Post by Etienne on Mar 29, 2019 1:01:32 GMT -8
Cedar Beach may be a fictional town, but it's geography is based on a real area, and the basic facts about the region around it still apply.
To start off with, placing it in the greater region. Cedar Beach is on the eastern shores of the Puget Sound. It's about halfway between the downtowns of Seattle and Everett (a bit under a 20 mile or about 30 km drive to either downtown), which means while the main airport for the region is SeaTac (south of Seattle), the closest airport with commercial flights is Paine Field (south Everett), though it only just opened to the public in 2019. To look at that on a map:
This puts Cedar Beach right on the border between King County (where Seattle is) and Snohomish County (where Everett is). It also has easy access to the Olympic Peninsula via the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry. I-5 is the major freeway in this area (and locals generally just call it "5" as in "I took 5 to work today"). Granted, there are enough transplants that a lot of people will refer to the freeways in the style of where they came from. The other major north-south route in the area is Highway 99 (generally just referred to as 99 or Aurora in this area, since it's called Aurora Ave N from Downtown Seattle up to the county line).
To get a better idea of where Cedar Beach itself would be, here's a more zoomed in map:
This is not meant to be the exact borders of Cedar Beach, but the real places that this fictional town would match up to are Woodway, WA; Richmond Beach (Shoreline), WA; Hillwood (Shoreline), WA; and Innis Arden (Shoreline), WA. That, and a little bit more is in the greenish-yellow outline above. It is entirely west of 99, and contains a fair amount of shore areas. The region is also very hilly! There are several fairly steep ridges that run north-south through the area and it is overall pretty full of little streams and creeks and their resulting gullies. (There's about 475 ft/145 m of elevation change from the shore areas to the highest points, which isn't huge for this greater region, but isn't exactly flat, and it goes up and down a fair amount.)
Though the region is pretty well populated, it is also very green (that's pretty common in this region).
Post by Etienne on Apr 3, 2019 1:53:45 GMT -8
While plenty of people in the greater Seattle region drive places and have cars (a Subaru is almost the stereotypically common car choice), it is a public transit, biking, and walking friendly region as well. Motorcycles (and motorscooters) are also pretty popular in the region.
In and around Cedar Beach, most of the intersections don't allow U-turns unless they have a roundabout, and the residential streets are mostly fairly narrow with one lane in each direction. Even the more major streets that are a little bit wider might only have a middle lane for left turns (that turns into a section for people having to make a turn across traffic mid block between intersections), one standard lane on each side and a protected bike lane on each side.
Aurora Way (State Route 99) is the main North-South thoroughfare for anything remotely nearby, but for if someone is travelling further afield, I-5 isn't too hard to get to, and it doesn't have stoplights. There are a couple of bigger East-West Streets (generally one about every 5-10 numerical block intersections with Aurora). State Route 104 is along the northern edge of Cedar Beach for a while, and it leads east to the freeway and west to downtown Edmonds and the ferry terminal.
Because Cedar Beach is right on the county line, it is served by two of the local transit systems:
- King County Metro (link) [KCM]
- Community Transit (link) [CT]
To get an idea of the routes that would serve Cedar Beach (bolded) or get close enough to it that people might use them regularly, look at KCM: E, 5, 301, 303, 331, 348, 346, and 373 (and the map of the NW Region). Also take a look at CT: SWIFT Blue Line, 101, 130, 115, and 416 (and the map of the Edmonds area).
There is a third regional transit system that will also probably see some use from residents of Cedar Beach, especially if they commute into Downtown Seattle.
- Sound Transit (link) [ST]
There are a few routes that people might take a bus to or drive to and use as expresses into downtown or the U District (UW main campus (Seattle)), but generally, anything that goes through Mountlake Terrace Transit Center would be convenient because it's the nearby big transit center (right by the freeway). Those would be ST: 511, 512, and 513. A little bit farther afield (but not much) at the Lynnwood Transit Center, transit riders who needed to get to the Eastside (Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, etc...) or were headed over to Bothell along the way (where UW Bothell is located) could catch ST 535.
Sound Transit also has a train called the Sounder that takes commuters into downtown during rush hour with having to be in traffic, and it stops in downtown Edmonds, very close to where Cedar Beach is set.
Sound Transit also runs the local Lightrail system, but that hasn't reached the North End yet. It will reach Northgate (in North Seattle) in the next few years, and Shoreline/Mountlake Terrace (the closest stops) a few years after that. People definitely talk about when the Lightrail gets up here, and it is a large scale, ongoing project in the region to increase connectivity and speed up transit. (You can find more information on the ST website linked above if you are curious, just note that a lot of things have actually been opening before their original projected date.)
