Like the colourful fan of its namesake's tail feathers, diamonds and triangles of billiard balls nestle into racks on Peacock Billiards' tables. A grid of 30 tables in an array of sizes and colours populates the room, surrounded by cushy leather couches and bright murals. Beneath the clatter of sunken shots can be heard the rhythmic tap of table-tennis matches and the furious spinning of foosball handles. The James Joyce Bistro resides in the corner, where patrons sitting in circular booths enjoy drinks and nachos served in cored-out copies of Dubliners.
It's been more than three decades since Andrew Drake rode his first wave, but his passion for surfing stays strong. Washington Surf Academy is the embodiment of his passion and has grown to include instruction not just for surfing but for paddleboards as well. Unlike a gingerbread man's enemies, Mr. Drake's classes don't take a cookie-cutter approach. "Every person is a unique case," he says. The diversity of his clientele is one of the things Mr. Drake finds most rewarding. "Some people will have huge fears, and it is nice to see them get over them. This one time, this lady was freaking out, but I talked her into it, and she loved it so much that she bought a board from us on the first day."
By helping them to float out of their comfort zones, Mr. Drake and his team open people up to the hidden world off Seattle's coast. With snow-capped peaks in the distance, surfers can conquer waves and paddleboarders can float beneath bald eagles flying to their next college history lecture.
Customized Tours leads groups on guided expeditions of Seattle's most breathtaking spots. Outdoor adventurers can try the Mount Rainier National Park tour or the winery and waterfall tour, which travels across Lake Washington on the 7,700-foot Evergreen Point floating bridge to the world-renowned Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. City tours explore a variety of coffee shops and tourist attractions across the Queen Anne, Fremont, and Chinatown neighborhoods.
One of the more unique tours is the Boeing Factory tour, which gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at airplane assembly. It also gives them a chance to design their own airplanes using touch-screen computers, or, for traditionalists, old geometry homework.
Chocolate lovers unite at the Northwest Chocolate Festival, an annual event dedicated not just to eating chocolate in its many forms, but to tracking its journey from cacao bean to confection. Visitors hone their expertise through seminars on trade equity and cacao farming, chocolate-making workshops led by confectioners, and tastings where palates learn to distinguish between milk chocolate and a chocolate bar clumsily forced inside a milk jug. A portion of the proceeds from the event benefits local nonprofits aligned with the festival’s mission. Recipients are announced yearly.