As I may have noted in my earlier Washington posts, my daughter and her family live in Port Orchard, WA. The city is located 13 miles due west of West Seattle and connected to Seattle and Vashon Island via the Washington State Ferries run to Southworth.
The Port Orchard area was first settled in 1854 by Wiliam Renton and Daniel Howard, who set up a saw mill there. The town that was to become Port Orchard was originally platted in 1886 by Frederick Stevens, who named the new location after his father, Sidney. The town of Sidney was incorporated September 15, 1890, and was the first in Kitsap County to be both platted and incorporated. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Navy sought a suitable location for another installation on the west coast, and found it with the assistance of Sidney’s residents in Orchard Bay (this installation would later become the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard). The shipyard is still there.
The population of the city is about 12,000.
Over the few days we were there I was able to get a glimpse of the uniqueness of the pleasant town. There are walls downtown with large murals and a few quirky places that were fun.
When we first drove through town I spied a large mural depicting an undersea world, including orcas and other things. I captured a couple of shots and detail views of this colorful and large mural.
Unfortunately, I have searched to locate the artist of this work, but have not found it yet.
When you first get off of the ferry in Port Orchard, you can see the library, which has a few colorful murals as well.
Along with murals, I am always on a never-ending quest to find the quirky and fun. My son-in-law came across a place near Port Orchard that was udderly mooooving! Indeed, it fulfills the definition of quirky to the max.
The place is called The Mattress Ranch and is one store of a chain of eleven stores in Washington and Alaska. The brainchild of Ted Sadtler, who has created a serious and profitable business with a quirky and fun twist. The location in Port Orchard has a couple dozen fiberglass cows and many more farm animals sitting in a section outside of the parking lot. Ultimately, its a kitschy twist on getting people to come to their stores, which continue the farm animal motif on the inside as well. For me…a perfect fun spot with the quirky, off-beat character that I like. Here are a few pics of “The Ranch.”
Then, on another trip we drove by a place…obviously a Biker Bar. It was great!! This too is in Port Orchard.
The Bethel Saloon has a skeleton on a motorcycle as the main decor at the top of the building. They claim to be the only Biker Bar in town. The building was apparently one of America’s first official Texaco Gasoline Service Stations in the late 1920’s. It’s also served as a general store, cafe, dry cleaners and pottery shop. It is bedecked with a nice mural on the side and appears to have a great off-beat character to it.
And, finally, a couple of other fun shots from town…
Then, there is Easy Street….
And a couple of shots of the port…a ferry and my friend the Blue Heron….
Once again the great team at PRHBTN and all of its supporters have brought 4 great artists into Lexington to add 4 more lovely wall murals around Lexington. These artists from New York, Italy and Portugal all visited Lexington and left with their art work colorizing more of town. (See updated map of all murals in Lexington embedded below)
The first week of November I made my rounds to grab shots of these murals. I have done similar posts in the past ( see 20142013a2013b ) and this is the 2015 version.
Unlike the art the past couple of years, we actually have a piece that is probably closer to conventional wall art rather than the street art influences, especially in Portuguese artist ODIETH‘s marvelous Louis Armstrong mural that sits alongside the Lighthouse Ministries Church on Elm Tree Lane across from the Lyric Theatre.
Head to downtown Lexington and the Victorian Square Parking Garage on Main and Broadway and there is now a third mural decorating the walls. This time it is on the wall facing Main Street and the mural can be seen from the corner of Main and Broadway. This mural was for the Audubon Society and is of a wild turkey. The art was done by Italian mural artist hiTNES.
The most unusual of all of the paintings comes from New York artists Sheryo and the Yok. I am not sure what this one is all about, but I am thinking there is some basketball involved. It is located on the side of the Oneness Boutique on Jersey St., near the corner with Maxwell.
And finally, the most retro and perhaps most colorful of all the paintings was the one done by Portuguese street artist MrDHEO. This three section mural titled “What Goes Around Comes Around” on the side of Chase Brewing on Third Street and Jefferson is classy and intricate.
I really enjoyed looking at all of the detail that went into this. And to think it was all done with spray paint is amazing to me.
Here are a few shots of this one.
Another tradition that seems to be associated with each annual PRHBTN gathering is the unscheduled and probably unplanned smaller pieces of art that find there way into the Lexington Distillery District, especially by the area where Ethereal Brewing is located on Manchester Dr. in Lexington. This year some large cement cubes appeared and art has been added to them. Among the artists that I could actually track down, one was Louisville’s Brrr. Brrr is known for his popular bug-eyed character which you can see below. A visit to Louisville will likely have an appearance of Brrr’s art show up.
Of course, besides the PRHBTN group’s great work, there has been other lovely and unique wall art popping up in Lexington since my last post in 2014. Three really nice works that I have come across include the following:
I tried to research the artist for this outstanding sunface, but I may have to call Mellow Mushroom to find out.