There is one more very special piece of public transit that's in the region, and that is the Washington State Ferries. The most important one being the Edmonds-Kingston Route (schedule) that would allow people easy access to the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas and lots and lots of nature. At the other end of it is a charming little town called Kingston that has a lot of fun little shops and restaurants right near the ferry dock. Be warned though, it's a little harder to get places without a car/motorcycle on the other end of the ferry because it takes you out to a more rural area with less public transit. It's not uncommon to be able to find taxis at the ferry terminal though. There are a few buses that can be found that stop at the Kingston Ferry Terminal (scroll down to it's listing here).
For Bike Riders:
Cedar Beach is a fairly bike friendly area. Most higher traffic roads will have a protected bike lane with a raised median between where the cars drive and where the bikes are, and in general, a lot of people ride bikes here. There's even a bike route that will take people all the way to the core areas of Seattle or a fair ways up towards Everett that is very close to Cedar Beach (though doesn't quite cross into it) called the Interurban Trail (link). In general though, there's a lot of good places to just go biking if someone enjoys doing so (lots of parks and trails just scattered through the area).
While the major streets all have sidewalks these days, a lot of the smaller streets may not. However, they will generally have gravel or grassy areas along the sides where people can fairly safely walk. Depending on how frequent car traffic tends to be on a smaller road, parents may want to make sure to walk with their children in these areas, especially if visibility isn't good. There's a push to improve sidewalks in the area right now, so areas near schools and bus stops are improving their sidewalk coverage even on smaller streets, but it's a sort of slow process.
Post by Etienne on Apr 3, 2019 10:59:21 GMT -8
Because Cedar Beach is a relatively small town, they only have one elementary school (K-5th), one middle school (6th-8th), and one high school (9th-12th). Rather unimaginatively, these schools are named Cedar Beach Elementary School, Cedar Beach Middle School, and Cedar Beach High School. There has been some discussion of opening a new elementary school (or splitting the elementary school into a lower elementary school and an upper elementary school), but so far, nothing has come of it. There are several private preschools and early education centers within Cedar Beach for students younger than Kindergarten age.
There are not any private elementary/middle/high schools within Cedar Beach, but there are several that aren't too far away. The most notable would be Lakeside School (highly respected school for grades 5-12) in the very northern edges of Seattle (15 minute or less drive from Cedar Beach) and King's School (a (very) Christian college prep serving grades PK-12) which is in Shoreline (would be walkable from large portions of Cedar Beach).
For higher education, Cedar Beach holds one of Washington's many excellent community colleges: Cedar Beach Community College. It hosts a wide array of certification programs and AA programs, including several that are geared towards transfer to four year institutions to complete a major (general AA for transfer, library sciences program, etc...). They have a robust international student program that boasts students from more than 50 countries, though the majority of them are from various Asian and Pacific Island countries (with high concentrations from East and South-East Asia specifically).
There are also several other community colleges nearby, and residents of Cedar Beach might attend them, especially if that community college has a program that aligns with what the student is interested in:
- Edmonds Community College: They have an excellent paralegal degree program (the only 2 year one in the region)
- Shoreline Community College: Their automotive program is one of the better ones in the region.
- North Seattle College: They have a very strong early education program, and they've recently added a few select four year programs (mainly business related).
- Everett Community College: They have a very good pharmacy program.
- Cascadia College: They share a campus with UW Bothell and students are able to cross register to university courses.
- Seattle Community Colleges: The community college district and association that North Seattle College is a part of. Some of the other schools are accessible from Cedar Beach, but a little bit further afield.
There are several four year institutions in the region that are relatively easy to reach by bus or car from Cedar Beach:
- University of Washington (Seattle): This is the original University of Washington campus, and it is the most well respected and well known. It is highly ranked nationally (consistently top 100 schools in the nation, sometimes top 50). Generally it is call UW (pronounced U Dub). Most well known in the fields of computer science and aerospace engineering, but has strong programs in just about anything someone would want to major in.
- University of Washington (Bothell): This is a much newer University of Washington campus. Generally called UW Bothell (U Dub Baw-thell). It has a very good environmental sciences and environmental engineering program. Slightly smaller than UW with a little bit more personal attention for undergrads. It also shares a campus with Cascadia College (see community colleges above).
- Seattle University: This well respected and relatively well known Jesuit university is just outside of downtown Seattle (right between Capitol Hill and First Hill). They make up for being quite expensive by having extensive scholarship programs.
- Seattle Pacific University: This Methodist University is distinctly a religious university, but they are well known and respected for some of their programs.
