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Thursday, December 25, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Fauntleroy: Wooded refuge of Lincoln Park provides urban escape

Northwest Weekend editor

City Walks


Take a walk and discover a Seattle neighborhood.
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The walk: Lincoln Park, one of Seattle's premier woodland refuges, welcomes you to Fauntleroy, a residential nook where saltwater mists frequently soften both the landscape and urban noise — though the honk-and-rumble of cars intrudes every half-hour or so when commuters or weekenders jockey for spots on the ferry to Vashon Island. The small ferry dock is Fauntleroy's main claim to fame.

To be sure, few ever heard of the man for whom the cove here was named: Robert H. Fauntleroy, the future father-in-law of George Davidson of the U.S. Coast Survey, circa 1857. Yes, the neighborhood was named by a sucking-up son-in-law.

Though many only pass through, Fauntleroy's far-flung feel makes it a pleasant place to stop and potter. Give yourself a couple of hours for this 2.5-mile round-trip walk.

Start at 135-acre Lincoln Park's northernmost parking lot, off Fauntleroy Way just south of Monroe Street. Look for a trail map near the center of the parking lot, or print a map in advance from www.cityofseattle.net/parks/parkspaces/Lincoln.htm. Otherwise, simply strike westward on the first path you find and make for the north-south trail skirting the bluff above Puget Sound.

Gray squirrels scamper and crows squawk in the cool fir woods. In the understory, snowberries resemble tiny marshmallows on roasting sticks, and decaying leaves and fallen needles exude a musky spice.

Follow a tunnel of arching madronas southward. Occasional benches offer views of cedar-spiked islands and scuttling ferryboats. A marvelous play structure is a good stop if you have kids in tow.

After about .8 mile, emerge at the park's south parking lot and look across at some of Seattle's prettiest little mini "tudors" — brick houses perched above tidy rock gardens.

Follow Fauntleroy Way .2 mile to the ferry dock. Carefully crossing the ferry driveways, follow the arterial up a gentle hill beneath towering evergreens as it curves east and becomes Southwest Wildwood Place. Walk three short blocks toward the red neon "Eat at Joe's" sign on a weathered brick building at 45th Avenue Southwest. This small Fauntleroy business district is your turnaround point.

MIKE SIEGEL / THE SEATTLE TIMES
"Stream Echo," a sculpture by Tom Jay, depicts the salmon life cycle and features cupped hands that cradle valued Northwest rain. The artwork overlooks Fauntleroy Creek.
Secret tip: Just south of the ferry dock on Fauntleroy Way, road signs mark the under-street crossing of Fauntleroy Creek. But you won't see the creek unless you take a little detour. Climb stairs on the east side of the street and go a few steps to the south to find a scenic overlook. Here is a lovely sculpture in rocks and cement, "Stream Echo" by Tom Jay, depicting the salmon life cycle and featuring cupped hands that cradle rainwater like the Northwest treasure that it is. Local neighbors and schoolchildren gathered the rocks.

Lunch or snack stop: At 45th and Wildwood, you'll find a few tables inside The Original Bakery (9253 45th Ave. S.W.), which offers cakes, breads and espresso. For a drink or meal, a special find next door is Endolyne Joe's (9261 45th Ave. S.W.), a six-month-old restaurant in the same local chain as Coastal Kitchen and Jitterbug Cafe. Ask bartender Hamish Chappell to help you choose a microbrew at the carved oak bar. Bask in the cafe's warm colors (chili red and scrambled-egg yellow), and munch on a Charmoula Chicken Sandwich (with goat cheese, on rosemary bread, $8.75).

Oh, "Endolyne" is an old nickname from when this was the end of the streetcar line, back around the 1930s. "Most people think it's a type of lettuce," Chappell quips.

If your mouth craves Mexican, there's Guadalajara Restaurant across the street, 9214 45th Ave. S.W.

Access: Winter mud makes most Lincoln Park paths tough for wheelchairs, but a waterfront path is paved, with special parking accessed via a driveway leading from the south parking lot. Handicap permit required.

Parking/bus route: Free parking at Lincoln Park. Metro's Route 54 serves Lincoln Park and Fauntleroy from downtown Seattle and White Center; Sound Transit Route 560 comes from Bellevue, Renton and SeaTac.

Brian J. Cantwell: 206-748-5724 or bcantwell@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

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