Enjoy this blog post again or for the very first time…gardening with the locals, the deer in our neighborhood.
I’m living in a new neighborhood and have inherited a garden quit different from anything I’ve had before. The neighborhood is beautiful and the landscape is focused primarily on native woodland plants. In addition to our wonderful landscape we inherited something else…dozens of deer. Our new neighborhood is brimming with deer and other wildlife. So I have been studying all about deer resistant plants for both container gardening and landscaping.
The deer in our neighborhood are so used to humans they will come right up to the front porch and eat the flowers there. Oh the nerve. What’s a girl to do? Well the deer were here first…so I need to adapt to them.
My friend Kim, who is a local Master Gardener, came over and brought me some lists of some of the tried and true plants and remedies to turn deer away from my yard. There are a lot of plants deer won’t eat, although even some of those they might take a nibble.
After my help from Kim and lots of research on Pinterest I headed off to my local nursery and stocked up on lots of plants that are supposedly deer resistant and I bought a couple of other things to try as a gamble.
I planted eight pots of flowers, planted four pots of tomatoes, and added several things in the ground. After three weeks here are my success stories and the fails from A – Z;
I planted 12 astilbe in the ground. The deer took a few nibbles in the beginning, mostly just nipping off the new flower shoots, but have essentially ignored the astilbe ever since. However, the astilbe is planted around a small Japanese Maple, and the deer keep walking on the astilbe to nibble on the Japanese Maple.
Last fall I put eight peonies in the ground near the front of my house. The deer do not have any interest in them and the plants are flourishing beautifully. I think I will add some more.
I planted a couple of mugwort in a pot last year but they got so big I moved them to the ground this year. Mugwort has a strong odor of curry and the deer stay away. It’s not my favorite either but I’ll learn to live with it. I’ve grouped it with some lavender.
Another great plant the deer find offensive is lavender. Deer usually will stay away from most herbs, and although we love the smell and texture of lavender, deer do not. I now have six lavender in the ground, all healthy.
We inherited many mature Rhodies and were gifted some more from a neighbor and the deer have no interest in these beautiful and easy shrubs.
I got a little carried away at the plant store and, without checking my list, picked up three hosta to go under my maple tree where we removed some unsightly heather. Only later did I read hosta is deer candy. So, the hosta are there, and so far the deer haven’t eaten them but I am prepared for that to happen. Then I will try something else – maybe Bleeding Heart.
I put two Bleeding Heart (one of my favorite shade plants) in the tiny garden near our front door and they are doing great. For as delicate as Bleeding Heart is I am surprised the deer don’t like it, but apparently they hate it. More Bleeding Heart coming up.
I have a healthy Shasta Daisy in a pot from last year and the deer ignore it completely. I’ve added some Dahlias around this daisy for color and contrast.
It’s been years since I grew dahlias and this year I bought several from a local dahlia farm (Papa Paul’s Dahlia Farm). I put them all in pots. As of this writing they are emerging strong and healthy and so far the deer walk right by. I’ll need to wait until later in the summer to see if they ignore the blooms.
Canna is one of my favorite plants and I have four in two different pots. The deer are staying away so far. The other great thing about canna is it overwinters well in the Pacific Northwest.
I actually am not a huge fan of day lily, but they make the list of deer resistant plants so I have added two yellow ones to one of my pots. So far, no deer.
This purple flower falls into the deer resistant category of “usually”. So I put a nice healthy one in the same pot as the day Lily. The deer immediately nibbled off the tips of each oncoming bloom. Since then I have not seen any more damage. Fingers crossed.
One of my all time favorite flowers of summer, delphinium also falls into the “usually” deer resistant category. Last summer the deer ate all my delphinium, so this year I planted three in a pot closer to the house. So far they have taken a nibble on the petals of one of the plants but nothing more.
I planted several cone flower in with the canna and a Black Eyed Susan from last year. These have been great performers in my pots and the deer have been pretty ambivalent.
In addition to the lavender I have some sage, lemon thyme and oregano scattered around my yard and pots. I think I’ll intersperse a few more herbs like mint and parsley, as herbs certainly seem to work to offend the deer and keep them away.
My four pots of tomatoes and one pot of lettuce are just outside my kitchen and I have never seen a deer come up close to this door. All these plants are doing great.
I’ve never tried zinnia from seed before, but the odor and texture are a big turn off for deer (I’m sure you see a pattern here) so I sprinkled zinnia seeds in the ground and in one of my pots. I haven’t seen them even sprout yet, but I’m hoping for good color from these by midsummer.
That’s My Garden
Since we travel most of the year (well hopefully that will continue when the pandemic is over) I need a yard that doesn’t need a lot of care, but offers the summer color I crave when we are home. I will continue to experiment with deer resistant plants, and occasionally give a deer or two a good talking to when they visit.
