Monthly Archives: September 2016

Community Highlight: Sequim, Washington

Home of the Olympic Medical Center!

Sequim, Washington sits 66 miles west of Seattle in Clallam County on the Olympic Peninsula. Although there’s only three incorporated cities in Clallam County, sometimes Sequim gets overlooked. Unlike Port Angeles, it is not the county seat.  Unlike Forks, it wasn’t the real-life setting of the fictional Twilight series.  Yet, Sequim is well-known for something equally unique. Often called, America’s Provence, Sequim is famous for its lavender fields.  Annually, there’s even a Lavender Festival that brings visitors and residents together over the aromatic flower.

Pronounced “skwim,” the city is full of unexpected surprises. Nestled in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, Sequim averages only 16 inches of precipitation per year.  (That’s close to Los Angeles’s annual average of 15 inches of precipitation.)

With a population of 6,606, Sequim is located in one of the more scenic Washington areas, on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, near the Olympic Mountains, and a few hours from the Pacific Ocean.  Unsurprisingly, Sequim is also famous for the variety of adventures that are made possible by its location.

In Sequim, and within the surrounding area, there are countless opportunities to explore nature.  The Olympic National Park and the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge offer the chance to explore and learn about the area’s unique ecosystem.  Dungeness Spit is also a breathtaking place to spend a few hours walking around exploring. The beaches of Sequim Bay State Park are stocked with oysters and clams for the enterprising visitor to harvest.

From Sequim, people can drive further into the Olympic National Park to visit the Hoh Rainforest.  Yes, there’s a rainforest!

Those who want to see animals can visit the Olympic Game Farm.  Originally known as Disney’s Wildlife Ranch, the farm provides a new home for retired animal actors, rescues, and zoo animals.  Both walking and driving tours are available.

Sequim has been a major center of oyster production for many years, and the tradition continues today. Clallam County has seen slow and steady economic growth. In recent years, the county leadership has focused on improvements to infrastructure and transportation that will allow further growth. Timber and agriculture continue to be significant industries in Sequim.  Tourism is also becoming increasingly important.
Sequim is one of the three incorporated cities in Clallam County, Washington.  It lies on the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, near the Olympic Mountains, and only a few hours from the ocean.  Plus, there’s a rainforest!  Make it a priority to spend time in Sequim, you won’t regret it!

Brown, Angela.  “Fun Things to do in Port Angeles and Sequim.”  August 21, 2016 (
City of Sequim.  “Sequim, WA.” (
Olympic Game Farm. “FAQs.” (
Sequim Tourism Office. “Distances.” (
State of Washington. “Clallam County Profile.” December 2015. (
Wikipedia. “Sequim, Washington.” July 30, 2016. (,_Washington)

Community Highlight: Monroe, WA

Monroe, Washington is located 50 miles west of the Cascade Mountains and 30 miles northeast of Seattle. Many people automatically associate Monroe with the fairgrounds or the correctional center. Yet the city of over 17,000 offers so much more including historic museums and a reptile zoo. On the map, Monroe is found at the junction of the Skykomish and Snoqualmie Rivers and at the end of State Route 522.  Rather than simply driving through town, take the time to park the car and explore.

The first settlers arrived in the 1860s and founded the town of Park Place, now a western suburb of Monroe.  During the first 30 years, the city grew slowly.  In the 1890s, the Great Northern Railway stopped a mile away from town. Businesses and residents moved closer to the railroad.  Originally called “Monroe at Park Place,” the name was shortened to meet United States Postal Service requirements for one word post office names.

After the move and the introduction of the railway, the town grew faster.  In 1893, a hospital was created.  In 1899, a city newspaper.  In 1901, a massive fire destroyed the business section of downtown Monroe.  In 1902, the city was incorporated.  In 1903, the Monroe Fire Department and the Fair were born.  Over time, Monroe has continued to grow to fit the needs of its community.

