A couple of weeks ago, we took a short R&R to my favorite Washington beach. Long Beach has everything a beach lover could ask for – shopping, great dining, and of course, a beach to walk on or better yet, take your shoes off and dig your toes into sweet, soft sand.
When we arrived, the first order of the day was a drive through Cape Disappointment State Park, which has never been a disappointment. We enjoyed the mild wind on what was otherwise a hot day inland. Savoring the quietness, I thought the beach would be the ideal spot for meditation had I been alone.
Back in Ilwaco, just outside the park, we dined on Serious Pizza, a place where the food is divine and the service impeccable.
Waking up to that fresh misty breeze, the next day we couldn’t wait to take a trip to Jack’s Country Store in Ocean Park, the oldest general store in Washington State. We picked up some vintage toys for our granddaughter’s ninth birthday. Last year I needed a new Discover Pass (for entry into Washington State Parks) and a latte. Jack’s had both. In fact, I venture Jack’s has whatever you need. The ultimate in one-stop shopping.
Cruising through town on our way back, we stopped at Marsh’s Free Museum. What a fun place. Shells galore, weird creatures under glass, lots of souvenirs, and nonstop entertainment. Then we popped across the street for some refueling in the form of a slice of boysenberry pie at the Cottage Bakery.
But of course, the best part of a seaside stay is an early morning stroll along the beach while most folks are still sleeping. I was lucky enough to encounter a group of horseback riders also enjoying their time trotting along next to the surf. Sitting on the bench of a well-placed picnic table then seemed like a slice of heaven.
To look for lodging or other information about Long Beach, visit www.funbeach.com.
What used to be home to an ugly, smelly smelter plant for Asarco has magically transformed into a lovely, walkable shopping and dining district and homes for those who prefer condominiums or apartment living with views of Commencement Bay.
Point Ruston, located on Ruston Way on the Tacoma waterfront continues to add new restaurants and stores almost monthly, it seems. It’s become one of my favorite places to walk around, eat, take the dog, see a movie or just stare at the beauty of Puget Sound.
Here are a few of my preferred haunts:
- Two Town Pub & Café for yummy pub food and drink
- Stack 571, named for the exact height of the Asarco stacks, also offers premium whiskeys
- Wild Fin for a more gourmet meal
- Farrelli’s Northwest Pizza, an award-winning pizzeria
- Dolce Si, a Sicilian bakery with coffee drinks and sweets
- Wheel Fun Rentals for tooling around the waterfront or to Pt. Defiance
- Century Theatre complex with big, comfy recliners
- Ice Cream Social just in time for the sunny summer days we hope are coming
- Silver Cloud Inn so you don’t have to leave
- Purpose Boutique where you can shop with your gal pals
- Fish Brewing Company with seating for 360, handcrafted brews, wine and food
Just when you think a place can’t get any better, Pt. Ruston recently announced their inaugural concert series beginning Saturday, June 24, 2017. Free live music for all ages, every Saturday from 5-7 p.m. until September 2. Look for these groups: Strangely Alright, Sweet Kiss Momma, Kim Archer Band and Ted Brown Showcase.
Breaking News: A new trolley, the Downtown to Defiance Trolley, goes into service on June 2, 2017. It will take passengers from downtown to the Ruston Way waterfront, Pt. Ruston and Pt. Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Leave your car at the Tacoma Dome Station and take the Tacoma Link to downtown for no charge. Then catch the trolley and you can leave all the driving to Pierce Transit.
Last October the Hiyu and the M/V Evergreen State were put up for sale. Although it took quite a while they both now have new owners. Speaking of ferries, Anacortes is known mainly as the place to catch the ferry to the San Juan Islands, but the town has so much else to offer. Later I’ll tell you how you can win Anacortes Getaway for Two that my friend at Small Town Washington and the Experience Anacortes are giving away.
The Hiyu is destined to become a floating entertainment venue on Lake Union. Yeah, for keeping it local. The M/V Evergreen State will leave us and provide active ferry service in the protected waters of the southern Caribbean.
I would love to have a ferry, but as a freelance writer my income doesn’t jibe with the cost of these vessels. Starting bid for the Hiyu was $300,000 and it eventually sold for $150,000 while the Evergreen State price was dropped from a handsome $450,000 to $300,000 when it sold. The latter measures 296.7 feet and holds 87 cars. The former was the smallest of the fleet and carried only 34 cars.
What do you do with a ferry once you buy one?
Dyer Oxley, a writer at MyNorthwest.com, did lots of research on this and came up with some factual answers. Right here in our own neighborhood the M/V Skansonia serves as a wedding an event venue on the north shore of Lake Union in Seattle.
The M/V Rhododendron currently helps out with oyster farming in Fanny Bay, British Columbia, Oxley discovered.
Another retired vessel, the M/V Enetai is docked at Pier 3 in San Francisco and serves as a ballroom with a full bar.
