Vacation destination… Moses Lake?

Not only is Moses Lake a great vacation destination, but it’s loaded with history as well. Let’s begin with the most obvious question…who is Moses Lake named for? The answer is not who you might think.

USS Plainview: The ship that flew

There are dozens of things to see and do on the Lewis and Clark Trail Highway in southwest Washington (see here and here for just a few examples), but surely one of the most unique lies just outside a tiny berg called Knappton on the bank of the Columbia River. If you head west from Knappton Cove you might spot a rusty barge parked in a shallow bay called Hungry Harbor. There is something else very interesting about this harbor that caused

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The Ellis Island of the Columbia

We’ve all seen those grainy, black and white films of immigrants packed shoulder to shoulder on steamships pouring into America in the early 1900s. You can see them pass the Statue of Liberty and watch as they file out of the ships and into the long lines awaiting them before they are permitted entry into the United States. But we often overlook the fact that scenes like this were taking place all over the country…not just in New York.

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Marketing in the Methow Valley

Thanks to my work with Scenic Washington, I was invited to be a presenter at their annual retreat in Winthrop. Since I haven’t been to Winthrop since I was about seven, I jumped at the chance to not only see the Methow Valley again but to help some of Washington’s tourism partners recognize the value in history, heritage and culture. The drive from Lacey to Winthrop is a long one, but since I knew the route well I wanted to

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End of summer soirée at the mansion

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation is inviting you to their annual fundraiser, Vintage Washington! As you may already know, I’m on the board of directors for this great organization and can personally attest to its passion for Washington State history. Vintage Washington is a festive evening of spirits tasting at Seattle’s historic Stimson-Green Mansion. Back by popular demand this year is Copperworks Distilling Company, offering tastings of premium vodka and gin. Bid summer adieu with their refreshing signature cocktail created for

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Take a ride on the steamship Virginia V

In honor of the Seattle flagship’s 93rd birthday, the Steamship Virginia V Foundation is offering the public a limited number of tickets to join them for the birthday cruise on Sunday, June 7th. They’re celebrating 93 years of “Keeping The Steam Up!” around the Puget Sound with the annual celebratory cruise. Proud to continue the tradition of steaming in the northwest, the foundation says it’s looking forward to welcoming you aboard. The cruise is presented by Vulcan Real Estate and tickets can be purchased

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History lives on Orcas Island

There are very few places in Washington where you can hike through the woods, trip over a 200-year-old cannonball and land amongst an assortment of arrowheads and prehistoric bison fossils. In fact, there’s likely only one place where that amazing scenario could potentially play out, and that is on Orcas Island in the San Juans. As the largest island in San Juan County, Orcas is surprisingly not named after the famous killer whales that patrol the waters north of

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Campbell’s Resort has something for everyone

Does the idea of sunning yourself on a white sand beach listening to gentles waves lap against the shoreline sound appealing to you? Or are you more of a traveling foodie (a trudie?) who loves discovering gourmet quizine in the most unlikely of places? Maybe you’re a history buff looking to learn more about the past while enjoying the present. Whoever you are, Campbell’s Resort on Lake Chelan is for you. Nestled at the southern tip of Lake Chelan,

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Wintering the Pacific with Lewis and Clark

In southwestern Washington where the mighty Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean are a string of sites that no historical tourist or lifelong resident of our state should leave unvisited. Between Hungry Harbor and the Long Beach Peninsula are three places that hold not only state but national significance. They are the three places that Captain Meriwether Lewis, Lieutenant William Clark and the entire Corps of Discovery expedition met with some of the fiercest weather conditions of their 3,700-mile

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Uncertain future for “American icon”

In December of 1966, the City of Lacey was celebrating its incorporation. The small settlements of Woodland and Chambers Prairie had united to form what was then a bedroom community to nearby Olympia. But just a few months earlier that year, Lacey residents got a chance to attend another celebration, as one of the Northwest’s first modern indoor shopping malls opened for business at South Sound Center. When it opened, anchor tenants included Nordstrom Place Two, Peoples, Sears, and

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Long on coastline, longer on history

Washington State’s Long Beach Peninsula is well known for many reasons. The prolific oyster and razor clam harvests, Jake the Alligator Man at Marsh’s Free Museum and one of the longest beaches in the world (28 continuous miles of sand-filled fun) are just a few. But there’s more to the iconic arm of Pacific County than just having a good time which, incidentally, is far too easy to do. Many of the communities along the Long Beach Peninsula were

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LeRoy Tipton’s take on local lodge history

I introduced myself and my wife to our Lake Quinault coach tour guide, LeRoy Tipton. He said our names twice and quipped, “I have a really good memory. But my recall does not work very well. In fact, I have a very good memory except for names…faces, places, events, dates…stuff like that.” During the twenty-minute introduction where LeRoy (pronounced “luh-ROY” not “LEE-roy”) eloquently set the stage for our three-hour tour of the Olympic National Park, we would find that

