Ballard’s 46 Libraries

A few of Ballard’s 45 Little Free Libraries.

Including our great (let’s be honest) Ballard branch of the Seattle Public Library, there are 46 libraries in our neighborhood! If you’ve seen little (often wood) boxes standing on poles along a residential street somewhere containing books, they are referred to as “Little Free Libraries”: a worldwide movement which started in Hudson, Wisconsin. As of Fall 2016, 50,000 of these little book depositories/lending libraries have sprouted up across the globe.

So how does it work? Some kind individual or organization wants to spread the joy of reading books and increase literacy. So they either buy a pre-made box from the Little Free Library organization  that originated the idea, or build one themselves. Books range greatly in subject matter, but the goal is to provide a varied selection of literature for the community. You can take a book, trade, or donate your own books. There is no need to bring back the book you borrowed, but if you have a few to share to keep the book exchange stocked for other neighbors, that’s great.

There are some fantastic structures in Ballard. They range from straightforward and practical, to colorful and whimsical! If you’re interested in finding out where a little free library is near you, or go on your own fun tour to see many of them, here’s a great map. Click on the book icons on the map to see what some of the boxes look like.

If you’d like to get involved or receive a $20 rebate for starting a new one, check out this page at Sustainable Ballard’s site. Or read more on Little Free Library’s FAQs page.

Happy reading!

BALLARD BLOCKS – #2

What is going into this space, just east of the Ballard bridge? Read on.

So what’s happening with that empty lot south of the Ballard Blocks? A second Ballard Blocks complex is planned, and some businesses have already signed on. A couple different theories as to why the space development for that block was previously put on-hold include the financial strife of the former recession and another, the drainage problem the area is reportedly plagued with.

Looking east from the Ballard bridge at the current Ballard Blocks complex. New development will be to its right.

PCC Community Markets will almost certainly be the anchor business located at 1451 NW 46th Street, on the west end of the block next to the Ballard bridge. Permits have not been issued yet, but last year the city conditionally granted approval for this building project to move ahead, although the decision can be appealed through January 25th. A new 25,000 square foot co-op is planned to open in spring 2019, with a projected 100 unionized jobs. It will be interesting to see how this store melds with our many other nearby grocery options: Ballard Market, Safeway, QFC, Fred Meyer’s food section, a New Seasons store under construction, and right across the street, Trader Joe’s. This PCC store will not replace the Fremont store, which will receive an upgrade.

The proposed new site, look west.  Renderings: Weber Thompson

A walkway and seating area will lead from PCC between two businesses on the east end of the block, which will include West Marine. The all-things-marine/boat store will be located on the southeast corner and will also have about 25,000 square feet in their 2-story building. West Marine has two other established stores in Seattle as well: Shilshole Bay and Interbay. The future 12,000 sq. foot 3rd floor in the 5-story building on the northeast corner of the block is reserved for Bright Horizons childcare center, according to the leasing company, Real Retail. A fun feature of Bright Horizons’ space is a planned skybridge that will lead to West Marine’s roof to access an area for kids to play outside.

At the time of this writing, some spaces were still open for lease. There’s a retail kiosk space with about 950 sq. feet available near the southeast corner. In the northeast building, floors 1 & 2 would work for retail, and floors 4-5 are set up for office spaces, with a large rooftop deck. Total parking around or underneath the entire south Ballard Blocks will be approximately 300 stalls.

Ballard Loft Celebrates 10 Years in Ballard

Flyer for Ballard Loft 10 Year Anniversary

Ballard Loft celebrates their 10 year anniversary this Thursday and Friday!

Event Details: 

It’s been an entire DECADE! 10 Years since we opened our fine establishment for business. Providing Old Ballard with a fun, action-packed sports & late night entertainment venue with quality pub food.

Come help celebrate THURSDAY and FRIDAY January 11th & 12th as we did the first Friday we were open in 2008 with…

  • HAPPY HOUR ALL DAY/NIGHT!!
  • $4 PICKLED PONY’S! (if you don’t know, you don’t get)

21+ after 9pm

For more information, visit the Facebook Event Page or Ballard Loft’s website.

