Community Picnic, Farmers and Local Business Fair a Success!

Cool and overcast weather didn’t dampen spirits as an estimated 300 or more area residents came together this last Sunday to enjoy a community picnic and farmers and local business fair. The event was hosted by Prosperity Grange, Restoration Hope Community Outreach, and the Griffin Neighborhood Association. Proceeds for the event were for the benefit of the Prosperity Grange. The grange is currently reviewing bids to upgrade their building’s electrical system.

If you missed this year’s picnic, there’s a photo album growing on our Facebook page. Click here to see that album.

This was the first effort on the part of the hosts to hold an event intended to meet so many simultaneous objectives. Funds were being raised for the benefit of the Prosperity Grange, organizers sought to highlight the many local businesses and farms operating in our area, and (lest we not forget) this is the community picnic held every year around this time. At the close of the day, everyone agreed the event was a terrific success.

Not only was attendance higher than we’ve seen in recent years, we also saw many more families with children. Thanks to the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool, Cedars on the Sound, Lighthouse Alpaca Ranch, and others for giving the kids something to do, following the afternoon meal.

A number of local farms and businesses made donations either directly to the Prosperity Grange or in the form of gifts for a silent auction and a golf driving game that was held during the picnic.

A special thanks is made to the extraordinary contributions made by sponsors of the event. Xinh Dwelley, of Xinh’s Clam & Oyster House, prepared claims and curried mussels (seafood donated by Taylor Shellfish Farms). Steamboat Trading Post (formerly Steamboat Island Fuel, at the corner of Sexton and Old Steamboat Island Rd.) donated beverages and bags of chips. Steamboat Golf hosted a game to benefit Prosperity Grange and allowed most of the event (and the parking!) to take place on their property.

Here is a list of the farms and businesses present and some of the donations made during last Sunday’s picnic:

Did we leave anyone out?

Many of these farms and businesses are listed in our online local business directory. Do you own or operate a local business, then click here for information about how you can be added to our directory.

Past and present members of the Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association staffed a pair of grills and offered hamburgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers to everyone at the picnic. Even a surprise inspection by the Thurston County Health Department didn’t slow the pace of production.

At the information table for the Griffin Neighborhood Association there was on display the Little Free Library which will soon be placed near the front door of the Griffin Fire Department Headquarters. The library was donated thanks to generous contributions from local residents and the Friends of the Olympia Library. Contributions to cover the costs of the purchase and installation of the library are still being taken. Click here for more information about the Steamboat Little Free Library.

There was one tragic set of circumstances associated with this year’s picnic. Bliss, of Blissful Wunders Chocolats, made a sizeable donation of his truffles. But where was all this candy, on Sunday? Rumor has it that Bliss (who was selling his chocolates elsewhere this weekend) delivered his donation to the grange hall on Thursday. These were discovered in the refrigerator by the Steamboat Bluegrass Festival, held in the grange hall on Friday night. We understand the Bluegrass Festival was quite a success and we’d like to think that was, if only in a small part, because of the chocolates meant for our community picnic.

We hope to see you all at next year’s community picnic. But wait! Do not forget the Blueberry Bash, Sunday August 25th at St. Christopher’s Community Church! We’ll see you all there.

And, around 3:15, the sun did come out.

Did you attend the community picnic? What suggestions do you have, for next year’s picnic? Leave your comments here.

Dogwoods Adds an Event Center to Local Community Facilities

Leslie and Shane Hernstedt have for some time provided local dog boarding services at Dogwoods Canine Play and Stay. They have now added an Event Center to the facilities they offer our community.

Whether you are planning a sit down dinner or a gymnastics event, this conveniently located 50 foot x 60 foot heated space is worth a look. It is clean and airy, with a lot of windows. It might just be “The Right Venue for Your Event.”

50 x 60 foot interior heated space available for rent by
the day or by the hour.

Rentals are available by the hour or by the day. The hourly rate is $25.00 and for the day is $150.00. The building includes bathroom facilities. Says Leslie, “Someone could use it for anything from a wedding to an indoor soccer match.”

As far as dog boarding, the Hernstedt’s have recently finished a major building project and “We are extremely happy with the way it turned out.” Rates are $22.00 a night for the first pup and $18.00 a night for additional family members.

The new dog boarding kennel.

For more information about either Dogwoods Canine Play and Stay or the new Events Center, contact Leslie Hernstedt at (360) 866-7290 or

Cedars on the Sound an Exceptional Local Rental Home

A tranquil home where you can relax, reconnect, and
create lasting memories.

