former company town. You don’t need to spend all day there because there are only a few shops but the shops that are there are worth seeing. They have local arts, weaving, yarn, quilts, and antiques. You’ll be sure to leave this town with a few treasures!

Hurricane Ridge:

After you leave Port Gamble, it’s time to drive the last hour and 45 minutes to Hurricane Ridge. You will enjoy the trip surrounded by evergreen trees on either side and the mountains getting ever closer. Once you get to Hurricane Ridge, be sure to check out broth of the visitor’s centers; one when you first enter the park and one at the top of the ridge to pick up a map and trail guide. On your way up to the top, pull over to check out the trailhead with the waterfall, one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Then continue driving up to the top. Once there, you might be greeted by many deer and marmots scurrying along the meadows. There are a few short trails that you can do just around the meadows or strike out on some longer trails. We did the Cirque de Rim trail and the High Ridge trail. The High Ridge trail is beautiful with curious marmots, wildflowers, and a nice view of mountains and saltwater. Only out here in Washington have I found such a beautiful blend of the two. On your way back down, stop at the overlooks and slowly make your way back to the ferry and to Seattle.

Note: for a beautiful view of the Seattle skyline on your way home, consider heading south to cross Puget Sound on the Bainbridge Island ferry, which comes right into downtown Seattle, rather than returning on the Edmonds-Kingston ferry. There is a bit more congestion and traffic downtown, but it is worth doing for the spectacular view.

The post Innkeeper Katie’s Daytrip Recommendation: Hurricane Ridge on Olympic Peninsula appeared first on Greenlake Guesthouse.

What to Do in Seattle-A Perfect 3-Day Itinerary 19 May 2019, 2:55 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.

Day 1:

After a scrumptious breakfast at Greenlake Guest House, visit the Pike Place Market (Downtown waterfront) for a stroll through merchant stalls with local food, crafts, and beautiful and inexpensive flower bouquets. 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 there is the 2-hour Argosy Cruise of Locks (Downtown waterfront). This is a great way to explore the city on the water with a narrated cruise of the downtown waterfront of Elliot Bay and on through the Ballard Locks and 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 Bar available on the boat.

Return to the Greenlake neighborhood for an easy walk along the lake 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. For more details on where to eat at Greenlake, see

Feeling energetic? Walk the entire loop around Greenlake (2.8 miles) in about an hour. In summertime. It will be light until 9 or 10pm.

Day 2:

After another great breakfast at Greenlake Guest House, head to Chihuly Garden & Glass (Queen Anne/Seattle Center) . This 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 excellent on-site restaurant, “Collections Café.”

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 the evening, we’d recommend a trip to the Ballard Locks, also called the Hiram Chittenden Locks , a 10-minute drive away. The Locks are open until dusk so it’s a nice time to see 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.

From the locks, it is just a few blocks to get to lively Ballard Avenue, home of dozens of locally owned restaurants and bars…a foodie’s dream! Stroll along the cobblestone streets for window shopping and people watching. Some of our favorite restaurants there include Staple & Fancy , Bastille , Walrus & the Carpenter , and the Ballard Annex .

Day 3

Enjoy your made to order breakfast at Greenlake Guest House, then consider a trip to visit airplanes. We would recommend either a tour of the Future of Flight Boeing Assembly Plant (30 minutes’ drive north in Everett) to see the Dreamliner and other wide body jets being assembled, or a trip to South Seattle to enjoy the Museum of Flight , a huge world class museum dedicated to all types of aviation and space. Both facilities have cafes for a quick lunch.

In the evening, enjoy a special dinner with a beautiful view at one of our favorite view restaurants: Canlis , Ray’s Boathouse, Westward , Palisade , or Salty’s on Alki .

Have more time? Add a spectacular day trip to Mt Rainier or Whidbey Island or Woodinville Wineries on Day 4. See details on our favorite day trips at

The post What to Do in Seattle-A Perfect 3-Day Itinerary appeared first on Greenlake Guesthouse.

Where to Eat Near Greenlake Guest House 18 Mar 2019, 2:15 pm

We are fortunate to be located in a walkable neighborhood here at Greenlake, just 5 miles north of downtown. Our guests enjoy being able to walk to local restaurants to have dinner rather than having to get in the car and drive. Here are some of our favorite local spots!

Within 5 minutes, walking to the right:

Duke’s Chowder House: is the hands-down guest favorite in the neighborhood and is only about 5 minutes’ walk from Greenlake Guest House. The menu is large and with plenty of wild, freshly caught salmon, halibut, and shellfish like Dungeness crab, prawns, and scallops. The burgers are also great and feature grass-fed beef and organic buns. Many of their items, including their famous clam chowder, can be ordered gluten-free. In warm weather, the spacious patio is perfect for enjoying views of Green Lake and people watching.

JaK’s Alehouse: is the closest restaurant to Greenlake Guest House. Guests love their prime rib and steaks. Blayne is a big fan of the Lobster Mac-n-Cheese and Julie likes all the great salad options. JaK’s also has a nice selection of microbrews on tap and offers growlers to-go. Monday and Tuesday nights are Prime Rib Nights.

