You may have noticed that Seattle Greenlaker has been quiet for the past few weeks. That’s because our family moved out of Seattle late last year. Since then I have been wanting to find a home for Seattle Greenlaker. Or maybe I should say a caretaker, because I feel like Seattle Greenlaker’s home should always be in Green Lake, or at least cared for by someone who lives in the community and keeps a pulse on what’s happening.
The good news is I have found that person, and she is someone you are probably familiar with: Erica Browne Grivas. Erica was the first contributor to the Greenlaker site. Erica is an amazing writer and longtime journalist, who, in addition to contributing to several local blogs, has written stories for Real Simple, The Seattle Times and many other acclaimed publications. She is also an avid gardener, but if you have read her work, you probably already know that. (In early 2020 she began writing a garden column for the Queen Anne & Magnolia News.) She has a passion for Green Lake, her home where she raised her family and hundreds of tomato plants over the past 11 years.
Seattle Greenlaker started 7 years ago, shortly after my husband and I moved to Green Lake and found that the previous blog, My Greenlake, was no longer operating. I missed my former job as a journalist and really wanted to get to know the community. And my husband, being a designer, wanted to create something. So, my husband created the blog’s look and feel and I started with the content and finding contributors for a new Green Lake blog. This was never supposed to be a full-time job or a money making venture for either of us. It was always a passion project for helping to promote and create community around the Green Lake area. And what it gave us has been so enriching over the years. It allowed us to meet our community. To get to know our neighbors and the small business owners around the lake in such a unique way.
I want to thank you for trusting us these 7 years with your news. You emailed us news tips, you sent us photos and amazing stories and shared pieces of yourself with us and the entire Green Lake community.
I will miss Green Lake. My kind neighbors and picnics with them at the park. My quiet walks or paddles around the lake on SUP and kayak. But I’m so grateful that Green Lake exists and will always be there and while I can’t walk to it anymore, I love visiting.
Over the next few weeks you will notice some changes to Seattle Greenlaker. Erica is relaunching the site. Be on the lookout for more amazing stories. And please continue to share ideas and photos. The email for news tips is the same email@example.com.
Thanks, and I look forward to seeing you someday around the lake.
It must be Autumn in Green Lake. If you’ve been to the lake recently chances are you’ve seen (or heard!) the return of the American Coots to the lake. See our story for more on these interesting red-eyed birds. And special thanks to Bob Birnbaum for the photo!
Please don’t let the reopening of the city’s play areas give you the false sense that we can weaken our efforts to keep our community safe while COVID-19 is still running rampant. The Green Lake walking path continues to be one direction (counter clockwise) to allow people to be a safe distance from one another while enjoying the park. This may surprise you if you’ve been out on the path and seen people walking both directions. The signs that were placed around the lake warning of the one direction have all been removed and not by Parks officials. We’ve noticed them in the lake, and thrown in trash cans throughout the summer. Such a waste because guess who paid for those? All of us!
“(Green Lake Park is) definitely the busiest park in Seattle, and likely one of the busiest in the state, so we need folks to mask up, walk one way to create more passing width, and stay home if sick,” said Rachel Schulkin Seattle Parks and Recreation Communications Manager.
Enjoy the park Greenlakers, but please make sure you do it safely!
You may have noticed that some of the Green Lake Park parking lots that were closed earlier this summer to prevent overcrowding have reopened. Yesterday Seattle Parks and Recreation also announced that they will be reopening playgrounds throughout the city as well.
According to the release:
“All play areas in Seattle parks will reopen to the public on October 6. Seattle Parks and Recreation staff, with support from our partners at the Washington Department of Health and Seattle King County Public Health, have created some guidelines that can keep us all safe while using these spaces.