Here is some ferry trivia for you:
- 2 million commuters, tourists and travelers ride Washington State Ferries (WSF) in 2016
- Those same ferries travelled 910,610 miles
- The Seattle-to-Bremerton route carried 2.1 million foot passengers in 2016, the most since 2004
- The Chimacum, a new Olympic Class ferry, will join the Seattle-to-Bremerton run in the spring of 2017
- WSF is taking advisement on how to improve service on the busy Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route from a volunteer citizen group
Here’s the Anacortes giveaway contest and it is full of good stuff. Hurry, the contest ends April 15th.
My daughter wanted to have a “girls” afternoon out and imbibe in tea and tiny finger sandwiches so I made reservations at The Secret Garden in Sumner, Washington. There, 75 different flavors of tea don the menu and the setting in a colonial style home couldn’t be more reminiscent of a slower time, less cell phone watching and excellent service.
The “tea” meal was divided into courses. First came the pots of tea, which needed to steep a few minutes more after arriving at your table. My choice, Ambrosia, blended exotic fruits and coconut. It was as good as the menu promised.
You select from the menu a grouping of different items, much like the family meals at a Chinese restaurant. Three of us wanted the same grouping, while the 8-year-old preferred the children’s menu item with a main course of peanut butter and jam sandwiches, with the crusts removed, of course.
Then came a sweet, flakey scone served with Devonshire cream, lemon curd and raspberry jam. After we’d finished the scones, we were given a scoop of mango sorbet to cleanse the palette. Then the showcase, the three-tiered tray of savory, sweet and sandwich treats, arrived.
Everything was presented in a beautiful and delicate way. You could tell much love and care went into the preparation. From the cucumber sandwiches to the pinwheels and quiches, nothing was left untouched by our table plus we needed a to-go box.
Reservations are recommended at The Secret Garden. Go early and peruse the lovely gift shop.
Other places where afternoon tea is served in this state:
Queen Mary Tea Room in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle
Cederberg Tea House in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle
The Silver Spoon Tea House in Spokane
Brambleberry Cottage & Tea Shoppe in Spokane
Even more suggestions here.
One of my all-time favorite places in the Pacific Northwest, Salish Lodge & Spa, will be serving Holiday Tea from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. December 19 – January 2, 2017. During that time, you can enjoy the Lodge’s signature teas and savor finger sandwiches, scones and sweet treats all while gazing at the cascading Snoqualmie Falls out the window.
Victoria, our neighbor to the north in British Columbia, has offered afternoon tea ever since I can remember. But Salish Lodge is much closer to home, you don’t need to travel by boat and nobody will ask for your passport.
The sandwich menu includes a roast beef and Salish honey (the honey couldn’t be fresher because the lodge has their own bees) ale spread and English cucumber with watercress and cream cheese.
The pastry chef has been hard at work creating Frangipane tarts, macaroons, chocolate opera cake and more.
Sounds like a good way to relax and take a break during this hectic holiday season. The kids are welcome, too.
The younger set, aged 6-12, has their own menu to choose from that includes PB&J on banana bread, miniature cupcakes and hot chocolate.
Wouldn’t a visit to Snoqualmie Falls with holiday tea at Salish Lodge make a good gift to yourself this year? I’d also work in a massage at the spa and a little shopping in the gift shop.
By Amy Hatvany
I was privileged to receive the ebook version of “It Happens All the Time” from NetGalley. The author, Amy Hatvany, lives in Seattle and most of the book is set in Bellingham giving this novel two reasons to merit a blog post here on Discover Washington State.
In the story Amber and Tyler have been best friends since they were teenagers, but recently started spending more time together than ever before. Amber is engaged to Daniel who is currently living in Seattle so they don’t spend much time together during the period when the novel takes place.
Amber has always considered hers and Tyler’s relationship platonic. But Tyler admits he has deeper, more romantic feelings for her. About the same time Amber begins questioning whether or not she’s ready to get married, the two of them attend a party. The alcohol flows freely and sexual tensions heat up between Amber and Tyler,
Told in alternating points of view, Amber questions whether or not she caused the terrible problem the night of the party by her actions and the way she dressed, while Tyler mostly doesn’t remember what happened. I want you to read the book, so I’m not giving anything else away.
Hatvany bravely pulled the topic highlighted in this book from an incident she experienced in her past. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to write, but it is a subject matter women wrestle with all the time so the story needs to be told.
I found the message captivating and the characters colorful. It was also fun to have actual places and street names in the Bellingham area used in the novel as I lived there for four years. It made me reminisce about my own college days.
With each new novel, Hatvany’s writing grows and flows. I look forward to her next with anticipation.
Expected publication date: March 27, 2017
After you’ve devoured this tantalizing thriller and shared it with your friends, it can easily double as a doorstop. Even at 536 pages, there’s no lagging or stagnation. It’s all action. O’Brien has carefully crafted another entertaining standalone.