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A memorable meal at the Lake Quinault Lodge

“Yes, Mr. President. It is, indeed, breathtaking.” Those are the words I imagine Washington State Governor Clarence D. Martin spoke in 1937 after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt first commented on the beauty of what was then known as the Mount Olympus National Monument. Of course, Governor Martin would likely have been hiding a smirk at having to reinforce such an obvious statement by FDR. After all, it was a natural beauty that nearly every Washingtonian had been appreciating since

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Port Ludlow: From industry to opportunity

When most folks want to unplug for a weekend, they are often disappointed to find that their secret hideaway has suddenly become everyone else’s destination hot-spot. Many of Washington’s smaller beach communities can end up crawling with tourists during the busy season…good for their local economy, sure, but the bane of travelers looking for peace and quiet. However, a few places still remain where individuals, couples and families can find a safe harbor away from both day-to-day responsibilities and

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More than just parks: Olympic National Park

I got an e-mail recently from a team of brothers who are traveling around the country documenting the wondrous scenery of America’s 59 National Parks. Their first stop? Right here in Washington, in one of my favorite places…Olympic National Park. Their video is a culmination of a month’s time spent videoing some of the most incredible parts of Olympic National Park. It’s a dazzling 4 minute short film that takes the viewer on a visually stunning journey through the

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Who could ask for more than zombies in the old west?

Zombies? Like. Pioneer town? Like. Put the two together? It’s a match made in only the greatest nightmares. “Haunting Ellensburg” is Ellensburg’s premier haunted house event, taking place at Frontier Village at the Kittitas Valley Event Center on Fridays and Saturdays from Oct. 10 through Oct. 25. Guests will be pulled into a horrific version of the Old West as they encounter a fearful village overrun by marauding zombies and flee for their lives from hostile villagers! This professional

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Gravel to golf: The Chambers Bay story

In June, Chambers Bay Golf Course in Pierce County will join the ranks of such prestigious courses as Pebble Beach, Bethpage, Marian, and Pinehurst, among others. At these courses, some of the greatest players ever to walk the links made U.S. Open History. Chambers Bay is poised to become the next great field of champions. But unlike the other courses, whose golf history goes back generations, Chambers Bay is a newcomer to the sport…and there’s a lot more to

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2014 Darwin Award winners from Washington

I’m not sure if I’m happy or embarrassed about this designation, but a friend of mine forwarded me the list of the top six vote-getters for the 2014 Darwin Awards. If you don’t know what the Darwin Awards are, please visit their website and prepare to waste several hours reading through the page-turning impossible-but-true stories. In short, “the Darwin Awards commemorate individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives: by eliminating themselves

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Staying a night at the Sunset Beach Hotel

There have always been references to the famed Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet that I’ve run across while researching Washington State history. The entrepreneurial spirit that gave birth to the fleet in the 1850s is part of what makes Washington such a fascinating place. From the 1850s through the 1920s, it was said there were so many steam ships racing around the Sound that it looked like a swarm of mosquitos. And among the most popular stopovers in the 1890s was the

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Northwest Trek: Experience Washington’s wildlife in the outdoors

In a split second, I knew it was a bald eagle as it shot by about ten feet overhead. I had never been that close to one in flight before. The unmistakable white markings, yellow beak and talons and gargantuan wingspan that easily distinguished it from the more common ravens and falcons in Ocean Shores were clearly visible just before it disappeared over the roofline as quickly as it had materialized. On the third-floor balcony of the house that borders

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Seahawks win! Seahawks win! Seahawks win!

It’s now been a full week since I got to watch Washington State sports history play out on a national stage. With my wife, son and daughter by my side, we watched the Seattle Seahawks easily outmatch the Denver Broncos to win the franchise’s first ever Lombardi trophy. Although I didn’t have a chance to watch a single pre-, regular- or post-season game (since we canceled cable all those years ago), I did get to watch the Super Bowl

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Exotic hunting? Just head north

Washington has a special trait that it shares with only nine other U.S. states, and that is sharing a land border with Canada. While that sometimes leads to concerns about border security, it also forces the two countries – and states, specifically – to foster good working relationships with each other. This can be evidenced in Washington by the enhanced driver’s licence…a relatively new way to cross from the U.S. into Canada and back into Washington State without requring

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Charter fishing the waters off Westport

For Fathers’ Day 2013, my dad had gotten the two of us a fishing excursion on Westport Charters in Westport, WA. Father’s Day is in June, but we had to take our trip in early August thanks to the Legislature being unable to complete its business in three consecutive sessions (yes, it still smarts). I had been looking forward to this trip for two reasons: I was anxious for some vacation time spent fishing, and I hadn’t been ocean

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Mud and muck around Millersylvania State Park

Almost every year I pack up the family and head ten miles south of our Lacey home to go camping at Millersylvania State Park, and every time we make plans to take advantage of the miles of woodland trails skirting its edges. Unfortunately, for a multitude of reasons, we’ve never been able to actually hike those trails. But this weekend I was determined to spend some long-overdue and much-needed quality time in the Washington outdoors, so – since we

