Rebels By Bus

Slow Travel With Low Carbon Footprint

Centralia, here we come!

centralia.HiddenTreasure.Did you know that you there is a public transit system from Tumwater to Centralia? Rural and Tribal (R/T) transportation connects Thurston County to Lewis County.  Depending on the route, the 15 (or so) passenger van has pick up/drop off spots in Tumwater, Yelm, Tenino, Grand Mound, Rochester, Bucoda and Centralia.

On a beautiful day in early May, the Rebels boarded the R/T bus at Tumwater Square. The bus stop is not marked, but the van stops beside the Intercity Transit stop on Cleveland Avenue, across the street from the Safeway.  On the way to Centralia, we took Route 3, which left Tumwater at 9:45 am.  At the Grand Mound Park and Ride we changed vans, taking Route 4 to the Centralia Amtrak Station.  We passed many beautiful farms and fields.  This is THE way to see the rural parts of Thurston County.  The entire trip (one way) is $1.00!  We also found out that if you have an Intercity Transit pass, this ride is free!

Out first stop in Centralia was to visit the amazing Hub Bub boutique (505 North Tower Avenue). Rebecca Staebler, HubBub ( owner, greeted us warmly and gave us a brief overview of current happenings and past history of Centralia.

After we left HubBub (with a few things we couldn’t resist buying), we walked down Tower centralia.streetAvenue and had a very good lunch at Boccata, (405 North Tower).  After lunch we visited The Rectangle Gallery (thanks to Rebecca for setting this up with her friend, Jan, who is the owner of this new gallery.) The Rectangle is AMAZING!  The grand opening was planned for the coming weekend.  No doubt the gallery and the classes Jan will be offering are a great addition to the community!  We loved that she has named a youth (age 10) adviser to the gallery.  They are planning a child art exhibition in early September to coincide with the annual ARTrails, which offers an open studio tour of dozens of regional artists on the 3rd and 4th weekends in September.  To find out details, see

One storefront away from the Rectangle Gallery is Fruffles, a “boutique department store”. A little of this and that… all lovely and tasteful.

Next stop was The Shady Lady. Their facebook page describes the store as “Upscale Resale Clothing & Funky, Fun, Fabulous Home Décor!!” Good description. The reason we visited (again, thanks to Rebecca for setting this up!) is to see the Bordello Museum, which is upstairs from the shop.  Holly, the owner, greeted us and shared a few details before we viewed the exhibits.  I won’t give away details, but this little museum ($2.00 admission) is definitely worth a visit!  The museum is open on weekends.

centralia.libraryNext we wandered over to the town square park, where the Centralia (Timberland) Carnegie public library is located. Across the street from the library is the US Post Office, with a lovely mural from the 1920’s… so glad it’s being preserved.  We really enjoyed the many murals throughout town.  It’s sad to see that most are faded.  centralia.mural

We visited the Olympic Club, a McMenamins hotel, theater, and restaurant. The building was constructed in 1913 as a railroad hotel (since it is beside the rail depot).  Since 1996 the McMenamins have owned the property.  The huge bar and Tiffany lamps are beautiful.  The theater shows current movies ($4.00!) while you lounge in comfortable chairs or sofas.  You can purchase food or drink to eat while watching the movie!  One of the employees gave us a grand tour of the hotel.  There were lots of pictures of the early days of this building; interesting and colorful history!  The rooms are basic, with bathrooms down the hall.

After walking for a few hours we relaxed with an iced latte at Santa Lucia.  It was nice to sit down for a bit… comfortable and friendly place for a break.  We commented that everyone we met today was very friendly and helpful.  This town has heart!

Next we wound our way back through town stopping at a few of the many antique/collectible stores. We found some treasures, then headed back to the Amtrak depot to catch our bus for our return trip.  Heading back home we took the 4:00 pm R/T Route 4 to Tenino.  In Tenino we transferred to the R/T Route 2 which returned us to Tumwater Square.

Another fun day… this trip is definitely on the “repeat” list!


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