When 17-year-old Spencer (with two last names) is released from prison after serving his allotted time for killing his parents, he goes to live with his aunt, Andrea Boyle. The two of them move to Seattle to start anew and hopefully avoid the stigma of Spencer’s past. Andrea meets and falls in love with Luke who also has a teenager, Damon. But Damon spends most of the time with his mother. That’s the main cast of characters, a number that’s easy to follow.
Damon becomes the first to blow up the novel, literally. When the bullies at school no longer have Damon to pick on, they turn their attention to Spencer. Then the fireworks have only just begun.
One Amazon reviewer said: As with all O’Brien books, there is never a dull moment. He is able to hook his readers from the first page and never allows the story line to drag.
One Amazon reviewer raved: Another wild ride from Kevin O’Brien! I was fortunately under the weather when my copy arrived so I had nothing else to do but read this fast-paced thriller…don’t even remember stopping for meals…
O’Brien himself experienced bullying in high school so he knows what he’s talking about. My only beef with this book is the high body count. I didn’t think it was necessary.
Otherwise, I highly recommend “You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone” as a great way to spend a weekend. You may have to sleep with a nightlight on though.
With this Seattle author, and a story set in the Emerald City, you can’t go wrong.
Fall is almost upon us.
September 2-25: Washington State Fair in Puyallup, A week longer than normal, but closed every Tuesday during its run. This is the most popular fair on the west side of the mountains. To see everything, it might take you two full days. Fisher scones, Clydesdales, competitions, Super Heroes, funnel cakes, dinosaurs, and more.
September 9-11: Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival, Main food court, kids food court, battle of the bands, parade, children’s activities, fireworks and a fishing derby top this community celebration.
September 9-11: Puget Sound Bird Fest in Edmonds, Bird lovers of all ages unite to learn more about their hobby. Festival includes guided nature walks, a photography exhibition and field workshop, speakers and presentations.
September 9-18: Bellingham Beer Week, Fifth annual celebration of the craft beer scene in our city to the north. Participants include Chuckanut, Boundary Bay, Kulshan, Aslan, Wander, Structures, Menace and Stones Throw. For other beer coverage across the state, check with my friends at the Washington Beer Blog.
September 23-25: Valleyfest in the Spokane Valley, Short and long-distance bike rides, hot air balloons, bed races, fishing at the falls, a parade, and robotics and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities.
September 23-25: Port Townsend Film Festival, 98 films at six different theatre venues, one of which is outside.
September 23-25: Autumn Leaf Fest in Leavenworth, Parades, music, entertainment, car show, breakfast and more.
September 23-25: Ye Merrie Greenwood Faire in Kennewick, A period Renaissance Faire, need I say more?
September 30-October 1: Inaugural SeaFeast in Bellingham, This new event takes place in downtown and showcases the rich maritime and thriving commercial fishing there. Local seafood, competitions, entertainment, a pub crawl and salmon barbecue.
Just Plain Cool
Wings over Washington in Seattle is a new attraction on Pier 59 at Miner’s Landing in Seattle. Purchase your tickets at the same place you buy them for the Great Wheel. This flying theatre transports you over and through some of the best scenery in the state. Once you’re strapped into your seat, the chairs drop and you become a part of the landscape and seascape. It feels so real, that I ducked and lifted my feet to avoid the obstacles.
The Thurston County Bountiful Byway, is now open so anyone can travel the 60-mile loop filled with fresh food and beverages. “This new program will further the Bountiful Byway’s mission to bring visitors hungry for local produce, craft beverages and farm fresh fare straight to the source,” says Shauna Stewart, executive director of the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau.
In the first half of the 1900s, cooking for loggers fell to a few women. Some of them also washed the lumbermen’s clothes and cleaned their cabins. Known collectively as “flunkies,” they lived in their own shack. At the Logging Museum in Mineral,
You’ll board the Mount Rainier Railroad in the small town of Elbe. The turn-off from Highway 7 is easy to miss. Watch for the restaurant in a train car and make the next possible right turn, then park behind the train car. Buy your tickets inside the designated building or better yet, get them online to ensure you and your party have a seat on the train.
On our ride, a lady came through the cars selling authentic train whistles, something you might want to give to a child who doesn’t live with you. When the engineer puts the train in gear, you can sit back and watch nature pass by outside your window. The steam train chugs along as you travel through forested land, over Mineral Creek and alongside the Upper Nisqually River.
The first half of the two-hour experience stops at the Logging Museum in Mineral. Besides the flunky cabin, you’ll have time to tour other buildings where loggers lived and ate plus a restoration shop and engine room. The authorities give you plenty of opportunity to look around and talk to the staff. Then you hop on board for the return trip to Elbe.
If you’ve already made plans for the rest of summer, no worries. The steam train becomes the Wine Express on September 24th with tastings provided by three local wineries. Later in the fall, the Great Pumpkin Patch Express takes over with Snoopy and Charlie Brown aboard and for the holidays the train transforms into the Polar Express.
Disclaimer: My granddaughter, daughter and I were generously hosted on this trip.