Thursday, December 18, 2014

Culture Dose: Holiday Happenings Hodgepodge

Get in the spirit with ballet, festive brews, even fresh-baked cookies & milk.

Photo by Angela Sterling

Even if you’re already watched umpteen interpretations of The Nutcracker over the years, nothing says  Christmastime like a night out at the ballet among excited families and groups of friends decked in their seasonal best. Since 1983, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Stowell & Sendak Nutcracker has helped usher in the holiday season.

Photo by Corinne Whiting

The vibrant, imaginative production, created by PNB Founding Artistic Director Kent Stowell and author/illustrator Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are), features 200-plus dancers, gigantic moving sets, magical “snowfalls” and Tchaikovsky’s score performed live by the talented PNB Orchestra. Through December 29, performances take place at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets range from $25-$130; discounts offered to groups and to youngsters through the Teen Tix programs.

Culinary treats from Schooner Exact’s new restaurant; photo by Corinne Whiting

EverGreen Escapes delights adventurous souls year-round on their eco-friendly, comfortable, lively tours in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. But during this month only, the knowledgable and fun EverGreen guides mix local cheer and “cheers!” on their Brews and Bulbs Holiday Escapes. Each tour transports a small group, via bedazzled luxury van, to three local breweries (venues vary) that allow participants to sample beer, nibble on snacks, take informative, behind-the-scenes wanders and chat with owners and brewmasters.

Photo by Corinne Whiting

A recent expedition took tour goers to three distinctive Seattle neighborhoods–Schooner Exact Brewing Company (located a mile and half south of the stadiums), across the bridge to West Seattle’s Elliott Bay Brewing Company and to the recently opened space at Fremont Brewing in, you guessed it, funky Fremont. In between beer stops, the group enjoyed taking in scenic views and displays of holiday lights, including one particular house in West Seattle that sets the bar for all luminary attempts hereafter.

Photo by Corinne Whiting

Tours hop to it Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. and last about five hours; pickups take place at Seattle hotels or from downtown’s Columbia Sportswear retail store. Tours cost $95 + tax.

Photo courtesy Kimpton Hotels

Looking for a little staycation this season? Cozy into Kimpton’s Alexis Hotel Christmas Suite, where guests can still feel as though they’re home for the holidays. The room features a fireplace where stockings have been hung with care, a fully dressed Christmas tree (with wrapped “gifts” underneath), festive decorations like garland strung throughout the space and, to top it all off, milk and cookies. ‘Tis the season to treat (and be treated)!

About Corinne Whiting

Corinne, an east coast native who recently relocated here from the other Washington, was bit by the travel bug early on. She lived in Strasbourg, France (during her junior year at Georgetown University) and in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she got a masters degree in Cultural Studies. She feels very grateful to have explored incredible spots on our globe ranging from Bolivia and Egypt to Turkey and China, but there are passport pages yet to fill (and travel tales yet to be written!). After serving as associate editor at Where magazine in D.C. for the past five years, Corinne now embarks on a new adventure here as a freelance writer and photographer, contributing to publications like National Geographic Traveler, the Alaska Airlines magazine and Amtrak's Arrive. She looks forward to getting to better know this corner of the country while debunking the rain myths, upping her coffee quotient, hearing heaps of live music and finding her Zen near the water as often as possible.
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