Set on the eastern shore of Lake Washington, surrounded by low forest and lawns, Saint Edward's Seminary is not hard to picture as it was in the 1930s, with hundreds of students in residence.
These days, Saint Edward State Park bursts with modern life. Kids enjoy unstructured fun on the grass fields and playground equipment, kayakers cruise Lake Washington and hikers and mountain bikers take to the trails.
Amidst the sprawling grounds, lapping lakeshore and verdant footpaths, you'll find a place steeped in Northwest history. The large brick building was the first successful Catholic seminary in the Pacific Northwest and the first accredited Catholic seminary university in the United States. Envisioned and financed by Seattle's first bishop, Edward O'Dea, and designed by famed architect John Graham, the remarkable edifice was constructed in 1931 and served students until 1976.
Take a contemplative stroll to a quiet Grotto, a river-rock alcove that has become a popular wedding spot. If you're looking for a picnic site close to Seattle, you're in the right place. Relaxing on the grass or at a picnic table, you'll be struck by the play of the afternoon light on the classic old building.
Saint Edward State Park is a 326-acre day-use park with 3,000 feet of freshwater shoreline on Lake Washington. Picnic tables are available first come, first served, and the Grotto and several picnic areas are available for rental. The seminary building is not open for events at this time. There is no watercraft launch at the park, but paddlers launching from other parts of Lake Washington can bring their kayaks and boards onto the beach.