by Kirby Lindsay
On June 6th, the company Seattle By Foot launched their fifth walking tour – a Funky Fremont tour. This is the first tour they’ve provided outside of the downtown core of Seattle – and possibly the first regular, weekly (every Sunday, at 10a) walking tour done in Fremont.
What You See
Tour guide Jordan Hanssen regularly leads a Seattle By Foot tour of downtown pubs and microbreweries, on the history of beer, how beer is made and tawdry stories of Seattle’s past. “I’m the Pub Crawl guy,” he explained. Now he has expanded his repertoire to include Fremont, where he lives.
“It’s great to look at the big pieces of art,” he admitted, “but the businesses have a lot of character too.” Tours begin at Costas Opa, walk past the Waiting for the Interurban statue to go take a close-up look at the Fremont Bridge. “I’m kind of a history geek,” Hanssen described, “I know not everyone is going to be into that.” Instead, Hanssen said the tours attempt to answer an eternal question – ‘why is Fremont like that?’
From the Bridge, the group will walk ‘round the Adobe building and up to the statue of J.P. Patches and Gertrude. Seattle By Foot owner, Vicki Shuman, makes this stop a priority when she leads the group. Stories shared by Patches Pals always entertain, Shuman explained, but even then, as with many points on the tour, “they’ve seen it, but have they heard the story behind it?”
Stops along the tour – History House, the Slippery Slope, Fremont Library, Fremont Baptist Church, the Guidepost, Lenin, the Rocket, the Outdoor Movies, and etc – have intrinsic interest for tourists, but locals can also learn. “Everybody has a loose idea of the history of where they live,” Hanssen allowed, but in day-to-day living details can be missed – such as the industrial flavor of Fremont, apparent in a short stop at Theo Chocolate.
What You Get
“I get a kick out of meeting the people,” Hanssen explained about his job, “hearing what they have already seen, finding what people’s needs are,” and giving suggestions on what more they can see. He also works to be flexible – the Funky Fremont tour includes a challenging hike up to the Troll – and work to make the trip viable, no matter who comes along.
All the tours Shuman has launched since she began her business in June 2008 – the Coffee Crawl, Pub Crawl, and Scenic Emerald City Tour (a Sports On Tap tour is done by appointment only) require walking. Each tour goes on only certain days of the week, with the Fremont tour currently on Sundays. Eventually she hopes to expand to more days, as she sees how it goes – and gets feedback on another good day and time.
Register for tours on-line, and receive a discounted price (the Fremont tour costs $19 in advance/$23 for walk-ups.) Walk-ups can come along, but Shuman limits the number of people on each tour to 15. Ticket holders, and walk-ups, meet for their tour at the Downtown Seattle METRO #28 bus stop at 3rd Avenue & Pike Street (in front of Chipotle Mexican Grill) – or in front of Costas.
Most tour-goers arrive in Fremont on public transport – and return the same way after the tour wraps at the Sunday Market. “So far its been fine,” Shuman said of letting visitors find their way home on the bus, “we’re very descriptive, and if they’re uncomfortable, we can take them back personally.” As for leading the group on METRO, Hanssen explained, “that time of day is perfect, we can do a lot of pre-history,” even before they arrive at the Center of the Universe.
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.