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An Adventure into the Puyallup
at the Tayberry Victorian Cottage Bed and Breakfast
by Don and Peg
Our adventure in Puyallup began with Peg and I driving separate cars
from home. This doesn't generally bode well for togetherness, but it
worked out well for us. Peg had a newsletter to complete for a client and I
wanted to meet with the local Rotary president
I was to meet
with Scotty Getchell, Puyallup Rotary Club President, at Forza in
downtown Puyallup. The coffee shop is across the street from the wonderful
Pioneer Park. The beautiful park screams Puyallup Valley. It's bright,
clean and full of growning things like flowers . . . and children. Within
a hundred feet of the corner is a statue of a Shetland pony with two
young children on its back. The artwork brought back many memories. As a
child I had a Shetland. Many people assume that because the Shetland
is small that it is gentle. Not necessarily so. It was bred to pull
carts of coal in the mines of Scotland, Wales, and England. It was not bred
to be a friend of children. I liked Cocoa, whom had been a Christmas
present when I was seven. He kicked me, bit me, threw me, and tried to
ride me once. Other than that, he thought he was a dog or a family
When our family moved from Tacoma to Lakewood, Cocoa was farmed out to
my aunt and uncle who lived in Sumner, which is another community not
too far from Puyallup. They hated that pony. He used to chase after
their cows, jump the fence into the garden and eat their carrots. Years
later their youngest son had a Shetland pony ring, which he took to the zoo
and community fairs and events. My sister and my daughter worked for him
picking up children and placing them in the saddles and urging the
Shetlands to simply walk around the ring. Dee Dee and Andrea both hated
Shetlands, which are known to be a little onery and sometimes mean.
Scotty arrived, we ordered
coffee and began to chat. We had a very nice time. Scotty scheduled me to
speak during annoucements at his Wednesday meeting about Woodstick 2007, a community
project I'm working on, which will be held in Puyallup Rotary's backyard at the Puyallup Fairgrounds.
We also talked about mutual friends. His wife's sister is the wife of a
friend of mine in my Rotary Club and they both traveled to South Bend
with me and other friends to watch Notre Dame beat my beloved
University of Washington Huskies. Scotty remembered Jeff and Susan talking about
the trip some years ago. Scotty had also traveled to South Bend and
then Columbus to root for the Washington State University Cougars. We
laughed and talked about the enjoyment of being Rotary President. My year
was 1996/97, while Scotty is still learning the ropes and feeling his
way through each meeting.
After our meeting
I drove to the
Tayberry Victorian Cottage. There was no one home, but a sign greeted me
at the front door advising me of my room. I took my laptop to the room
and looked around. The suite consisted of a living room with TV, sofa,
and wingchair with microwave and refrigerator ready if we wanted to cook
or store foods. The bedroom was very comfortable as was the bed
itself. Peg especially loved the pillows. The '20s or '30s armoire held our
shirts and jackets conveniently. There was a bathroom next to the
bedroom and a small lavatory area with coffee maker between the bedroom and
the living room. In the corner of the bedroom was the flat panel TV and
DVD player along with the remote controls. Throughout the suite as well
as the rest of the Tayberry there were more chairs and loveseats than
we could sit in, but the ones that we did, they felt "just right."
Since I had no idea when Peg would join me I drove around the area a
bit. It wasn't so much sight-seeing as it was almost old home week. As a
child I picked berries in the raspberry fields to make spending money
for myself and stayed quite often with my cousin's family who lived only
about a mile North from the Tayberry as the crow flies. They've
dispersed now to Arizona, Alaska and Michigan, but in memories they are still
The Tayberry is less than half a mile
from DeCoursey Park whose duck pond is fed by Clark's Creek. The creek
is a protected salmon habitat. Backyards slope down to meet the
meandering knee-deep stream in picturesque bends. The park is ideal for
picnics and ball games, or just sitting. The shady grounds as well as the
parking lot give city workers a wonderful break or lunch time
eye-of-the-business-hurricane spot to relax and enjoy life in the Pacific
One time during a Jaycee baseball tournament our kids went wading in
Clark's Creek. They came back to our camper with their arms full of
treasure. Someone upstream had floated huge submarines of zucchini down the
creek. It was too tough to slice and eat so it had to be grated to make
zucchini bread. Even then lots was thrown out. The valley is so
fertile that even the smallest patch of squash results in more zucchini than
you can saute, boil, grill, or make into bread by yourself. You have to
share or launch it downstream.