There is a ton of information available online for deer resistant plants and how to approach gardening with wildlife. You can also try some old tactics. Irish Spring apparently works and I have some hanging near some plants, as does having your husband pee around plants you want the deer to stay away from. We haven’t tried that yet LOL. You can also purchase chemicals designed to keep the deer out. As much as possible I’d like to stay away from the chemicals, and instead learn how I can live peaceably with these rather annoying, outrageously hungry, but also beautiful creatures.
As an adult I look back on so many fond memories of my 1960’s and 70’s childhood, including Halloween. As soon as school began in September we began thinking about and planning for that big day. We always made our own costumes just from found things around the house…never sewing anything elaborate and NEVER purchasing anything from a store.
Halloween When I Was a Kid
Unfortunately my parents were not big photo takers so I have only one photo I know of, of me with my siblings on Halloween. That was the year my sister proclaimed she was going to be the Fairy Godmother and I was going to be Cinderella in rags. Okay fine. My brother was a “hippie” and my littlest brother was a cowboy. It was a time in life when it didn’t take a lot ot make us happy.
In high school and even college we celebrated the holiday with homemade costumes but the trick or treating gave way to parties. Here I’m sharing a few photos I pulled up from those days.
Halloween When My Kids Were Little
When my kids were little I made their costumes most years and we had a lot of fun with Halloween as a family. In the 1990’s when my kids were young, trick or treating was still safe and the school always had a special event with costumes.
Today fewer kids wander the neighborhoods, but with Covid it’s hard to imagine that communities and malls will be holding their annual gatherings.
The History of Holidays
I’ve always been fascinated with how our holidays evolved into what we accept today as normal, ever since I discovered that Santa Claus is a fairly new invention. So I have over the years gathered lots of fun information about holiday rituals and their evolution.
Halloween Began 2000 Years Ago
The origin of Halloween can be traced 2000 years years ago to the Celtic festival called Samhain. This festival was a celebration to ward off ghosts and included costumes and bon fires.
In the 8th Century Pope Gregory III declared that November 1st would be All Saints Day to remember all Catholic Saints and the Samhain festival the day before became known as All Hallows Eve.
November 1st was also considered the New Year to the Celts and was marked as the end of the harvest and bounty and the beginning of the dark days of winter, a time of hunger and death.
The Druids (Celtic Priests) gave the Celtic people guidance during this time, when all believed the ghosts were responsible for failed crops, poor health and bad weather. The Druids built bon fires and everyone dressed in costumes to scare away the ghosts. Crops and animals were sacrificed.
Rome, Of Course, Intervened
When the Romans conquered this region, the Samhain festival merged with Feralia, a Roman festival similar to Day of the Dead; and Pomona, a celebration of the apple harvest (assumed to be where bobbing for apples comes from).
By the 9th century the Celtic lands had become Christian and the November 2nd Christian holiday All Souls Day merged with All Hallows Even (Alholowmesse) and the costume tradition expanded.
Welcome to America
Colonial America celebrated this holiday, despite the New England Protestant objection due to the pagan origins. As immigrants from many nations came together, the American version of the holiday emerged.
Outdoor parties, bon fires, scary stories, fortune telling, pranks, games, music and dancing were all part of the early American celebration. By the early 1800’s most communities celebrated an Autumn festival but Halloween as we know it was still a ways away.
Irish Americans Bring the Tradition
As Irish immigrants flooded America in the late 19th century, with them came many of the traditions we today associate with Halloween in the USA. This included costumes, Trick-or-Treat for food or money, and the focus of the holiday became more about children.
But in the 1920’s and 30’s vandals hijacked the holiday with pranks and sometimes drunken violence and many gatherings stopped. By the 1950’s local towns redirected the holiday back to family-focused and encouraged family gatherings. Trick-or-Treating was revived.
Small homemade treats gave way to store bought candy in the 1960’s when parents feared for their children eating anything they didn’t know the source of. Today 6 billion dollars are spent annually on Halloween and it is the biggest candy buying time of the year in the USA.
Both children and adults dress up annually, with many adults wearing costumes to their jobs. Halloween parties for kids and adults happen in the weeks ahead of the actual Halloween night.
Halloween is the second biggest commercial holiday after Christmas in the USA.
I began golfing a little more than a year ago, when we settled into our new summer place on a golf course. I had dabbled in a golf a long time ago, but hadn’t picked up a club in twenty years. And so it has been like starting over. Our summers in Washington have given me a great opportunity to learn while golfing around the sound. And during the year we were stuck in the USA it was a great time to take up the sport.
Learning to Golf
I’ve played A LOT since I decided to learn the game and I have also taken lessons and had a coach. Getting some coaching pointers and playing consistently (about once a week) has helped me learn and improve my game. I still have a long ways to go but I enjoy the game a great deal and especially enjoy having another activity to spend time with my husband.