- Central Washington University - Lynnwood: This is a branch campus of Central Washington University (a lower ranked state school than UW). It is hosted out of the Edmonds Community College Campus, and provides resources mostly for working adults also working towards a four year degree.
- There are a lot of other universities in the broader region, but most of them are further afield. Someone who grew up in Cedar Beach might consider commuting down to Tacoma (UW Tacoma, University of Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran University) or up to Bellingham (Western Washington Univerisity) for college, but it would be a long commute, and they'd probably be trying to maximize their schedule to only have to go up a few times a week. However, someone going to one of those schools might regularly come home on the weekends even if they were living closer to campus or in the dorms.
There is also an excellent arts college in downtown Seattle:
- Cornish College of the Arts: They offer programs in Art, Dance, Design, Film, Interior Architecture, Music, Performance Production, and Theater alongside a robust core education program in the humanities and sciences.
For further options, check out this list of higher education institutes in Washington State. Just be sure to check the location on a map (or with one of the mods) because WA is big!
Cedar Beach Library is part of the King County Library System. While Cedar Beach Library itself is relatively small, it has resources from the entire system, and people can easily visit the other nearby libraries in the KCLS system (Richmond Beach Library, Shoreline Library, Lake Forest Park Library). Despite not being a huge library, Cedar Beach Library has a robust and multilingual catalog.
It has an especially good children's section, with regular story hours and events. The children's section has language sections for Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Vietnamese as well as an array of books (especially board books) in other languages.
It also has well developed teen section that is specifically geared to being a safe space for kids and young adults ages 11-19 to have internet access, books of interest, and programs geared towards them. While other patrons are welcome to come browse the shelves in the teen section, but the seating and computers are reserved for teens (though this is an honor system).
The adult section of the library is a little bit more sparsely populated since adults are more likely to be the ones using the inter-library loan system or being able to go to slightly further afield libraries. However, they have many programs for adults as well, from skill building classes, to job search classes, to support groups, to language learning programs, and so on. They also have a few reasonably sized language collections, especially a Chinese language collection.
Residents of Cedar Beach can also get library cards at a few of the other nearby library systems:
- Sno-Isle Library System: The library system the serves Snohomish County (which technically part of Cedar Beach is in) and Island County. The Edmonds Library, Lynnwood Library, Brier Library, and Mountlake Terrace Library are all quite close to Cedar Beach.
- Seattle Library System: While Seattle is in King County, they actually have their own extensive library system. King County residents can get library cards, and it's pretty common, especially for people who work in Seattle. The most accessible locations to Cedar Beach would be the Bitter Lake Library, Greenwood Library, Lake City Library, and Northgate Library (however the Main Branch in downtown Seattle is also easy to get to and is amazing).
- Everett Library System: Like Seattle, Everett has its own library system. Unlike Seattle, that library system is pretty small. However, the libraries in it are quite nice, and they're easy to get to by taking the SWIFT. Currently, the Evergreen Branch (the location closest to Cedar Beach) is under construction for an expansion, but the Main Branch is only a few more bus stops.
Post by Etienne on Apr 3, 2019 11:02:05 GMT -8
Restaurants and Fast Food
When it comes to burger type fast food restaurants, while you've got your standards (like McDonalds, Burger King, Jack in the Box), there are a couple of pretty well known local chains:
- Dick's: This is a drive up burger place, well known for their burgers and milkshakes. Their fries get mixed reviews. And people like to jokingly say they're going to "Grab a bag of Dick's" when referencing this chain. There's one located a little ways up 99 in Edmonds.
- Kidd Valley Burger: Kind of classic diner vibe. Pretty good burgers. Also serves fish and chips, and chicken sandwiches and similar. Has a few vegetarian options. Very good milkshakes. There is one on Aurora (99) just south in Shoreline.
- There are a few other similar sorts of things (Habit Burger is a CA chain that has made it's way up here, but there's one at Aurora Village--just east of Cedar Beach, Burgermaster another drive up--the closest one is in very north Seattle)
There are a lot of fish and chips places in the PNW. The two biggest chains for fast food sea food in the area are:
- Ivar's: This place started out as a clams and chips and fish and chips stand down near the Seattle waterfront. Now it's a major local chain. There are two very close to Cedar Beach. One on HWY 104 (to the north) and one on Aurora (to the south). They are both small sit down restaurants that do a lot of take away, and you order at the counter.
- Anthony's: This started out as an actual restaurant that developed a fish and chips counter. There's one in downtown Edmonds.
