Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Best of Kitsap's West, North of Central

I'm sure by now that everyone has seen "The Best of North Kitsap" which is put out by one of the TONS of "local" newspapers which we all receive. Of course we all wonder how objective this is, can't someone really stuff the ballot box? Can a winner really just be someone who does a lot of advertising with the paper? To make sure that such blatant wrong-doing doesn't always happen, I decided to give my own "The Best Of..." awards, finding a geographical area which I felt comfortable saying that I have experience in.

That area, to specifically define it, I decided to call Kitsap's West side, but it doesn't include the north end , but it is the northerly end, so I'm going to call this "The Best of Kitsap's West, North of Central". And just to be totally fair, I am going to define the area as East Of Hood Canal, West of Gamble Bay, North of the Hood Canal Bridge, and South of Water. Got that?

The business had to have been opened at least 1 week. Some businesses are so excited from just having opened that their reading is sometimes off, so we required a little time.

The business had to thank us profusely and show us how thankful they were by providing us with a lot of whatever they won with.

And are you afraid I'm going to cheat. Hey! You've been reading my stuff for how long and you think I'm a cheater?

So here, without further ado are the 2010 winners of The Best of Kitsap's West, North of Central, along with a little bit about why they won:

The Best Bookstore
The Dauntless Bookstore
Located in Port Gamble. Have you seen the Dauntless' tourist center, with more maps and postcards than any other business in the area. That's in addition to their many fine books.

The Best General Store
Port Gamble General Store
I don't remember a general store with a better selection of cards (although Kim needs to look at some from Paper Clip Art), and have you seen the TWO museums in their facility, the Port Gamble and the Shell Museums, two of the reasons kids like this place too.

The Best Yarn
The Artful Ewe
How many businesses do you know of anywhere in Kitsap County that are only OPEN three days a week because the owner has so much to do to and with her yarn before she can sell it that she barely has it ready for sale as it is.

The Best Place For Tea and Ivar's Clam Chowder
The Tea Room At Port Gamble
We chose the eatery with the most eclectic or disparate choices of food to show that they could entertain just about anyone with their cooking, providing as well an entertaining location.

The Best Place to Find Antiques
Best Friends Antiques
I like this place for a lot of different reasons, but it is so rare that one will find so many antiques placed so carefully in a garage out back of a store, that it makes searching for antiques more of a treasure hunt.

The Best Salon and Spa
Salon and Spa on Gamble Bay
This place MUST be good,  since it is so common for a customer to immediately head out of town when they are done so they can show off the "do" they received. Don't take this comment too casually, since I'm serious, they are good.

The Best Kayaks
Olympic Outdoor Center
These folks have an incredible summer program, especially their evening cruises to help get you started in your  hobby. They are second to none in helping you get started whether you own a boat or want to borrow one of theirs.

The Best Greeting Cards
Paper Clip Art
Very new to the area, the owner (me) uses the photos of his daughter, his own graphics skills, and cheap equipment to carry on a hobby/profession he had begun in his last town. As his schedule becomes more open, you will see more of his posters, brochures, greeting cards, and other creations.

The Best Place to Rent a Room For The Night
No question,  The Port Gamble Guest Houses
Leaning toward the style of a boutique hotel, they certainly have the style of any older, comfortable, classic facility. Try sleeping there one night. Talk about plush comfort!!

The Best Place To Get a Coffee
Gamble Bay Coffee
Not a surprise here, Sean has been dispensing his ware for years, and even finding new delights. Have you heard of a Tropical Jerry? It will cool you down quick.

Best Barbecue
Mike's Four Star Barbecue
Mike has some delicious choices. He recently made the bbq sauces so you can order them the way you want  them, mild, normal, or explosive!

Best Fruit and Vegetable Stand
Terrapin Farms
Where do they find so much fresh fruit and vegetables? When out of town Kris and I have tried to do what the locals do, buy locally. But it is never quite as fresh as what we see here  as "the real thing".

Best Art Studio
Best  Store Helping a Neighbor
Beverly Hooks Fine Art Studio
A winner in two categories, she was picked because of the way she helps The Artful Ewe with  weaving. My understanding is that the Artful Ewe developed the notion of renting looms by the hour, it was Beverly who should be given the  credit both for helping get the system started and for keeping it going.

The best place to buy a basket
Tango Zulu Imports
Need two reasons to buy a basket at a particular place? I've got them. First is the selection. Incredible. Second to none because of where they came from which is all over the world. And the other reason? The baskets are fair traided. You know the people making them are getting a living wage.

The best quilt store
Quilted Strait
I suppose you think I picked this one because I'm married to the owner. NOT SO. With over 3500 bolts of fabric, employees that are sharp as a tack, and a bunch of other stuff (cross stitch, wool, notions, classes, new AND USED books, and an internet site that lets you shop from your own home), who wouldn't pick it?

The best little store
Second Spring
While I've joked with these two about the size of their building (have you seen it? It's just across the street from the quilt store. Don't blink or you really will miss it.), they cram an amazing selection of home-made articles inside, like aprons, kids dresses, shirts, etc. If you drop by and see something you like, BUY IT because it won't be there  tomorrow. And ask to see their fifth floor ... you've never seen one like it.