How to use play areas safely:
-Play equipment is open to five or fewer kids at a time – Some play areas have only one piece of play equipment (usually a climber/slide combo), and others have many pieces of equipment (swings, little kids climber, big kids climber, zipline, etc.). No more than five kids on a piece of play equipment. – Stay home if you are sick or if anyone in your family is sick. – Please wash your child’s hands before and after play. – All children over the age of two must wear a mask.See here for mask information and exception because of disability. – Give yourself and others at least six feet of space. – Please be aware that play areas are not regularly sanitized or cleaned.
Here are a few tips on how to keep us all safe and keep these spaces open: -Keep a close eye on your child to ensure that they are following the guidelines. -Stay for a short time (30 min. or less) to give everyone an opportunity to play. -No food or drink on the play equipment to ensure that masks are worn at all times. – Visit parks during less busy times. Visit less popular parks. Seattle has over 150 play areas (not including those at schools). Mornings are less busy than afternoons. Weekdays are less busy than weekends. – Green Lake, Seward, Magnuson, Discovery, Lincoln, Gas Works, Carkeek and Jefferson Park are some of Seattle’s busier play areas. – We are all in this together, so kindly remind others of the guidelines and find a different activity if the play area gets too crowded.
We cannot allow play areas to be places where COVID-19 is spread, so we need folks to use these spaces safely.
Non profits across the region are feeling the pressure as more and more people reach out for essential services and supplies due to economic hardships associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. We recently learned of two local women who launched a non profit earlier this year to help those in need. Their non profit is called Provide Now and it has roots right here in Green Lake. Here’s our conversation with co-founder and Green Lake resident Alex Taylor.
Seattle Greenlaker: How is Provide Now different than other nonprofits?
Alex Taylor: Provide Now creates gifts-in-kind donation registries; we list items that charities need and donors can purchase listed items for those charities. Our mission is to promote transparent donations of material items to equip nonprofits and communities with the resources necessary to thrive.
Seattle Greenlaker: You mentioned you launched during COVID. Was this because you saw a need during this time of COVID-19 or had it been planned to launch previously?
Alex Taylor: We saw a need during the time of COVID-19. Our thought process was, “We can stand around and do nothing OR we can launch imperfectly and try and make a difference.” So, we decided to change our initial structure and in March set our website up as a crowdfunding platform that we kept open until the end of May. In July we re-launched our nonprofit as our intended gifts-in-kind platform.
Seattle Greenlaker: Can you tell me more about the Marketplace you launched within Provide Now?
Alex Taylor: Provide Now is similar to Amazon’s Wish List registry except there are a few major differences that set us apart:
Provide Now does not make money off of the items that we list on our website. 100% of the purchase a donor makes is used to purchase that intended item. Provide Now only makes money through additional donations and grant funding.
Provide Now is a 501c3 so any items purchased on our website are tax-deductible.
Provide Now tries to source as many of the products as possible from local vendors (e.g. we only source our animal products from All the Best and Pet Pros, both Pacific Northwest-based companies), minority and women-owned businesses (The Honey Pot), USA manufactured, or items that use organic material (Maggie’s Socks)
Lastly, we work closely with our associated organizations to determine drop-off days. Many nonprofits and government agencies have limited space available for housing in-kind donations, so Provide Now tries to do larger drop-offs to reduce their administrative work. This means less time spent on filing paperwork for the gift-in-kind donations and instead of getting those items to the people (or animals).
Seattle Greenlaker: Can you tell me about your Green Lake connection?
Alex Taylor: Gigi and I met at the University of Washington in 2009 (not too far from Green Lake) and during my time in college, I would run the inner-loop during the spring and summer.
My husband and I just moved to Green Lake this past November. Every week, Gigi and I meet at my house as our “work station.”
Seattle Greenlaker: What are your plans for the future?
Alex Taylor: Provide Now would like to expand its reach of the nonprofits and community organizations as well as increase our donorship.
Seattle Greenlaker: Anything else you think we should know?
Alex Taylor: Here at Provide Now, we really believe that a lot of small impacts can lead to a big difference. If 100 people came together and each person purchased a pair of wool socks, 100 people experiencing homelessness would have a better chance at keeping their feet dry and infection-free this winter.
