Visitors To Olympia Can Now Create Their Own Tasting Tour Of The Region
Craft Your Own Tastes Of Olympia With The New Thurston Bountiful Byway Guide That Gives Visitors Access To The Region’s Farms And More With A Self-Guided Tour
by Sarah Toce, The Seattle Lesbian
There’s more to Washington than Seattle and Walla Walla, there’s Olympia. Birthplace of the Riot Grrrls of the 1990s, Washington’s capital city poised at the southern end of Puget Sound on Budd Inlet is celebrating its roots that have little to do with indie girl punk rock music.
Surrounded by 68,000 acres of farmland, Olympia is tapping into its natural resources and helping visitors locate the region’s best craft beverages, unique farms and ranches, and much more with a self-guided tour: Thurston Bountiful Byway.
“This new program will further the Bountiful Byway’s mission to bring visitors hungry for local produce, craft beverages and farm fresh fare straight to the source,” says Shauna Stewart, executive director at the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau. “More than ever, tourists are looking for authentic, homegrown experiences. We are thrilled to help make the connection.”
The tour covers craft beverages (beer, wine and spirits), farms and farmers markets, nature and trails, and places to stay along the journey that are all easily obtained by bike (Amtrak at Centennial Station) or car (access the Thurston Bountiful Byway from I-5 via the Nisqually Valley Exit 114, from US-101 via the Mud Bay Exit).
The 60-mile trail offers a rich experience for foodies, families and fine wine connoisseurs. Highlights from the road include:
- Sip. Toast the region’s craft beverage producers at a variety of tasting rooms, including Madsen Family Cellars, Medicine Creek Winery, Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs, Sandstone Distillery, Stottle Winery, and Three Magnets Brewing.
- Find Fare from the Farm. Meet the purveyors at Colvin Ranch, Helsing Junction Farms, Evergreen Valley Lavender Farm and others, or stop in at one of the three farmers markets along the route in Yelm, Olympia and Tenino.
- Explore. Hop off the byway to blaze a trail on foot or by bike at Capitol State Forest’s 100,000-acre playground, the variety of hiking trails at Millersylvania State Park or the paved expanse of the of Yelm Tenino or Chehalis Western Trails. Bring a bike or ride for free courtesy of the Tenino Yellow Bicycle Project, a community-based bike sharing organization. Stop in for a guided sanctuary visit at Wolf Haven International, take a dip in the Tenino Quarry Pool or enjoy the gardens and bring home a living souvenir from Lael’s Moon Garden Nursery.
- Lodging along the byway satisfies a range of styles. Explorers can choose from the cozy Scatter Creek Bed & Breakfast, the spacious and well-appointed rooms of the Lucky Eagle Hotel and Casino or the undiscovered comfort and scenic views found at the Prairie Hotel.
Travel experts advise that the region is best discovered on a multi-day trip, but portions of the byway can be discovered in a day or two, according to the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau.
Visitors can access the Thurston Bountiful Byway maps online, by printed map, or at the Olympia Visitor Information Center (103 Sid Snyder Way Southwest, 360-704-7544, , visitolympia.com). 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.