Say Välkommen To The Holiday Season At Yulefest!

Ready or not, it’s officially the holiday season.

The music has started, the decorations are going up, and each night, another house is lit up in the most festive of colors. If you ARE ready for some good ol’ fashioned Holiday cheer (so, basically unless you’re Scrooge?), head down to the Nordic Heritage Museum’s Annual Yulefest this Saturday and Sunday, November 18th and 19th!

Yulefest features all things Scandinavian and all things holiday, making it the perfect event to get in that ’God Jul’ (Merry Christmas) spirit!

 

Enjoy traditional Nordic-inspired items from many different vendors, plenty of delicious Scandinavian sweet and savory treats at the Nordic Cafe (even get some to go for later!) and traditional and contemporary Nordic music and dance will be performed on three different stages.

Kids are encouraged to have fun and get crafty with plenty of kid-oriented crafts,  a raffle and the opportunity to meet the man we all want a visit from in December, Santa Claus (or, Julenissen in Norwegian, Jultomten in Swedish)!

Grown-ups are also encouraged to have plenty of fun and toast the season in the Valhalla Beer Garden (which will be nice and toasty warm!) with a tasty beverage including the Nordic-fav hot mulled wine, glögg. Skål (cheers!) to that!  

This year, Yulefest celebrates its 40th year of bringing Scandinavian holiday fun and flair to our community, and it will be the last Yulefest celebrated at the Nordic Heritage Museum’s current location, before they move on to bigger and better things for 2018.

Yulefest is a wonderful celebration of culture, the holidays and community. If you’re ready for some serious holiday spirit, good food, fun music and maybe even some holiday shopping, Yulefest is the place to be!

God Jul!

Four Party Venues In Ballard To Book Your Holiday Party

November is here, and that means holiday party season is right around the corner. While it may seem too soon to be decking the halls and putting up holiday lights, rentable venues and party spaces are already starting to fill up in December. If you are looking for a private party room in Seattle, a Ballard music venue, or simply a fun place to host your holiday party, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few Ballard venues for rent to book this holiday season.

For Elegant and Classy Dining Events: Hotel Ballard’s Olympic Rooftop Pavilion

Hotel Ballard, in the heart of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, is an ideal location for gatherings of all kinds. This space has over 1,300 square feet of event space equipped with seating for up to 100 guests, an outdoor fireplace, antique chandeliers and more. Boasting elegant views of the mountains and water, the view from atop Hotel Ballard is hard to beat. Hotel Ballard also offers discounted rates for groups who reserve their event space if you have out of towners coming to Ballard for the holidays.

For Birthday Parties, Sporting Events, and Casual Get-Togethers: Ballard Loft

For a casual event space with great food and beer, Ballard Loft is the place to be. The Loft allows parties to reserve everything from eight person tables for the big game, to large areas within their space for groups of 20 or more. Party hosts can purchase advanced drink tickets for their guests and pre-order a number of menu items. You can also reserve their flat screen TV for sporting events, video premieres, theme parties and more.

For an evening near the ocean with a sunset view: Ray’s Boathouse

If your are looking for secluded charm and an ocean view for your holiday event, Ray’s Boathouse is the place for you. Events with Ray’s Boathouse include professional event planning staff, top notch servers, audiovisual equipment and more. Their menu of tasty seafood and other local flavors makes Ray’s a great choice for holiday parties of all kinds.

For an event catered to wine lovers: ESR Cellar

If you’re hosting a party for wine lovers, look no further than ESR Cellar for your venue. This space includes a tasting and dining space for up to 18 people and a custom food and drink menu for each party. A unique location for any kind of party, ESR is a great option this holiday season.

Image courtesy of Pexels.com.