The Cedars on the Sound Rental House is one of the newest additions to the GriffinNeighbors online business directory. This vacation rental is owned by local residents Vicki and Amir Salim. If you, your family or friends are seeking a truly stellar rental vacation home, look at what the Cedars on the Sound can offer. “We have had people from all walks of life come stay for all sorts of reasons,” says owner Vicki Salim. “Vacations, retreats, weddings, reunions, birthdays, holidays, funerals, girls’ weekends, guys’ weekends, scrapbooking, visiting family or friends in the area or from the base, and people who want to have a ‘stay-cation’.”

People generally choose to stay at a vacation rental home because it can be less expensive than a hotel. There is more room, people can relax together in a comfortable environment, cook their own meals (eating in restaurants can be expensive), and they can live like locals. Vicki and Amir like to stay in vacation rentals, when they travel. They like to see what ideas they can take away and find it is more fun to stay in a house than a hotel.

Wood stove, games, movies, books, sound system,
and a flatscreen TV. There is lots to do!

Vicki explains, “Before moving here, we lived in Wisconsin, Malaysia, California, and China; we moved around a lot for our jobs. At one point, we decided we wanted to find the perfect place to live: temperate climate, near the water with great natural beauty. We toured around the Northwest four different times and as soon as we came to Olympia, we knew this was home.” During their first summer here, they had 26 different visitors. “We thought wow, people really like to visit this area; we should get a vacation rental house down the road!” When a gorgeous waterfront property on 7.7 acres came on the market, they didn’t hesitate to buy it. They made some renovations, furnished the house, and started renting it out April 2012.

Vicki brings a personal touch to her relationship with guests at Cedars on the Sound. “We greet our guests and give them a welcome tour to answer any questions they may have about the property or Olympia; people seem to really appreciate this personalization and we have loved meeting all our guests! My favorite part is when they open the door and see the view; they always get so excited! One lady started crying!”

The high season is summer and Cedars on the Sound was almost completely booked by the end of January. In the fall and spring, they mostly get weekend visitors. As you might guess, the winter is quiet. “Winter is a great time for us to do major work on the house.” Amir is a great handyman and the two of them manage almost everything to do with the house, from reservations, guest relations, cleaning between guests, marketing, and repairs and maintenance.

Gorgeous views on 7.7 acres of forest and waterfront.
Very private and peaceful

Vicki and Amir advertise on three different websites: VRBO, Homeaway and Trip Advisor (Flipkey). They currently have 54 reviews from our guests, making them the highest rated vacation rental house in Olympia.

“We work hard to make people feel comfortable and at home during their stay. People often comment that our attention to detail and high standards of cleanliness help them relax and feel at home.” Says Vicki, “We often hear, ‘you have thought of everything!'” Guests also appreciate Vicki and Amir are locals and know the area. They have begun to assemble “Vicki’s Picks” – maps and descriptions of different parts of town with Vicki’s top picks of what to see, do, eat and experience.

We welcome Cedars on the Sound to our online business directory. Do you have a local business? Click here to learn how to get your business listed. If you are looking to purchase services or materials, look to our local business directory first; you may find one of your neighbors offer exactly what you are seeking!

Luna Sea Café is Raising Roadside Espresso to a New Level

Local residents on the Steamboat Peninsula have a new choice for their morning coffee, tea, and pastries. The coffee stand at 6233 Steamboat Island Road changed hands last December. It acquired a new name – the “Luna Sea Café” – and owner Leah Polhemus comes with some serious food service credibility and plans for dramatically improving the scope of the dining offered at this roadside location.

Originally from Alabama, Leah first came out to Washington 13 years ago. Although she eventually moved elsewhere, “I always make my way back here,” she says.

“I love this neighborhood, I think it’s a great community, but there are not many food service options in the area,” says Leah. “For now I am serving espresso drinks – hot, iced, or blended – hot tea, and my pastries, which are always made from scratch, but I hope to have more food and beverages available as I am able to grow and expand.” When asked about her expansion plans, Leah answered, “My ultimate goal is to be able to grow into a full-service cafe. I live out here too and I know myself and a lot of other folks who live out here would love to be able to get a good meal without having to drive thirty minutes each way to get it!”

