This past weekend we were invited again to see Rick Steves’ and his crew at the Fall Travel Festival in Edmonds Washington. Instead of booking a cookie-cutter hotel in neighboring Lynwood, I booked a room right there in Edmonds through Airbnb. By doing so, we were able to explore this quaint little town without the need to commute to the strip mall lined suburbs surrounding greater Seattle. Our host, Brenda, whose family is from Trinidad, made us feel warmly at home.
The tiny core of Edmonds boasts a couple travel shops, many ethnic restaurants and a few pubs or taverns. My eyes caught a glimpse of what may be called a dive bar in Edmonds but in Rick Steves’-esque fashion, off the beaten path.
We promptly tucked into Engel’s Tavern, est. 1943. Knowing that Edmonds is the hometown of Rick, I was in search of the bar stool he must have sat on while drinking a pint of the local beer and immersing himself into the local culture. I must say the beer was good, brewed right down the street, and the people interesting. Many bearded young men watching college football and cheering on their local heroes.
After a pint at Engels, we popped our heads into a few shops then headed to the Churchkey Pub. Except for the German flag flying on the outside, it looked quite like your typical Irish pub. Most of the folks inside were ” Rickniks” taking a break from the all-day travel sessions. You see, it was in this very building Rick Steves’ father owned a piano shop and a young Rick gave piano lessons. Those piano lessons soon evolved into sharing his travel experiences with the locals. Once a week, he and a buddy would push to the side of this small storefront the pianos and pull out folding chairs to share his travel stories.
Today, his travel talks are held in a big auditorium with people coming from all over. I believe some of these people are travelers, others, I’m assuming, revel in the travels of Rick and his fellow “Rickniks”.
In any case, it is a great day to hear some unique stories from experienced travelers.