 

Halloween in Ballard

Photo:  Julia Raasch

If you live in or frequent downtown Ballard often, Halloween might be your favorite time of year here (as it is mine). The sidewalks, especially along Market Street, are a moving panorama of little kids dressed in their Halloween costumes, holding hands with a parent or two, some of which occasionally dress in costume, too. It brings a smile to one’s face, watching them gather their treats, handed out by local shop owners. This year is no exception, with trick-or-treat happening from 4:00-6:00 pm on Tuesday, October 31st, along Market Street and Ballard Avenue, near Bergen Place Park.

MyBallard.com neighborhood treat map

There’s also a nifty map on MyBallard.com if you’d like to add your house as a place to stop in the neighborhood to collect more treats. Happy Hallow’s Eve!

Sustainable Ballard Fest

The Bubble Man entertains a crowd at the Sustainable Ballard Festival.

The 14th annual Sustainable Ballard Festival takes place on September 9th in downtown Ballard, from 11 am to 4 pm.  The Sustainable Ballard organization works to promote sustainability: environmentally, socially, and personally. They work to foster neighborhood community and connectivity. This is done through this yearly festival, hosting meaningful movies, sharing resources (like tools or books), coming together to knit items for the homeless, gardening/food and urban livestock education, and volunteering, among other things. Anything that positively increases our interconnectivity, especially in a future no longer based on oil.

So expect more family-friendly, community-building activities and vendors at this event. The festival takes place at Ballard Commons Park (the skate park at 5701 22nd Ave NW) that Saturday, and the first 200 people to arrive at the Chinook Book table (11 am) will receive their 2018 book full of coupons & sustainable resources, courtesy of Town & Country Ballard Market. Check out the extended list of things to do at their website or Facebook page below:

http://www.sustainableballard.org/festival https://www.facebook.com/SustainableBallard

 

Ballard Real Estate Report – July 2017

Past Sale by Ewing and Clark

Our Ballard neighborhood continues to be a hot ticket item in the Seattle real estate market. Our neighborhood had 46 sales last month; 7 more than last year. Like many other Seattle neighborhoods, the inventory remains low leading prices to rise. The average sales price for a Ballard home was at $684,508 in July of 2016, the number jumped to $781,272 this July. The highest cost for a Ballard home sold was at $1,600,000 compared to just $960,000 last July. Single-family homes in Ballard were on the market for an average of 7 days last month versus 17 days last July. There are currently 19 active listings and 44 pending.

Past Sale by Ewing and Clark

Ballard condo sales were down last month compared to July 2016. There were 7 less sales but reports show an increase in prices. The average sales price rose from $349,991 (July 2016) to $496,101 (July 2017). The highest cost for a Ballard condominium jumped from $425,00 to $680,000, and the median price increased from $378,000 to $505,000. There are currently 5 active condominium listings and 16 pending.

Ballard Events: Things to Do in August

There are lots of fun events in our neighborhood through the month of August! Check out some of the highlights…

Sundays in August: Ballard Farmers’ Market
10am – 3pm | 22nd Avenue NW & NW Market Street
We’re very lucky to have one of the best farmers markets in the city, and we’re even luckier that it’s a year round thing! The Ballard Farmers’ Market is on Sundays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., with fresh produce, food carts and booths, and locally sourced or made goods for sale.

Mondays in August: SUP Races
6pm – 9pm | Ballard Elks Beach
Head to Ballard Elks Beach on Monday nights through September 16th for the weekly Monday Night SUP Races on Shilshole Bay! This race is open for most paddling skill levels, you just need to be comfortable paddling in small to medium sized waves. If you don’t have a paddleboard, rentals are available for $30/person. REgistration for the race is just $5/person, and all proceeds benefit the Elks Scholarship Fund.

August 11: “The Secret Life of Pets” Movies at the Marina
5pm – 11pm | Shilshole Bay Marina
Enjoy a free outdoor movie and free popcorn with the family at the Shilshole Bay Marina’s monthly Movies at the Marina event! In August, the movie is “The Secret Life of Pets”. Coney Island Avenue Woodfired Pizza is the food truck of the night, and the Seattle Humane Society’s MaxMobile will be attending as well. The movie night is August 11th, starting at 5 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and snacks to enjoy this fun, free event!

