Argosy Lakes Cruise

Back in November, I flew home to Washington State to spend a few days with my family before jetting off to California for a much-needed vacation. While in Washington, I made all my usual stops: loaded up at Half Price Books, took the obligatory day trip into Seattle, and spent plenty of time just goofing off with my family. But this was no ordinary trip home. This time, I brought my boyfriend Dan along for the ride.

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That’s right, guys, it was time to meet the parents. After nearly two years of dating, it seemed almost impossible that this trip hadn’t come sooner. I already knew, of course, that he would fit right in with our little troupe of weirdos.

Spoiler alert: I was totally right. Dan got full approval from every last member of my gigantic family. Okay, so two of my seven siblings were away at college, but they’ve heard enough stories about Dan to come to the same conclusion I have: he’s perfect!

I can already hear people groaning. We get it. Enough with the mushy stuff!

Okay, okay…anyway, we all wanted to show Dan a good time while he was in the Seattle area. Mom booked us passage on the Seattle Lakes Cruise Tour, offered through Argosy Cruises. I hadn’t been on an Argosy cruise since…well, probably since I visited the Indian island of Tillicum Village back in elementary school! I was thrilled to spend an afternoon on the water, sharing my love of the Pacific Northwest with Dan and hanging out with Mom and my younger sister Rachel.

California 2014

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The cruise departed at 1:15pm, and coasted through both Lake Union and Lake Washington for the next two hours, narrated all the while by a longtime Seattle resident and local expert.

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Washington is a stunning state, with plenty of natural beauty, fantastic seafood, and an interesting history. We passed by sailboats and under bridges, and found out how Seattle’s famous floating houses came to be. We even learned the difference between a floating house and a houseboat – houseboats can be disconnected easily from the dock, allowing their owners to sail far away to a new home, while floating houses are permanently attached to the dock and subject to the same property taxes of a regular suburban home.

This, for example, is a floating home. I was stunned to learn just how pricey these homes can be! Homeowners pay a serious premium to live right on the water, in what many consider to be a quintessential symbol of Seattle.
This, for example, is a floating home. I was stunned to learn just how pricey these homes can be! Homeowners pay a serious premium to live right on the water, in what many consider to be a quintessential symbol of Seattle.

It was chilly in November, especially for these two Florida residents, so after cruising past the University of Washington, we joined Mom and Rachel at their cozy table indoors. Let me just take this time to say that Rachel loves Dan. I mean it. She was constantly vying for his attention, stunning him with the “laser” button on her Buzz Lightyear sweatshirt, and cracking up each time he collapsed onto the table. She still talks about him, months after our visit, and even requested to show Dan her Special Olympics swimming medals via Skype.

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After warming up for a while, we bought a couple of hot chocolates from the bar and ventured out to the front of the ship. Most of the other cruise guests had retreated inside at this point, away from the persistent chilly wind, so we had the bow to ourselves for a long time. We caught a glimpse of BIll Gates’s massive home, complete with covered swimming pool and small indoor theater. Most of it was hidden under a white tarp while it was being updated. I don’t know what else he could possibly be adding to his enormous home, as our tour guide told us that Bill Gates imports his own sand to create a “beach” along the waterfront. It sounds like he has it all. The guy even has one of Leonardi Da Vinci’s original manuscripts, which he bought at auction for a whopping $30.8 million. That’s nearly half of the $63 million it took to build the home itself back in 2005. Check out 19 Crazy Facts About Bill Gates’ $123 Million Washington Mansion for more insane stats and tidbits.

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I swelled with pride as Mt. Rainier came into view, just as beautiful as ever. This was the farthest Dan had ever been from Florida, and I had to wonder if he had ever witnessed the majesty of a snow-capped mountain before.

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The ship turned back around, slicing easily through the cold waters of Lake Washington and approaching the University of Washington once more.

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Fans in purple flocked to the football stadium in their boats – apparently tailgating on a boat is a common practice here! Several businesses even pick passengers up from their personal boats and ferry them to the stadium, for a fee. I have to say, sailing away on a boat sounds much better than fighting the post-game Seattle traffic.

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We passed more floating homes as we crossed over into Lake Union, and as the Seattle skyline edged closer, I felt a twinge of sadness. There was one thing I was really hoping to see on this tour, something so touristy that I was almost ashamed to admit it. With minutes left in the cruise, I was ready to cut my losses and head back inside.

Then it happened.

Sleepless in Seattle Tour
“If you’ll look out to your right, you’ll see the houseboat famously featured in the film, Sleepless in Seattle.”

The Sleepless in Seattle houseboat was owned by one couple for over twenty years, and was sold recently to a new owner. I had watched the film for the first time just a few months before our trip, and I immediately regretted not seeing it sooner. I don’t know when this happened, but I find myself loving these nineties “date night” movies more with each one I see. If you love Seattle, and of course if you love Tom Hanks (and who doesn’t?) GO CHECK IT OUT NOW.

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Finally, it was time for our tour to end. After disembarking with some new knowledge of Seattle’s history and the features that make it such a unique city, we eased out into the late afternoon traffic and on to the next adventure.

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9 thoughts on “Argosy Lakes Cruise

    1. It’s hard to go wrong in Seattle! For me it really is the perfect blend of nature and culture!

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  1. I grew up in Seattle, yet never heard of the Argosy lake tour. Sounds like so much fun, and your photos do a great job of depicting a typical cloudy, but beautiful Seattle scene. I love how clean the air is there…and all the green everywhere…and Mt. Rainier rising majestically above the landscape! I may be in a paradise now (San Diego), but I still miss Seattle!

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    1. I definitely didn’t appreciate it enough while I was living in Washington, that’s for sure! I miss the mountains, the water, and especially all the hiking. San Diego sounds like a dream! I’d love to live in California for a while.

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    1. It’s such a great introduction to the area – to hear some people talk, it was once the Vegas of the Pacific Northwest, back when it was first settled!

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  2. Washington states is one of the places I America I really want to visit! I have been all over the east coast and lots of travelling around califoenia, florida and texas, but just didn’t make it here the time I lived in USA..this post is making me want to go back and visit, such a beautiful pace with so much to do!

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