Tag Archives: Tacoma

Point Ruston Just Keeps Getting Better

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:

Coming soon:

  • 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.

Courtesy Travel Tacoma

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.


What’s New and Cool in June, 2016

I can’t even fathom how long a comprehensive list of every event taking place in Washington might be. It would probably break the Internet. So what I’m posting is can’t-miss festivals, new activities and darn it, my personal favorites.

June 2:  Alderbook Resort & Spa, where the spa happens to have doggy massages on the menu, presents the “Spirit of the Canal” Distillers Dinner. Make reservations through Edible Seattle or the resort which has discounted overnight specials for this occasion.

June 3-5:  Edmonds Waterfront Festival

 Edmonds ferry

Edmonds ferry

June 4:  Oddmall Emporium of the World, Everett. If anyone goes to this, please let me know what happens there. I’m intrigued.

June 4:  The town of Lynden will try to break the Guinness Book of World Records by making the world’s longest strawberry shortcake. This is where I’ll be.

June 4:  National Trails Day means free State Park admission in Washington on this Saturday. Should you want to combine visiting a state park with hiking, may I suggest looking at the Washington Trails Association site or check in with one of the most prolific hikers around, Craig Romano.

June 10-12:  Craft Wine Fest featuring beer as well in Vancouver, USA.

June 10-12:  Maple Valley Days, Maple Valley. My old stompin’ grounds so I’m partial to this town’s celebration.

June 11:  Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island is hosting a fishing derby for kids 16 and under. No license is required and because this is also National Get Outdoors Day, once again you don’t need a Discover Pass because all state parks offer free entry that day.

June 17-19:  Marysville Strawberry Festival

June 18-19:  Walla Walla Onion Festival. I wrote about this and several other Northwest festivals in the May/June issue of Northwest Travel & Life Magazine.

June 24-26:  Taste of Tacoma. My hometown and where I first tasted alligator on a stick. Travel Tacoma recently unveiled their spiffy new website where you can look for other attractions to visit.

June 25-26: Spokane’s Hoopfest, one of the biggest 3-on-3 basketball competitions in the nation. For lodging, restaurants and other activities in Spokane, look at their tourism site.

Just Plain Cool

You can now take a tour with a park ranger at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma. Don’t mess with Mary Krauszer because she’s also a jammer for the Dockyard Derby Dames.

Mary Krauszer, new Pt. Defiance Ranger

Mary Krauszer, new Pt. Defiance Ranger

The San Juan Islands  recently introduced an app, San Juan Islands Insider, that gives you tips on where to explore, how to gather points and then trade those points in for goods and services on the islands. Available on either Google Play or at the App Store.

See Friday Harbor on the Jolly Trolley instead of hoofing it everywhere. By taking a riding tour, you can better scope out where you want to spend more time.   Jolly Trolley

As if Lakedale in Friday Harbor, doesn’t have enough different types of accommodations, this year they installed new canvas cottages.

Did I forget anything you absolutely love? If so, please let me know and I’ll add it.






Celebrating Daffodils, updated 2018

Every spring Tacoma and Pierce County pay tribute to the buttery yellow flower. This year (2018) as always, look for a parade in four cities all on April 7. Crowds turn out and line the sidewalks, first in Tacoma, then Puyallup, Sumner and finally in Orting to view floats, bands, princesses and more.

Sea Scout’s Entry

Thousands of fresh-cut daffodils will adorn the floats. As sometimes happens in the Pacific Northwest, it might rain.

On Sunday, April 15, Tacoma celebrates boats and our waterways with a Marine Parade. More than 40 boats will cruise  from the Tacoma Yacht Club to the Thea Foss Waterway.

Those are authentic mermaids on the front of the boat.

If the sun makes an appearance, you’ll be able to see the Olympic Mountains and Mt. Rainier.

People’s Choice Winner – the pink octopus revolves and they played the Beatle’s song about an octupus garden on the boat.

LeMay — America’s Car Museum

Row upon row of shiny, gleaming cars await your visit.

Courtesy LeMay Car Museum

A project that’s been talked about and in the works for more than ten years opened earlier this month. LeMay – America’s Car Museum (it’s official name) is a four-story, 165,000 square-foot venue, located in Tacoma across from the Tacoma Dome complete with a preservation shop, galleries, banquet hall, meeting space, car storage, a gift shop and a café.

LeMay is the largest auto museum in North America and should boost Tacoma’s economy with an estimated 425,000 visitors and $32 million in visitor spending and employment locally.

Courtesy LeMay Car Museum

Rotating exhibits tell the story of the automobile. The museum houses 15 display spaces, which include three galleries six ramps (which can hold 12 cars each) three viewable storage galleries and three primary end galleries.

Museum’s Namesake

The museum was named for Harold LeMay who was an “extreme” car collector. His collection made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. Some might call him a car rescuer because according to his wife, Nancy, he bought cars so they wouldn’t be destroyed. So he had a huge variety of makes, models, shapes and sizes. And it was his dream to share them with everyone. Although LeMay won’t see the finished museum, because he died in 2000 at the age of 81, his dream lives on through Nancy and a host of workers and volunteers.

