Greenlake Guest House

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

25 Days of Christmas Cookies at Greenlake Guest House-A Recap 16 Jan 2020, 10:00 am


If you have been a guest with us in the past, you may be aware that we have been baking “25 Days of Christmas Cookies” each December for the past few years. This year may have been our best yet. Julie and all of the staff including Jane, Linsy, Katie all look forward to planning and baking and decorating these special cookies each year. Our interim innkeeper Coral also helped with the cookie baking during the first week of December this year when Julie and Blayne were in Europe. We baked some of our family and staff favorites as well as some brand new recipes. Inspired by Julie and Blayne’s trip to Europe and the famous Christmas Markets there, we also added some special new European cookies this year.


How do we manage 25 Days of Christmas cookies in December?

First, we start planning a month or two ahead of time by looking at recipes and talking with our friends, and family, guests, and staff. Julie puts together a master list that includes a mix of fancier, time consuming cookies and some easier recipes for the busy days. In addition, we try to balance out the workload by doing some prepping ahead of time.

For example, on a slow day we might mix some sugar cookie or gingerbread cookie dough that needs to be refrigerated. We mix the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator or even the freezer. Then, we shape and bake the cookies the next day (thaw overnight in the refrigerator if dough is frozen). Finally, we frost and decorate the baked cookies on the third day. Other cookies, such as the date nut pinwheels, can be prepped and frozen (unbaked), then thawed in the refrigerator overnight and baked the next day. In addition, some cookies such as the miniature cheesecakes are typically stored completely baked and frozen so they can be made up to a few weeks ahead of time. Cookies can also be prepped and baked in partial batches.  It’s possible to have a variety of fresh baked cookies  on hand to give as gifts or serve at a party with a little planning.

We don’t use a lot of special equipment to bake these cookies. However, Julie really loves her silicone mat for rolling out cookie dough easily without sticking. Other tools that are nice to have include parchment paper and insulated cookie sheets for baking the cookies and and a piping bag and tips for frosting the cookies. It’s also handy  to have a variety of cookie tins for storing the cookies and giving them as gifts.


a collage of delicious christmas cookies


What makes a cookie a Christmas cookie?

In our opinion, this decision is somewhat arbitrary and personal. At Greenlake Guest House, we bake lots of different cookies every day of the year. Here are the criteria we used this year for our Christmas cookies (yours might be different):

  • Christmas cookies can’t be cookies that we bake at other times of the year
  • The cookies should reflect the flavors of the season: chocolate, peppermint, ginger, cinnamon, and so forth.
  • Ideally, the cookies should be very photogenic and festive looking in addition to being delicious.
  • We included family recipes of cookies that we enjoyed during the holiday seasons of our childhoods.
  • This year, we were inspired by the European Christmas markets and made a greater effort to include cookies that reflected our Scandinavian and German heritage.

How do we find our recipes? 

We find recipes in a variety of ways. Julie enjoys reading cookbooks and food blogs and finds many recipes that way. Some of her favorite recipe sources include Epicurious, Better Homes & Gardens, and Smitten Kitchen.  Others are shared by friends and our staff. Finally, some of the cookies are family recipes that she has been making for years. Here is one from the “family recipe” cagegory: Miniature Cheesecakes. Julie’s Aunt Bette makes these every year and they are always a hit with the whole extended family.


woman holding plate of Christmas cookies


Aunt Bette’s Miniature Cheesecakes:

Step 1

2 ¼ c. crushed graham crackers

3 Tbsp. sugar

6 Tbsp. butter

Melt butter, add sugar and crumbs for crust. Put scant Tbsp. in miniature muffin liner and press down with flat glass (small shot glass works great).

Step 2

16 oz. cream cheese (2 cups)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

¾ c. sugar

Mix at medium speed for 20 minutes (yes, twenty!). Put 1 teaspoonful on crust and bake in 325F oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and turn heat to 425F.

Step 3

1 ½ cup sour cream

3 Tbsp. sugar

1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Mix and spread about 1 teaspoonful to edges of cake. Bake at 425F for 5 minutes. Decorate with tiny bits of maraschino cherries (red and green) before last baking if desired. Remove the paper cups in 10-15 minutes.  Freeze separately on parchment-paper lined cookie sheet, then place in large freezer bag or food storage container. Serve frozen or refrigerated. Makes 60-70 pieces.

Note: You will need 3-4 dozen miniature muffin tins and miniature paper liners to make these in 2 batches. Well worth all the work! Freeze separately on parchment-paper lined cookie sheet, then place in large freezer bag or food storage container. Makes 60-70 pieces.


Here is the complete list of cookies that we baked this year.

