Friday, September 21, 2012

Everett Offers Food, Fun and Function

It's a rare day that I spend much time in downtown Everett, unless I'm shopping at the Sno-Isle Co-op. But yesterday I hung out for the afternoon in the city of my childhood. And I had a great time.

Photos of Under the Red Umbrella from their
Facebook page.
Several times a year I have lunch with the girls from my old neighborhood, four or five of us who went to school together from Kindergarten through high school. We ate at Under the Red Umbrella*, a delightful neighborhood coffee shop on the corner of 15th and Rucker. The building, a former butcher shop, still has the original meat counter and walk-in cooler. They've retained the buildings charm -- wood floors, big glass-front cabinets, some well placed antiques -- and added rich colors and casual furnishings to produce a welcoming atmosphere. Tables on the patio provide additional seating on warm days.

A restaurant by day and a concert venue by night, Under the Red Umbrella is the a great place to eat. Most of us ordered the three-salad plate, choosing from six or seven options and served with bread. (I chose chicken tarragon, fruit and broccoli grape salads.) Add a cup of coffee (which, by the way, was very, very good) and you've got a delicious lunch for about $10. It was also a great place to catch up with friends, with its ambience, delicious food, and friendly, efficient service. I wish we had such a coffee shop in my current neighborhood!

I stopped in to the Arts Council of Snohomish County's Schack Art Center on Hoyt to browse the Schack Shop. The small gift shop, filled with lovely pieces by local artists, nestles inside the front corner of this 19,000 square foot center. This is much more than a typical gallery, although it is that too. Opportunities abound for hands-on art through classes and workshops. The fall catalog offers nearly 60 classes, such as basic drawing, silversmithing, calligraphy, and wood block design, as well as two or three classes for children/families. The glass shops provide opportunities to observe the glassmaking process (I arrived just as a glass blowing demonstration was ending) and to participate in it as well. Above the center are 40 artist lofts where writers, painters, sculptors and other artists live and work.

My final stop was at Althea's Footwear Solutions. I avoid shoe stores at the mall; it is difficult for me to find shoes that are both stylish and well fitting. The staff at Althea's on Pacific and Colby specialize in providing help for people like me. They are all Board Certified Pedorthists, working to provide therapeutic footwear for their clients. They sell shoes that work with orthotics, shoes that are diebetic friendly, shoes that can be modified to meet folks' needs. The main floor is their showroom; a shop fills most of the lower level where they design or modify shoes to provide optimum fit, function and workmanship for the client.

This kind of shoe store is very hard to find, and a real blessing to people who have issues with their feet. They work with health care professionals and insurance companies, making it possible for people to get the relief they need for medical problems.. With stores in Everett, Mt Vernon and Lakewood (Tacoma area) they have clients from all over the west coast.

See for yourself some of what Althea's has to offer.

If you or anyone you know is in need of special attention when purchasing shoes, whether your issues are medical or not, I encourage you to check out Althea's Footwear Solutions. They'll do all they can to help you.

*(The website for Under the Red Umbrella seems to be down right not. At least this one will give you the basic information to get you there.)

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