Today there are fewer creeks and
streams feeding ponds and lakes and working their way to Puget Sound, but
there are still wetlands both protected and not. I like seas of grass
bowing down to the cattails of wetlands; it gives us dynamic landscapes and
vistas even if we can't go walking in them. Tall grasses and cattails provide suitable habitats for birds and insects. Besides looking nice you just know that nature is working together as it should.
While I was driving and looking around I was
stopped at a "no trespassing" sign and as I backed up I saw a one lane road
that went into a cute little tunnel. Of course I had to try it. I
squeezed my little Reatta through and wound up on the other side of the road
where a similar one lane road lead to the tunnel on that side. This
tunnel must be used by tractors that need to cross the busy road several
times a day. I raced around the tunnel and the short one lane roads for
about half an hour and then returned to the Tayberry. Peg was still
not there so I chose a of couple videos from the cottage library and watched
"16 Blocks" starring Bruce Willis. Then I took a nap . . . and then
Peg finally arrived.
We decided to see the feature film Becoming Jane
and then go to dinner afterwards. I hadn't eaten all day and was
overjoyed to see two hotdogs on the grill at the movie theater. I hate to pay
$4 for a microwaved hotdog, but don't mind paying that much if they
are grilled. I ordered my two dogs and the counterperson dropped one. I
explained that I didn't want a microwaved hotdog, which she understood,
but then she just looked at me and bid me leave. I then had to explain
that she owed me for the dropped dog, which meant that she had to get
her supervisor to refund the $4. The supervisor came out and offered me
a microwaved hotdog one more time before I received my money. Luckily,
fuming about this chain of events kept me awake during most of the film.
It seemed a little long. Afterwards Peg and I went to the Powerhouse
on the recommendation of bed and breakfast owner Terry Chissus. The food
was good, but we missed the entertainment. When a train goes by, the
transformers inside perform Tesla coil antics with electric arcs
climbing towards the ceiling. After our beer sampler we probably would have
really enjoyed that. Unfortunately, no trains went by while we were
The old Puyallup Substation was constructed for the Puget Sound Electric
Railway in 1907, supplying the current for the southern leg of the
Interurban Electric Trolley that ran from Seattle to Olympia. After many
years of misuse it was purchased in 1994 by Tacoma architect Dusty Trail.
The elegant brick building has undergone extensive renovation to become
an asset to the community as the Powerhouse Restaurant and Brewery.
The next morning I was up early and walking around the
neighborhood. The view from the Tayberry is of the Washington State University
Extension Campus, which is directly across the street. A light fog covered
the surrounding trees and buildings, but had already lifted from the
large cropped field. To the left was a crop of orderly Christmas trees
standing about two feet tall (a Pacific Northwest version of Chinese
terra cotta warriors standing guard) and each slightly different. There is
a wide open field to the right where herds of geese graze in the early
morning and the late afternoon. The woods and the hills come down to
within a few feet of the Tannenbaums and I was surprized I saw no deer. I
asked owner Terry Chissus if he often saw them. He said, "No, but I
saw a coyote this morning standing by your car." That might explain their
absence. And actually the geese might explain the absence of circling
hawks. Perhaps the hawks aren't large enough to take on docile looking
but the generally fierce Canada Goose, which never seem to leave.
The Puyallup Valley, a true river valley, was carved out of the
countryside by the glacier fed Puyallup River. Eons of flooding have left
rich, growing, nutrient filled soil, which of course is in constant
danger of disappearing under new shopping malls, condos, warehouses and
parking lots. The urban spread of Tacoma has met the urban spread of
Puyallup in many places. Puyallup is a growing city with its own outlying
Vegetables and fruit stands used to dot the summer landscape from both
large and small family farms. Over the years their numbers have
diminished. Today, wild black berries battle wild grasses and trees for their
portion of the ever wild kingdom. Vacant lots usually surrender in
defeat to vines of offending berries which, however, give us tart cobblers
and jams. It does bring joy to watch children picking blackberries, a
late August and early September ritual, and my mouth waters just
imagining every other berry going into my mouth . . . just like when I was a
Thinking of food
brought me back to the Tayberry. Terry had two place settings ready for
breakfast although that was still well over an hour away. Peg and I had
requested breakfast at nine. I'm a early riser, but Peg is not. I sat down
at the dining table and helped myself to the coffee, cream, and orange
juice. I read the "Seattle Post-Intelligencer" and made notes to myself
and began a "to do" list. The coffee was excellent. What I thought was
cream turned out to be a creamer with a little vanilla and sweetener.
I pretty much emptied the coffee pot. I enjoyed the time to myself as I
looked on the fields across the street, watched the horses next door
and considered our options for the day.