December 1: Date Nut Pinwheels

December 2: Mexican Wedding Cakes

December 3: Christmas Fruit Drop Cookies

December 4: Mint Chippers

December 5: Pecan Dreams

December 6: Chocolate Cutout Cookies

December 7: Cranberry Ecstasy Bars

December 8: Peanut Butter Balls

December 9: Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

December 10: Aunt Bette’s Peanut Blossoms

December 11: Chocolate Mint Crinkles

December 12: Black and White Cookies

December 13: Spritz

December 14: Christmas Sugar Cookies

December 15: Rosemary Pecan Cookies

December 16: Cinnamon Star Cookies (Zimtsterne)

December 17: Peppermint Fudge

December 18: Chocolate Kiss Cookies

December 19: Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

December 20: Gingerbread Cookies

December 21: Vanillekipferl Shortbread Cookies

December 22: Chocolate Almond Biscotti

December 23: Nanaimo Bars

December 24: Norwegian Krumkake Cookies

December 25: Miniature Cheesecakes

We shared photos on social media on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Please reach out to us via email if you want any of the recipes or if you have any suggestions or recipes to share with us for next year. We look forward to hearing from you!

The post 25 Days of Christmas Cookies at Greenlake Guest House-A Recap appeared first on Greenlake Guesthouse.

Recipe: Blayne’s Swedish Pancakes-A Special Christmas Breakfast 14 Dec 2019, 9:09 am

Swedish Pancakes are a McAferty family tradition. Blayne’s dad always made them for the family when Blayne was growing up, and he continued the tradition with our boys. Blayne prefers to cook them on a round electric skillet so that he can keep the heat evenly distributed. When our boys went away to college, Blayne even found the exact skillet we use at home on Ebay (Farberware) and gifted each boy his own so they could make them at school.

We are excited to share our family recipe for our traditional Christmas breakfast (although in our opinion they are delicious anytime).  At home, we might make them with just butter and powdered sugar. However, we think that the berries and whipped cream kick it up a notch for guests.  Typically we would serve this breakfast with our homemade Greenlake Granola and a side of bacon.

This special recipe has also been featured in a few cookbooks and online. Try it at home for yourself and let us know how it turns out!


Swedich Pancakes on a breakfast plate


8 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp vanilla or almond extract
½ stick of melted butter


Blend first four items in blender on slow speed. Add other items while blender is
running. Note: Add melted butter last.

Cook on electric frying pan at 325 degrees F on each side until set and very lightly
browned (use non-stick spray like Pam). Remove from pan, spread with butter and sifted
powdered sugar and roll up. Garnish with powdered sugar, sliced berries, and a little
whipped cream if you like. Serves 7-8.

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Innkeeper Jane’s Favorite Recipes for Feeding Friends & Family During the Holidays 19 Nov 2019, 5:08 pm

Woman holding plates with breakfast food
Innkeeper Jane at Greenlake Guest House

Hello, this is Jane writing a guest blog for the Greenlake Guest House. I’ve been working at the inn for over 10 years. I love cooking delicious, healthy food and recently completed a second degree in nutrition and culinary arts. The Holiday season is here, and many of us will be entertaining and feeding friends and family. You probably have some family recipes you enjoy, but if you are like me, you may want to try something new, as well. Here are a variety of recipes you can add to your menu repertoire this year.


Baked Apple French Toast

Innkeeper Linsy serving that amazing Baked Apple French Toast

One of our favorite breakfast recipes at the Greenlake Guest House is Baked Apple French Toast. I passed this recipe on to my sister several years ago, and she now makes it every year at Thanksgiving when she has a house full of people. It needs to be put together at least a day ahead, which means you just toss it in the oven in the morning. If you want to get things ready even further ahead, it can be frozen. Pull it out the day before you need it, and thaw in the refrigerator.


1 loaf French Bread, sliced 2 inches thick, or Texas Toast (layered 2 slices thick)

8 eggs or 2 cups pasteurized liquid eggs

3 cups milk

½ cup sugar, divided

1 tablespoon vanilla

3 apples, peeled, cut in half, cored, and sliced about ¼ inch thick

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter

Maple Syrup (optional)

Dried cranberries (optional)



Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Lay the bread slices in the pan, cutting some to fit into gaps, if needed.

Place eggs in a large bowl and beat lightly. Add milk, ¼ cup sugar, and vanilla. Mix well. Pour half of the egg mixture over the bread.

Arrange the apples, domino style, in rows, on top of the bread. Pour remaining egg mixture over the apples.

Mix remaining ¼ cup sugar with cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over the apples. Distribute small chunks of butter over the top. Wrap and refrigerate overnight, or freeze for up to 1 month. (allow to thaw in the refrigerator for about 24 hours before baking)

Bake at 375o F for 50 – 60 minutes, or until set. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Cut into squares or rectangles, and serve with maple syrup, and dried cranberries.

Serves 9 to 12 – depending on the serving sizes.

