Monthly Archives: July 2012

In Cashmere: Mission Square is a Must-Stop

Tucked in between the tourist Mecca of Bavarian-themed Leavenworth and Wenatchee, which boasts a myriad of outdoor recreational opportunities, Cashmere has long been known as the home of the jellied candies, Aplets and Cotlets. Lots of folks frequently stopped at Liberty Orchards to take a tour and buy candy to take home, but then returned to their cars and raced down the freeway leaving the rest of Cashmere unexplored.

Now a variety of tourist-friendly businesses have taken up residence in Mission Square, an old pear packing warehouse in the Mission District.

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere is an artisan craft distillery with a tasting room in Mission Square. They produce 30 gallons of spirits a day. Their spirits are all made by hand using fruits and grains grown in Washington. Their offerings include Moonshine, Sunshine, Wheat Whiskey, Grappa and Brandy. But their most renowned product has got to be their Northwest Dry Gin with a range of botanicals not found in any other gin — star anise, juniper, orange, lemon, coriander and others.


Wine Design showcases and sells clocks and tables all made from old wine barrels. Owner and craftsman, Brian Ropp will build anything you like from signs to tables to chairs and more to your specifications.

Besides wine barrels, four wine tasting rooms grace the Square so there are plenty of opportunities to try local wines.

Snapdragon Coffee Café should not be missed whether you stop at the beginning or the end of your visit to the Square. They serve coffee drinks to warm you up and really good, authentic Italian gelato that can be consumed in any weather.

The day I was there, the flavors on tap for both gelato and sorbet included chocolate, chocolate cabernet, blackberry cider, white chocolate raspberry, mango, raspberry cider, lavender, old world cider with Aplets and Cotlets and salted caramel. The cider in the frozen confections is made by the owners of the café who also own the Cashmere Cider Mill. The Greens also have lodging available at the Cider Mill property.

Time it just right in the afternoon and you can imbibe in Snappy Hour at the Snapdragon Café and savor an exotic drink (alcoholic-free) with either a juice base or a coffee base. I highly recommend the piña colada. Very refreshing on a hot day and I’m sure it’s just as tasty on a cool one.

I love it when first-rate businesses band together in one structure.

Do you have a place like this that you love?

Heather Larson writes about the Pacific Northwest from her office in Tacoma, Washington hoping she can entice you to visit or share your own memories of the region. You can reach her at

I Found Sasquatch

At the City Park in North Bonneville, I spotted a family of five Bigfeet and Littlefeet plus more Littlefeet frolicking in the trees.


Maybe it’s because Bigfoot hunting is prohibited in Skamania County. Or because the residents of North Bonneville were welcoming and friendly. But this family of Sasquatch (or is it Sasquatches?) has moved from the Cascade Forests to this small town that was built for the workers on the Bonneville Dam project in 1934.

Large footprints guide you to the various Littlefeet who seem to be hiding in the trees at the park. But if you look closely you’ll see them and the Littlefeet are very curious about humans and hardly shy at all unlike their Bigfeet parents, so you may find yourself talking to them.


Birds, squirrels, owls and rabbits live in perfect harmony with the Bigfeet and Littlefeet in this park.

Skamania County is the only sanctioned “Sasquatch Refuge” in the world due to the large number of Bigfoot sightings in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, so if you’re a fan you should put this place on your visit list. You won’t regret it.

Have any of you spotted Bigfoot?

Envy, A Thriller for Young Adults

Several renowned thriller authors have taken their first step into the young adult genre recently. One of those lives right here in Washington and is one of my favorite writers, Gregg Olsen.

Gregg signed my copy of Envy in Maple Valley. Check his web site for other places he is signing books.

The time this New York Times best selling author spent writing true crime has paid off in his fiction work because you realize that the plots could have happened. Olsen’s first YA Envy is the first in a series of “Empty Coffin” novels. Since working with children in a school setting, I’ve always said that you have to keep kids attention with every paragraph of a book. They won’t settle for long descriptions, careless plots or flawed character profiles. When their interest wanes, they put the book down and never pick it up again. In my opinion, an author has to be the best kind of writer to appeal to the YA readers.

Olsen does this superbly in Envy. It’s the story of what can happen when cyberbullying goes way too far. It’s about twin girls with unusual powers. Coincidentally, Olsen has twin girls. It’s set in the very lovely town of Port Gamble, Washington. Maybe the town will hold “Empty Coffin” tours like Forks does “Twilight” tours. Coincidentally, Olsen lives in a small rural town in Washington, just not Port Gamble.

I love reading good YA’s because I have the attention span of a gnat. And this one, kept me turning pages well after midnight, but also checking to make sure the doors were securely locked.

Good for reluctant teen and tween readers and also great for adults who won’t tolerated slow-moving plots.

Do you read young adult novels?

Heather Larson writes about the Pacific Northwest from her office in Tacoma, Washington hoping she can entice you to visit or share your own memories of the region and read books by Washington authors, who are some of the very best.