It might be surprising to some, but I feel one of the best ways to improve is to play at as many different courses as possible. I know many golfers like to play their “home” course only, but I find by moving around to new courses I don’t fall into a comfortable pattern and am therefore always challenged and learning new things.
Golfing Around the Sound
Given that strategy we set out this summer to explore as many courses in the Pacific Northwest as we could. For Christmas my husband gave me a Golfing Around the Sound golf package, 11 courses included for $220. We created three golf “weekends” (we did them mid-week) and covered courses in Skagit and Snohomish County; Mason, Kitsap; Clallam and Jefferson County too.
Some courses are certainly better than others, but all the courses we played offered wonderful opportunities to learn and enjoy this crazy game. If you want to give this a try for yourself, here is our suggestions for three golf getaways in the Pacific Northwest. I imagine next summer we will try this again and expand to more courses including to the south and east.
SKAGIT & SNOHOMISH
Using the lovely little town of La Conner (Skagit Valley) as our home base, we booked a fabulous room on the water at the La Conner Channel Lodge for two nights. This unique boutique style hotel sits right on the La Conner Channel and offers spectacular sunsets. While in La Conner we visited the Swinomish Indian Reservation, did a little boutique shopping and visited the local fresh markets where we purchased blueberries, raspberries and peaches to take home.
We played three courses in the Skagit/ Snohomish region. Each course was easy to get a tee time for our dates of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday;
GLENEAGLE GOLF COURSE – This course in Burlington was nice, but some of the fairways are pretty tight and there are many houses, so it’s a bit stressful for an erratic golfer like me. Also, as first timers we wished for better signage between tees. Gleneagle has a restaurant on site.
AVALON LINKS – I liked this course in Burlington; it was pretty while still being relatively easy for a beginner. Strangely this course has 27 holes…not sure why that is, but we played 18 and had a very enjoyable game. A small cafe is available on site.
THE GOLF CLUB AT ECHO FALLS – This is a beautiful course in Snohomish, and of the three the most challenging. We had a really fun game here. I had a cart but my husband was walking and he did wish the tees were not so far apart….sometimes a bit difficult to find. The clubhouse and restaurant and the entire grounds here are very beautiful.
We recommend dining in La Conner at Nell Thorn for a delicious dinner made fresh with local ingredients. And for something a little less formal, try La Conner Brewing for excellent beer, burgers, tacos and salads.
MASON & KITSAP
Since we live in Kitsap County and near the border with Mason, we did not stay in a hotel while exploring these five courses listed below (three in our Around the Sound package and two not). But we can recommend from experience choosing to stay at the beautiful Alderbrook Resort & Spa on Hood Canal or the Silverdale Beach Hotel on the waterfront in Silverdale.
ALDERBROOK GOLF CLUB – Our friend John invited us to enjoy nine holes with him at his home course of Alderbrook Golf Club in Union. This course is not part of the Around the Sound package. It was our first time playing here and I enjoyed it very much. This course has both homes and a lot of trees along the fairways, but it was just the right amount of challenge for me (and I only lost a couple of balls!).
GOLD MOUNTAIN GOLF COURSE – One of three courses within fifteen minutes of my house, Gold Mountain is an outstanding municipal course in Bremerton. I really love playing here, although I have only played the Cascade course. The Olympic course is more challenging…maybe next year. Anyway this is a beautiful rolling course with no houses…for me I need a cart as it has a lot of hills.
TROPHY LAKE GOLF & CASTING – Not on the Around the Sound package, Trophy Lake in Port Orchard is one of my favorite courses. It’s just right for my skill level and I enjoy the grounds and the fact there aren’t any houses. It’s very close to where I live so that’s a bonus too.
MCCORMICK WOODS GOLF CLUB – Well, you can’t get much closer for me, as I live on the 6th hole at McCormick Woods. I never imagined living on a golf course but we have quickly fallen in love with this beautiful community that surrounds this beautiful course. This public course in Port Orchard also has memberships as well as an excellent restaurant. It’s challenging though, with lots of houses and lots of underbrush and water too. It’s here I have taken my lessons and had my coaching with course Pro Kyle Larson.
WHITE HORSE GOLF CLUB – One of the more challenging courses I’ve played this summer, White Horse is in Kingston and is tough but a great learning course. I was in the sand A LOT. It’s a beautiful course with only a few houses. A very nice club house and restaurant too. Very close to the Kingston Ferry.
Our getaway included playing at these three fun courses (all included in our Around the Sound package).
THE CEDARS AT DUNGENESS – I enjoyed this course a lot, even though my score didn’t reflect that! It’s a well maintained course with some beautiful views of the Olympic Mountains right in the heart of beautiful Sequim. We met friends for breakfast before we teed off and the restaurant Stymies was a great choice.