The front of Mellow Mushroom also includes some Native American art in the form of Kokopelli as seen on old petroglyphs in Arizona and New Mexico. As a former tour guide on the Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations and an enthusiast of the old Native American cultures of the Sinagua and the Anasazi, I immediately recognized Kokopelli,
In another part of town, along Southland Drive, there is a Tattoo Shop called Horseshoe Tattoo which has a large mural on its side wall. Done in the tradition of street art, it is both colorful and indicative of tattoo stylings. I think it has been around for a couple of years, but I had only really noticed it in the past year. So, I am including it in this year’s version of Lexington’s Wall art.
NO LONGER WITH US…..
Then there is the sad news of two lovely works that are no longer around. The first is the Distillery District wall, which was done in 2013 by Lexington Street Artists Dronex, Inc. I noticed that this wall had been torn down to expand the parking lot. (You can see my write up about this one ON THIS BLOG POST from 2014).
A second lovely mural was painted over by new owners of the old Hurst Office Building at the end of Short Street in Lexington. I read that there was some controversy over this one. It is sad that someone would just paint over a wall that was painstakingly painted. You can see more about this one on THIS BLOG POST.
Our last couple of days in Washington and we finally made it to Mt. Rainier National Park. This was a fabulous day trip from Port Orchard and we were blessed with amazing weather.
For this trip we headed south to Tacoma and then eventually made our way to WA 410 and to the small picturesque town of Enumclaw. We had a couple of hours to get there, so we stopped for a play break for the kids and a stretch break for the adults. We found a nice park that afforded us all some time to get stretched and even take a few photos.
From Enumclaw we continued west on 410, also called the “Chinook Byway,” along the White River to Greenwater, WA. The historic Naches Trail brought ox and horse drawn wagons through this area carrying early settlers west. Many years later, touring cars carried early visitors through Greenwater to the newly dedicated Mt. Rainier National Park. Today, this place
is a dot on the map with a couple of touristy stops and a bar/cafe. Lots of Sasquatch carvings around the place as well. By the time we got to Greenwater, everyone was hungry. So we stopped at a place called Naches Tavern to get some lunch. They had a nice picnic area on the side (the kids couldn’t go into the tavern portion) and actually had a pretty good menu.
Naches Tavern is a rustic old place and has apparently been around as a watering hole since the early 20th Century. The inside is decorated with old memorabilia of the Naches Trail and a covering of dollar bills all over the walls.
After lunch we were back on WA 410 heading towards Mt. Rainier National Park. Chalk up another National Park visit for me!
The drive on 410 offers up some wonderful scnic views of Mt. Rainier but also of other mountains. We got to a wonderful overlook near Naches Peak Overlook called the Tipsoo Lake Parking Area.
From the parking area there is a wonderful easy trail that walks along the ridge allowing a great view of Tipsoo Lake as well as wildflowers and wildlife. We all walked that trail to the point where it started a decline down to the lake. We wanted to get to Mt. Rainier, so we only went that far. Along the walk I got some great closeup shots of birds in action, a chipmunk scurrying off and then the breathtaking view of Tipsoo Lake.
After our little hiking break we were back on the road to return to Cayuse Pass and then north to visit the Sunrise Visitor’s Center. This location offered some amazing views of Mt. Rainier as well as of the Cowlitz Chimneys. This is also the highest point that can be reached by vehicle at Mount Rainier National Park.
From Sunrise, we headed back to 410 and south to Cayuse Pass and WA 123 which would take us into Stevens Canyon and then around the east end of the mountain on the windy road towards Paradise.
We reached Paradise and it most certainly matched the name. Splendid views of the mountain.
Paradise is not as high up as Sunset, but it still offered a different perspective of Rainier and the Cascades.
After visiting the mountain we were soon on our way back to Port Orchard via Longmire, WA on WA 706 and then on to Elbe, WA. The road was lined with giant redwoods and other tall trees. It was a splendid drive.
The Mt. Rainier Railroad Dining Company includes a caboose motel (The Hobo Inn), a gift shop, the Cascadian Dinner Train and a restaurant and lounge. Great for railroad buffs, the Cascadian Dinner Train, once known as the American Freedom Train, apparently toured the country with 26 cars displaying over 500 treasures of Americana. It was a unique place for all of us to eat.
Elbe is also know for its historic Elbe Church. This tiny (18-by-24 foot) church sits on its original location and has a rich German heritage. It bears the name of the founders’ origin, the Elbe River valley near Hamburg, Germany. The church has been around since 1906. Forged by the town’s first blacksmith, a 4-foot iron cross tops the 46-foot steeple, which houses the first bell. The church still features its original altar and elevated pulpit as well as one of the hand-carved pews. Lettered prominently on the steeple of the landmark Elbe Lutheran Church is “Ev. Luth. KIRCHE” (Evangelische Lutherische Kirche), a reminder of the founders’ German origins.
From Elbe, we drove along the eerily picturesque and spooky Alder Lake.
The lake is dotted with old tree stumps and is really kind of “out of this world” looking. And, some of these are really quite huge stumps. Quite an amazing site after all of the magnificent trees we had seen throughout the day.
Finally, as we approached the small town of Eatonville, we got one fabulous view of Mt. Rainier, which, in my opinion, was probably the highlight photo of my entire 10 day visit to Washington!
It was a glorious day of travel and a wonderfully scenic drive around one of America’a most amazing mountains!!