“Harold had a lifelong passion for autos,” says Scott Keller, chief marketing and communications officer for the museum. “What’s unique about this collection is that it’s eclectic and offers something for everyone.”

Courtesy LeMay Car Museum


From the 1930 red Duesenberg Model J which sold for a minimum of $13,000 new to the 1983 Mercury Marquis Station Wagon, the collection focuses on America’s timeless love affair with the automobile. Keller says many of the cars have a very colorful history.

Lemay traveled throughout the United States buying cars.

“Harold would see a car he wanted to maintain and buy it,” says Keller. “Part of preserving the autos was caring for them and driving them, although not all of the vehicles in his collection are drivable.”

He was able to buy so many cars because of the very successful waste management business he started, says Keller. At the time of LeMay’s passing Harold LeMay Enterprises was the 10th largest refuse business in the United States.

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.

Two Restaurants You Should Try

There’s nothing I enjoy more than good food and this week I had two outstanding meals at two different restaurants.


Tuesday I had the chance to dine on some tasty crab dishes at Duke’s on the Tacoma waterfront. Seven Slanted High Balls and Seven Savory Sliders make their Happy Hour happy. The drinks are served in slanted, slightly off-kilter glasses. I’m not sure whether the glasses straighten out after you’ve had a few high balls or not, but I highly recommend the crab slider appetizer served during Happy Hour. It’s a little taste of heaven and goes well with Lulu’s Margarita. Happy hour runs 3 p.m.-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close everyday, weekends included.


Another palate pleaser has to be the Dungeness Crab “Un” Cakes served with lime aioli, organic field greens and a citrus vinaigrette. The powers that be at Duke’s searched the Northwest for the best crab cakes they could find and after two full days of eating nothing but crab cakes determined that the worst part was the “cake” so they left it out.  The “Un” Cake is an outstanding dish.

Today I wound up at a YMCA orientation in Seattle right next to the Lunchbox Laboratory, a restaurant I’ve wanted to try for months. So, even though we’d just eaten, I insisted we at least try one menu item and since I was the oldest in the group, the rest relented. And they were happy they did.

The Mexican Cokes on the beverage list turned out to be a big hit as was the Chips and Dip Classique appetizer of handmade potato chips dusted with a rosemary-romano sea salt and served with a chunky mixture of garlic, onion and bacon for dipping.

Since I don’t know when I might return to this area of Seattle, I opted to share a Native New Yorker Burger with my grandson. Burgers are the specialty at this restaurant.

Their beef patties come from American Kobe-style beef, which tastes so much better than ground beef from the grocery store. The New Yorker lived up to its name complete with Monterrey Jack cheese, thinly sliced onions and sides of ranch and buffalo ketchup. Handcrafted smoked salts are delivered to your table and you’re told they can be added to the sides, like the skinny fries. I put bacon salt on my burger and it added just the right touch of flavor enhancement.


For a treat you can dine outside around a fire pit, which you’ll most likely need to keep warm about eleven months out of the year.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Seattle or Tacoma?

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

A Partnership that Worked

Saturday I attended the 18th Annual RAGS sale that benefits Pierce County’s YWCA domestic violence programs. Participating artists, selling wearable art, donate 33% of their sales to the cause.

Last year this same event raised $97,000, which helped the YWCA assist 2,845 women and 2,860 children.

Tables and racks full of beautiful clothing, high quality jewelry and attractive scarves were set up in every crack and crevasse of the venue. Besides being eye-pleasing, everyone was friendly and accommodating, plus they had streamlined their checkout system so there was virtually no wait.

But the reason I’m writing about this event, that won’t happen again until March 7-10 in 2013, is because of the partnership it forged.

The sale was held at our local Mercedes dealer – Larson’s Mercedes-Benz of Tacoma, which is located in Fife, just outside of Tacoma. The space looked new and shiny, it was huge with lots of maneuvering room for shoppers and you felt like you were rubbing shoulders with the rich and elegant. The dealership had their deli open for the event, so you could eat and then shop some more.

I love it when diverse businesses form partnerships or businesses support a charity in a big way by hosting their event. It’s always beneficial to both parties.

What businesses can you think of that have forged successful partnerships?

Polar Plaza Coming to Tacoma for the Holidays

Skate to your heart’s content. Wear an Ugly Sweater to get $1 off admission. Watch the Thunderbirds Hockey Team take the ice. Enjoy live music. Choose your Christmas tree. Shop for gifts. Do it all in one central location.


This holiday season Tacoma residents won’t have to trek to Bellevue or Seattle to experience an open-air outdoor ice skating rink with all the trimmings. Tacoma will have their own. The Franciscan Polar Plaza, which will be located directly across from the Tacoma Art Museum at Tollefson Plaza on Pacific Avenue, will be open from November 25 through January 2, 2012.

