3 Days Away in Roslyn, WA – an old-fashioned Fourth of July!

There is nothing like a small town Fourth of July celebration – especially if you live in a growing and densifying urban center like Seattle. It is fun to reach back to simpler things and avoid pyrotechnic extravaganzas once in a while. Pioneer Days in Roslyn, Washington is just such a celebration and place.

Jon and I accepted the invitation of our friends Jackie and Lee Zobrist to come and stay at their small miner’s cabin they redid when they were young and had young-uns some 40 years ago. They have been week-enders in Roslyn ever since and have a grand sense of how to sit on the porch, converse while eating wild Rainer cherries (pilfered by the hatful from a neighbors nearby tree), sit and smell the wild sweet peas, watch the deer cross the property and read a book (out loud to all when the parts get good!). They also know all the fun spots to visit and what’s going on around this tiny town.

The drive is pleasant and fairly easy – an hour and a half on Snoqualmie Pass. As always, check the road conditions.

Day One of Away – We headed out Friday at 12:30…the road was still clear and we made a quick get-away stopping at Gilman Village in Issaquah for lunch and some browsing. “It all began in 1972 when Marvin and Ruth Mohl started saving unwanted buildings from around the old farming and mining town of Issaquah, just east of Seattle. They renovated and combined them into an attractive retail area in a park-like setting. Their goal was to create a haven for independent shops and restaurants. A quarter century later, the 40-plus shops and restaurants that make up Gilman Village constitute one of Puget Sound’s best known and most distinctive shopping destinations…” The history of this quaint shopping mall is a good one.

We wandered and asked for recommendations of a good lunch spot from one of the local shopkeepers Laura Scheuffele at Revolution Gallery & Gifts (a shop full of interesting things made by local artisans). She was insistent: The Boarding House would give us a great meal – freshly baked bread and made from scratch soups, salads and sandwiches and “a great fruit crisp”. We were in the mood for that!

House 7 is the restaurant and it is pleasing. Cute homey decor and a warm greeting from one of the owners Jenè Kramer set our expectations soaring (you gotta read about her and the restaurant). The little chalk board on the outside said “serving homemade food for 44 years”. This week-end was Jenè’s 15th anniversary of owning the restaurant with partner Mary Ann Mizokawa.

The Boarding House – cozy and celebrating 44 years of homemade food!

The menu is extensive and wonderful. They have a sampler that includes soup, salad and half a sandwich! That is what I opted for. There salad dressings are all homemade and the ingredients used in their food is fresh and locally sourced.

I opted for the Avocado Veggie Sandwich on nine grade homemade bread, Vegetarian Salad and minestrone. An Arnold Palmer fit the bill. The plate was generous and beautiful. The food excellent. I had the buttermilk ranch…wow…you forget how good homemade dressing can be…that unique sour buttermilk flavor! Everything in the salad is finely chopped and shredded, a delicious mix of carrots, greens and finely shredded parmesan, the soup was full of fresh vegetables and had the flavor of a long simmer. I enjoyed every bit and bite! You can eat indoors or out and the place is as pleasant as can be with lots of cozy décor and corners. I had to try the rhubarb crisp, of course, yummy…tart and sweet and that locally sourced fresh whipped cream! We took it with us and enjoyed it late that night with our friends. Note: No credit cards here – they only accept cash or checks.


A great lunch!

We wondered though the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Cottage to get info for my writing pals. And went back to browse Lucky You a home interiors store with lots of interesting ideas and merchandise with fair prices. White Horse Toys has quite an inventory of educational and fun things for kids and grandkids. I loved the lifelike little puppies asleep in their doggie beds. So cute and no walking the dog! My daughter Jen who is dealing with the reality of a new Swiss mountain dog would have loved this. Too late! I went back to Revolution Gallery & Gifts…the jewelry was a stand-out and there is lots to look at here. Your purchase supports a working artist!

This was a much livelier area before the freeway took the traffic away. How many of you remember the A and W root beer drive in – the big orange barrel? It has reopened…we did not have time to give it a try for old-time’s sake but maybe you should. Some reviews say yay, others say nay! Let me know what you think.

Boehme’s Chocolates, a traditional Swiss chocolate shop, one of the “have to stop” stops for those coming and going from East to West of the state on that old road “way back when”, has been in business for 60 years.