August 17: Ballard Night Out
6pm – 9pm | Ballard Neighborhood
Get out in the community to check out arts and culture in the monthly Ballard Night Out. On the third Thursday of the month (August 17th), pick up a map and choose your venue. Most places will have something special to offer Night Out participants, from interactive jewelry making to complimentary ice cream with your art purchase.

August 19: Ballard Burrito Fest
11am – 6pm | Ballard Commons Park
Burrito lovers throughout Ballard (and the rest of the city), listen up! The Ballard Burrito Fest is nearly here, on August 19th. The best restaurants and food trucks in the city will compete for your vote for the best burrito. There will be lots and lots of burrito offerings, of course, plus a beer garden, activities for the kids, and lots more fun.

August 19 & 20: Viking Days
10am – 5pm | Nordic Heritage Museum
Ballard has a distinct Nordic history, and we celebrate it throughout the year in a variety of ways. One of them is Viking Days, which is coming up on August 19th and 20th. There will be a craft beer garden, grilling, a salmon bake, Swedish pancake breakfast, food offerings from all five Scandinavian countries, live entertainment, hands-on activities, and more!

Community Spotlight: Captain Keith Robbins of Spot Tail Salmon Guide

Captain Keith Robbins has been casting his reel in the Puget Sound for his entire life. A commercial boat captain for three decades and owner of fishing tour boat company Spot Tail Salmon Guide, few people know the Puget Sound as well as Captain Keith. We talked to the local fishing boat owner to get some insight on what life is like as a captain in Seattle. Here’s what he had to say:

How did you become a fishing boat captain?

I’m a lifelong fisherman and I turned my favorite hobby into a career. When I was a kid, my mom used to drop me off at the dock in the morning and pick me up at the end of the day, (back when you could do that kind of thing). All I know is the only reason I’ve ever worked any job is to support my fishing habit. I’ve spent last three decades building a career around sharing my favorite thing to do with guests from all over. We offer year round trips for fishermen and women of all experience levels.

What’s the largest fish ever caught on your boat?

A four and a half foot sturgeon was the largest fish, and the largest salmon was 35 pounds and nine ounces.

What other types of wildlife do you see on the Puget Sound?

The most memorable animals are always the Orcas (although I haven’t seen any since yesterday). Humpback whales are more rare but we do occasionally see them. We have  seen deer swimming in the Sound from time to time, and those are always interesting to see too.

What’s something crazy or surprising that’s happened on one of your fishing trips?

I once had the old catcher for the Mariners, Dan Wilson, on my boat. His son hooked a King Salmon (his third for the day), but got tired and let go of the rod and it fell in the water. Right after his son dropped the line, Dan hooked a fish. When Dan brought his line up, he had also hooked his son’s line, so I grabbed it and started to pull it in. I realized there was a fish on that line, and one on his son’s line as well.  I grabbed the butt of the rod and reeled it a few cranks to make sure the salmon was still on. Then, I handed it back to Dan’s son, which had his rod AND the fish he hooked. That was when I realized Dan was a really good “catcher.”

What makes Spot Tail Salmon Guide different from other fishing trip companies?

We specialize in mooching. Mooching is a local fishing method where you will hold the rod, feel the bite, and set the hook yourself. Where trolling is a laid back and stationary, mooching is an active experience where you work the bait at different depths. We also offer saltwater salmon fishing, bottom fishing, and sightseeing tours.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love taking new anglers out on the sound and helping them make their first catch.  I’m lucky to spend my days on the water helping people enjoy their vacations and celebrate memorable occasions. From the sites of the sound to the best technique, I try to share all of my favorite things about fishing with every guest who boards my boat.

To learn more about Captain Keith and his crew of Spot Tail Salmon Guides, visit their website. To keep up to date with the latest neighborhood news, join the Ballard Community Facebook Group!

Images courtesy of Spot Tail Salmon Guide.