The route from Rosburg, WA to Tacoma on Hwy 101 is much more scenic than I-5 and the drive was easy. We were back to Rochelle’s house in plenty of time to pick up the cake and get to the skating rink. The kids had the time of their lives - what a great idea for a family birthday. As for me, I was glad it was only two hours. I had already just celebrated my own birthday and was worn out, but the cake was great.
We piled into the car Sunday morning for a Quaker meeting, my first, in Olympia followed by breakfast in Steilacoom, the oldest incorporated town in Washington, established in 1854. It’s right on the Puget Sound with the Olympic Penninsula in the distance. It’s meant a lot to me to put places to names I’ve heard all my life.
I was eager to visit Fort Nisqually and compare their living history reinactment to ours at the High Desert Museum, however, Allison had just concluded an exhausting candlelit fundraiser, had just said goodbye to house guests and was looking forward to some downtime. The next thing I knew we were all in the car, destination Point Defiance Park and the Fort. I was so glad she changed her mind and came with us as her explanations were really insightful.
Fort Nisqually, named for a local tribe, is a stockade set in 1854 and completely different from the HDM’s Miller Ranch and Sawmill set in 1904 where we’re talking about the train and the Sears & Roebuck catalog. Here the men married local Indian women called Metis which created a whole new culture of mixed-race descendants. The women’s clothing is a blend of Indian and European. Like HDM the facility is only possible by dedicated volunteers.
All Hudson’s Bay facilities were on waterways to facilitate the movement of heavy bales of beaver pelts to the Eastern and European markets, so I was confused by the Fort’s location on a promontory. But it was originally on the Sound, and in fact, the log structure on the right is one of two that were relocated. When the property was purchased by DuPont, the stockade was recreated in Point Defiance Park, next to the zoo.
Monday morning Rochelle took us to Vashon Island, a place I’ve wanted to visit ever since reading Betty MacDonald’s book Onions in the Stew. (She’s better known for her children’s Miss Piggle Wiggle series.) We hurried up to get near the front of the line and then visited while we waited. The ferry is not a quick afterthought. It runs every 40 minutes so if you miss it, it can completely throw off your day.
We walked down to the Point Robinson lighthouse and the lighthouse keepers Victorian buildings. The five Campbell/Loans spent a picturebook week here this summer and want to plan a return visit with us next year. I’m in!!
We wandered through shops, I bought another book and otherwise resisted temptation to buy because art is for sale everywhere. Rochelle’s theory is that people create all through the dark winter months and then sell in the adorable shops all summer.
She took us to this quaint trail and the bike in the tree. The story goes that a man laid his bike against the trunk of this tree and then was shipped off to the war. The bike was forgotten and the tree grew around it. There’s probably a less romantic true story but I like this one.
We ate lunch at The Hardware Store in Vashon which earned all it’s stars and then it was time to line up again for the ferry. It was a perfect day!
We were even treated to the appearance of Mt Rainer, another place I’m finally able to put a face to. The colloquial expression is “the mountain came out.” I didn’t notice it at first until later when I was asked if the mountain came out for us. Well, yes she did! Rochelle loves Tacoma and especially her northern location where can park her car for days on end. She walks to the grocery store, the library, her hair place and the elementary school where she picks up her grandkids after school. The two families live three blocks apart, close enough for convenience but not too close. What’s not to love?!
We packed in a lot in just a few days, so I’ll just say ate a lot, saw a lot and laughed a lot. And we drank a lot of coffee (sign from the Raymond coffee shop.)