Within 10 minutes, walking to the left:

Nell’s: Nells is a small, chef-driven restaurant and is the most formal option here at Greenlake. Owner Phillip Mihalski offers European-inspired cuisine with local, seasonal ingredients and a menu that change weekly. Julie and Blayne recommend the five-course tasting menu, which is an excellent value. With white linens and cozy tables for 2-4, the atmosphere is quiet and relaxing but not stuffy. Note: Nell’s is one of the few neighborhood restaurants with an actual parking lot.

Shelter Lounge: Offers creative pub-style food in a light and airy building with large timbers, tall ceilings, and big windows that open up wide on warm days. Try the fried brussel sprouts or the PB & J Jalapeno Poppers for something unique and delicious.

Rosita’s Mexican Grill: This family-run restaurant is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The restaurant has affordable prices, especially for Seattle, and is always busy with families and locals from the neighborhood. Try the famous margaritas and homemade tortillas and salsa. This is Blayne and Julie’s “home away from home” and we eat there at least every couple weeks.

Let us know your food preferences and we’ll be happy to make recommendations or get you a reservation to make the most of your stay here in Seattle at Greenlake Guest House.

The post Where to Eat Near Greenlake Guest House appeared first on Greenlake Guesthouse.

Best Hikes at Mt. Rainier 18 Mar 2019, 2:08 pm

Assistant Innkeeper Katie’s Favorite Hikes at Mt. Rainier

Over my past 4 years of living in Seattle, I have had many opportunities to visit and hike in Mt. Rainier National Park.  One of the best things about this area is waking up and thinking “I think I’ll go to Mt. Rainier today!”  With the entrance to Mt. Rainier being only 2 hours from Seattle, it is quite possible to do a day trip to Mt. Rainier and enjoy the amazing views and trails this park has to offer.  I want to share some of my favorite hikes at Mt. Rainier.

Longmire area

Trail of Shadows – An easy loop trail through the old growth forest with informative signs about the Longmire area, as well as some information about the park. (0.7 miles).

Rampart Ridge – A moderate trail.  Starting at the trail of shadows you will eventually find a trail heading up hill. Follow this trail to find yourself on top of the ridge with wonderful views of the Longmire valley.  Continue on the trail and on a sunny day you will find beautiful views of Mt. Rainier.  As you descend toward the road, cross the street and follow a small section of the wonderland trail which will lead you back to the Longmire parking lot. (4.6 miles)
Paradise area

Skyline loop trail- A strenuous trail that takes you away from the parking lot and through a meadow of flowers (in summer). This trail is quite exposed and gives you close up views of Mt. Rainier, walks along streams and rivers and if you stop at glacier vista along the way, you may get the opportunity to see Mt. Adams, Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Hood.  You may also get to see black bears, and you will definitely see pikas.  These cute little creatures are not shy and may steal your lunch if you aren’t paying attention! (5.5 miles)

Sunrise area
Mt. Fremont Fire Lookout- A strenuous hike on exposed rock, to an old fire lookout.  Along the way as you climb up you will find sweeping views of Mt. Rainier (really it looks like you could just climb to the top) as well as the Sunrise Valley.  One of my favorite experience was seeing mountain goats as they grazed just off the trail. (5.6 miles)

Glacier Basin- White River is considered part of the Sunrise area but you must drive down from Sunrise to the White River campground to access this strenuous trail.  I find the most beauty at the end of this trail as I hike into the basin area with luscious grass, and cragged rocks. If you are looking for a less populated, but no less beautiful hike, this is the one for you.  (6.5 miles).  

Hot Springs Nature Trail- This is a nice and easy hike.  Ohanapecosh doesn’t have the views of Paradise, Longmire or Sunrise areas, but it is nicely tucked away in deep forest and it is a wonderful trail for people of all ages.  (0.4 miles)

Whether you hike of one of these trails or find another trail there are endless discoveries to find at Mt. Rainier.  This is truly one of the best places in Washington State.

“Of all the fire-mountains which, like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mt. Rainier is the noblest…” -John Muir

The post Best Hikes at Mt. Rainier appeared first on Greenlake Guesthouse.

Summer Concerts at the Ballard Locks 7 Dec 2018, 4:55 pm

One of our favorite recommendations to guests is a trip to the Hiram Chittenden Locks, located in nearby Ballard. The Locks, built in the early 1900’s, are similar to a mini “Panama Canal” that separates the salty water of Puget Sound from the fresh water from Lake Union and the Ship Canal. It’s a lot of fun to pack a picnic and watch the tug boats and pleasure boats navigate the locks, as well as to see the salmon going through the fish ladder. The gardens are also gorgeous!

For the 22nd year, the locks will be hosting free concerts on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, usually starting at 2pm.

Before or after your visit to the Locks, we recommend lunch or dinner at nearby Ray’s Boathouse for some of the best seafood in town.

The post Summer Concerts at the Ballard Locks appeared first on Greenlake Guesthouse.