Friday, June 21, 2024

Continuing to Wander in Gig Harbor

Continuing our trek through Gig Harbor, we pass Austin Park in the corner of the harbor and walk up Donkey Creek which drains into the harbor and up which Chum Salmon swim to spawn in the late fall.  Donkey Creek is named after the "donkey engine," a steam-powered winch used by loggers to drag heavy logs up to the Austin Mill alongside the creek.

Donkey Creek

Salmon in the fall

Salmon observation point

Alongside the creek are incubator barrels which local commercial fisherman fill with about one million hatchery eggs in January of each year.   The barrels protect the emerging fish from predators and strong currents as they develop, greatly increasing their survival rate.

Salmon incubator

Continuing along the harbor from Donkey Creek, we come to North Gig Harbor, the orginal downtown, now an area of restaurants, shops, offices, docks, and small parks, with great views across the harbor to the mountains (particularly Mount Rainier).

Small parks


Views of Mount Rainier across the harbor

Restaurants and docks

Moored at one of the docks is the Concordia, the original ferry between Seattle and Vashon Island, built in 1930.


Scattered through the city are statues commemorating the nautical heritage and those fishermen lost at sea.


Buck and King Salmon

Gig Harbor

We are so lucky to live nearby and be able to easily visit this fabulous place.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Wandering in Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor, Washington, calls itself "The Maritime City" and maintains a strong connection to its nautical heritage.  The city, across Puget Sound from Tacoma, was founded by immmigrants from Sweden, Norway and Croatia and its economy was initially dominated by commercial fishing, boat building, and logging.  Originally connected to Tacoma by ferry, the first bridge built over the Tacoma Narrows (called "Galloping Gertie" due to its oscillation in strong winds) collapsed in 1940 and was replaced in 1950.  In 1950, the town had 803 residents, but grew quickly after the completion of the new bridge, now has around 12,000 residents, and is a popular tourist destination.

Gig Harbor

We wander along the water and admire the views of the water and the mountains in the distance.

Water and mountains

Houses on the water

In the harbor, we spot many pleasure craft and serious fishing boats.

Pleasure craft

Fun craft

Working vessels

Free life jacket borrowing stations

In 1867, three friends were fishing in Puget Sound and took shelter in Gig Harbor during a storm.  They liked what they saw and moved there with their families, locating near the Native American village at the head of the bay.  They caught fish with nets they made by hand and built a smoke house and rendering plant, the beginning of commercial fishing in Gig Harbor.

The salmon-rich waters of Puget Sound made Gig Harbor ideal for fishing and the industry dominated the Gig Harbor economy for over 100 years.  Many of the original fishing boats still operate out of Gig Harbor, staffed by the descendants of the original founders.

Mussel sculptures near mussel beach

To meet the demand for vessels, Gig Harbor also developed a strong boat building industry, constructing over 140 wooden boats between 1912 and 1931 at the three main shipyards


Near the shipyards, in a corner of the harbor, Austin Park commemorates the sawmill built in the early 1900s and a sculpture honoring the first residents of the area, a band of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians.

Honoring the first residents

The Puyallup lived well among abundant natural resources, but were significanlty impacted by diseases bought by the European settlers and were eventually expelled from their homes and relocated by the government to the Puyallup Reservation while the government confiscated over 2.4 million acres of their land, including 1,200 acres of water-front property in Gig Harbor.  In the 1960s, the tribes started regaining some of their rights and fisheries and in 2021, the Puyallup Tribe became a sovereign nation composed of many of the descendants of the original natives.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Dinners in Hannover

We dine at one of our favorite places in Hannover, Paulaner am Thielenplatz, a beer hall operated by the Paulaner Brewery (which dates back to 1634).  We sit at high tables in the bar area and have appetizers of Munich white sausage and a pretzel, along with a stein of beer and a glass of savignon blanc.  We follow that with rinderroulade (beef roulades filled with dry cured ham, gerkins, and onions, served with a red wine sauce, red cabbage with chopped apple, and a potato dumpling) and schweinsbraten (slow-roasted pork knuckle on a bed of sauerkraut and red wine sauce, served with a dumpling).





After dinner, we walk by the Kropcke-Uhr clock in the main square that serves as a meeting spot.  Apparently, everyone has already met and headed off to their destination.


Another evening, we have dinner with a group and for our dinners, we select soup Marseille, lentil salad with duck liver, and John Dore.  We accompany this with a Negroni (or two), an Italian drink, but appropriate to the spring weather.

Soup Marseille

Lentil salad with duck liver

John Dore


For lunch, we have great sandwiches at a local store.  Here's one with ham, cheese, tomato, and lettuce on fresh-baked pistachio bread.


It's a short stop in Hannover, but we once again truly enjoy our time in this delightful city, exploring widely and dining well.