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Encourage family and friends to wear hearing protection

By John O’Connor, Guest Blogger bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com Hunting is a very popular sport and hobby for many people these days. It is also a favorite activity that many families engage in together as well. When picking a family hunting trip, a great destination to check out could be Washington State. Washington State is a great place to pick for a hunting trip because it is such a diverse area, not just when talking about different types of game but also

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The rains have returned

Fall in Western Washington always brings the wet weather. Sometimes it starts in late August, and sometimes it holds off until October. This year appears to be one of the late years, as we had lots of nice days in September and early October. But make no mistake, fall has finally descended on us. Grey skies, whipping winds, falling leaves, and rain-soaked sidewalks are a dead giveaway. And speaking of dead, Halloween is just around the corner.

Ascending Saint Helens, Part 4 of 4: The gear that got me there

I sincerely hope anyone reading this is inspired to climb a mountain of their own. I hope it’s one of the beloved mountains of Washington State, but any mountain that strikes a chord in your heart will suffice. It’s not just something other people talk about. You can do it too. Just make sure you have the right training, the right gear and the right attitude and you’d be surprised how high you can climb.

Ascending Saint Helens, Part 3 of 4: More than a mountain

I was almost five years old when I rode on my father’s back during a hike on Mt. Rainier one sunny Saturday afternoon. During that walk, he paused for a moment while viewing the distant, lofty, snow-capped peak to the southwest, speculating aloud on the possibility of one of the 18 volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain Range ever erupting. It was May 17th, 1980, and the next morning the world would forever be deprived of the last view my

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Ascending Saint Helens, Part 2 of 4: Rock-hopping at the jetty

After deciding to climb Mt. Saint Helens in early 2012 and committing myself by actually purchasing the permits back in February, Dad and I had been training for the climb for months as the ascent date approached. It wasn’t until August finally arrived that we fully realized the gravity of the task we were about to undertake and upon reevaluation, found ourselves lacking in several training areas. When deciding to climb a mountain (and having never attempted anything like

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Ascending Saint Helens, Part 1 of 4: Gaining in elevation

It was early February of this year when I decided I was going to climb Washington State’s Mt. Saint Helens and peer into the mile-wide crater of the active volcano. As a native Washingtonian, summiting every snowcapped peak in the state had been on my bucket list for longer than I can remember. Years ago, I asked my father – another native Washingtonian with a love for the outdoors – to join me in climbing Mt. Rainier. At 63,

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Don’t mess with park rangers. Seriously.

They’ll kick you out. In the nicest, most passive-aggressive way, they’ll politely ask you to leave. Let me go back and explain what happened. As anyone from Washington State knows, the drive from Seattle to Spokane (or vice-versa) can be riddled with boredom unless you’re playing traffic games with other drivers or looking for something in particular (like totaling up the different crops with names posted on the fence lines to see if it turns out to be a

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Easy week in eastern Washington, Part 2: Be nice or leave

One of the nicest things about going on a fishing trip is that you don’t have to get up early to do it. In fact, you can sleep in as long as you like – which is exactly what we did the morning our adventure began. After all, we weren’t on a schedule, the fish weren’t going anywhere and Linda Hartman makes some of the best hearty breakfasts I’ve ever had. Dad and Lyn have been doing this for

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Easy week in eastern Washington, Part 1: The roads less traveled

My father, Walt Ebel, and I began our second annual trip to the Colville Indian Reservation on a Monday in early June. Dad’s been doing this for decades; he visits his best friend, Lyn, and they spend a week on Twin Lakes at Hartman’s Log Cabin Resort near Inchelium. Last year I decided to finally accept their invitation and had such a good time I wanted to make it an annual part of my summer as well. I even

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Spending National Trails Day at Sahara Creek/Nicholson Horse Trail System

Several weeks ago, I spotted a Facebook post from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources which invited any and all participants to volunteer with trail repair and maintenance. Being that I was in need of some good, old-fashioned dirty, wet and muddy outdoor time I decided to sign up. I checked out the various locations in which DNR needed volunteers and decide that Sahara Creek/Nicholson Horse Trail System would be a great place for me to volunteer. I

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So much history, so little time

So I went to the Lacey public library last weekend because it’s free and Parker loves to visit. Usually, I supervise him playing in the children’s area or – more recently – help him with the computer learning games. Incidentally, I never imagined that a three-year-old could successfully operate a graphic user interface…but who knew? He already has the library’s high score on Clifford’s Day Out. Anyway, after my wife finished returning his old books and collected a dozen

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Finally, the hunting begins

My alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning, and my first thought was, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Even though I had gone to bed relatively early the night before, I still didn’t get much sleep since it was the night before my first real hunting trip. Fortunately, the excitement of the coming day was also enough to roust me out of bed at that ungodly hour and I crept across the room quietly so as not

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