Category Archives: Tacoma

Jellies at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

imageSqueezing in a little last bite of summer, a bunch of us went to to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium  to visit the jellies and the big cats. It was such a treat because one of the group of our happy group actually volunteers at the zoo and was able to tell us about the animals. I was so busy chatting with my friends, that I forgot to take many photos! Perhaps the dearest of the exhibits was the cloud leopards cubs even though they just slept there in a big pile of darlingness.

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The Dahlia Trial Gardens at Point Defiance


When I think of large displays of dahlias I usually think of the Connell’s Dahlia or perhaps the Washington State Fair. But Point Defiance Park also has a large display, the Dahlia Trial Gardens, which is right next door to the Rose Gardens and everything seemed to be in bloom!  I had gone to join my good friends at a picnic and really enjoyed my time with them. Afterwards I wandered all the gardens, enjoying the sunshine and snapping away. This Dahlia Trial Garden is one of eight in the entire United States that is sanctioned by the American Dahlia Society. It is managed by the Washington State Dahlia Society. Post Defiance has an excellent article on the gardens.

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Tacoma Cemetery Living History Tour

imageOnce a year, the Tacoma Historical Society, Tacoma Cemetery and the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum join forces to produce a Living History Tour.  Each historical reenactor is from the Fort Nisqually Time Travelers and has assumed the role of a Tacoma citizen in the time period around World War I.  This is the 7th tour and the first that I remember that photography was allowed as long as we waited until the end of each talk and didn’t bother the actors.

The list of those represented is here. Thanks to Tacoma Weekly!

  • Alexander Baillie (with the golf club)-  the founder of Tacoma Country & Golf Club. It isn’t often you actually see a twinkle in somebody’s eye! I loved the story about how he imported golf clubs from his beloved Scotland. When the port didn’t know what they were, he convinced the port officials that they were farming equipment so he had less of a tax burden.
  • Annie Brown (white dress) – Annie and Oscar were the lighthouse keepers at Brown’s Point for many years. When she teared up talking about how she missed the lighthouse in her old age, I sniffed a little myself.
  • Ada Bel Tutton Gifford (red dress) had a great hat, as she should since she owned a millinery shop on Broadway Avenue. I loved her pride in her accomplishments.
  • Chester Thorne (arms to side), owner of Thornwood Castle and accomplished local businessman. He owned a yacht name the El Primero and President Taft was one of his more famous guests on it. He lost the yacht in a poker game.
  • Peter Wallerich (hands folded in front), told some of his story in rhyme. He was responsible for the automotive industry situating on South Tacoma Way and bought the Northern Pacific Bank.
  • Hugh and Mildred Wallace (couple) each told their stories of being part of high society. He was the ambassador to France and the French often honored him. She was the much loved daughter of a Chief Justice. They donated the clock tower chimes in Old City Hall to honor their daughter who died. Note to self, their house is still standing at 402 North J.
  • W.F. Sheard (with chair) has a shop across the street from the Tacoma Hotel and was well known for his furs. He is also known for designing the gold bead sight used on Winchester rifles and for bringing the totem pole in Firemen’s Park to Tacoma.

I believe the tour is full for today, but you can contact the Tacoma Historical Society to double check. And make a note to go next year :)

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Little Free Library #7684, Tacoma

imageThis Little Free Library is located at 3815 South Ainsworth Avenue, south of South 38th Street and is part of the Little Free Library Project. This high quality Little Free Library has a lovely varnished wood with details including side windows and a sun. There is a little walk up area also. Inside there are over a dozen books, with an emphasis on good quality children’s chapter books. For the first time, I found a book I actually wanted, Tacoma-Pierce Co Walking Guide.

Little Free Libraries is part of a community movement which offers free books. When I considered my first Little Free Library in November 2012, a Wikipedia article informed me that there were over 200 of these libraries. Per their website, there are now over 25,000!  Each of the libraries is registered and can be located by their GPS coordinates.

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The Boulders Near the Tacoma Public Library Main Branch

stones on parking stripThe boulders were dropped on the parking strip on Earnest S. Brazill Street between Tacoma Avenue South and Altheimer Street in June 2015. The strip is between Tacoma Public Library Main Branch and a public parking lot and indeed it was often full of people prior to the great stone drop.  Prior to the drop, the area had been identified as one of seven “hot spots” for homeless encampments in Tacoma. When I went passed this evening there was a small group of folks on the still green strip uphill to the west of the boulders. The move was seen as controversial and it is indeed a difficult issue. It is the second boulder drop in Tacoma this year with the other drop being under I-705 near the Dock Street offramp.

