Kingston’s Concerts at the Barn Create Community around Music

The inspiration for a singer-songwriter concert series in a countrified Kingston barn began with a wedding. When Poulsbo’s Chuck and Stacie Power decided to get married, they knew they wanted a local, rustic setting. Conveniently, Chuck Power’s cycling buddy, Mark Schorn, and Schorn’s wife, Lynn, had a barn on their Kingston property and enthusiastically agreed to play hosts. WSHG.NET | Concerts at the Barn Create Community around Music | Featured, Food & Entertainment | October 9, 2017 | WestSound Home & Garden

Port Gamble’s Tea Room

I’m a sucker for a pot of Earl Grey tea paired with fresh scones, Devon cream and jam. It must be the Randall in me though I happen to know my English forebearers came from sturdy tenant/serf stock and likely never set foot in the manor for high tea.

Poulsbo had a tea shop which disappeared several months ago and recently resurfaced in Port Gamble as Mrs. Muir’s House: Tea and Treasures. Located in one of Port Gamble’s adorable historic Victorian houses, the setting seems a more fitting location for a spot of tea. Christine Wingren, Tea Artist and Curator, owned the Poulsbo tea shop and moved to Port Gamble for its ambiance.

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The front half of the tea shop is where you find the treasures. Teas. Teapots. Teacups. Tea towels. Jams. And every possible tea time accessory imaginable.

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There’s a Harry Potter room filled with retail treasures to inspire the retail in fans of the J.K. Rowlings wizarding world series.

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The back of the shop is the tearoom. Each table is a curated version of English propriety. Lace tablecloths, china teacups, chintz. There’s a small room that accommodates single parties or you can be served in the sunny main room.

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The menu includes sandwiches and crepes as well as fresh lemonade and ginger beer, but I was there for the Devon cream and scones. It did not disappoint. There are two types of tea services – Cream Tea which consists of scones, Devonshire cream, jam and marmalade and fresh fruit as well as a pot of tea, all for $7.95 or Full Tea which includes all of that plus a sandwich and side for $15.95.

Mrs. Muirs House: Tea & Treasures is open Thursday through Tuesday from 10AM to 5PM.

Port Gamble Museum: A Hidden Gem

If you haven’t ventured into Port Gamble’s little gem of a historical museum, you’ve missed a western shores of Puget Sound educational treat. Located in the basement of the 1916 era Port Gamble General Store, the Port Gamble Historical Museum is often mistaken for the better known Sea and Shore Museum located on the upper floor of the store, even by locals.

No. Not the same at all. Follow the sidewalk and stairs outside to the back of the General Store to find the unassuming entrance of the Historical Museum. Designed in 1972 by Alec James, who designed the Royal British Museum in Victoria, Canada, the museum is not a quaint, small town operation. Its a professionally designed museum packed into a small space that showcases the 125 year plus history of the Pope And Talbot Lumber Mill and company town that it built.

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Upon entering, visitors first see a recreation of the interior of the ship, Oriental, whose Captain, William C. Talbot and crew came from East Machias, Maine to settle Port Gamble. The ship creaks and groans and the porthole displays a moving ocean, enough to make one seasick if you watch it long enough. Captain Talbot’s actual ship log can be read in a glass display case in his quarters.

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Recreation of the interiors of important buildings using the actual furniture, dishes and silver wear was part of the design. The lobby of the long gone Puget Sound Hotel is there complete with music from its hey day as the social gathering place. The bedroom of settlers, Cyrus and Emily Walker has been recreated using period furnishings and specially commissioned wallpaper that copied the original found in their bedroom. There is a replica of the inside of the Pope and Talbot sales office and a S’Klallam Native American dwelling, the original settlers of Port Gamble.

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Display cases showcase period fans and wedding dresses, Native American baskets and tools used by the men and women who worked in the mill. There are letters, records and photographs of the non-Native men and women who settled and made Port Gamble their home.

Give yourself time when you visit. The museum, though not the multi floor bohemoth of the Royal British Museum, is a place that needs savoring. The volunteers who keep the museum running are very informative and, if you ask, will show you the back room that houses all of the archived and unlabeled artifacts that have been donated, unearthed and found in attics and crevices of the historical homes and buildings that make up Port Gamble.

MUSEUM FEES:

Adults: $4.00

Students/Seniors/Military: $3.00 

Children six and under free

 MUSEUM HOURS:

May 1st through September 30th: 10:00 a.m. to5 p.m seven days a week.

 October 1st through April 30th: 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday/Saturday/Sunday.

Bainbridge: The Holiday Village of Bloedel Reserve

At any time of year, Bloedel Reserve’s acres of twelve distinct gardens and trails provide seasonal inspiration. Formerly the extensive property of a prominent Seattle timber family, the land and residence are now a reserve tended to by a year-round crew of landscapers and volunteers. In December, the 1920’s era grand home on the property transforms itself into a Holiday Village in miniature.

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The public rooms on the main floor of the residence are filled with displays of handcrafted miniature houses, some of them fanciful such as this multi story tree house.

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Others are scale models of European chateaus and castles set in tiny winter scenes.

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And other houses depict the modest living conditions of the early immigrant settlers who came from Europe seeking a better life.

Each house is furnished inside with exacting detail, much of it handmade and replicated from historical photos.

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Even the newspaper used to insulate this log cabin home from the Midwest winters is an authentic miniature addition.

The homes and their interiors were a labor of love for 85 year old Dwight Shappell and his wife, Rolande. The owners of the former Dwight’s Flowers on Bainbridge Island created these holiday works of art. While he cut the tiny shingles, balconies and wooden parts to create the exteriors and furniture, she stitched the curtains, bedspreads and upholstery. Rolande passed away in 1991, but Dwight still presides over the setup of the holiday village each December and serves as its docent.

