My neighborhood, Wedgwood, never tops any best-neighborhoods lists. And even as loyalty prompted me to make a case for it while we planned this story, I knew couldn’t offer convincing evidence that this modest northeast swath, developed as part of the post–World War II housing boom, has it all.
We do have a surprising number of venerable evergreens that hint at the primeval forest that once covered the region; a 19-foot-tall glacial erratic, the Wedgwood Rock, dumped by the Vashon Glacier more than 14,000 years ago; and—attention, architecture nerds—a Paul Thiry library and Paul Hayden Kirk church. Our commercial strip, 35th Avenue NE, boasts the fusty-hip Fiddler’s Inn (3pubs.com), the retro favorite Wedgwood Broiler (wedgwoodbroiler.com), and the ever bustling lattes-crêpes-and-gossip hub Cafe Javasti (javaasti.com) but not a seed from the Seattle foodie movement has taken root here (unless you count the fact that Top Pot Doughnuts’ ice cream brand debuted on this humble strip). And the abundance of banks and chains keep charm at bay.
I’ve never heard of anyone traveling to The Wood to wander, shop or fine-dine—and I imagine I’m not alone in quietly enjoying the benefits of living in a non-marquee ’hood. The qualities of good neighbors, lovely gardens, quirky traditions and community spirit can’t be tallied—and with each passing year, my appreciation for these intangibles grows. From Wedgwood and Lake City to South Park and Tukwila, there are many of us who read “the best” list with the quiet knowledge that while we don’t have indie boutiques or gastronomic groundbreakers, we share the underdog’s pride and take joy in living in unsung places we rank as number one.
Lisa Wogan, Seattle mag managing editor, has lived in Wedgwood since 1995