The skating rink will measure 40 feet by 100 feet and can accommodate 150 people. Admission will be $8 and skate rental will be $2. After paying these fees you can stay all day if you like and enjoy the music, special events, and purchase coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

I am really looking forward to this although I don’t ice skate, but I do love to watch skaters. To get there and avoid the parking crunch, I think I’ll park at the Tacoma Dome Station and take the Tacoma Link light rail to the Polar Plaza. That’s all free so I can spend more when I get to my destination.

Fair and Festival Season

A train that took people around the outskirts of Meeker Days

We just started fair and festival season in Washington and last week my husband and I attended Meeker Days in Puyallup. Billed as the largest festival in Pierce County, it certainly lived up to its name. You’d walk down a main street lined with booths only to find all the cross streets also full of vendors just about as far as the eye can see. They had a building full of exhibits, also. And live entertainment, lots of food, a beer garden and a car show. There could have been more, but my feet started talking to me and telling me to sit down so I didn’t cover all the territory.

One of the vendors sold bird houses with swimming pools. Lucky birds.

I love the fairs and festivals we have around here. For some reason all the best ones usually fall on the same weekend and I’m not sure why that is. They are just good old-fashioned fun.

Here are some of my favorites and when they take place this year:

Kent Cornucopia Days, Kent. July 7-10:  Dragon boat races, a run, crafts and more.

Capital Lakefair, Olympia. July 13-17:  Carnival, entertainment and food with a Candyland theme this year.  

Sequim Lavender Festival, Sequim. July 15-17. Self-guided tours of farms, a street fair and all things lavender.  

Bellevue Arts Museum Arts and Fair, Bellevue. July 29-31. Live entertainment, hands-on kid’s activities and lots of outdoor art.  

Morton Loggers’ Jubilee, Morton. August 11-14. We celebrate everything here including lawn mower racing and lumberjack skills.  

Auburn Good Ol’ Days, Auburn. August 12-14. School reunions, a fun run, car show and a honey bucket building contest.  

Tacoma Maritime Fest, Tacoma. August 27-28. Boat building, awesome harbor boat tours, live music and Almond Roca.

What is your favorite fair or festival and why?

My Favorite Farmers Markets

The local farmers’ market season has officially arrived. Nothing tastes better than freshly plucked vegetables and fruits so I look forward to this time all winter. Although I’ve not been to all the markets the state offers, and there are a ton of them, I do have my favorites locally.

Pottery at the Olympia Farmers Market 

Farmers Market of Olympia:  About an hour south of Tacoma and well worth the drive. Besides produce, vendors regularly sell meat, seafood, eggs, baked goods, herbs, cut flowers, plants and honey. Local artisans and live entertainment make this market the biggest and it’s open Thursdays through Sundays and is under cover.

Porctor Market flowers

Proctor Farmers Market in Tacoma opens the earliest of them all in March. Add cheese and grass-fed meats to the regular market bounty and you should visit this market at least once. Located in a very walkable and fun neighborhood, you’ll want to spend extra time in the boutiques and grab a bite at one of the many restaurants. Saturdays 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

South Whidbey Farmers Market:  In its 40th year, locals gather here for chatting and shopping. Their 11-acre sustainable agriculture campus allows you to view their on-site growing operations, which features an earthen pizza oven, gardens, orchard and a native plant nursery. Sundays from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Remlinger Farms in Carnation is much more than a market. Besides the produce and the u-pick fields, their family fun park offers steam train rides, pony rides, farm animals and live entertainment. Market open everyday from 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

All of the above markets are open now. We have others that don’t start business until June. I will talk about those then.

Community Garden Summit: Tacoma Rocks

Last Saturday I attended the 2nd Annual Community Garden Summit, not knowing what to expect, because I missed the first one. The event made me even prouder to be a Tacomaite than I already was.

First it was totally free – from the workshops to lunch to the vegetable starts we were given at the end of the day. We were welcomed by our mayor, Marilyn Strickland, who told us that the number of community gardens (sometimes called pea patches) per capita in Tacoma has now surpassed those in Seattle.

We had a vast array of workshops to choose from during the day, such as composting, edible flowers, vermiculture, trellising, planting a food bank garden and much more. I chose to attend square foot gardening, container gardening and polycultures and perennial plantings.

The information on polycultures that Kelda Miller of Sustainable Tacoma Pierce gave out sounded really good to me, so I’m going to try it in my raised bed. Basically what polycultures means is that you grow plants together that complement each other in growth habit, nutrient uptake and water harvesting so that they actually care for each other. I’m going to try the four-season polyculture.


We actually planted a garden like this at the event so I got hands-on experience. Other vegetables and flowers can be used, but this is what I’ve chosen to plant. First you broadcast radish seeds in your bed, then daisy seeds which become beneficial insect attractors, next comes bush bean seeds for a nitrogen fix and last is carrot seeds for the carrot roots. Then you cover the whole mix of seeds with soil.

The idea is that all the seeds germinate at different times and grow at different rates, so you have constant crops through the fall. I’ll let you know how it works. It sounds quite easy, but I’m a very novice gardener.


Tip:  I just heard about a new web site today that is a luxury lifestyle magazine for Seattle. The publication is Seattleite. You might enjoy it – I know I did.