There you have it. As honest and fair a report on The Best Of ... that you will find. You know, by golly, I just noticed a real coincidence... I'm not surprised though .... every one of these places just happens to be in Port Gamble. How strange.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The change in seasons has brought ....

First, as is sooooo common among "bloggers", I must  apologize for the month that has passed with no comment. THANK YOU to those of you who commented and claimed you missed my material. As usual with me, the words will no doubt fall gracefully from my lips once I get started,  (yeach!!!) but please let me blame the passage of time on trying to cram some fun in the last of summer.

Now that I'm done writing this post and am trying to put photos in it, I find that the photos won't go in. So I'm going to do the only thing I can do, send it with no photos, and keep trying to add them. Maybe someday I'll figure out what I'm doing wrong.

So, as I said in the title of this piece, "The change in seasons has brought" .... lots of things to Port Gamble. Lets try a few.

RAIN!!!! Not torrential, not even steady, just often. If you've been to Lake Ozette on the other side of the Olympic Peninsula then you know about torrential. They have a rain gauge on the front of the Lake Ozette Lodge that has a measuring stick that goes to 12 and hits it just about every year. What's so special about that? The 12 is FEET. No, here we have the rain that truly keeps the  grass green, and (unfortunately for the grounds crew) growing.

But the pot holes come out too, as evidenced by this one at the 15 mph curve. Watch it!!!!

Tree peeps!!!! Whhhaaaaa??? "Tree peeps?" "What is a tree peep?"

OK,  in this day of text messaging I'm told by  anyone two generations younger than me that words usually get shortened when a person texts. So, for instance, "people" becomes "peeps". So your real question should be "what are tree people?" To answer that, let me back up a hundred and fifty years or so, when Port Gamble was just a wide spot in the road. All the founding paps (fathers) had come from New England where you have seen  or heard about the incredible fall colors. Blazing red, brilliant amber, juicy  orange (no wait, that was what they were eating), but in this neck of the woods they found green  spruce, green fir, green cedar. .. lots of color, just one of them.

So the founding fathers called back east and said "How about if your peeps call our peeps and we get some color out here." How do you get fall color out here? You get those maples that never fail you with their fall show. And who comes to see them? Those fall peeps that go running into the middle of the road to get  the world's best photo op (opportunity, but you knew that one) which is the old church, with a couple of houses, all hidden by the blazing maple show of the trees.

So what is wrong with that? Nothing if the tree peeps would follow the laws written by the highway peeps, laws which preclude any peeps from sauntering from between two parked cars onto the highway, without looking. A recent day left me shaking because I had missed one photographer by inches ... and believe me I saw the brand of camera he had and I would have been very sick if the camera had been hurt.

I'm sure it's the staff that puts these together. Now you know I only use first names lest someone might identify themselves and be upset with me, so I will only use the names Shanna and Tom, but I think those two have planned at least one competition (an apple pie bake-off) just to get another (free) piece of what must be described as the most delightfully flavorful piece of apple pie one can find this side of....  well I don't know where, but it's the best for a long way around. And modest though I am at times, I will admit that the pie in question is made by me. You would think that asking me for a piece of pie might be what most peeps, I mean people, would do to get one. But no, they have to make a competition out of it, claiming Shanna is going to enter a pie, forcing me to enter just to prove that while she is good at a lot of things, cooking is not her strong suit. Cooking isn't even a suit that shows up in her hand. Cooking isn't even a suit she has seen before.

So I'll enter the contest and see if she can take the loss.

I should have written about this weeks ago, when I wasn't writing (duh). I'm writing this on Friday night when the carnival is set up and running, and it looks fun, skateboard competition was held tonight, and from overhearing some of the comments, it sounds like the old adage is still true "What do they call someone who finishes in second place? Loser."

 Tomorrow I am really looking forward to the logging competitions. It looks like they will have the old fashioned kind., like when two guys climb a standing log, cut a notch for the board they are going to stand on, then saw the top off the timber. And I heard they will have a log rolling contest with the loser ending up in Gamble Bay. Check their website for more detailed times and events.

Saturday, behind Quilted Strait ( (sorry, Folks, but I get paid for these ads) will be the car show. I'm hoping this will be one of the better ones in the area, since Port Gamble lost out on their own show around the 4th of July. If you are reading this and have not been to the car show, but are planning to go, would you do me one whopping big flavor? Thank the guys who brought their cars for doing just that. For many of these owners coming to the show means early hours, having to pay to let people look at their cars, having to listen to the spectators tell about THEIR cars which were stock and not tricked out like these will be at the show. and a long drive home when it is over.


If ever I was going to say something that would get me in trouble with business owners in Port Gamble, this is the subject. Don't get me  wrong, I'm not a business owner. I  used to be when we lived in  Port Angeles, but now Kris owns the business and I help out now and then.

Some businesses plan to have shorter hours, or actually what is more common, be open fewer days during the winter. I don't get it. By closing Wednesday do they think those  Wednesday people will come on Thursday instead? It won't happen. Those Wednesday people will eat somewhere else, and that customer's visit will probably not happen.

So let me assure you that there are some stores  open 7 days a week year round. I'll tell you which they are, and I hope others will tell me if  I miss some. The ones I am sure of are:

(in alphabetical order)