Nighttime ‘Oyster Picnics’ Offer A DIY Taste Of Puget Sound

oystersOyster aficionados and hunter-gatherer types will want to hoof it to Seattle this winter for a moonlight adventure of the briny kind. Fifth-generation, family-owned Taylor Shellfish Farms is hosting its annual “Walrus & Carpenter Picnics” on January 8, and February 7, to support the Puget Sound Restoration Fund.

Taylor is famed for its sustainably-farmed Manila and geoduck clams (click here to read about my ‘duck dig at Taylor’s farm on the Olympic Peninsula), Mediterranean mussels, and four species of oysters. The company has other farms around Puget Sound, as well as a much-lauded restaurant, Xinh’s Clam & Oyster House, at their Shelton location.

The oyster picnics are held at low tide, and inspired by the 1872 Lewis Carroll poem, “The Walrus & The Carpenter (“O Oysters come and walk with us … A pleasant walk, a lovely talk, along the briny beach!”).” Participants depart Seattle on a chartered bus at 6:30 p.m., returning at midnight.

The evening includes DIY gathering and shucking (experienced shuckers are available for those who prefer to keep their extremities intact) of Taylor’s celebrated Olympias, Kumamotos, Pacifics, and Virginicas, which are paired with chilled wines. Chilled participants get to enjoy steaming bowls of Taylor chef Xinh Dwelley’s famous oyster stew prior to departure.

Tickets are $125; reservations required. For more information click here.

[Photo credit: Flickr user zone41]

Vintage Aircraft Gets New Life, Flies At Flight Museum

vintage aircraftThe Historic Flight Foundation displays and flies vintage aircraft from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, also the home to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner manufacturing plant. Contrasting the very latest commercial aircraft of today, being built right next door, The Historic Flight Foundation
has completed the restoration of a DC-3 that dates back to 1944 and served Pan Am Airlines.

The airplane is now airworthy for the first time in a decade and has been added to an inventory of historic airplanes available for rides for the members of the foundation.

Because of the Pan Am heritage, a 1949 Pan Am exterior design was chosen, which includes “the correct color blue, the 48 stars of the flag and the big number on the wing that they used to have even on airliners,” said John Sessions, founder of the Historic Flight Foundation, in a statement.In addition to the paint scheme, the complete exterior refurbishment included restoring the airframe’s skins, overhauling the landing gear, replacing the window glass and reversing a previous Super DC-3 conversion. It was a transformation that included major modifications such as changing the tail wheel from retractable to fixed, removing the clamshell doors and altering the entire nose section.

Everything firewall forward is new or overhauled to zero time, including the engines and propellers. “She should be good for some relatively low maintenance service for quite a while,” said Sessions.

Want to know more about the history of Pan Am? Check out the video below:

[Photo Credit- Historic Flight Foundation]

Roadside America: Eaglemount Rockery

We executed a U-turn that was both dangerous and illegal because I’d seen something that looked like a paper-mache stegosaurus dining on the corner of a tin-roofed shed. The cartoony dinosaur was not a figment of my imagination and the shed was a replica of a pioneer era jail building. Eaglemount Rockery, an odd little property just south of Port Townsend is home to a number of creations – sculptures of Native Americans, a mini White House made from beach stones, some totem poles, a concrete Mount Rushmore and so many more oddities.

The current owners purchased the property from the “artist” in 2003 and have been lovingly restoring the work. It’s free to visit (though when I was there, there was a donation box) and if you simply can’t get enough of the place, you can rent one of the little overnight cottages. I couldn’t quite make sense of the place, and the little handout I picked up was of very little assistance, but that didn’t stop me from wandering the grounds in a state of bemusement for an hour or two.

Eaglemount Rockery is on Highway 20 on the left hand side as you’re heading south from Port Townsend. Watch for the roof nibbling dinosaur; you really can’t miss it.

[Photo Credit: Pam Mandel]

Fall Festival Season Starts Early

Fall Festival

Fall Festival season is right around the corner as we close the books on summer and head into September. Oktoberfest is one of the more popular events that starts in late September, but fans of fall festivals and events don’t have to wait that long. In northern areas and higher elevations, leaves are turning and fall festival events are starting in the next couple of weeks.

Oktoberfest in Breckenridge– Breckenridge, Colorado, starts September 14
At the 18th annual Oktoberfest, the largest Oktoberfest in the Rocky Mountains, visitors will find a fun-filled weekend of fall foliage, parties, genuine German cuisine, collectable steins and special accommodation packages. During the event, Main Street becomes a street party with traditional costumes, German food, Oompah and polka music, Bavarian dancers, children’s activities, a keg-tapping ceremony, 5K run and Paulaner bier.

Old World Village Oktoberfest– Huntington Beach, California, starts September 9
Centered on Bratwurst and Beer, this adds bands, a parade, dachshund races and more on an 8-acre site with 50 buildings, where the 1st floor is commercial and living quarters are on top. Within the Old World village is the Old World German Restaurant & the Euro Market, Bakery & German Deli, all part of a family-owned and operated business since 1978.

Snohomish Festival of Pumpkins– Snohomish, Washington, starts September 15
Boasting their annual Pumpkin Hurl and Medieval Faire, Snohomish, Washington, has Trebuchets launching pumpkins in a competition, mounted knights battling on horseback, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and a brewfest during the day. At night they have bonfires, fire pits, a haunted swamp cornfield, a field of screams, a hunt for zombies and more.

Let’s take a look at that pumpkin hurl:

[Flickr photo by Zach Dischner]

Martin Luther King Memorial Inscription To Be Modified

Martin Luther King Memorial
The Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, D.C., was unveiled on August 28, 2011. It has since proved hugely popular, with an estimated 1.5 to 2 million visitors in its first year. It has also proved controversial.

As Art Daily reports, several public figures complained about an inscription on the memorial that reads, “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.” The inscription is not in quotes because it’s actually a paraphrase of what King said. His actual words were, “If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”

Leading poet Maya Angelou told the Washington Post that the paraphrase makes King look like “an arrogant twit.” She went on to say that the civil rights leader was anything but arrogant and the paraphrase “minimizes the man.”

Now the full quote will be included. In September or October, after the summer tourist rush is over, two sculptors will change the quote.

The statue’s other inscription hasn’t caused any controversy. It reads, “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]