SUNLAND GOLF COURSE – I had fun at this course, even though my cart was an antique. The course itself was well-maintained and fun. The fairways are really tight though, with houses and trees, but I managed to stay out of people’s yards (for the most part). It’s a great option in Sequim.
PORT LUDLOW GOLF CLUB I struggled at this VERY hilly course…and lost a lot of balls too. When we arrived I asked the guy in the Pro Shop if the course was hilly, as I was trying to decide if I would walk or get a cart. He said there were a “couple of hills”. So I decided to walk. By the end of 18 I was ready to drop. There are way more than “couple of hills”. I recommend a cart. This course has a lot of water and also houses to avoid. We enjoyed our visit despite it all and enjoyed the beautiful sunny day we had on the greens.
GOLFING AROUND THE SOUND
These are a few of our finds this summer as we spent time golfing around the sound. There are many more wonderful options to golf in the Puget Sound region…we hope to find those when we return from our winter travels next spring.
Meanwhile, it’s time to clean the clubs and get them ready for two months in Maui, where we love to golf. Stay tuned for our Maui adventures starting in September (we hope…unless the PanDamit shuts everything down again).
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I can really identify with Joel Burkhardt. It’s easy to identify with the emotions you encounter when you first retire and are struggling to find what’s next. Retirement can have you looking for focus and passion in a new unknown period of life. Neither of us are the first to step into retirement and feel a bit lost. But for lifelong Gig Harbor resident Joel, he is finding some solace in a passion for creating in wood.
Post Retirement Focus
After 32 years in the Coast Guard, when Joel retired in April he foundered…his entire identity was wrapped up in being a Chief Petty Officer in the Coast Guard. One day he was. The next day he wasn’t. He admittedly felt “weird” while he searched to settle into his new identity. A cancer diagnosis didn’t help, and so Joel found some comfort in working with his hands and a passion for creating in wood.
“People don’t realize what’s going to happen when they retire,” Joel said. “After 32 years in the military, it’s hard to justify in my head that career is over.” Joel wondered who he was now that he wasn’t in the Coast Guard. He turned to friends and the VA to help keep him focused. And he turned to a new hobby of woodworking.
A New Hobby
Joel had dabbled in woodworking a little before retiring, making a bell for his unit (see photos) to use for ceremonies and call to assembly. But when his mom needed a cutting board, he told her he would make her one. His wife Kelly posted pictures of the cutting board and then someone else wanted one. I saw the pictures and I wanted one too. And now, Joel creates beautiful, one of a kind trays and cutting boards in his shop near Wollochet Bay where he is finding his passion for creating in wood.
Every piece Joel makes is unique. Clients can choose the wood (his favorites are walnut, mahogany and purple heart) as well as the design and the size. Joel has a distinctive process of doing fractal burning on some pieces and can add color to the burn. It makes the wood look like it’s been touched by the hand of Zeus himself.
Joel also loves to work with resin, and depending on what the wood piece is going to be used for, a resin finish is often added. Resin can also be used in many artistic ways and he is enjoying getting creative with this substance.
“Wood prices are finally coming down,” Joel told me this week from his shop. “We can get exotic wood like zebra, black palm, leopard and highly marbled walnut.” Joel finds his wood at shops in Tacoma and Everett and sometimes even from Amazon.
Dancing Ghost Woodworks
Joel named his new wood working business Dancing Ghost Woodworks and you can find him on Facebook. He looks forward to working with clients to pick out the wood and design. He then gets busy matching the grains, planing and finishing. If you want a design or logo he can do that too, free hand with his palm router.
The cutting board Joel made me was made from end cuts and it is so clever and beautiful. It looks awesome in my kitchen and I love it. Not to mention I use it daily and it is solid and sturdy.
Want to shop local, thank a dedicated veteran AND have a one-of-a-kind piece of art? Contact my friend Joel. You’ll be glad you did.
See our blog about Re-Wirement – Finding Your Midlife Passion
A couple of weeks ago my family had the pleasure of staying in a rustic lakeside cabin at the Rain Forest Lodge, Lake Quinault. Don’t be confused, this is not the Lake Quinault Lodge. It is a smaller and much more affordable option just down the road. Here is my review of Rain Forest Lodge, Lake Quinault.
Just the Boys
My husband and grown sons planned a summer through-hike in the Olympic National Park, starting at the Dosewallips River in Brinnon and hiking 40 miles to Lake Quinault. This four day hike was a great father-son activity, while I stayed home and attended the wedding of my friend’s daughter. The hike was a huge success, with great weather and even greater views and a lifelong goal for my husband. I’m so glad they went.
Then There Were Four
After four days I drove to the Lake Quinault trailhead to meet them. They arrived dirty, smelly and happy. We then proceeded to the Rain Forest Lodge, an old rustic lodge right on the shores of beautiful glacier-fed Lake Quinault. We chose to stay in one of the lakeside cabins here instead at the much more expensive Lake Quinault Lodge a mile down the road. The Rain Forest Lodge has a spectacular location that includes lake view fireplace cabins (ours, #6, was the best), a small motel style roadside inn, and RV camping. Our two bedroom cabin had a big bathroom, a well equipped kitchen, a nice living area and a very large deck for $360 a night for four people.