Pizza places... There are a lot of the usual possibilities (Round Table, Dominos, Little Caesars, Pizza Hut), however, there is one major local chain that is most people's go to for delivery: Pagliacci Pizza (link). There are several right near Cedar Beach, so they're definitely covered by delivery.
There are a lot of family owned Teriyaki and Pho restaurants throughout the region, but there aren't any major major chains (Pho Tan Brothers and Toshi's Teriyaki are the closest to that). There's also a rise in Indian and Thai restaurants in recent years. Sushi's also pretty popular, and there are a number of good small, family owned Italian restaurants up in this area. Other common cuisines for small restaurants include: Korean (more traditional and Korean BBQ), Chinese (mainly Taiwanese, Hong Kong, and Sichuan, but there's a variety), Greek, and Ethiopian. All of the best Mexican food in the region is served out of food trucks (barring a few restaurants in Seattle and the South End). Speaking of food trucks, we have a lot of them, for just about any imaginable food. This is a region with a lot of immigrants though, so if you want to find something, and go searching, odds are pretty good that there's at least one restaurant in the area (you might just have to travel a little bit).
Grocery Stores and Pharmacies:
The big chains that we have in the area:
(I am probably forgetting at least one)
- Safeway (grocery)
- Albertson's (grocery)
- Walgreens (pharmacy)
- CVS (pharmacy)
- Bartell's (pharmacy)
- Whole Foods (organic grocery)
- Sprouts (organic grocery)
- Walmart (everything store)
- Target (everything store)
There are also some local chains:
- Fred Meyer (everything store, but grocery focused)
- Costco (everything store, membership (but a lot of people around here have one), the best pharmacy in the region)
- Central Market / Town and Country (organic market, there's one just south of Cedar Beach right off Aurora)
- WinCo (discount market)
- PCC (organic consumers' co-op, basically a grocery store)
Alcohol is sold in the grocery store, but for things other than wine, beer, and cider, there's a pretty steep grocery store markup, so a lot of people go to more alcohol specific stores for alcohol (a popular one in the area is Total Wine).
More to come, especially if requested... (tell me if there are other types of stores that would be useful to know about!)
Post by Etienne on Apr 3, 2019 11:03:07 GMT -8
Parks, Museums, and Tourist Attractions!
Under construction... come back soon!
Post by Etienne on Apr 30, 2019 23:42:50 GMT -8
WASHINGTON STATE: Board Regions
On the tab of the ETLA labeled Washington State, we have the following sub-categories.
- Everett and Urban Snohomish County
- Cascades and Rural East Sound
- Seattle and Southern Metro
- Olympic & Kitsap Peninsulas and Island County
Here's a little bit more about what each of them contains.
In the above map, Washinton state has been outlined in black. The regions above each have a color outline, and the blue dot is about where Cedar Beach is. "Everett and Urban Snohomish County" is the area with a brown outline. "Cascades and Rural East Sound" is the area with the green outline. "Seattle and Southern Metro" is the area with the dark blue outline. "Olympic & Kitsap Peninsulas and Island County" is the are with the purple outline.
Everett and Urban Snohomish County:
This entire region is pretty easily accessible by bus from Cedar Beach. Some of the buses aren't great, but they're getting better. Everett is one of the two easy major cities of the area around Cedar Beach to get to, and while it's smaller than Seattle by a good margin, that also makes it a little bit less intense.
There is an airport that recently opened to public use in this area: Paine Field (link). It doesn't fly to a huge number of places yet, but the number of flights is growing, and if you need to get somewhere else on the West Coast or in the Western US, it's a lot easier to get to than SeaTac to the south.
There's a naval base up in Everett. There is also an active shipping port.
There are a lot of smaller/mid-sized towns that make up the space in between Cedar Beach and Everett that are in Snohomish County. Some of the ones that might be of interest are Edmonds (borders Cedar Beach), Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Mukilteo, Bothell, and Mill Creek. The urban and suburban parts of Snohomish County are spreading, but most of the region is still rural.
Cascades and Rural East Sound:
This is a pretty big area on the map. The Cascade Mountains are a volcanic mountain range that runs from far northern Canada down into Northern California. They bisect Washington and create the divide between Western Washington and Eastern Washington. They are large snow capped mountains, and at certain times of year (mainly winter), they are a huge challenge to get over. They are very sparsely populated and mostly covered by national parks, state parks, and reservations. Though there are a few small towns in and around the passes and near lakes and rivers (Snoqualmie would be an example of one of these). There is a lot of good camping (summer and early fall) up in the Cascades along with amazing places to ski (fall, winter, spring only) and hike (year round).
There are also lowland and coastal parts of this area to the north and south of the urban areas.