We wanted to make a platform where people could donate in smaller capacity and then see a tangible result. On our Instagram page, we post photos of the items we drop-off to show people that their donation is making a difference. It’s really amazing and powerful to see carts full of donations that individuals made. One small act can truly make such a difference.
As restaurants and bars continue to navigate operations during COVID-19, one of the saddest realities is that many may not make it. Some are pivoting or expanding in new ways to try to keep their businesses afloat. As in many neighborhoods, Green Lake has some unique places that have been around for decades and they could use some love and patronage.
Since the beginning of the pandemic we have tried to encourage our Green Lake neighbors to get out and support restaurants. We aren’t saying you have to dine in, but with curbside pick up readily available, if you have the means, its a great time to get out there and support our local food scene.
One in particular that we haven’t mentioned a ton on the blog is Latona Pub. Katie from Latona pub recently reached out to us and shared that “The Latona Pub has been a fixture in the Greenlake neighborhood since 1987 and is one of the last freestanding post prohibition taverns in the city. It’s been a launching pad for 100+ special collaborations with NW breweries & the scene of many special beer events including first releases of all-stars like Manny’s Pale Ale by Georgetown Brewing & debuts by beloved breweries like Holy Mountain, Cloudburst and Stoup. Even though we can’t enjoy a beer release at the pub like we once did we still are involved with collaborations.”
She also mentioned that they launched their crowler canning program where you can now get a 32 oz. shelf stable beer (that’s enough for 2 pints) to enjoy at home. They also have a full food menu available online: https://latonapub.hrpos.heartland.us/menu. Current hours Wednesday + Thursday 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., Friday – Saturday noon – 9 p.m. and Sunday noon – 8 p.m.
Another place that should be on your radar opened just 8 days before the pandemic started called The Wick. The coffee shop is in the Triumph Seattle motorcycle shop on Aurora Ave and Winona Ave. After being forced to close temporarily not long after they had their grand opening, they returned this summer with a full menu of coffee and espresso as well as baked goods and bagel sandwiches to go.
One of the many things that makes Green Lake great is the chance to experience great food and beverages right here in our neighborhood. If you need other ideas for great local spots, please check out the Green Lake restaurants section of our blog.
Rae Vino, a natural wine shop, opened recently in Green Lake at 321 NE 72nd Street near the Green Lake Village complex. The owners, a husband and wife team, named their shop after their daughter and love of Italian culture. The company was founded in 2018 but opened its physical location in Green Lake just a few weeks ago on August 12.
The shop sells a variety of natural wine produced locally and around the world. They also offer a quarterly wine club where members can purchase a quarter, half or full case of featured wines. This quarter one of their features highlights “Fearless Females,” wine by trailblazing female wine producers.
It is clear from their website that their passion for natural wine runs deep: “Like many others, we’ve always enjoyed wine but hadn’t known that much of what we were consuming over the years was made industrially, using synthetic agrochemicals in the vineyards and various additives and forms of processing in the winery. Why would corporations manufacture a product with potential for negative health consequences and subpar quality? Whether for increased volume, shelf-life stability, or other unjustifiable reasons, the motivation is undoubtedly profit. But just as we scrutinize what we eat and reject the use of artificial preservatives, hormones, processed foods, and unethical treatment of farm animals, monitoring what we drink is of equal importance.”
They go on to explain why natural wine is so important: “This is real wine in its original form, a labor of love that we hope becomes mainstream with your help in spreading awareness of small businesses like ours and of the artisans taking painstaking measures and no shortcuts in nurturing what mother nature has given us.”
Rae Vino offers in store or curbside pickup. Rae Vino plans to host tastings in the future and may expand into a wine bar as well.
Rae Vino hours: Monday: Closed Tuesday – Thursday: 2 pm to 7 pm Friday & Saturday: 2 pm to 8 pm Sunday: 12 pm to 5 pm