Beautiful Lake Quinault is a glacial carved lake at the end of the Quinault River, located on the southern edge of the Olympic National Park in the Quinault Rainforest. The temperate rainforest and area around Lake Quinault receives an average of 333 centimeters (131 inches) of precipitation per year! Long before logging arrived or the Lake Quinault Lodge was built (1926) or Olympic National Park was created (1938), Lake Quinault was home to the Quinault people, a Coast Salish Tribe.
The Salmon House
The Rain Forest Lodge has a general store, laundromat, post office and one of the best restaurants for miles around. No contest. The affordable menu at The Salmon House is amazing. We got our dinner to go and took it back to our cabin and we enjoyed it so much. They offer the most delicious salmon you will ever have, as well as lots of other options too. Even if you aren’t staying over you might consider eating here. Check out the menu here.
World’s Largest Spruce Tree
Now this isn’t like the largest ball of yarn, or the Corn Palace. This is truly the world’s largest Spruce Tree and it’s right on the property at The Rain Forest Lodge. Here is what their website says about it;
Disclaimer – we did our best to include every brewery we could find in the region we have defined below and using the criteria defined below. We do apologize if we missed any.
My husband and I are big fans of really good locally brewed beer from small breweries. Not only do we enjoy good, fresh, local beer, but we also enjoy supporting small local businesses. If you read our blog regularly you are likely familiar with how we support local business here on My Fab Fifties Life. So at the beginning of summer 2021 we decided to visit every local brewery in our region. It became a bigger undertaking than we originally imagined! But hey! Somebody has to do it! And so we give you Breweries of Kitsap (Plus One).
FIRST A LITTLE HISTORY
In 1985 my husband and I visited the Thomas Kemper Brewery. I was 25 years old…barely legal drinking age! Research says the brewery was on Bainbridge Island but my memory has it more in the Poulsbo area…in a farm like setting. Whichever it was, it is likely that was the first small hand crafted brewery I had ever visited. That was 36 years ago. Thomas Kemper operated in Kitsap until 1992 when it was bought by Hart (later called Pyramid). A few years later we would also visit the Pyramid Brewery in Kalama, Washington…long before Pyramid became the powerhouse of Northwest micro brews.
Thomas Kemper wasn’t the first brewery on the Kitsap Peninsula however. In 1933 just after the repeal of prohibition the Kitsap Brewing Company was opened. Later called the Silver Spring Brewing Company of Port Orchard, the brewery operated on East Bayside Road in Port Orchard until 1950 when they moved to Tacoma.
Hundreds of microbreweries would grow out of these humble pioneer beginnings through out the Pacific Northwest. Including breweries like Silver City in Silverdale/Bremerton, and Hood Canal Brewery in Kingston, both early local trailblazers still operating successfully since 1996.
Using the following criteria, we turned up twenty-four – yep – TWENTY-FOUR breweries. Then we set out to visit them all.
Must brew their own beer, although we can taste the beer either at the brewery or at their tasting room or a restaurant location.
Must brew or have a taproom within the geographical region we call Kitsap Plus One which we defined as the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to the Hood Canal Bridge (the Kitsap Peninsula), as well as Fox Island, Bainbridge Island and including Belfair (the plus one).
So that’s our criteria…pretty simple really. Based on this we set out to visit all twenty-four breweries. Below we share what we learned. We aren’t ranking our favorites here, but we will make observations that might help you when considering your own Breweries of Kitsap (Plus One) brewery tour. Let’s work our way from the South end of the Kitsap Peninsula northward.
Founded in 2015, Gig Harbor Brewing started in Tacoma and continues to brew there with a taproom. In 2017 they opened their Gig Harbor taproom in the heart of waterfront Gig Harbor. Excellent selection of seasonal and tried and true beers.
Gig Harbor’s first brewery opened in the early 2000’s, and despite bouncing around to multiple locations, 7 Seas has consistently brewed an excellent product as it has expanded. 7 Seas was the first Washington brewery to can its beer…now everybody’s doing it! 7 Seas now brews in Tacoma in the old Heidelberg brewery, where they also have a taproom, and have recently moved their Gig Harbor taproom to a beautiful waterfront location.
7 Seas Gig Harbor taproom 2905 Harborview Drive Gig Harbor WA 98335
Wet Coast brews and has its taproom in Gig Harbor, currently the only brewer doing so. Opened in 2015, Wet Coast expanded its brewing operation and taproom recently. You can find Wet Coast right off of Highway 16 at the Wollochet City Center exit.
