Rediscovering the Past: A Day of Antiquing and Sightseeing in Thurston County

December 18th, 2023
A vibrant local market scene in Thurston County, showcasing culinary diversity and historical ambiance. Diverse food stalls and artisanal crafts fill the bustling marketplace, with Olympia's historic waterfront providing a charming backdrop. The atmosphere radiates community and tradition, inviting exploration into the region's rich culinary heritage."

Thurston County Time Travel: Antiques and Histories Await

Ready to embark on your own adventure through Thurston County, where history comes to life around every corner? It's time to uncover hidden gems, savor local flavors, and dive into the rich tapestry of our past.

This day of antiquing and sightseeing is your invitation to step back in time and embrace the history that shapes our vibrant community. So, fasten your seatbelts, put on your explorer's hat, and let's begin an unforgettable journey through Thurston County, where every street and shop is a page in the storybook of our history.

Historical Sights and Attractions:

Thurston County is a treasure trove of historical sites and attractions that transport you to bygone eras. As you explore the region, you'll be captivated by the stories etched into the landscapes and buildings. Here are a couple of must-visit historical gems to get you started:

  • The Bigelow House Museum: Step back in time at the Bigelow House Museum, located in Olympia's historic Bigelow Neighborhood. This well-preserved Victorian mansion, built in 1860, offers a fascinating glimpse into the region's history. Explore the ornate rooms, period furnishings, and hear stories of the Bigelow family, early pioneers of Thurston County.
  • Tumwater Falls Park: Not just a natural beauty, Tumwater Falls Park is also steeped in history. The historic Deschutes River Falls, where the Deschutes River rushes through a rocky canyon, is a sight to behold. This spot is deeply connected to the industrial history of the area and is a testament to the development of Tumwater.

These are just a glimpse of the historical riches you'll encounter as you journey through Thurston County. Other places of interest include the Tenino Depot Museum, Lacey Museum, Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve, and the Olympia Artesian Well, each with its own unique history and significance.

A serene landscape blending lush greenery with historical landmarks, capturing the essence of Thurston County's heritage. A scenic path winds through verdant fields towards a distant Victorian mansion, symbolizing the region's journey through time.

Local Dining Delights:

Exploring Thurston County can work up quite an appetite, and lucky for you, the region is a culinary gem with a variety of dining options to please every palate. Here are a couple of local dining delights to satisfy your hunger:

  • Old School Pizzeria (Olympia): Located in downtown Olympia, Old School Pizzeria is known for its New York-style pizza. The restaurant is housed in a historic building, and the atmosphere is reminiscent of a classic pizzeria.
  • McMenamins Spar Café (Olympia): McMenamins Spar Café, located on the waterfront in Olympia, has a rich history dating back to 1935. It's a local favorite for its fish & chips and traditional American fare.
  • Well 80 Brewhouse (Olympia): This brewery and restaurant is housed in a historic downtown Olympia building. Well 80 pays homage to the artesian wells that provide pure artesian water to the region and offers a variety of craft beers and pub fare.

But the culinary adventure doesn't end here. Thurston County boasts an array of dining options, from charming cafes to breweries with pub fare. You'll find flavors that pay homage to the region's heritage, making each meal a journey through time.

Nature and Outdoor Adventures:

Thurston County's natural beauty is intertwined with its rich history, inviting outdoor enthusiasts to explore the region's landscape and its historical connections. Here are a few outdoor adventures that offer a glimpse into the past:

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge: This serene refuge was once a bustling hub for early European settlers in the region. Today, it provides a peaceful setting for birdwatchers and nature lovers, with boardwalk trails, wetland views, and a chance to spot diverse bird species.

Millersylvania State Park: Deep Lake, at the heart of this state park, has a storied history dating back to indigenous communities who cherished its beauty. Now, visitors can enjoy picnics, swimming, hiking, and even overnight camping.

Tolmie State Park: Named after Dr. William Fraser Tolmie, a Hudson's Bay Company physician and naturalist, this park features rugged beachfront, forested trails, and stunning views of Puget Sound—a testament to early maritime exploration.

Rutledge Corn Maze: Embrace the region's agricultural heritage at this family-friendly corn maze and pumpkin patch, celebrating the harvest season and the area's farming traditions.

Annual Events and Festivals:

Thurston County comes alive throughout the year with a diverse array of annual events and festivals that celebrate local culture, art, and traditions. Here are a few events that you won't want to miss:

Lakefair: Lakefair is a cherished summer tradition that dates back to 1957. This lively event features carnival rides, a grand parade, live entertainment, and fireworks over Capitol Lake, creating a sense of nostalgia and community spirit.

Olympia Arts Walk: Held twice a year, the Olympia Arts Walk showcases local artists and their creations throughout downtown Olympia. Stroll through the streets and explore galleries, shops, and creativity.

Olympia Wooden Boat Fair: The Olympia Wooden Boat Fair is a cherished event celebrating the region's maritime history and the art of boat building. It showcases beautifully crafted wooden boats, from traditional canoes to larger vessels, providing insight into the historical importance of maritime culture in the area.

These are just a few of the annual events that provide a glimpse into Thurston County's vibrant culture and traditions. Be sure to check the event calendars to time your visit with these unique experiences.

Shopping Ideas to Complete Your Historic Day Trip:

To make your historic day trip even more memorable, Thurston County offers a variety of shopping experiences to discover unique treasures. Whether you're looking for souvenirs or rare finds, these options won't disappoint:

  • Local Artisan Markets: Promote local artisan markets or craft fairs that feature handmade and locally crafted goods. These events often include artisans selling unique, one-of-a-kind items like jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and woodworking.
  • Farmers' Markets: Farmers' markets offer a rich cultural and historical experience by showcasing fresh, local produce, artisanal foods, and handmade products. Shoppers can support local farmers and food producers while connecting with the community's agricultural heritage.
  • Bookstores with Rare or Vintage Books: Many independent bookstores carry a selection of rare, vintage, or collectible books. Encourage readers to explore these bookshops to discover historical literature or unique editions.
  • Record Stores: Vinyl record shops are not just about music; they also offer a glimpse into the history of music and audio technology. Shoppers can find vintage records, turntables, and audio equipment.
  • Local Bakeries and Confectioneries: Suggest exploring historic local bakeries or confectioneries that have been serving the community for generations. These shops often offer traditional recipes and treats.
  • Vintage and Antique Stores: Discover the past at vintage and antique stores like Black Lake Antiques that transport you to another era, offering classic furniture, retro toys, and rare collectibles. These shops are like time machines, filled with treasures from bygone days.
  • Museums with Gift Shops: Some local museums have gift shops that sell historical books, reproductions, and unique gifts related to the region's history and culture.

Conclusion: Rediscovering the Past in Thurston County

As we wrap up this journey through Thurston County's historical gems, we hope you're feeling inspired to embark on your own adventure and discover the rich tapestry of history woven throughout the region. Thurston County offers a myriad of opportunities to explore its past, from iconic landmarks to hidden treasures.

Remember, history isn't confined to dusty books or aging relics—it lives in the heart of the community and the stories of those who have shaped it. The sights, events, and experiences we've shared are just the beginning of what Thurston County has to offer.

So, whether you're a local resident seeking a new perspective on your hometown or a visitor eager to delve into the area's history, we invite you to embark on a day of antiquing and sightseeing. Uncover the stories that have shaped Thurston County and create your own narrative along the way.

Start your journey today and rediscover the past—Thurston County is waiting to share its history with you.