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Thursday, July 08, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Burien: Two strolls in one shoreline and shopping
Take a walk and discover a neighborhood. Here's another installment in the City Walks series. These aren't just hikes, and they're more than a walk in the park. City Walks combines urban viewpoints, homes worth a look, shops with character and a place for a bite to eat, all within a mile or three. And look for the Secret Tip in each story.
By Kristin Jackson
The walk: Unless you live in Burien, it's mostly a place you'd zip past on the highway.
But it's worth detouring to the overlooked city of about 30,000 people tucked between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Puget Sound.
Burien has a beach-rich park; old-fashioned business district; and lots of taquerias, thanks to a growing number of Mexican-American residents, that offer low-cost and tasty meals that you can take out for park picnics.
This is a two-part walk, divided between the beach park and quaint shopping district.
You'll want to devote most of your time on a warm summer day to Burien's crown jewel, Seahurst Park, a 185-acre swath of forest and almost a mile of saltwater shoreline.
Choose from several miles of trails that run parallel to the beach or wind through the park's densely forested, steep slope. There are wide-open views from the beach west to Vashon Island and beyond to the Olympic Mountains. As you stroll, you may hear many languages Russian, Spanish, Chinese since Burien has attracted many new immigrants.
What is now the park once was used by Native Americans for clam-gathering and fishing. It became a private estate in the early 1900s, then was established as a park in 1975; it's also known as Ed Munro Park after the state legislator who helped establish it.
The energetic could walk, although it's more pleasant to expend your walking energy/time in the park. Or take bikes to explore the park and then cut south to the shopping district through winding streets of quiet, tree-shaded homes.
Southcenter and other new shopping areas have siphoned business from Seahurst and other small Burien stores, but a few old-timers have survived on this block-and-a-half stretch.
Kirk's Feed Store "since 1952," its sign proudly proclaims still sells hay and live chickens (908 S.W. 152nd St.). At the His & Her Hair Center (828 S.W. 152nd St.), the old-fashioned, sit-under hair dryers still reign.
Lunch or snack stops: A mile from the park's beachfront parking lot, at the intersection of Southwest 144th Street and Ambaum Boulevard Southwest, is a smattering of small restaurants: a Dairy Queen, espresso stand, Vietnamese restaurant and Huckleberry Square, a plant-laden restaurant (14423 Ambaum Blvd. S.W.) that's popular for breakfast.
To the south along Ambaum is a mix of used-tire and welding shops and a handful of Mexican taquerias. They're not fancy places, but I had a big and tasty chicken burrito at Taqueria El Rinconsito (15101 Ambaum Blvd. S.W.) for about $5. Get food to go for a Seahurst Park picnic.
Secret tip: If you want to learn about sea creatures and plant life, time your visit to Seahurst Park for a low-tide weekend when naturalists roam the beach and answer questions.
Volunteers from the King County Beach Naturalist Program are scheduled to be at Seahurst Park (and Des Moines Beach Park) at 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 17 ; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 18; 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 31; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 1. More information: King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, 206-296-8359 or www.dnr.metrokc.gov/wlr/pi/beach-naturalists.htm
Access: For wheelchair users, there are some disabled parking spots at the beach. The beachfront trail is level but with limited paving.
On a summer weekend, the waterfront parking lot, where the road dead-ends at the beach, fills quickly. Check if one of its approximately 30 spots is available; otherwise drop off people (and picnic supplies) at the turnaround and park a quarter mile up the hill at the park's much larger main lot.
In the Seahurst shopping district, there's street parking.
Metro buses 135 and 136 stop along Ambaum Boulevard Southwest at Southwest 144th Street or Southwest 148th Street; from there it's about a mile walk to the beachfront in Seahurst Park.
Kristin Jackson: 206-464-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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