Wet Coast Gig Harbor taproom 6820 Kimball Drive Suite C, Gig Harbor WA 98335
Crossed Arrow has been brewing for awhile, but their taproom is not yet open…really it should be any day! Their new taproom will be located in the building of the former Key Bank in Purdy right off of Hwy 16. Watch their website for opening info. In the meantime their beer is available at several locations including The Hub at the Tacoma Narrows Airport.
Crossed Arrow taproom opening soon at 14004 Purdy Drive, Gig Harbor WA 98335
Fox Island Brewing almost didn’t make this blog post because it did not show up in any of our research. We learned about FIB while attending the annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival just last weekend. Currently brewing on Fox Island but without a taproom, Fox Island Brewing beers are available at regional restaurants. They told me they hope to move their brewing operation into Gig Harbor or the Crescent Valley area soon.
Opened in 2019 this small brewery packs a big punch with excellent beer in a beautiful farm setting. The folks at Yoked offer fun events weekly, including hot dogs and barbecues, beer and bouquets, fun events for kids and more. The location is a working farm with goats and flowers and vegetables. Oh and the beer is great too.
Yoked Farmhouse tasting room 525 SW Pine Road, Port Orchard WA 98366
This tiny craft brewery is hard to find and only is open on weekends. But make the drive to their production facility and owner Steve will give you a taste of what they are currently brewing. They are still waiting for their permits to open a taproom, so you can visit and learn about brewing while enjoying a tiny taste. Meanwhile Steve continues jumping through the hoops to get a taproom, and to get his delicious beer distributed in the region. (PS they were voted best beer at last weekend’s Gig Harbor Beer Festival)
East2West Production Facility 12913 Shady Glen Ave SE Olalla WA 98359
BENT BINE BREW CO
Opened in 2017 just south of Belfair on Hwy 3, Bent Bine (‘bine’ is another word for a climbing vine like hops), is a popular location for gathering and drinking some really good beer in Belfair. Tasting room has both indoor and outdoor seating, families welcome.
Bent Bine tasting room 23297 WA 3, Belfair WA 98528
For my money, Deep Draft Brewing has one of the best stories as far as how this brewery came to be in 2015. The story is of determination, love and loss, and if you click on the link you can read it for yourself. Really amazing. Meanwhile, Deep Draft also has exceptional beer served both in their taproom and at the restored old WigWam Tavern, an excellent place to drink beer, eat BBQ and look at the eclectic collection of Naval memorabilia.
Deep Draft taproom 3536 W. Belfair Valley Road, Bremerton WA 98312
SLAUGHTER COUNTY BREWERY
Slaughter County Brewery, located on Sinclair Inlet in old Port Orchard has one of the funkiest yet most comfortable tasting rooms that we experienced…and a whole lotta good beer too. The name Slaughter County comes from the original name of Kitsap County…a throwback to the old days. Slaughter County is proud to be the first brewery in South Kitsap in 70 years. Excellent selection of microbrews to try.
Slaughter County taproom 1307 Bay Street, Port Orchard WA 98366
Well, I really don’t have any favorites, but I will say the Dog Days tasting room, which is doggy friendly, is really a fun place. You’ll find a friendly bunch here, dog lovers, comedy too and trivia nights. The beer is excellent. The first time we visited they were serving food and the menu looked amazing but we had other dinner plans. So next time we went intending to eat, but there was no food. So, not sure what is up with the food sitch…but the beer is very good.
Dog Days tasting room 260 4th Street Bremerton WA 98310
After years of home-brewing in three different home locations, brewer Dan and family made the leap to making the beer brewing dream a reality in 2017. Today Crane’s Castle has a beautiful tasting room in East Bremerton they call the Beer Hall…definitely big enough for parties and more. The beer is also very good with a wide selections of changing taps to tempt you. Outdoor seating too and food truck sometimes.
Crane’s Castle Beer Hall 1550 NE Riddell Road Bremerton WA 98311
Truly one of the pioneer microbreweries in Washington State, Silver City has been brewing exceptional beer in Kitsap County since 1996. Its flagship location restaurant (formerly the brewing location as well) is one of Silverdale’s most popular dining spots. Today the production facility is located in Bremerton where they also have a taproom. So two Kitsap choices for you to enjoy one of the mother’s of Washington brewing, Kitsap’s own Silver City.
Silver City Flagship and Restaurant 2799 NW Myhre Road Silverdale WA
Silver City Production Facility and taproom 206 Katy Penman Ave Bremerton WA 98312
Formerly known as Der Blokken and located in Bremerton’s Manette neighborhood, Chaos Bay is undergoing a transformation. Because their new tasting room is under construction, we were not able to visit. Keep your eye on their website (link above) for their new opening announcement.