They are celebrating that this July and August with special prices on some things, a wheel of fortune, the usual ice cream treats and chocolates. There is a little doll show (all dolls made of each worker by one of the employees). They are sweet primitive dolls depicting the workers doing their jobs making and selling chocolates. It is a small store but go for the smell of it! I loved the grab bag of assorted mostly dark chocolates on a roll back price of $5…so did Jackie and Lee! They have these neat little boxes of chocolate based on an Italian theme called Rovereto Rounds specialty chocolates “inspired by the Northern Italian city of Rovereto.  By finishing these chocolates with rare, natural fruits, spices and flavors, we have created a fine, carefully handcrafted masterpiece for the true chocolate aficionado.  Paired beautifully, embellished stunningly – yet surprisingly rustic and simple.” I got the little box with pizza, fennel and chili. You can make an appointment for an escorted tour of the factory.

There is lots to do in Issaquah plan your short foray today!


We left Issaquah and got to Roslyn in no time…did some grocery shopping…(you know me I love to see different grocery stores there is always something special or on sale!). We made it to our friend’s home in time to get appetizers going and boil our garden grown artichokes. We took a walk to the Roslyn Cemetery where 24 nationalities of coal miners are laid to rest in their special sections. It is an amazing place. We spent the evening on the porch relaxing and catching up….ahhh…the quiet and the calm of it. We got a little excited when a doe slowly ambled through the yard.


Day Two of Away – Pioneer Days started off with the hometown parade in Cle Elum, a visit to Owen’s Meats for their 3 foot pepperoni (Jon made promises to co-workers!) and the Cle Elum Bakery for their fresh bread, cookies and a coffee (Jackie and Lee love the peanut butter chocolate chip and always order ahead for a loaf of fresh bread). Pastries here are so inexpensive!

We set our chairs up at the start of the parade route and watched fire trucks, logging trucks and local politicians wave flags and throw candy to the eager kids. This was better than Halloween! These old fashioned parades are a hoot! Miniature ponies, kids on bikes decorated with crepe paper and clothes pins and playing cards on the spokes to add sound effects (oops – flashback: well, that was really back in the 50’s when I was a kid…); but, it sure rang a bell watching them trying to ride in formation – parents walking beside them. All under the gun and ammo store painted mural across the street. We are not in Seattle anymore.


Then, it was on to the Queen’s Tea at the historic Carpenter Family Home. Each year an elder woman is selected by the local heritage society for her contributions to the community and is named Queen, a lovely tradition. Leona Malcolm, a life-long music educator, was honored this year. The House is an art gallery, historical site and historical museum. They had simple treats: cucumber sandwiches made with white bread crusts trimmed, sweated cucumbers , dill sprinkled on the cukes, whipped cream cheese spread on one slice of the bread and butter on the other…wow! Try it you’ll like it! And, spinach dip rolled in tortillas to form pinwheels was also very good. Lemonade and tea. We congratulated the Queen, wandered through the house preserved as it was in the early days (1914), looked at the art and visited the 3rd floor ball room recently redone with the history of Cle Elum. (Take some time to explore for local history and things to see and do around Roslyn and Kittitas County).

We spent some time at the Library sale – these are always fun and for 50 cents you can get a good paperback or for a buck a great art book! Jackie did that!

Back to the porch for a rest. Then back down to the old city hall – The Roslyn Preforming Arts Center to see the local theater group do The Treasure of Shiver River an old-fashioned melodrama. It was hot and humid so when they passed out the ice cold cloths to get you in the mood the magic was on. The villain was dastardly and was booed and hissed off the stage at every entrance. The heroine was oohhed and aahhed when she entered and left the set (and these were loooong entrances and exits); and, the cast of characters and the cleaver script added to the fun. It all culminated in the rags being thrown at the villain with the wadded up programs they provided and the sheriff Marshal Marshall Law, Lawman winning the girl and saving the day. Directed by Jim Miller and well-acted by several members of the cast: Susan Bronkhorst (ex-gambler Lotta Luck), Rod Enreel villain (Allen Larsen), his girlfriend Page Turner ( Faith Larsen) and Heidi Clair Sanders was played wonderfully by Naomi Roghair.


Ok, we hissed and booed…a lot!

After all that excitement (and, it was – we all got caught up in it!), we wandered around town, stopped at the newest edition to the town a great shop called Base Camp Books and Bites – café, bookstore and art exhibiter (showing were the wonderful photos of Carolyn Krieg.) Pilfered more cherries and headed home for chili. Rusty Cage played Johnny Cash hits downtown in the Roslyn Yard and the music wafted up to the porch a great accompaniment to dinner!

