Saturday, April 18, 2009

More Neighborhood Shops

A few weekends ago we tried to follow a tip that there were some right-size shops on the south end of Mercer Island. South end of Mercer Island, you say? But that's where Paul Allen and loads of other Microsoft billionaires live in semi-seclusion with moorage for their yachts and splendid views of Mt Rainier. How would they ever allow a QFC or Rite-Aid in their neighborhood? I had forgotten the golden rule of suburban shopping centers: follow the puffballs! The QFC couldn't be far away!

Well, we got very lost and swore up and down that there was no such thing. We stopped at the library book sale, a small but very good one, I might add...and the helpful librarians directed us right to it. We'd only passed it a gazillion times and not seen it. That's the clue. It is very well camouflaged. Only the locals know it's there.

A wall separates it from the adjacent houses and disguises the corral for dumpsters. The mailboxes are located in a kiosk near the entry.

Note the highly visible pathways in the parking lot.

Boy is it tasteful. Beige and blue. Unassuming. But it works for the neighborhood. Like Newport Hills it has a Sahara Pizza and a teriyaki place.

The Starbucks has a truly cozy, inviting outdoor place to sit complete with picnic tables and fireplace.

Between the shops are courtyard-like places to sit in the sun amidst the well-manicured shrubs and pathways which allow you to visit the shops without criss-crossing the parking lot. Regular maintenance gives you the feeling the people who use this center care about it.

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