Chaos Bay Brewing tasting room opening soon at 2901 Perry Avenue Suite 13 Bremerton WA
We have to say we were a little confused by our visit to Lovecraft. They were only offering their brewed hard teas as well as a few craft beers by other brewers. It’s unclear if they will be offering their own brewed beers again in the future. So that said…we didn’t taste their beers.
Lovecraft Brewery taproom 275 5th Street Bremerton WA
BREAKING WAVES BREWING
A great location in Old Town Silverdale, Breaking Waves is located in the former location of Cash Brewing. Today the operation is as much a restaurant as a brewery, pumping out exceptionally good burgers, salads and pasta, and on Tuesdays delicious tacos. But the beer is just as good…a wide range of brewed-on-site beers as well as a selection of guest brews and ciders. We will definitely be back for both the beer and the tacos.
Breaking Waves Brewing restaurant and taproom 3388 Northwest Byron Street Silverdale WA
Poulsbo is the leader in Kitsap communities for the number of microbreweries, and Slippery Pig was one of the first. They begin brewing in 2010 and opened their current old Poulsbo location in 2014. Slippery Pig promotes local ingredients and family operation (Brewer Dave a 5th generation Poulsbo native) and the result is a consistent and delicious product, with a wide variety of flavors and styles.
Slippery Pig tasting room 18801 Front Street NE, Poulsbo, WA
Opened in 2018, Western Red has an ambitious mission statement “To brew and serve the best craft beers ever made in the Pacific Northwest”. I love entrepreneurs who think big! My visit to Western Red was eye opening. The beer was fabulous and their tasting room just a block from Poulsbo’s main street is perfect, with a fun assortment of old logging implements.
Western Red tasting room 19168 Jensen Way NE Poulsbo WA
Rainy Daze likes to think of themselves as a cult following, and it’s easy to see why. Their beer has a magical mixology quality, delicious no matter which style you grab. Maybe it’s because their brewery and tasting room are in a more humble facility…so they focus more on the beer and less on the hype. I don’t know…but I do know they make a darn good beer.
Also started in 2010, Valholl touts it’s Poulsbo/Little Norway roots with a strong Viking presence in their logo and tasting room. Valholl’s award winning brews are available in the tasting room and to go as well as on tap at many local locations. Valholl is family friendly, with both indoor and outdoor seating just a block from Poulsbo’s main street. Skal!
Valholl Brewing tasting room 18970 3rd Ave NE, Poulsbo WA
Coincidentally, the day we visited Downpour it was…you guessed it…pouring down. Their small but cozy tasting room included little propane heaters at the table…a great idea in the notoriously wet PNW. We enjoyed their beer a great deal, located on the main drag in Kingston not far from the ferry terminal.
Downpour Brewing tasting room 10991 NE State Hwy 104 Kingston WA
Kitsap County’s first microbrewery, Hood Canal Brewing has been operating since 1996 when brewer Don Wyatt (formerly of Thomas Kemper) opened the brewery. The tasting room was opened in 2003 and today still operates in a warehouse-style facility with an added rough addition to accommodate the growing clientele (and need for outdoor seating during Covid.). A true pioneer in the craftbrew craze.
Hood Canal Brewing taproom 26499 Bond Rd NE, Kingston, WA
In 2012 father and son duo Chuck and Russel Everett and partner Rob Frease opened Bainbridge Brewing. From the beginning Bainbridge was about perfecting the classics while embracing new styles and flavors. They must be doing something right because they now have two locations on the island; their Alehouse in downtown Winslow and the brewery and taproom located in Coppertop Park. Brewmaster Russel is a born and raised Bainbridge Island native, proud to be brewing and serving his community.
Bainbridge Brewing production facility and taproom 9415 Coppertop Loop Bainbridge Island WA
Bainbridge Brewing Alehouse 500 Winslow Way East Bainbridge Island WA
Breweries of Kitsap (Plus One)
As we conclude we might mention that there are some great places to drink beer throughout this region that don’t brew their own beer. Zog’s on Fox Island and HopPharm in Gig Harbor both come to mind. But our criteria was to explore places brewing their own label so that is what we did.
It took us a couple months to get through all of these….and I think we would return to pretty much all of them if we were in the neighborhood. We look forward to seeing more from some of those who are just getting started, and salute the commitment and efforts that are involved in creating a fine crafted beer. We are lucky to live in a place with such a wide selection of quality, hand-crafted brews by some of the finest brew masters in the nation. Breweries of Kitsap (Plus One). Time to have a pint. Salute.
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Let us know in the comments if you know of a brewery in our criteria area that we missed.
Please check websites for Covid 19 hours and restrictions before you make time to rediscover Ballard Washington
Only a few decades ago, sleepy Ballard was the butt of all Scandinavian jokes. A neighborhood of working class families descended from working class immigrants, Ballard was solid, if a bit rough around the edges. Times have changed and It’s Time to Rediscover Ballard Washington.
