Olympia – It’s the good life… and a lot more

I spent the last week in Washington, my home state, and had the most amazing time. My husband, my son Ollie and I went up there for many reasons: the wedding reception my sister and her new husband organized for our family, my sister’s “Map of Lost Memories” book reading at her literary alma mater — Seattle’s Elliot Bay Book Co. — and a reading and Q&A for Kim at my friends’ photography studio, The Steam Plant, in Olympia during the city’s big Art Walk. As well, we haven’t had a holiday since our trip to London last Christmas, so it was time to take a few days off work and relax.

We arrived at Sea-Tac on Thursday afternoon and headed down to Olympia to stay with our close friends, Cortney and Philip, and their youngest son Emmett.  


Fall colors speed by

Uh oh, our navigator fell asleep

Uh oh, our navigator fell asleep

They have a charming house right off downtown with a beautiful little garden and chickens freely roaming the yard with Ruby, the dog and their two cats, George and Koz (literally the fattest black cat in town). Ollie was in heaven. 

Pearl, Gertie, Rosie, Honey & Ginger(not exactly sure which one isn't in the picture)

Pearl, Gertie, Rosie, Honey & Ginger
(not exactly sure which one isn’t in the picture)

We spent our first full day there wandering the town and going to the Farmer’s Market. I love Olympia. I had a great conversation with a woman at the Blue Heron Bakery stall in the market about how wonderful it is that the food trend these days is organic, farm to table, local, fresh, etc. but how funny it is since that is the way everyone in Olympia has always shopped and eaten. I can attest to that truth since I spent some time living here right after college in the early ’90s. 

As a matter of fact, I would stop at Blue Heron Bakery on Mud Bay Road on my way into town to visit Cortney and Philip in their first charming house by downtown that sadly was (and still is) painted a bright yellow and red, a la McDonald’s. I would pick up whole wheat berry-filled croissants, and Cortney would provide coffee from the local roaster, Batdorf and Bronsons, for our many yard sales or just days spent hanging out and cooking and playing with Cortney and Philip’s firstborn, Austin. He was only a toddler back then, and this visit he wasn’t home because he has graduated from college and was off on a ski weekend with his friends. My how that makes a girl feel old!

Ollie enjoying his gluten free ginger cookie from Blue Heron Bakery.  His choice, however,no matter how many times I told him, I think he still thought it was a giant chocolate cookie

Ollie enjoying his gluten free ginger cookie from Blue Heron Bakery.
His choice, however, no matter how many times I told him,
I think he still thought it was a giant chocolate cookie

On Friday night Kim’s first event of the week was at Cortney’s photography studio, The Steam Plant, in downtown Olympia.  It is an amazing old brick building with beautiful light and so much character. 

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Ollie driving the vintage car before the space was set up for Kim’s reading

Cortney went all out, bringing in a local food truck, AllFed Up. Their “fromage a trois” sandwich (named by my clever brother-in-law Jim) was to die for. Philip picked up a keg from the local brewer, Fish Tale, and proceeds from the beer garden went to a local art outreach program, POSCCA. There was also a local musician, Terry Holder, playing throughout the night. 


Kim’s reading was excellent and Cortney did a fun and interesting Q&A, ending with her asking the 10 questions James Lipton always asks on Inside the Actors Studio.  My favorite response was to “What profession, other than your own would you like to attempt?”  “CIA agent” she replied.  She was devastated when she found out you have to be under 35 years old to apply.  Guess that option is out.  Orca books, a great local independent bookstore, kindly supplied the books and overall it was a smashing success!

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Next stop Seattle … However, I know we will be back to Oly soon since my husband fell in love with this quirky, organic-oriented, farm-to-table, local-business-supporting town! 

 Originally posted on serveitforth.blogspot.com