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Festivals & Festivities

Pretty much year round there is bound to be some sort of annual celebration or festival from the Olympic Peninsula area to the Kitsap Peninsula area.  And this list doesn’t even include the heavy hitters in Pierce, King and surrounding counties like the Washington State Fair or Bumbershoot!  So here is a month by month list of the different festivities happening in our “neck of the woods” January through December.  Be sure to check websites for dates, admission fees, etc.  If you see one we’ve missed, be sure to let us know and we’ll add it on the list!

January:

February:

March:

April:

May:

June:

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:

December:

Arts in the Area

Whether you’re a casual observer, enthusiast, collector or ready to learn a new craft, our part of the state has numerous options to choose from.  Learn to paint here in Union with resident artist Robert Kamin.  Shoot down to Allyn and take some classes on chainsaw carving at George Kenny’s School of Chainsaw Carving.  Have an affinity for glass blowing? Head over to Shelton to Franz Art Glass & Supply.  If you’d like to check out, maybe even purchase some local art take a short trip down the road to Candy’s Wall of Fame.

Ready for a more urban art scene, Olympia is only about 40 minutes from Union and has a thriving arts culture.  We’ve compiled a list of some galleries and shops to check out in our state capitol.

 

Olympia Framemakers has also compiled a list of local individual artists & their websites worth checking out.  Some highlights include:  Shelley Carr does fantastic pieces out of copper, Chris Maynard makes incredibly detailed pieces out of feathers (a must see!), Lisa Kattenbraker creates unique contemporary art batik, Mark Kirkpatrick paints amazing watercolors of local beauty, Nikki McClure constructs incredibly detailed and beautiful paper cuts, Christine Malek among other things sews adorable plush and Jude Fritts carves stunning sculptures out of wood.  Just in our area there is so much incredible talent and variety of art, regardless of your taste, it would be impossible not to find something to love.

Antiquing

 

Over the years with the rising popularity of shows like Antiques Roadshow, Flea Market Flip or American Pickers there has been a surge around the country not only to hunt and find rare or valuable antiques, but also to find those neglected, unique finds that can be turned into treasures with a little TLC.  While cities, of course, house many different antique stores, they are usually the more high scale.  The kind that already knows the value of an object and are mostly priced way beyond the means of the average antiquer.  The best part about living off the beaten path is the multitudes of treasure trove antique stores in the vicinity.  Antique stores rarely have a website or any online presence, at most perhaps a Facebook page.  As many often know when making a circuit of local antique stores in a new area, a lot of the online information is outdated, inaccurate and often the location has been closed.  We’ve compiled a list for you here by area of places to check out, address and phone number.  The information is current as the list is compiled, but before you start a journey, we recommend calling to ensure the business is both open and operational.  Many of these shops would make a great driving loop for an afternoon, start in Union, head to Shelton, then Allyn, Belfair and back up to Union.  If you’re making a trip to Olympia, many of the shops are consolidated in one area around 4th Ave West.  We hope you’re able to make some terrific finds.

 


Union

  • Union Station Antiques 4941 E State Route 106 898.4055

Shelton

  • Antiques & Accents 64 SE Lynch Rd 462.7278
  • Creekside Antiques 209 Railroad Ave 427.3146
  • Frontier Antiques 315 S 1st St   426.7795
  • Homeport Antiques 211 SE Kamilche Shores Rd 426.5377
  • Mcisp 302 W Alder St 427.5323
  • Nana’s Attic 831 West Golden Pheasant Rd. 791.0448

 

Belfair

  • Aaron’s Antiques 321 E Olympic View 275.5050
  • Bob’s General Store 22551 NE State Rt. 3 275.1277
  • Mission Creek Antique Gallery 23611 NE St. Rt 3 277.9108

 

Allyn

  • Country Relics Antiques 18460 E St Rt 3 275.5006
  • Vintage Dragonfly 22551 N Hwy 3 552.2568

 

