“Wallimont” is a word that has gained currency in recent years, representing the increased synergies between Wallingford and Fremont as business communities. Additionally, there is the uncertainty of their traditional Stone Way border and the blocks west of it — are they Wallingford? Or are they Fremont?
But without a doubt, each neighborhood retains its own flavor: Pockets of Fremont, the off-center “Center of the Universe,” remain not quite domesticated. And, after all, Fremont has the canal.
Wallingford’s retail artery is laid out along North 45th Street, and the pendulum swings wide in terms of what is available here, from an erotic bakery to a poetry-only bookstore; the Hawaii General Store (where Hawaiian is sometimes spoken) to an import beer shop to the inimitable Archie McPhee & Co., a kind of variety store your grandmother wouldn’t recognize. The string of ethnic restaurants also earns the neighborhood destination status for diners.
Anyone who’s been away from Fremont for 15 years and crosses the bridge from the Queen Anne side may be forgiven for feeling like Rip Van Winkle, with the Adobe Systems campus on the right and new condos on the left while those old classics, The Red Door and the Dubliner, have been relocated. Much of the counterculture element has given way, especially during the weekdays, to the presence of a scrubbed up, button-downed, digital-based workforce, which also includes Getty Images and Google.
Wallingford has remained more stable, though the North 45th Street corridor is surprisingly busy with traffic at all hours — people headed east trying to get on I-5.
Both neighborhoods, in their quiet backstreets, feature a charming stock of Craftsman cottages with gardens, especially Wallingford’s southern slope heading down toward Lake Union.