After dinner we headed to Suncadia, a luxury family resort to get in on the s’mores at the fire pits and watch the evening band. Best s’more I ever had…I actually had marshmallow all over my face and the concert was laid back and relaxing. (We always go to happy hour here or participate in their holiday festivities if we are in town.)The stage was in front of a wonderful lake with setting sun. Kids goofed around or danced with each other or their parents. After the concert, we spent about an hour just driving around the property exploring and home for some chocolates and a good night’s rest.

Day Three of Away – We awoke and checked the roads to Ellensburg – a construction mess…but, we went anyway…tuned out we were the only car on the road because a small fire broke out and they closed it and we missed the sign. Perfect.

Breakfast was at The Yellow Church Cafe, my friend Dennis always said he was a member of the Church of Latter Day Brunch and this is just the kind of place he would chose to worship in! A charming place with great food and personal (if a bit slow) service. Homemade biscuits and jam with everything you order! I had the very good eggs benedict, added a touch of lemon, fresh squeezed orange juice, and biscuit. Left most of the tasty potatoes, (after all I am on a diet). Everyone else had various and sundry things – all great!


We headed for the funky Red Apple Fruit Stand to check out the 69 cent ice cream cones and 99 cent lattes; and, to see if there was any fresh corn on the cob. No corn but huge Walla Walla sweets! This is an old roadside attraction – salt-water taffy of many flavors can’t guarantee it won’t break you teeth not sure how much of it is fresh. Hit and miss on the produce; but, right-on with the ice cream they carry and their lattes!

Oh, and the house with all the stuff to look at just up the up the street from the restaurant is a roadside attraction! Dick and Jane’s Spot check it out…we did!


Back in Roslyn we headed for the farmers market…what a great little market it is…lots of nice crafts and stalls. That where we nabbed our fresh corn – first pick of the season out of Wapato.

I spend an hour photographing and then we headed back to pack and hit the road. We were back in Seattle in a little over an hour and spent the evening watching fireworks on TV! If you do not happen to have friends with a cabin in Roslyn here are some great rental options with VRBO. (Vacation Rental By Owner)

My Fourth of July ended the next day with some great patriotic tunes at the Ballard Locks annual concert by the Seattle Civic Band! The program was excellent, the director, William Blayney is quite a character full of historical tidbits about the composers’ pieces. It was a tribute to American composers and military music. The addition of Randy Newman’s, a very whimsical American composer, It’s a Bugs Life was great. And, songs of American West was filled with familiar tunes. Stars and Stripes surged as the encore number. I leave you with the very beautiful arrangement by Carmen Dragon of America the Beautiful that was played.

Bonus: The Locks Concert Series is a free event all summer long- grab a picnic and go!

Another thing or three:

The Northwest Collage Society is opening one of its juried shows this week. Black and White and a little Splash of Red is the theme. It looks like a great show! These are serious artists who create seriously beautiful and interesting mixed media works. Opening is this week July 20th and the show runs through August 26th. Reception and awards this Friday, 7pm, at the Phinney Center Gallery in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood. Free.

My neighbors, The Durnans, reminded me of something I have always wanted to do on the Fourth of July. In Seattle, we have the annual naturalization of citizens at the Seattle Center. They said it was a moving and meaningful thing to celebrate the Fourth. This year over 500 were sworn in as American Citizens. Next year will be the 33rd year of this 4th of July tradition.

The second week-end of May is the Western Art Association Art Show and Auction which takes place in Ellensburg. Great art, lots to see and artists to meet. I loved it two years ago when we visited. Build a short foray around this event and you will not be disappointed! A short stay in Roslyn could include this great week-end of activities and art.

4 thoughts on “3 Days Away in Roslyn, WA – an old-fashioned Fourth of July!

  1. Loved your trip away. It sounded like a great jaunt away. Rhubarb crisp, yum! Your writing is fun and interesting.

    • Thanks, Francie for following along! Glad we met on the Panama Canal cruise and you are enjoying my blog!
      Travel well and be well!
      Monica

    • Thanks, Rita..it is enjoyed by many and gets good reviews on Tripadvisor…and, with the special price it is a really good deal!
      Thanks for sharing your insight!
      Travel well!
      Monica

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