Here's our holiday gift to you: Five peaceful places/pastimes to help sustain you in the season of excess. And you don't even need to write us a thank-you note. The British know the...

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Here’s our holiday gift to you: Five peaceful places/pastimes to help sustain you in the season of excess. And you don’t even need to write us a thank-you note.


The Queen Mary Tea Room

and Restaurant

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The British know the answer to dealing with stress: a nice cup of tea. At the Queen Mary, you’ll enjoy your tea in a Victorian floral cup and saucer from your own teapot, and you can order afternoon tea (including goodies) as you buttress yourself against the slings and arrows of outrageous shopping.

Open daily for breakfast, lunch and high tea in December, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., at 2912 N.E. 55th St., Seattle (206-527-2770; www.queenmarytearoom.com). Reservations “strongly recommended.”


Seattle Asian Art Museum


In the heart of Volunteer Park, Seattle Asian Art Museum is an oasis of calm. With exhibits chosen from the excellent permanent collections, you will always find the spiritual eroticism of Indian stone sculpture in the atrium, the Zen introspection of Japanese Buddhist art in the galleries and treasures of Chinese porcelain and bronze — not to mention museum founder Richard Fuller’s collection of intricate snuff bottles.

And if you just can’t resist the impulse to shop, the gift store stocks Asian imports, books, jewelry and cards that you won’t find other places. Parking is free and admission is just $3 (free for members).

The museum closes 3 p.m. today and New Year’s Eve, and is closed Christmas and New Year’s day. Otherwise: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays (extended hours until 9 p.m. Thursdays), 1400 E. Prospect St., Seattle (206-654-3100 or www.seattleartmuseum.org).


Pegasus Coffee House


A recipe for quiet: First, walk onto the Bainbridge Island ferry in the middle of a weekday, or on a rainy weekend. Enjoy the quiet winter ride. Next, stroll through Winslow a couple of blocks to the Pegasus Coffee House, an ivy covered haven near the boatyard with a cozy fireplace, comfy chairs, and a staff that is happy to let you read, daydream and sip lattes all afternoon.

Open daily from 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., with extended hours for special events, 131 Parfitt Way S.W., Bainbridge Island (206-842-6725 or www.pegasuscoffeehouse.com).

ROXIE RELEASING

The quietly beautiful 2003 documentary “Rivers and Tides” follows sculptor Andy Goldsworthy as he creates art from leaves, icicles, rocks and driftwood.


Washington Park Arboretum


When the days are darkest but city life still roars at its year-round hectic pace, get away to Washington Park Arboretum’s winter garden. Mysterious fragrance wafts through the air and leaf-less branches sprout exotic blossoms. Carpets of black mondo grass set off the striking contours of shrubs and trees chosen for their midwinter splendor: from the crimson limbs of naked dogwoods to the spiky yellow blooms of witch hazel. It’s quiet there. And if we are lucky enough for a dusting of snow, all the better to show off the colors and textures that dance to life while the rest of the garden hibernates. Bundle up, put on your boots and muffler, and forget about the rest of the world — for a while.

Park at the Visitors center, cross the road and follow the south-bound trail (206-543-8800 or depts.washington.edu/wpa).


“Rivers and Tides”


At the end of a busy week, lots of folks choose to stay home, change into their slippers and pop in a favorite DVD or video. This week, make it one of the most serene movies of the past several years: 2003’s “Rivers and Tides.” This Thomas Riedelsheimer documentary follows sculptor Andy Goldsworthy as he creates art from leaves, icicles, rocks and driftwood. “Art, to me, is a form of nourishment,” says Goldsworthy. He could easily be referring to this calm and lovely film, which audiences hungry for beauty will likely devour with their eyes.

Melinda Bargreen, Misha Berson, Sheila Farr, Lynn Jacobson and Moira Macdonald