Olympia

  • Antique Junkie 210 4th Ave W 352.7447
  • Antique Peddlers Mall 3048 Pacific Ave SE 352.3810
  • Antiques Olympia 203 4th Ave W  786.9234
  • Barnes Floral Antique Annex 209 4th Ave W 357.3368
  • Brown Derby Antiques 1001 Capitol Way S 352.8787
  • Country Hideaway 4510 5th Ave NW 866.8819
  • Courtyard Antique Mall 705 4th Ave E 352.3864
  • Finders Keepers Antique Mall 501 4th Ave E 943.6454
  • Fleur De Lis 7941 Martin Way E 491.4007
  • Johnny’s Furniture Antique & New 7619 Martin Way E 923.9599
  • Oak Antiques & Refinishing 4213 Goldsby St SW 352.9699
  • Nanenas Antiques & Collectibles 7621 78th Loop NW 866.2525
  • Owly’s 801 411 Lilly Rd NE  456.2170
  • Rusty Rooster 117 Columbia St NW 236.9800
  • Second Hand Rose 9243 Yelm Hwy SE 459.0954
  • Sherburne Antiques & Fine Art 100 4th Ave E 357.9177
  • Summit Lake Antiques 10724 Summit Lake Rd NW  866.0580
  • Tattered Treasures 106 4th Ave W  357.0840

 

Port Orchard

  • Hannah’s Antique & Collectibles 5588 Clover Valley Rd SE 769.0759
  • Off the Wagon 802 Bay St 874.6888
  • Olde Central Antique Mall 801 Bay St 895.1902
  • Towne Square Antiques 1700 Southeast Mile High Dr 895.3840

 

Geocaching

 

In May of the year 2000, Selective Availability was removed from the Global Positioning System, which allowed small containers to be specifically placed and consequently located using GPS by the general public.  And thus geocaching was born.  If you’re new to geocaching, you’ll find it is a challenging & fun treasure hunt type activity for people of all ages.  Caches are hidden quite literally all over the globe and avid geocachers are usually in the hundreds to thousands of finds.  Geocachers have also adopted a motto of CITO, Cache In Trash Out, in an effort to help clean up our environment while having fun!

 

While the origin of geocaching required GPS equipment or at the very least coordinates and a compass, users may now use their smart phones to navigate as well.  Traditionally a geocache is a waterproof container containing minimally a logbook.  The caches can range in size and difficulty to reach/find.  If the cache is nano, micro or small, it will most likely contain just the logbook.  If the cache is medium size or larger (like trash can size!), it may also contain trinkets, tradable, trackables or a variety of other items.  There are other types of caches like virtual caches or a BIT cache for example that do not have traditional logbooks.  Some of the more difficult ones require puzzles to be solved!  As this hobby has expanded over the years, there has been no end to the creativity cache hiders have come up with to make a challenging find.

 

A Seattle based company, Groundspeak, is basically geocaching company headquarters.  They run the official website and app for geocaching. Users can choose between a free, basic membership or a paid, more detailed membership.  Basic membership allows the user to see geocaches on a map that are within a certain geographic radius to their immediate location.  As the user travels, the available geocaches change with location.  The available caches are low in difficulty level for the beginner.  With a paid membership, users may search any area for hidden caches, regardless of the current location.  These members also have access to much higher difficulty level caching.  Each cache appears on the map with a cache name, location, description and often a hint.  The user can scroll through other user’s comments that have attempted the same cache.  These can be useful if the cache has been lost or removed, other comments will help prevent a newbie from searching for a cache that may no longer be there.  Users track their finds on the app and sign the logbook.  If the container has items for trade (usually small toys or trinkets), be sure to add something in for other users.  Trackables are items that are specifically made with a tracking number to trace its history of location.  If you are fortunate enough to find some sort of trackable, you may take the object and log its tracking number.  Many trackable have traveled all over the world!

 

There are websites, Instagram accounts, Pintrest boards and multitudes of other forums dedicated to geocaching.  Millions of people from all over the world love this hobby.  As a matter of fact, Hugh Jackman is a dedicated geocacher!  If you’re interested in trying something new, download the free app and give it a try.  There are a handful of easy caches hidden right here in Union.