Fifty miles east of town are the Cascade Mountains that offer chances for year round adventure.  For those who prefer events, the Evergreen State Fair is held every August.  Annually there is a combination of car racing, concerts, and rides. Outside of the state fair, the fairgrounds host a variety of events year round that cater to many types of tastes. Additionally, Monroe has a variety of historic museums and other surprising offerings–like a reptile zoo.

Monroe’s climate is relatively mild. Average summer temperatures range from the low 50s to the high 70s.  Average winter temperatures range from the low 30s to the mid 40s.

Found at the junction of two rivers and the end of State Route 522, Monroe provides the perfect combination of accessibility and adventure. It’s so much more than the fairgrounds or the correctional center.  Instead, it offers visitors and residents the chance to learn and explore everything from reptiles to local history.  Instead of continuing the trip through town, park the car.  Take time to learn about the city and it will surprise you.

Evergreen State Fairgrounds. 2016 ( Historical Society and Museum. “Exploring the History of Monroe, Washington.” (, Nellie E. HistoryLink. “Monroe–Thumbnail History.”  November 23, 2007.  ( Reptile Zoo. “” (  “Monroe, Washington.” July 14, 2016 (,_Washington)

Community Highlight: Bremerton, Washington

Aerial view of Bremerton,WA – Naval Shipyards, Dyes Inlet, Port Washington Narrows

Bremerton, Washington offers much more than simply its ferry or shipyard.  Located on the picturesque Kitsap Peninsula, Bremerton is home to over 35,000 people and a unique mix of possibilities that pique anyone’s interest.

Located on the shores of Puget Sound’s Sinclair Inlet, Bremerton has warm dry summers and wet, mild winters.  Annual precipitation hovers around 56 inches.

The 2010 census listed Bremerton’s population as 37,729.  2015 population estimates list Bremerton’s population as 39,520. With the exception of World War II, Bremerton’s population has grown steadily. During that wartime period, Bremerton’s population ballooned up to 80,000 predominantly because of its naval base.


The Suquamish tribe lived in Bremerton long before settlers arrived in the 1890s.  The US Navy arrived in Bremerton shortly after the first settlers did.  When Bremerton was incorporated in 1901, some feared that the shipyard’s growth would be hindered by the newly official city.  Luckily for both the city and the shipyard, they’ve been able to exist concurrently.

Both the Bremerton Annex of Naval Base Kitsap and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard play significant roles in the city’s economy.

Public school education is provided by both the Bremerton School District and the Central Kitsap School District.  The nearest college is Olympic College which offers a wide variety of two year programs.

In addition to a myriad of water based activities, Bremerton’s 28.41 square miles offer residents (and visitors) the chance to do a variety of things.  Professional sports fans can cheer year round.  The Kitsap BlueJackets are the local baseball team.  Soccer fans can watch the Kitsap Pumas.  During basketball season, people can root for the Kitsap Admirals.  The Kitsap Historical Society and Museum teaches visitors about local history and highlights.  The Valentinetti Puppet Museum offers an unrivaled opportunity to watch live puppet shows and learn about the history of puppeteering.  People can participate in waterfront events, or simply explore the Bremerton Marina.

With daily ferry service to and from downtown Seattle, Bremerton is easily accessible.  For those who prefer to drive, it takes about an hour and a half to reach Bremerton from downtown Seattle.  For those with boats, the sailing route is only 17 miles. For ferry service from Bremerton to Port Orchard, there’s the Historic Carlisle II Foot Ferry.

As the largest city in Kitsap County, Bremerton offers a unique combination of opportunities to both residents and visitors.  There are two school districts, a local college, three professional sports teams, a puppet museum and so much more.  So take time to explore Bremerton and stumble across something unexpected.

Visit Kitsap Peninsula. “Bremerton.” (
Wikipedia. “Bremerton, Washington.” August 7, 2016. (,_Washington)