Preparation time: about 30 minutes, plus 1-hour bake time

Recipe revised by The Greenlake Guest House. Original recipe from The Bowman of Port Angeles Bed and Breakfast.


Massaged Kale & Apple Salad


If you are looking for a new winter salad recipe, you may want to try Massaged Kale and Apple Salad. In the Pacific Northwest, these ingredients are in season now. Kale can actually grow all year round in the Seattle climate, and apples are coming to us, fresh from Eastern Washington orchards. A kale salad can be made just before serving or even several days in advance.  Many people I talk too, have tried making Kale Salad, but were not impressed with the outcome. The trick to kale is that it needs to be massaged if eaten raw. Massaging is done after the leaves are washed, dried and cut into ribbons. It is more like the action of kneading bread, and serves to soften the leaves and mellow the flavor.


1 large bunch of kale

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted

¼ cup diced red onion or sliced green onions

1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins

1 large apple, chopped

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar



De-stem kale by pulling the leaf away from the stem. Wash the leaves. Spin or pat dry. Stack leaves, roll-up and cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade).

Put kale in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, and massage salt into the kale with your hands, for about 2 minutes. The volume will reduce dramatically as the kale leaves wilt. Place massaged kale in a clean bowl and discard the liquid extracted from massaging.

To toast seeds, put in a dry skillet over low to medium heat and stir constantly for a few minutes, until they change color and give off a nutty aroma.

Stir onion, dried cranberries (or raisins), apple, and toasted seeds into kale. Dress with oil and vinegar and toss well. Taste for salt and vinegar, adding more if necessary.


Preparation time 15 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Recipe by Cynthia Lair, Feeding the Whole Family (Sasquatch Books, 2016)


Warm Pear and Gingerbread Torte


Is there anything better than the scent of gingerbread baking? Well, maybe cinnamon rolls can win this competition, but for a lovely holiday season dessert one of my go-to recipes is Warm Pear and Gingerbread Torte. It’s a fairly simple cake with extra ginger flavor and lovely pears baked right on the top.  It’s a little on the less sweet side, so it could be great as a breakfast bread, or served with a scoop of ice cream for dessert. This recipe has some history to it, which you can tell by the inclusion of hot water or hot coffee. Apparently, hot coffee was originally used in Gingerbread, for flavor and to activate the baking soda. During the Great Depression, coffee was in short supply so bakers began using boiling water. You can decide which you will use when baking it. Either way, it turns out delicious.


2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour, or all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup molasses

1/3 cup brown rice syrup

¾ cup melted butter

2 eggs

¼ cup chopped crystalized ginger

1 cup boiling water or hot coffee

2 medium-ripe pears, cored and cut into thin slices



Preheat oven to 350oF.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the molasses, brown rice syrup, melted butter, eggs and crystallized ginger; stir to blend well. Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Carefully add the boiling water or coffee, a little at a time, until you have a sticky and glossy batter.


Butter and flour a 9 X 13 inch baking dish and spoon in the batter. Arrange slices of pear over the surface, tucking them down into the batter slightly, to anchor. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.


Recipe adapted by Jane Blaisdell. Original recipe by Lynne Vea, of PCC Cooks!


Eat Your Veggies Chili

Bowl of colorful chili
Eat Your Veggies Chili

After the big Holiday meals, you may want to serve some lighter fare. I like to skip the meat and focus on a more vegetarian diet after all of the indulgence. Soups and salads are a delicious way to eat more vegetables.  Eat Your Veggies Chili, is an easy soup to make. A single recipe can feed a few, but can be easily doubled, tripled, or more, to feed more guests. Purchase or make some cornbread or a loaf of crusty bread, and you have the makings for a “meatless Monday” meal.


½ tablespoon butter or oil

½ medium onion, about 1/3 cup, diced

1 tablespoon hot red pepper, minced (optional)

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon whole cumin

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 can (about 15 ounces), Kidney beans or black beans, drained

1 can (about 15 ounces), diced tomatoes

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ cup corn, canned or frozen

1 medium carrot, diced

1 cup mixed power greens, coarsely chopped (or any combination of spinach, kale, collard greens, and/or bok choy)



Heat a medium size saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the butter or oil, then the onion, red pepper, whole cumin, and salt, and cook gently for at least 15 minutes, or until the onions are tender.

Add the ground cumin and chili powder and cook for a few minutes (until fragrant).

Add the beans, tomatoes, oregano, corn and carrots. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

Add more salt and chili powder if needed for desired taste.

Stir in the greens and continue to cook the soup until they are wilted.

Serve immediately!


Prep time: 45 minutes

Yield: 2 large servings, or 3 medium servings

Original recipe by Jane Blaisdell, 2017


I hope you enjoy these recipes. We plan on sharing more recipes in future blogs and in our newsletters and social media. We look forward to seeing you again soon at the Greenlake Guest House!

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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.


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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.


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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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