The Holiday Village is on display from December 10-31 during Bloedel’s regular hours on Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-4pm.

Not Norwegian? Sons of Norway Still Wants You

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For 25 years I’d walked or driven past Poulsbo’s downtown Sons of Norway Hall always assuming membership required a Norwegian pedigree. I grew up in small town Hettinger, North Dakota – the great granddaughter of German/English immigrants living on a street of Norwegian families. As fellow blogger and Hettingerite,  Jim Fuglie, describes the demographics:  We grew up in Hettinger, North Dakota, where the Germans were Catholic and the Norwegians were Lutheran. For the most part. Catholics were named Schmidt and Nagel and Slater and Seifert and Schmaltz. Lutherans were named Braaten and Strand and Nordahl and Lundahl and Austad. While the German and Norwegian parents played pinochle in each other’s homes and their children mingled at school, the institutions that celebrated their respective heritages required heritage.

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Though never stepping inside the Sons of Norway doors, I’d regularly participated in  their public community events – the all day Julefest which includes the arrival of the Lucia Bride at the waterfront park in December; Viking Days which celebrates Norway’s independence and Midsommer Fest, the raising of the maypole ceremony at waterfront park in May. In fact, the Sons of Norway sponsor a variety of monthly events open to the public including concerts, pancake breakfasts and dance workshops.

This summer I joined the lodge’s president for their weekly Wednesday Kaffe Stua, a buffet lunch also open to the public. Imagine my surprise when over my open face salmon sandwich he informed me that one doesn’t need an ounce of Norwegian blood to join. So join I did. Primarily because a membership allows me to stay at Trollhaugen, the lodge’s rustic mountain lodge on the eastern side of Snoqualmie Pass where I can snowshoe, cross country ski and read by the fireplace.

This past Saturday was the Sons of Norway’s annual Julefest and for the first time I took in the day’s activities as a newly minted member of the Sons of Norway. I wandered into the lodge for the all day brunch and craft bazaar where I watched the children’s dance group; strolled past tables of decorative folk art called rosemaling (classes available at the lodge), the wool and straw Christmas ornaments and hand carved wooden kitchen utensils and sampled lefse which brought back olfactory memories of the Hettinger bakery and its Christmas lefse.  The day was mild enough that out on Poulsbo’s main street, there were people in their lusekofte – the distinctively patterned Norwegian wool sweaters and I heard entire Norwegian conversations in the Nordic Maid – Poulsbo’s store for all things Scandinavian.

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Every year as darkness falls the Julefest celebration moves to the waterfront for the coming of the Lucia Bride, a Scandinavian tradition. Escorted by Vikings she lights the Jule log that begins the bonfire and turns on the waterfront Christmas tree lights. Stories are told. Songs are song. The crowd of residents and visitors become part of a tradition that came to our town on the bay with the early Norwegian and Swedish immigrants.

While the holiday season began in the malls right after Halloween, for me – the faux Norwegian great granddaughter of German and English immigrants, Julefest signals the real beginning of the holiday season.

Poulsbo’s Fish Park Sans Fish

Four days of downpour. Its the season of the return of the salmon and while I’m weary of the deluge, the salmon are not. Rain helps their journey. It fills the streams, cleans them of chemicals and makes the water colder, all preferred travel conditions for their annual fall migration home.

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Poulsbo’s aptly named Fish Park can provide prime viewing of the salmon return. But this year, though I’ve walked its trails peering into Dogfish Creek twice after a rainstorm , I haven’t seen  a single salmon. Nada. In part that’s because this 40 acre urban park surrounding an estuary is evolving into prime wildlife and salmon habitat as was the park’s plan. I’m a visitor but the park is home to the returning salmon. Much like I don’t get to peer into closets when I drop by a friend’s for coffee, the growth of native trees and plants planted along Dogfish Creek since the park was created, shelters the fish from prying eyes. That’s why the park’s viewing platforms.

The Fish Park project began in 2002; a cooperative venture between the City of Poulsbo, the Suquamish Tribe, the Great Peninsula Conservancy, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and family trusts who donated the property. The trails, bridges, viewpoints, sculptures are all the work of volunteer groups and individuals.

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Each time I visit the park I find a new interpretive sign providing both historical and scientific information.

Since October, 2014 Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment in Poulsbo has used Fish Park as a lab, monitoring the data and the new plants. The Poulsbo Fish Park Citizens Steering Committee works diligently on future planning, fundraising for more land acquisition and volunteer recruitment.

Olalla’s Winery and Vineyard

It seems an unusual place for a winery – past the elementary school which has been in existence in one form or another since 1888, beyond the grange hall turned community center, near the infamous property that once held a sanitarium made famous by the book, Starvation Heights. If you come to the Olalla Bridge where the annual New Years Polar Bear Plunge occurs, you’ve gone too far.

Yes, it seems an unusual place for a winery that prides itself on hand making wine using an ancient method originating with the early Greeks and Romans, but the new owners of Olalla Valley Winery are determined to turn the venue into a community gathering place and model for agritourism .

The vineyard and winery opened to the public in 2008 under previous owners Joe and Konnie Serka. When they decided to sell, neophyte vintners, Stuart and Mary Ellen saw the possibilities of combining wine, music, art and community in the vineyard and the tasting room. All summer they’ve been trying out wine tasting plus music on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. On Halloween they plan on hosting their official Grand Opening.

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The winery’s flagship wine is a red Golubok made of Russian grapes originating in Ukraine. The vineyard has a new section of Pinot Gris grapes that will (fingers crossed say the owners) be ready for the 2017 crush as will a Malbac and Cabernet Franc.

The enthusiastic owners have regular tasting room hours from noon to 5 on Thursday through Sunday.