Rebels By Bus

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Snug Gig Harbor

gig harbor bannerThe “Welcome to Gig Harbor” banner AND blue sky were promising another fun Rebels by Bus adventure!

Eight enthusiastic Rebels joined in this adventure.  The Intercity Transit bus dropped us off in downtown Tacoma, by the State History Museum.  We walked up the steps at the University of Washington campus to check out the Library, which has been repurposed from a Snoqualmie power station.  An amazing Chihuly chandelier is hanging from the tower reading room.  (See the Abby Williams Hill RBB trip for more details).  After a restroom break, we headed back to Pacific Avenue to catch the free light LINK streetcar which delivered us uphill to 11th and Commerce.  (NOTE:  Sound Transit announced they have delayed charging a fare for the Tacoma Light Link for another two years!  Yeah!)  We crossed the street to catch our next bus, which took us to the Tacoma Community College Transit Center.  From there, another bus took us across the amazing Narrows Bridge and on to Gig Harbor.

During the summer Pierce Transit partners with Gig Harbor businesses to fund a shuttle trolley which travels from the Kimball Drive Park and Ride to downtown and along Harborview Drive.  Most of us stayed on the trolley loop to get an overview of Gig Harbor environs and waterfront .  After taking the loop trip, most of us decided to have lunch at the quintessential Gig Harbor restaurant:  The Tides Tavern.  Half of the group scored an outdoor table, right above the Harbor.

After a leisurely lunch, we strolled down Harborview Drive taking in the Farmer’s Market (really more of a craft fair at this time of year), and checking out a few of the small shops along the way.

We had an easy, uneventful return trip.  Thanks, Rebels!

The trip details are found in “trip directions”, in the right hand column of the blog.


Our new Snohomish County friends…

Please welcome our guest blogger, Sandy Schurman, who provides her insights about our recent trip to the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. 

We’re looking forward to more adventures with our Snohomish County friends.  We are planning to meet in Everett in late June, and will travel together to the town of Snohomish to browse the antique stores. 

I hear lots of chatter and the air is full of excitement as nine seniors gather at the Edmonds Senior Center 20 minutes before the bus arrives.  They have come early for instructions on the day’s agenda, bus riding and safety tips plus travel instruction on the various transportation choices that are available throughout Snohomish County.  I am Sandy Schurman the SNOTRAC Program Coordinator and the program that is so popular among seniors is called Ride Around the Sound, the Bus Buddy Program (RAS).  This program is an enjoyable way for seniors to become familiar with and to learn how to navigate the bus system by sharing the ride with their peers.  Trips using public transportation currently leave monthly from six different sites throughout Snohomish County headed to  fun destinations.   Read the rest of this entry »

Destination: Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor, founded in 1888, is a picturesque Puget Sound community across the Narrows Bridge from Tacoma. Commercial fishing, boat building, and sawmills were the economic lifeblood of this community.

The harbor is the center of the downtown area and is where we spent our time. A one mile walk along Harbor View—starting at the Tides Taverns and ending at the Finholm marketplace– celebrates Gig Harbor’s long maritime history and the many immigrants from Sweden, Norway and Croatia who fished the Puget Sound. Heritage markers on this Waterfront History Walk highlight points of interest, sharing facts about the people who settled in Gig Harbor and helped it grow.

 The Skanski Brothers Park, which is a large, open, waterfront space with grass and docks, is home to the Fisherman Memorial. This large bronze statue depicting a fisherman hauling in his catch honors those who lost their lives at sea. The Finholm Hill Climb behind the market provides a stunning view of Mount Rainier, which on a clear day towers over the harbor.

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Seattle: Theo’s Chocolate Factory Tour

 Who knew that the history and chocolate making process could be so interesting?!  Theo is NOT a person (in this case).  Theo is short for the Latin name of the Cacao tree, Theobroma Cacao, Food of the Gods.  

Kate, our tour guide, told us the story of chocolate, which began in ancient times in the Amazon, as well as the incredible process of turning those bitter seeds rich in anti-oxidants into this confection that heals broken hearts. The story is amazing. How anyone figured out how to make something good to eat out of those bitter cocoa beans is a miracle!

With our hairnets on, about 25 people went into the factory to learn about the multi-step, complex chemical process to turn the beans into bars. Looking much like a Rube Goldberg contraption of yellow, green and steel containers and piping, it makes it way through the different steps.

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Vashon Island: A Pleasant Time-Traveler Journey

A short ferry ride from Seattle or Tacoma takes you to a microcosm of a friendly, slower-paced life style.  The Washington state ferry system is admired worldwide.  And for good reason.  What better way to enjoy our water and mountain views than a trip on a ferry? 

 As of summer of 2009, the Rhododendron gracefully flows from Pt. Defiance (Tacoma) to Vashon.  The Rhododendron is the smallest car ferry on line (the Hiyu is the smallest car/passenger ferry, but as of summer 2009, did not have a regular run), with only one lane of traffic loading at a time.  The route provides a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier, with Tacoma’s Commencement Bay in the foreground. 

 The more popular Fauntleroy/Vashon route is served by three different ferries, departing twice an hour from each end of the 20 minute run. 

 Once on the island, the Metro bus 118 is waiting for you.  To get an overview of the island, stay on the bus for the 1 ½ hour route.  The 118 travels Vashon Highway, the north/south route between the two ferry terminals, as well as a loop around Maury Island.  The Maury Island side-trip passes through the small villages of Portage (at the isthmus connecting Vashon and Maury Islands), Burton (at the lovely and protected Quartermaster Harbor), and Dockton. 

The town of Vashon:  Get off the bus as it passes through the town of Vashon.  Vashon is the largest town on the island, the busiest intersection (Banks Road and Vashon Highway) has a four-way blinking light.  There are several choices of restaurants within two blocks of this intersection, as well as bookstores, art galleries, grocery and hardware stores, as well as gift and boutique shops.  One could spend all day wandering in and out of the shops.  The pace of the town is soothing; the shopkeepers are friendly and clearly proud of their island community.  Even the dogs are friendly, and welcomed everywhere (as evidenced by dog water bowls at many store entrances).

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