Talking Ghosts at Alfred’s Haunted Cafe

Interesting Conversation One of the great things about being the Northwest Nomad is that I have a permanent excuse to drink beer and chat with strangers at bars. It’s what I call “conducting research,” and I’ve found all kinds of interesting informational nuggets out there that way. A couple days ago I had such an encounter at Alfred’s Cafe in Tacoma. I was drinking a beer and talking with the bartender and a fellow patron. Before getting into ghosts, this…

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Where to Stay in Downtown Tacoma: Hotel Murano

When it comes to choosing deluxe downtown Tacoma accommodations, the Hotel Murano is pretty much a no-brainer. That line sounds kind of like a slimy sales pitch, but the Northwest Nomad is no one’s peddler! In this case, it’s just the fact of the matter that the Murano is heads-and-away the most distinctive, unique, and classy hotel in downtown (probably in all of Tacoma, really). When I first visited Tacoma over a decade ago, one of the sights that most…

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The Weirdest Damn Building in Tacoma, Washington

I have no idea what the place is. I have no idea who built it. I have no idea what purpose it serves, if any. I only know that, just outside the south side of the Tacoma Dome parking lot and on the north side of the Bull’s Eye Indoor Shooting Range, there’s a building advertising dentistry for 25 cents. It is, in short, the most beautifully bizarre thing in the city of Tacoma. The only possible competition I know…

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Getting to Know Home: Boat Tour of Tacoma, Washington

It’s funny that I can work in Tacoma for years, and live it in for months, before finding out that its seaport does 3 BILLION dollars in business every year. Yet, that is indeed a fact, and just one of the many things I learned while taking a tour of the Port of Tacoma waterway. I didn’t seek this tour out, truth be known. I was simply down for an early morning walk in Thea’s Park when I noticed people…

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Whitewater Rafting the Sauk with Triad River Tours

Earlier today, the Northwest Nomad rafted the Sauk River with Triad River Tours. Short version of my experience: it was awesome. Long version: keep reading. I wasn’t able to get any pictures on this tour because any phone or camera taken on the rafts is basically guaranteed to get destroyed. So ye, my fair readers, shall have to get by with my textual account only. I shall strive to use an inspired pen with which to charm your optical ears.…

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The Tacoma Library Set Me Up on a Blind Date!

For me, reading a new book is no less a thrill than hiking a new mountain trail. In both there is the thrill of discovery and wonder. Luckily, the Pacific Northwest is rich not only in outdoors action, but also in its literary culture. Tacoma, specifically, has an excellent book scene—so much so that I often forget that reading has fallen out of favor in many parts of the country. Whether it’s independent stores like the Tacoma Book Center or any…

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The Tacoma Book Center: So Many Corners

A tousled-headed man wandered into the horror section of the Tacoma Book Center with an armful of books and a chagrined look on his face. “Jeez,” he said, looking around the stacks, “another secret room? This place has so many corners, I keep getting lost.” His turn of phrase struck me as strangely poetic. So many corners. It’s the sort of vaguely surreal wording you might find in a Borges poem, or a Tom Waits song ­ – the sort of…

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Where to Stay in Ocean Shores, Washington: The Sands

Note: I went to the Sands independently and received nothing from them for my stay or for this article. I didn’t tell them I run a travel blog, and they don’t know I’m writing this. I receive no payment from them or any other place that I endorse. The Sands is a Great Budget Stay in Ocean Shores, Washington Well, I’ve tried nearly every hotel in Ocean Shores now, and I do believe I’ve found my favorite budget stay. Going…

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Forks, Washington: Cycle of the Vampire

I came home from deployment to find that women had overrun the town of Forks, Washington. This was some time around 2008. I’d been going to Forks for years for the hiking and camping in the area, and had always known it as a gritty, hungover little lumberjack burg (no offense intended, Forks, I LOVE gritty, hungover lumberjack burgs). So it was truly surreal to find it suddenly overrun by well-dressed women and teeny boppers. It was like finding out…

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Watching Crows at West Bay Park, Olympia, Washington

Crows at Olympia’s West Bay Park I was at Olympia’s West Bay Park when I caught a couple shots of crows. West Bay Park is a nice little spot in a quieter section of Olympia. I visit it often to read or just look out over the water and think, but today I wanted to make this post specifically to share a couple shots of crows that I got. The crow on the ground was doing some of the strangest things…

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