On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
In the spirit of On the Road, we are here to take time to live in the moment, to see the beauty and joy around us, and to create peace wherever we can. Today, we end the week with beautiful photos of what appears to be a very lovely city in Washington! ~WaterGirl
Mike in Oly
I honor of staying home, I thought I’d share some photos from around my hometown of Olympia, WA. Olympia, sitting at the southernmost point of the Salish Sea, was incorporated as a city in 1946 but was inhabited by small settlements and tribal peoples long before that. It is currently the cultural heart of the South Sound and has a very lefty political leaning, which makes a strong blue block, along with Seattle and surroundings, that now dominates State politics. I’ve lived here since 1995 and I love this little city of just over 46,000 (tho in reality we’re a tri-cities area with about 100,000 give or take). We have an abundance of breathtaking natural views, beautiful parks, and a thriving downtown core heavily influenced by the arts. Hope you enjoy a peek into my city.
The State Capitol dome in springtime. When it was built it was the largest dome of its kind in the US. I enjoy hunting for new angles to photograph it from.
The old brewery along the Descutes river, where they made Olympia beer (“It’s the water!”) back in the day. Currently being rehabilitated into an event center after many years of sitting derelict. Parks along this section of river are very popular with the locals and in the fall salmon run up the river and provide great opportunities for wildlife viewing.
Tumwater Falls park, with the new brewery (shuttered these last 15 years). This is a privately owned park that coordinates with the State regarding the salmon runs. Currently undergoing a major rehab with a new focus on education about the salmon.
Burfoot park, north of town. A lovely view of the Olympic Mountains to our northwest.
Woodard Bay park. A small State park north of town with great views of wildlife. Herons nest nearby and seals lounge on the old train trestles that used to bring logs to the bay for shipping north.
Every spring we have, along with our annual Arts Walk weekend, the Procession of the Species. Locals spend months preparing costumes that can be of anything in the natural world, and then one weekend afternoon we have a huge parade to show it all off. It is the highlight of the year for me for community festivals and I will so miss it this year.
View from the State Capital campus looking north over Capital Lake and Puget Sound.
Wood ducks at the McLane nature trail west of Olympia. A very popular small park with the older crowd, young moms, and birders. Lots of wildlife and very accessible.
Wow. You live in a beautiful place. Envious.
Great picture of the ducks, with their reflections.
What a beautiful city.
Really special! Thanks for sharing.
Lovely! If I ever get back to Washington state I’ll skip Seattle and come ramble about Olympia.
That parade looks awesome! Thanks for sharing.
My daughter and her family live in Lacey, next door to Olympia. We visit them often and we love to visit the area parks with the grandkids. We’ve been to most of those wonderful places, Burfoot and Tumwater Falls parks quite often. Your pictures are wonderful and remind me of my family. Thanks!
Just lovely. I want to be transported to Woodard Bay park and just sit there for days.
@ Mike in Oly:
Especially love the picture with the falls.
Do you take requests? I would like to see the seals lounge on the old train trestles, please.
The old brewery building reminds me that we used to care about aesthetics as well as functionality. Those wete the days. Beautiful pictures.
I visited Oly a long time ago, pretty city, even took the brewery tour.
J R in WV
Great job, beautiful places well photographed. Thanks!
My favorite is the falling water, waterfalls always do it for me.
Must confess, shuttered brewery? How can this be??
My husband reminded me yesterday, that we didn’t have the Procession of the Species parade this year, I had forgotten about it! Breaks my heart, a truly wonderful local event. No words/signs are allowed–just costumes and music. Thanks for the great photos.
Mike in Oly
@J R in WV: A few years after I moved here Pabst bought the Olympia Brewery and not too much later shut it down and moved production of Oly out of State. It has been derelict since, and is an eye sore and danger to the community currently. Last year thieves trying to get at copper wire broke open something full of oil that spilled into the Deschutes River and cost millions to clean up. Then a fire took out one side of it. It is an enormous complex owned by a conglomerations of companies and municipalities and no one can agree on what, if anything , to do with it all. Such a waste.
@Watergirl I’ll send you a photo of the seals.
Just beautiful! I guess I need to head south to visit the capital :) Thank you!
@Betty: I had the same thought! Nothing charming about the brewery buildings around here. Except that they have their own particular ‘charm’ in a different way.
I did not know the city where I was born wasn’t even incorporated until after that event!! My dad was a malt truck driver for the brewery during the war. His father and my dad built a 2 bedroom log cabin on the grounds that are now part of the parks just below the brewery. My mother passed away at the age of 99 last September, and as we were going through her too many belongings, I discovered the bill for my birthing charges….$75.50!!! My daddy built my first home up on Tumwater Hill. Went home 3 years ago this August, and was very pleased to see the current owner is doing it proud! Thanks for the lovely pictures!!
@Baud: He’s not even showing you the half of it. I had the opportunity to spend ten days in Olympia in the early ’80s and found it to be astonishingly beautiful. Out in the forests are huge trees and gigantic ferns. People arriving there in the 1800s by wagon must have thought they’d died and gone to heaven.
The thing that stopped me from ever considering moving there was the damp. It’s a rain forest zone, and it is VERY damp! I was there in March, and I’m guessing the summer is slightly less damp but I would also guess not a hell of a lot.
(I lived in Tacoma in the late ’80s and contrary to everything I was told before and since, I didn’t find it to be damp or overly wet in the least. Maybe it was having experienced Olympia that made me feel that way!)
Nice pics. Mostly pass through on my way to Seattle, but every time I see the Oly brewery from I-5 I can’t help thinking they should shoot a Scooby-Doo episode there.
The capital dome nearly collapsed in the Nisqually Quake. Speaking of Nisqually it is a restored river delta just a few miles east of Olympia. It is another great place to explore. And the view of Mt. Rainier from I-5 is breathtaking.
Mike in Oly
@karen marie: Our winters are very damp, tho the last few have been getting drier. Summers are bone dry in Oly. I spend months watering everything. Always a treat when the rains return in September and wash the dust off everything.
A real treasure of a National Park is the Olympia National Park.
Lovely city with lovely people. I visited Olympia in 1997 and was shown these pretty places by my friend. I am commenting from Hungary.
@Hanna: Hungary! Welcome!