Read more here.image image
Let's Eat

Chamber’s Bay Whole Foods

16793848633_738f3a9fab_kI was pretty excited when I learned that Whole Foods was opening up a location in University Place (Chambers Bay Whole Foods, 3515 Bridgeport Way West, University Place, WA 98466). We had a Whole Foods near us (kind of) when we lived in Dallas and I’ve always enjoyed shopping there. My day to day shopping is elsewhere, but Whole Foods was a pleasure for a once in a while treat.

I went to Chambers Bay Whole Food’s grand opening with live music and free samples. It was a lively event! But yesterday I went back to see how they are doing now that the opening is over and the US Open has left town.

The good points are.

  • Their employees are helpful, cheerful and knowledgeable.
  • Free samples! Lots of delicious fresh fruit and even a little wine.
  • There is plenty of parking and an entire underground parking lot also.
  • Plenty of ‘to go’ meal options including pizza by the slice, salad bar, hot food bar, juice bar, coffee bar with adjacent bakery, a bar bar (yes, you can have beer or wine with your pizza there in the store!) and other made to order goods.
  • They have a lovely Facebook Page.
  • Their website is also well done.
  • They have a good selection of local produce and other goods. For example there is an upcoming brewer’s night with local beer brewers.
  • All kinds of products that I don’t see elsewhere.
  • I love the octopus on the narrows bridge art over the cheese shop!

The less than good points are:

  • Well, they are expensive. For example the leg cramp medicine my husband uses was 1/3 more expensive than it is on Amazon. Though I found quite a few reasonably priced items and some of the sale items (I love their soaps) were a steal!
  • This location doesn’t carry Tom’s Shoes, which is what brought me there. In fact they have very little in the way of clothes. That’s OK, if I want clothes with my groceries I go to Fred Meyers. Though I really wanted to check the fit on the new Tom’s sneakers.
  • Like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods doesn’t stock most day to day items, so if I want Pepsi or Oreo Cookies, I need to go elsewhere. They do have healthy options to sodas and sweets.
  • I was looking forward to taking a class or two there and they don’t seem to be set up for that. Maybe in the future.

The good outweighs the not so good and I’m delighted that they are here.


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Little Free Library #9134 and the Boze Community Garden

imageLittle Free Library at the corner of East ‘L’ Street and 68th Street and is part of the Boze Community Garden. It is a well constructed Little Free Library and has about a dozen books, mostly for children.

On the same parcel, there is the Boze Community Garden. More information about Tacoma’s Community Gardens can be found here.

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Hong Kong Supermarket

imageThe Hong Kong Supermarket at 3828 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98418 opened in April 2014, so it has had more than a year to settle into place. It is a large specialty store with a full selection of food items from primarily Southeast Asia. There is a deli and some household items as well. It is good to see a new building/expanded business in the Lincoln District which has quite a few empty storefronts and under utilized buildings. The Hong Kong Supermarket had been located on the corner of South 38th and South Yakima Ave before they constructed their new store in the previous location of Lincoln Bowl.  I purchased a treat for dear daughter, but if I had been more adventurous I would have gone for one of the drinks: Pennywort, Chrysanthemum or Basil Seed. Yep, that’s what I’ll do next time!

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Tacoma Screw has a really big flag

imageI took a break from my fireworks nervous dogs today to see the region’s largest U.S. Flag at Tacoma Screw, 2001 Center Street. It weighs 150 pounds and is the largest U.S. flag west of Wisconsin and north of Sacramento. The measurements are 80’x40′ and the pole is 180 feet tall, which is 90 feet above the adjacent Highway 16. In comparison, the largest U.S. flag is located in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and is 120’x60′.

Tacoma Screw commissioned the flag as a way to celebrate their 70th year in business and to give back to the community.

It was a little difficult to photograph and to give a sense of the sheer size of the flag. I started at Tacoma Screw and then moved up to Irving Park to capture it from above. The full summer hillside at the edge of the park didn’t provide a full view, but finally some people came by and I had my shot that showed scale (thanks people!).

A short video can be found here. IMG_1099

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Little Free Library #14444, Tacoma

imageThe Little Free Library #14444 is at 6720 Park Avenue, Tacoma, across the street from Park Avenue School.  It is cleverly located in a cheerful red newspaper box, the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Inside there are about almost dozen books. The one that I have read for sure is Amy Tam’s Joy Luck Club, but I’m pretty certain that I’ve also read The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd.

What really stood out with this visit was the sidewalk next to the Little Free Library. There was a small stand with three new food products: Shredded Coconut, Panko Breadcrumbs and How & Sweet Pepper Jelly. I don’t know about the coconut, but the other two items were from Trader Joe’s. Those three ingredients can pretty much be used to make Coconut Chicken with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce. Well, ok then. One does wonder why. They are obviously available for the taking and certainly quality ingredients. And I can see why the milk and chicken wasn’t included, it being hot and all. I guess it will remain a mystery and mysteries are good.

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