There is a fish hatchery about a mile away from the Tayberry. I've
drivin by the building for years, but never gone inside for a tour. Staying
minutes away would make a visit possible. Also, a short distance away
was the Watson nursery that Peg had shopped at before. They have
expanded the grounds and now even offer a coffee shop there (sigh, progress).
Driving through town on my first day, I had also seen a bead shop that
I thought Peg would enjoy.
Peg came down almost on the stroke of nine, which was just in time for
baked grapefruit. A grapefruit had been cut in half and then the
sections were split with a sharp knife for easy eating. Brown sugar had been
sprinkled on top and then they were baked for 45 minutes. They were
delicious. Every drop of grapefruit juice was spooned to our waiting
After we finished off the grapefruit,
we were served Dutch Babies. These are a kind of floppy crepe or
collapsing souffle poured into a hot greasy pan and baked. They are then
piled with strawberries and whipped cream with maple syrup standing by,
just in case of need.
Joining the Dutch Baby on each plate was an orange
section (tasting as fresh as the orange juice) and a large sausage. This
was a great taste combination. I poured Peg a cup of coffee and Terry
brought out another pot.
Dutch Babies are one of those breakfast items that catch the eye not only because they are just different enough from what individuals make every day, but they provide a canvas for colors and textures. You can eat Dutch Babies plain, or with just a pat of butter, or butter and maple syrup, or as Terry fixed them with all the trimmings. You don't need a special pan to make them, but a cast iron skillet is probably the easiest to find and use.
I asked about the sausage. "Is it local?" "No," Terry said, "it's
Johnsonville. Mild Italian." I was surprised. It tasted like breakfast
sausage. On my "to do" list I added "buy some Italian sausages by
Johnsonville." If you ever want to get on my good side all you have to do is feed me pork and sausage and bacon lead the list of pork favorites.
I like to find local butcher shops, but will settle for good tasting
meat from anywhere. My favorite sausage is made by hand with a mixture of
pork sausage and applesauce. That butcher shop is about an hour South
of Tacoma in Centralia. I don't get there very often, but when I do I
buy extra sausage for some good friends and bacon for my oldest sister.
In downtown Puyallup there are pieces of
sculpture on almost every street corner. Art plus hanging flower baskets
and extremely clean streets and sidewalks make it a pleasure to both
windowshop and buy.
While I met and talked with friends Peg made a worthwhile day for
herself. She went shopping.
Amtrak has long ceased stopping in Puyallup to pick up and drop off passengers, however Sounder, the communter rail, which began service only a few years ago between Tacoma and Seattle does stop. Residents are easily able to take the train to Seattle either to work or to shop. The rail system also provides stops in nearby communities of Sumner, Auburn, Kent, and Renton. Of course, the rail system not only allows residents of Puyallup to extend their shopping and travel area, but the opposite is true, also.
Locating the Jewell consignment store on
Meridian (the main street through Puyuallup leading to both Edgewood to the
North and South Hill) Peg found a trove of amber earrings and a necklace.
They were all designed and crafted by a local artist and available at unbelievable
prices. She even made two trips there. After the first one she showed
off her earrings to me, but bemoaned the fact that she hadn't purchased
the matching necklace. I asked, "Why not?"
On her second trip she bought the necklace and then we were forced
inside a Pioneer bakery a few doors down from the consignment store and
coerced into buying raspberry bars. They were goood.
knew about Bead Boppers, the bead store I had originally sighted in
downtown Puyallup. Peg loves jewelry and loves to make her own bracelets
and earrings, especially if she can rope one or more granddaughters
into the craft project. A bead store is always a great place for her to
think and create. I think the colors and shapes stir her ever working imagination.
Our oldest son also enjoys working with beads. He makes all kinds of bracelets and necklaces. Unfortunately, they almost always involve skulls. When the bead convention comes to town he and Peg attend together and look for new beading products to work with.
For lunch she found Don's Drive-In, which features homemade soup and
pies. You won't find it listed in the Northwest's Best Places to Eat, but
it's not bad. She had a cup of the daily soup, split pea with ham, and
a slice of apple cobbler. Yum. The drive-in is directly across the
street from the Puyallup Fairgrounds and is a very popular place.
We stopped in the next day fifteen minutes before they opened and we
ended up about twelth in line. The soup is good, the pies are good, it's
just a great place to for a great little meal at reasonable prices. We
sat in the shade sipping Diet Cokes as we watched families troop back
and forth into the drive-in. During the Western Washington Fair, Don's
is closed. They make their money from parking during the two and a half
week fair held annually in mid-September. During the fair even homes
within a mile of the fairgrounds convert their lawns to parking lots. A
good sized yard can make a homeowner hundreds of dollars a day.
