August 15, 2017

Tacoma

by Rosemary West

Perhaps Tacoma would not have been on our list of places to see, but we needed a city near a major airport, where I could enjoy plenty of activities while Steve went back to Los Angeles for a few days on business.

Our favorite part of the city was Point Defiance Park. It has a lovely rose garden, beaches, a marina, a zoo and aquarium, hundreds of acres of natural forest with hiking trails, and Five Mile Drive, a scenic road around the periphery.

One of the many beautiful hiking trails.


We saw plenty of raccoons in the park.
They are so much cuter when they aren't digging up your garden!


The Tacoma Narrows Bridge, as viewed from Point Defiance.

Downtown Tacoma was on the quiet side. Traffic wasn't too bad, and parking wasn't a problem.

We saw quite a few old industrial buildings being converted to loft apartments and offices.
The old Union Station is now a U.S. courthouse.

Glass sculptor Dale Chihuly was born in Tacoma, and he is celebrated here. His "Bridge of Glass" is a pedestrian bridge that crosses Interstate 705, linking the downtown area to the Museum of Glass. The bridge includes two 40-foot crystal towers, a covered pavilion whose ceiling seems to be filled with sealife, and an 80-foot wall of display cases containing over 100 individual artworks. There is no fee to enter the bridge, which is open to the public 24 hours a day.


More of Chihuly's work is on display inside Union Station, where several very large installations can be viewed inside the rotunda.




Not far from Union Station is the Tacoma Art Museum, which emphasizes art of the Northwest. It isn't a large museum, but the collection is interesting, with both historical and modern works, and, of course, more Chihuly.
 
In a small hallway-like gallery was an exhibit of jewelry from the collection of the late Mia McEldowney. Jewelry in museums often makes me feel a bit sad. These objects were created for a very specific purpose, to give pleasure in the wearing. Looking at them in drawers and cases isn't nearly as much fun as it would have been to see them being worn.


The museum has signs warning visitors that "touching harms the art". Of course, they are right. Yet I couldn't help but feel that this multimedia piece (U is for Utopian by Dennis Evans) was meant to be interactive.



It's hard to find any art that can rival nature in the Pacific Northwest. I took a day trip to visit my friends Sue and Arnor in Port Angeles. Sue and I visited Olympic National Park and hiked up to Sol Duc Falls. The views around every corner were amazing.



Driving around Tacoma, I would suddenly catch sight of Mount Rainier, 40-some miles away, but seemingly right on top of the city. It was always breathtaking.



Next: We cross the border.
 

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