To the north, this includes most of Snohomish, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties. These are mostly areas with a lot of farming, rivers, and forests. There are lots of small towns in this area such as Snohomish (the town, shares a name with the county), Anacortes (in Skagit County), and Mt. Vernon (in Skagit County). At the very north of this, there is a small college town called Bellingham where Western Washington University is located. Bellingham is in Whatcom County.
To the south, this includes the rural parts of King County as well as most of Pierce, Thurston, Lewis, Skamania, Cowlitz, and Clark Counties. There are large forests in this area, as well as rivers. Overall, the area is very hilly, as it is in the foothills of the Cascades (and in some parts also the Olympics). There are swampy areas nearer the base of the Puget Sound.
Near the base of the sound, in this region is the city of Olympia, which is the state capital. It is a small city, mainly focused around being the seat of the government, and is mostly surrounded by rural areas. Olympia is in Thurston County.
Seattle and Southern Metro:
This encompasses the metro areas to the south of Cedar Beach. This could be broken into four main parts: Seattle, the East Side, the South End, and Tacoma. Just north of Seattle and between Cedar Beach and Lake Washington, but still in King County are the towns of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park. Arching over the top of the lake and connecting this are with the East Side are Kenmore, and the southern part of Bothell (which is in King County).
Seattle city limits are quite large and take up a fair chunk of this area. It is by far the biggest city in the region, and therefore has the most amenities. The northern edge of Seattle is only about 15 blocks south of Cedar Beach, but it stretches down to near the base of Lake Washington (which all of Seattle is west of). You can find just about anything you'd expect in a major city in Seattle, just hillier (it has more hills than any other major metro area in the US, and it is among the steepest, giving San Francisco a run for its money). Seattle has a lot of different fairly distinct neighborhoods, each of them with a different feel and style. (Wikipedia List) The entirety of Seattle is a very green city with trees everywhere, even in some of the densest parts of downtown. This is what gives it the nickname the Emerald City. Seattle is entirely in King County.
To the east of Lake Washington can be found the East Side. This is made up of the newer growing cities of Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, and Issaquah, along with many other smaller towns. These cities are home to Microsoft headquarters and a lot of tech industry. They are overall fairly wealthy areas, with some of the highest property costs and rents, and have some of the best school districts in the region. However, they don't have great public transportation, and they can feel pretty exclusionary to those who can't afford them. This region takes up a decent amount of eastern King County.
There are smaller towns to the south of Seattle that make up the South End such as Burien, Renton, Kent, Tukwila, and SeaTac. SeaTac is where the major airport of the region is found, but it is well south of Cedar Beach, so it can be a bit of a pain to get to. However, it has many major international flights, and connections to the Eastern parts of the country. The towns down here form a pretty solid corridor that is less dense than Seattle itself, but remain relatively urban at least near the major highways. This area is in the southern part of King County down to its border with Pierce County.
Further south, but still in the metro corridor lies Tacoma, the third major city of the greater Seattle Metro Area. Like Everett, it is a much smaller city than Seattle, but it is still decent sized, with a branch of UW and a decent amount of industry. Mount Rainier rises impressively above it. It can be a great place to visit for such attractions as the Art Glass Museum. Tacoma is in the north-western part of Pierce County.
Olympic & Kitsap Peninsulas and Island County:
From north to south, the counties included in this region are: San Juan (one of the island counties), Island (the other island county), Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Grays Harbor, and Whakiakum Counties. Overall, all of these counties are quite rural.
This entire area is accessibly by first crossing the ferry and then driving to whatever part you are going to, either taking more ferries, or crossing long bridges.
The Olympic National Forest, along with several smaller national, state, and local parks takes up the majority of the Olympic Peninsula. There is also a range of mountains, the Olympic Mountains, that runs much of the length of the peninsula, and makes it hard to get from one part of it to another. There are several temperate rain forests in the region, the best known of them being the Hoh Rainforest. There are beautiful beaches all along the Pacific Coast, but many of them have steep cliffs, and swimming in the Pacific is treacherous at at the best of times. There are good areas to camp all over the Olympic Peninsula.
There is also a lot of rural lowlands around the mountains, some of which is very swampy, and a lot of which has farms that produce all sorts of things. There is also a lot of it that is forested in general. In the coastal regions along the Puget Sound, there are a lot of shellfish farms and a lot of fishing.
The Kitsap Peninsula and Island County both have a lot of small, artsy towns on a small peninsula or long, thin islands. The San Juan Islands are in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and are mostly wild, though there are small towns and research centers on most of them. They are also where the resident orca pods often hang out.