Once Peg and I returned to the Tayberry we
decided that naps were in order. Well, actually I took a nap while Peg
read a book. In the early evening we left for dinner reservations at HG Bistro. One of the new
trends in restaurants is to go Bistro. A bistro is a small restaurant
that offers excellent cuisine, which is sometimes centered around a
particular style of cooking . . . and sometimes not. The HG is a perfect
example, although it offers more food and services than many. There is
even live entertainment on the weekends and specials during the week as
well as great coffee, espresso, and fruit smoothies.
We were greeted by an attractive young lady, who misunderstood my name,
which I repeated. Then I saw that she wore a hearing aid. At that time
the HG moved up several notches on my approval scale. I am a board member and president-in-waiting for TACID (Tacoma Area Coalition of Individuals with Disabilities) and a member of Rotarians for Hearing Regeneration.
Our server was
Sami, who was brand new. It was his first night at the HG. It was quite
evident that this was not Sami's first time serving, however. He was
helpful and attentive, but did not make a nuisance of himself. The HG
continued to climb in approval. Peg and I drank a little water and waited
for owner Tim Hall to join us. We let him decide on our dinner choices.
Tim joined us
and we talked about the restaurant, his career as an entrepreneur, and
his involvement in a family business (3rd generation). The restaurant was originally
known as The Hungry Goose. Tim worked around the restaurant as it was run by his mother. It was a gift shop
with basic mid-America food. Tim has changed the feel, the menu, and the
demographics of this Puyallup mainstay, but he has kept the initials of HG from Hungry Goose.
The first part of the puzzle was a large painting with beautiful Tuscan
colors and an image of a robust, Reubenesqe nude standing next to a
lion. The color tones of the painting are reflected through out the
restaurant. The menu is not Italian, however. Tim lived for awhile in
Southern California and loved the fusion of cultures and foods. It's that
fusion, along with Tim's sense of style and touch, that not only give the
restaurant charm, but leave customers coming back for their favorite
menu items. Tim has also introduced beer and wine, which is a must in today's world of haute cuisine.
Tim first chose calimari as an appetizer to go along with our bread,
olive oil, herbs, and roasted and mashed garlic, but upon hearing of
Peg's aversion to really HOT spicy foods, he changed the order to the
Dark Chili Prawns. He also ordered Prosecco, sparkling white wine, which went
well with the appetizer and each entre. The prawns were excellent. They
were cooked perfectly, offering just the right resistence to the bite.
The sauce was spicy, but not spicy-hot. The shallots, garlic and
slivered, roasted almonds added just the right texture. I restrained myself
and did not sop up the sauce with the crusty, grilled bread. In private I
would have. I think when returning to HG I might order a salad, a side
of basmati rice, and the Dark Chili Prawns . . . and a bottle of Prosecco,
We had three dishes to try. The sirloin steak was cooked
rare, just as I asked. The flavor was great. It was served over garlic
mashed potatoes. It was better than the offerings from many steak
houses, but it came in third behind the Seafood Linguini and the Chicken of
Choosing the best was difficult. I was surprised. Depending upon the last mouthful sampled
either the linguini or the chicken was the best. I could not decide, nor
could Peg. Of course we had to keep tasting . . . just one more bite. All we really knew is that we loved both selections.
The Seafood Linguini featured scallops, butter clams and a King Crab
leg. The scallops, like the prawns earlier, hit just the right level of
doneness. Over-cooked scallops can get rubbery, but not so at the HG.
The Chicken of India gave us lentils, basmati rice, cucumbers, flat
bread, chicken, and red bell peppers. A light cream sauce was used on both
the linguini and the chicken, but there were slight differences in
flavor. The Seafood Linguini features lemon tarragon sauce, while Chicken of India is made with a coconut curry sauce. Each forkfull was a delight to the mouth. Sami confided that he loved
the Chicken of India, but that was his only meal so far at the HG. It
was a great meal, so he was right. I don't recall asking for extra
pepper or Parmesan on anything, which is a great recommendation.
The Executive Chef at the HG is James Carlton, a nineteen year old who
started out as a dishwasher there. He's currently studying the
Art Institute of Seattle's culinary course. Tim is proud of James
as well he should be. Quality food is always good to find and those that
can delivery it should be treasured. In addition to a full menu, James
also prepares the special Tuesday night take-away dinners. Many people
in the Puyallup area work outside the city. Returning to Puyallup some
pass by the HG Bistro by train and some come close by car and bus. Tim
has come up with something to help the commuters and that is Take Out
Tuesday - dinner for two for $20.00.