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Birding

 

If you’re already a bird watcher, then this is probably information you already know, but in case you’re not or you’re an amateur bird watcher and could use some extra information, we’ve got some for you.  The Washington National Audubon Society has eloquently compiled 8 magical answers to “Why watch birds?”  Read them here.  #8 is especially poignant.  There are a recorded 346 different bird species in Washington, a majority of which can be seen right here in Western Washington.  The Audubon Society also has pulled together birding loops throughout Washington and offer maps to order on their site.

 

The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is a premier spot for bird watching in our area.  Over 200 species of birds can be seen here including the Great Blue Heron, the Great Horned Owl and the Rufous Hummingbird.  Here the Nisqually River Delta is formed where the fresh water Nisqually River meets the salty Puget Sound.  It is one of the last remaining deltas in the state that is untouched and protected in 1974 and set aside for wildlife.  In 2009 the estuary was restored reconnecting 762 acres with the tides of Puget Sound.  Visiting this unique refuge can be done any time of year and there are scores of different birds to see regardless of the season. The refuge is just under an hour from Union.

 

The Annual Olympic Birdfest takes place every April.  It is timed to overlap wintering birds and the beginning of spring migration.  There are many options of events and field trips to choose from over the course of the festival dates.  Choose from all day trips, boat excursions, bird drawing classes, nature walks and much, much more.  Events range from free to $80, check out the event list for specifics. These events take place in numerous areas throughout the Olympic Peninsula.

 

Late April, in Hoquiam is the annual Grays Harbor Shorebird & Nature Festival. “EACH SPRING, hundreds of thousands of shorebirds stop to rest and feed in Grays Harbor estuary on their migration northward. Coming from as far south as Argentina, these Arctic-bound shorebirds are among the world’s greatest migrants. Some birds travel over 15,000 miles round trip! Tens of thousands of shorebirds feed on the open mudflats in the estuary. This concentration of birds offers people a great chance to view a number of shorebird species, and with luck, to see the birds fly together in beautiful formations while trying to escape the fastest creature on earth, the Peregrine Falcon.”  Hoquiam is located about 1 hour 15 minutes from Union.

 

In October, near Vancouver, WA is the annual Ridgefield Birdfest.  Ridgefield Birdfest is more than just bird watching and there is plenty for both birders and non-birders.  There is an arts & crafts marketplace, food vendors, a parade, storytelling and of course, birds!  Ridgefield Birdfest has been taking place for more than 15 years and is really a family friendly happening for people of all ages.  Ridgefield is about 2 hours from Union.

Mushroom Foraging or the Art of Mycology

 

 

Due to its climate, the Pacific Northwest produces a majority of commercially valuable wildly harvested mushrooms.  Washington State is particularly well situated for a cornucopia of wild mushrooms. If you are already an expert, then you probably already have your favorite secret spots marked out.  If you are new to the mycological world, don’t worry, there are tons of websites and organizations dedicated to help you on your way to safely starting to forage.

 

The most important part of mushroom foraging is identification.  There are so many thousands of types of a fungus, many of which are poisonous, so getting the details correct is essential.  Whether you’re hunting for chanterelles, morels or dozens of other delicacies, you’re in the right place.  And if mushroom foraging seems like something you’d like to become serious about, look into joining the Puget Sound Mycological Society.  The society holds monthly meetings for members and additionally classes and special events.  They have a very inexpensive annual fee and provide a lot of benefits to members including field trips, newsletters, book discounts and even mushroom identifications before each meeting.  Where to look for mushrooms really depends on the type you’re looking for.

 

So for the novice searcher, taking a class or joining a group would really help point you in the right direction.  Mushroom foraging 101 gives a visual guide to basic mushroom identification and where to start looking specifically in Western Washington.

 

http://mushroaming.com/Pacific_Northwest is also a great visual reference/guide to mushroom identification specifically in the PNW.

 

http://northernbushcraft.com/mushrooms/ provides a visual guide to edible mushrooms in the PNW.

 

Often at the Alderbrook Resort & Spa classes are offered on mushroom foraging for as little as $10 per class.