One of the things that sets this café apart is Leah’s homemade syrups. “I have my own real vanilla bean syrup, I make my chocolate sauce with pure dutch-process cocoa, I make a brown sugar salted caramel sauce and I make my own chai syrup as well, and I am always experimenting with new and interesting flavor combinations. So far the vanilla bean syrup has been really popular, as well as my lavender mocha.”

Food-wise, among the best offerings are the bagels. They are made from scratch, boiled in honey and molasses and served toasted with homemade garlic and herb cream cheese. Leah also offers a variety of muffins, scones, croissants, danishes, coffee cake, cookies, granola bars, and biscuits.

That’s a lot for that little café. “I am willing to taking suggestions for food people might want to have out here; I can do pretty much anything!”

Yeah, but how about the coffee? “I am so proud to be using coffee from local roaster Olympia Coffee Roasting Company,” says Leah. “They were named Roast Magazine’s 2013 Micro Roaster of the Year. Olympia is so lucky to have such a great local coffee roaster.” Olympia Coffee Roasting also took the time to give Leah an education about the coffee industry and her brew comes out of a top-of-the-line handmade Italian brand La Marzocco espresso machine.

What about the name, ‘Luna Sea Café’? “I have to credit one of my roommates with the name. We were sitting around the night I bought the stand and throwing around all sorts of ideas and silly names for it until he threw ‘Luna Sea’ out there. It just really felt right. I have always been a little out there I guess, some people have even called me crazy, and I have a tattoo of crescent moons on my shoulder, so it just seemed fitting. I mean, who doesn’t love a good double entendre?”

The Luna Sea Café is open Monday through Friday from 5:30 am to 1:00 pm. Leah hopes to extend her hours and open weekends by the spring or summer with more options available such as homemade ice cream, real fruit smoothies.

“I really hope to have a BBQ pit or at least a grill by then so I can offer some slow-cooked meats with my homemade breads, which is just about my favorite thing in the world to eat.”

We hope you’ll join us in welcoming the Luna Sea Café to the Steamboat Peninsula. They’re located right out in front of the Skookum Creek Outlet store at 6233 Steamboat Island Road. Please stop by and say hi! And, like them on Facebook.

Local Roaster Stickman Coffee Offers Home Delivery

Recently, you probably noticed a stand was set up by the side of Steamboat Island Road at the US-101 overpass. Folks stopping at the stand had an opportunity to taste locally-roasted coffee,  being offered for home delivery by Stickman Coffee. Stickman Coffee is the brainchild of local resident Kenneth Albert.

“Most people my age started drinking percolated diner coffee with a Wonder Bread and Velveeta sandwich,” says Mr. Albert. “I remember more than one such meal on my way across the country to New York to catch a flight to Amsterdam.”
“In Europe, food, drink and especially coffee were very different than what I had enjoyed  next to the pie rack at the diner counter. I returned, like many other travelers in the late 60’s, with a radically altered idea of what  I preferred to eat and drink.”

“Since those days, our choices have expanded to fit our more varied tastes. Eating and preparing things to eat has been one of my main hobbies for forty years. When I found in the mid 90’s that it was possible to roast my own coffee, it was a natural addition to my food activities.”

The Internet has allowed people to find each other in online communities and share knowledge of their hobbies. So it was with the home coffee roasting community. As a result, “Home roasting has become extremely sophisticated,” says Mr. Albert.

“Because home roasters work with such small batches, they are able to experiment often with ingredients and technique. They often  taste a greater variety of blends and brews than many larger commercial roasters. This gives them obvious advantages if they become commercial roasters. Coincidentally, that description fits me perfectly. I am shamelessly blowing my own horn, but I do believe that there are many home roasters today who have attained a very high level of coffee roasting skill. If you can find one who has recently opened his own business, chances are good that his product will be tasty.”

Those of us, of a certain age, will remember a time when home delivery was common. The web site for Stickman Coffee presents a compelling argument for home delivery of locally-roasted coffee.

Coffee has a strong aroma because it gives its goodness up to the atmosphere so quickly. It has lost many of its best qualities within ten days of roasting.

Stickman Coffee roasts on Mondays and Mr. Albert’s goal is to deliver, within the Steamboat area, the same day.

Stickman Coffee offers organic, fair trade beans when they are available.

You can purchase Stickman Coffee online or with a phone call to (360) 866-8614. Customers can set up an automatic schedule so they never run out and seldom have to re-order. If you are going on vacation, you can put your order on hold by email or by phone.

Give Stickman Coffee a try. Home delivery of freshly-roasted, high quality Arabica beans sounds like another fine benefit of living in the Steamboat area.