Travelogue: Westport, Washington
By: Donovan Wilson
Westport is a small town on the Washington coast two hours west of Tacoma. The drive is straightforward and direct and, if there is no traffic, relatively fast. The weekend we chose for our trip had very little traffic for reasons I’m not sure of. Normally there is at least a slow down in the area between the many gates of Joint Base Lewis McChord, which happens to be one of the largest military installations in the country.
After that, you pass through the beautiful lush landscape of the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, a reclaimed estuary connecting the Nisqually River to the Puget Sound. If you are not in a hurry a stop here is worth the detour. Take an hour to wander the boardwalk out into the swampy marshland to see birds and wildlife as well as a beautiful barn left from its past as a working dairy farm.
Back on the road you will pass Olympia and meander west off of I-5 onto Highway 101 then onto Highway 8 towards Aberdeen. On this longest stretch of the drive, you will pass through peaceful scenery interrupted only by a strange pair of enormous nuclear cooling towers hulking in the near distant hills.
Soon enough you will enter into Aberdeen greeted by it’s “Come As You Are” sign. With your pretensions hopefully left behind, enjoy the views of the self-proclaimed Logging Capital of the World and its skeleton of industrial machinery once used for collecting and processing the bountiful lumber of the Great Northwest. I couldn’t help but wonder and hypothesize why Aberdeen never became a great city. Had it's extractive purpose exhausted itself unlike port cities, which are constantly renewed with trade that ebbs and flows in its harbors?
Getting through town is quick. Make a left as you enter downtown and drive up onto a bridge over the main waterway cutting through the city. Stay right after the bridge for the final leg to Westport. If you are hungry and want the full tourist experience stop off at Westhaven Drive where there is a large marina and major setting off point for fishing charters and recreational boating. On Westhaven, you will find surprisingly few establishments for eating. We wandered off the main strip to a small diner since the line at the only restaurant there was very long. I’m not sure the town was well prepared for all the guests that arrived this sunny day. A dearth of cooks spoiled an hour of our afternoon waiting for burgers and fried fish. I was graciously refunded the money for the food I never received, packed my hungry family back into the van and continued to our final destination.
After passing the unmarked lane to the beach twice, we finally pulled into the parking lot and were instantly transported to what felt like somewhere on the Northern California coast. Mostly it was the tall swaying grass and salty air but the amenities of showers and bathroom structures were well designed and modern in a California kind of way. It made me think of the time I had spent in Pacifica, Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz growing up in the Bay Area. After a last misdirected hunt for our friends, we finally found them and set up our beach camp consisting of not much more than a pair of chairs and an umbrella. We sat down. I apologized for losing my temper on the journey and we began to snack and enjoy the expansive beach under a clear blue sky and soothing ocean breeze.
In Tacoma, summer nights means summer concerts
By: Deborah Wilson
Below are the rosters for three locations that provide family-friendly musical entertainment for free! Bring your dinner and enjoy a great atmosphere alfresco. In the past, our family has packed an easy picnic meal to share with friends or grabbed a pizza to go. Curran Apple Orchard offers a local food truck on site to make things even easier. The evening will be relaxing while you kick back, enjoy music and let the kids play.
Old Town Park
2350 N. 30th St., Tacoma
Wednesdays, 5-7 p.m.
7/31 - Stingy Brim Blues (Old time blues with banjo, guitar, harmonica)
8/7 - The Happy Sinners (Duo singing blues, originals)
Curran Apple Orchard
3920 Grandview Drive, University Place
Thursdays, 6:30-8 p.m.
8/8 - Rock N’ Roll Magic (classic rock, Motown, & country hits from the 50s, 60s, 70s)
Note: In the event of inclement weather, the concert will relocate to the Curtis High School cafeteria.
Grand Plaza at Point Ruston
5005 Ruston Way, Tacoma
Saturdays, 5-7 p.m.
7/27 - Kim Archer Band (Soulful rock)
8/3 - Live it Out Loud (Ted Brown Music Outreach program for youth)
8/10 - Strangely Alright (Rock, Alternative, Eclectic)
8/17 - Rangers and the Rearrangers (Seattle Gypsy Jazz band)
8/24 - Jordani & the Sun Kings (Indie soul pop)
8/31 - Holy Pistola (Soul funk & Hip hop)
Really Good Banana Bread Recipe
To me, there is not much better than a fat slice of banana bread topped with a healthy slab of soft butter in the morning with coffee for breakfast. Here is our recipe for banana bread, enjoy!
Banana Nut Bread
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or maple syrup
½ cup butter or margarine, softened
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped nuts
Heat oven to 350℉. Grease 2 (8X4 inch) loaf pans or 1 (9x5 inch) loaf pan.
In a large bowl, mix the sugar and butter. Add eggs, bananas, buttermilk and vanilla;beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt and nuts just until moistened. Pour the batter into the pans.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool before slicing.