Peg and I need to return to the HG Bistro for their
live entertainment. They often feature our good friend Ed Taylor. Ed is sponsored by Gibson
Guitars and his group plays an awesome set of smooth jazz. Ed prefers
playing with his collection of professionals, but his live solo version of
"Till There Was You" with minimal guitar is something to yearn for.
Ed has been a professional muscian since he was a young teenager in
California. He says, “I played at a lot of fun little clubs in Arizona and
Los Angeles, the chitlin circuit that was in the Southwest. It was
exciting and we mostly performed fun funk and rock.” As he has grown older
his tastes have matured. Although he can still play impressive rock
and funk licks, when Ed picks up his Gibson, you may as well sit back and
relax. You are going to have a good time. Your ears will get the treat
of their life.
Last summer Ed and his group played for our anniversary party along
with four other acts. Everyone voted Ed as the best entertainment. Ed
performs all over the Pacific Northwest and is a welcome guest at the HG
Bistro. I think a perfect weekend would be to stay at the Tayberry
Victorian Cottage, have dinner at HG Bistro, listen to Ed Taylor perform, and
then come back Sunday morning for brunch. Wouldn't that be lovely?
If the HG Bistro were in downtown Seattle, not only would the prices be
much higher, but the place would be absolutely packed. Let's keep HG a
secret for the rest of us in the South Puget Sound Region.
Back home at the Tayberry, Peg sat reading a book in a wingchair
throne, while I watched an inspirational football movie. In the morning I was
up early again reading the newspaper and drinking coffee. When Peg
came down for breakfast Terry served us yogurt and blueberries as an
appetizer and then presented corn waffles with bacon. Wonderful, again. We
talked a bit about the Tayberry. The Tayberry isn't completely
dependent on events at the fairgrounds, but those events seem to help send
visitors to Terry. Events run anywhere from a day or two to the two and a
half weeks of the Western Washington Fair. Only during Victorian
Christmas, which has a killer schedule for participants, does he not get
business. The Tayberry is open virtually 364 days a year and has bunches of returning clients. And why not? Many of the
people I talked to while I was in Puyallup had either had friends stay
there, or knew exactly where it was. Peg and I thanked Terry for being our
host. We had a wonderfully relaxing stay at the Tayberry Victorian
After breakfast Peg and I visited the
Puyallup Hatchery of the Washington Department of Game. Although the
welcome sign said they were open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm the front doors
were locked. Of course this never stopped us before. We wandered the grounds behind the building. We walked around and
looked into the holding tanks. There must have been about twenty of the round ones with a radius of about twelve feet and four rectangular ones about forty feet in length. Near the back of the property there were controls/locks to send the fish out to Clark's Creek. I resisted the urge to open the gates.
I don't know much about fish, but I do know what
I like. The hatchery raises rainbow trout, cutthroat and steelhead.
Steelhead is a prized game fish. Some people consider it a salmon, but
really it's a sea-going trout . . . but then trout and salmon are closely
related. A family favorite is pan-fried trout . . . or grilled trout. The fishery stocks local lakes and streams. We saw everything
from fingerlings to mature fish that must have run about 14-16 inches
. . . of course, you have to wonder what I know about maturity.
Peg and I went our separate ways. I attended the Puyallup Rotary Club meeting
at the Puyallup Elks. There were about 35 members there. My new friend
Scotty did an excellent job as president. He's always smiling and
enjoying himself. He should do well for the rest of the year. I ran into a
friend at the meeting who used to be a member of my Tacoma Rotary Club. John Long left my club
when he was named president of Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup. He
then joined Puyallup Rotary, which was started by Tacoma Rotary in
1948. I enjoyed the meeting. The program concerned books for young
children. Reading is what brought Peg and me together as students at the
University of Puget Sound and as our family grew, one of the rights of
passage for our children was a library card as soon as each could write their
name. The speaker finished her presentation by reading the book,
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type . . . a personal favorite of mine.
The story is about Farmer Brown's cows who begin typing demands on an
old typewriter that was left in the barn. It's a funny book and a
wonderful read for grandchildren. Puyallup Rotary President Scott Getchell announced that he thought that Click, Clack, Moo might have been one of his text books at Washington State University. The fun Rotary meeting was a very nice way to end my trip.
What a wonderful three days and two nights in the lush Puyallup Valley.
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