Sleepy No More
I sure wish I had bought a house in Ballard back then. I’d be a millionaire today. Today, Ballard is hip. A cool place to be for young singles and families….without losing that solid working class vibe. Still home to much of the Seattle area fishing fleet, the history of fishing and shipbuilding runs deep in this community.
What a difference a few decades make. Ballard is blooming and is now not only home to the magnificent Nordic Heritage Museum (opened in 2018), it is also a culinary Mecca – home to dozens of highly rated restaurants, some difficult to get a reservation for. Ballard, sleepy no more. I love a lot of my home state, and Ballard is one of my favorite places among those.
It’s Time to Rediscover Ballard, Washington
A day in Ballard is a pleasant idea….but even better why not a weekend or several days? There is so much to do here, without ever actually going into downtown Seattle. Beautiful Ballard. We want you to give it the time it deserves, so we share with you a wide variety of our favorite Ballard finds…everything from beer to parks, coffee to fish, and hiking to vintage. Yah sure yabetcha – it’s time to rediscover Ballard, Washington.
Our Recommendations to Get You Started
It’s a long, long list but we hope these recommendations will give you a variety of reasons to visit Ballard and it’s surrounding neighborhoods. If you can make your visit more than a day, we recommend the beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of Ballard, The Hotel Ballard. It’s exceptional and will make your visit to Ballard exceptional. And here are more recommendations for you;
It’s impossible to list all the delicious and innovative dining options in Ballard…so I am offering up here my favs. These are all restaurants I have eaten at and would not hesitate to go back to.
Stoneburner – amazing food. Probably my favorite restaurant in Ballard
For such a compact neighborhood of Seattle, Ballard is blessed with an abundance of parks, and a visit to beautiful Ballard wouldn’t be complete without a visit to at least one of Ballard’s parks. This is a list of our favorites.
Discovery Park – the granddaddy of them all, this 534 acre park is a hidden natural gem.
Golden Gardens – where the sunbathers, stand up paddle boarders, wind surfers, sailors and beachcombers will be found high tide, low tide and everything
Sunset Hill – this little pocket park is the definitive place for a Seattle Sunset
Shilshole Marina – enjoy a boardwalk stroll through this beautiful waterfront area and try to count the masts. Be sure and stop at the Leif Erickson statue for a taste of Scandinavian heritage.
So Many Things To Do
Don’t miss any of these awesome things to do in Beautiful Ballard
The National Nordic Museum – allow yourself a few hours to explore this amazing museum that chronicles the history of the Nordic people both locally and throughout the world. The cafe and gift shop are great too.
Ballard Locks – officially the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks but known locally as the Ballard Locks is a fun and educational working locks that provides boat traffic to navigate between Lake Union and the Puget Sound. Don’t miss the information on the salmon ladder.
Fisherman’s Terminal – a working fishing terminal for local fishing vessels, you can walk amongst the vessels in port and also purchase fresh seafood.
Ballard Farmer’s Market – every Sunday from 9am to 2pm visit the Ballard Farmers Market for a colorful selection of fresh and locally made
To be honest, I’m not much of a shopper, preferring to spend my time outdoors, eating, learning history…all that stuff. BUT, you might like a few funky or vintage places and don’t miss a Scandinavian shop
Scandinavian Specialties – one of the few shops left that focuses on delicious Scandinavian delicacies as well as, art, sweaters, ceramic and more.
Gold Dog – for someone who doesn’t really shop….I spent some fun time in here. Cowboy boots and so much more.
As Long As You Are Here…
Ya sure yabetcha, as long as you are here definitely spend as much time as possible at any or all of these wonderful attractions near Ballard.
Woodland Park Zoo – not the zoo of yesteryear, today’s award winning Woodland Park Zoo is focused on conservation, preservation and immersion exhibits that provide animals a healthy and authentic living environment. Woodland Park Zoo also offers a variety of events and activities through out the year on it’s 92 acre urban site.
Fremont – Ballard’s neighbor Fremont is Seattle’s answer to funky and fun claiming to be “the center of the universe”. Be sure to visit the Fremont Troll, JP Patches and Gertrude statue, Waiting for the Bus Sculpture and many other fun and quirky Fremont finds.
Green Lake, just over the hill from Ballard is Seattle’s beloved Green Lake. A perfect place for a stroll or bike ride anytime of the year. Seattle gathers here.
Gas Works Park – The idea to turn this huge former and simply ugly former gas works on Lake Union into a park was brilliant. Today the rusted “gas works” create an urban sculpture unique and beautiful in a strange and Seattle kind of way.
Are You Convinced?
Have I convinced you that it’s time to rediscover Ballard Washington? I have spent a lot of time there over the last five years, because my adult sons call it home. If they had never moved there, I would never have rediscovered Ballard myself…and I’m so glad I did. I still have a lot to see in Beautiful Ballard…so I’ll see you there.
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