Last week we stopped in Elma, WA, en route to the Olympic Peninsula. We purchased the Lonely Planet USA's Best Trips book a little while ago, and decided to use this as a guide for our trip down the west coast. We stayed at the Elma RV Park for a couple of nights, taking full advantage of the 50% off discount provided by our Passport America membership. We have made use of both Passport America and Thousand Trails on our trip thus far, and find the combination works out really well. We chose Elma as we wanted to go in and visit Olympia, the state capital, which was a 20 minute drive away. The couple that greeted us when we arrived were lovely, very helpful in guiding us to our spot, and they gave us delicious fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, which we thoroughly enjoyed. All of the staff at the park are so lovely, our interactions with them really made our stay.
We settled in and relaxed that night, and drove into Olympia the following morning. Our first stop was the Hands On Children’s Museum, which the kids thoroughly enjoyed. They had some wonderful exhibits, including a mini performance stage and costumes, which the kids took full advantage of. They also had a farm market, diner and kitchen area that was a big hit with our little ones, as they thoroughly enjoyed preparing meals for us. We took a break from the museum to go to a local diner, which offered up a lovely tempeh hash on the kids menu and Buffalo Style Tempeh sandwiches and Texas style vegan chili for Dominic and I. Adele enjoyed the chili so much that she requested I try to replicate it, which I intend to do shortly! We use our Instant Pot on a daily basis, and I am now starting to take full advantage of the slow cooker function, as it lends itself well to days when we are out and about visiting sites.
I stopped into a wonderful book shop on our way back, Orca Books on 4th Ave E. They have a lovely selection of books, I held myself back from purchasing any hard copies, but did track down a digital copy of the Atlas Obscura that they had recommended to me. It is a beautifully illustrated atlas that depicts (wait for it) obscure sights and things to see all over the world. They have a website that you can use as well, I suspect we’ll take full advantage during our travels! We also discussed the Roadside America app and Weird US website (also great resources for unusual things to see and do on your travels). I love our Lonely Planet guide, but sometimes it is nice to through the strange and unusual into the mix!
I also picked up a small notebook that I am using to record all of our purchases. I started this counting method while working my way through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way a couple of years ago, and find it to be a fantastic practice to keep track of exactly where funds are going. I am going to input everything into a spreadsheet afterwards, to break down expenses into categories (food, entertainment, gas, accommodations) so that we can review our numbers and see where we need to adjust at the end of each month. The process of physically writing everything down as I go has brought so much more awareness to my spending habits, as I am forced to acknowledge and record every dollar I spend.
It was late in the afternoon by the time we wrapped up at the museum, so we elected to do a quick drive by the Olympia Capitol Buildings, which were very impressive, and visually quite similar to photos we have seen of the Capitol Buildings in Washington, DC. We’d love to do a tour next time we are in town!
After we arrived back home, I prepped a Szchezuan Stirfry that I had started that morning by marinading blocks of tempeh and pre-chopping veggies. I am finding a few minutes of pre-prep in the morning makes all the difference for quick and easy meals when we arrive home after a long travel or city visit day. Olympia was a lot of fun, as was our time in Elma. On our way back through (after visiting Forks and the Olympic Peninsula) we discovered the Elma Farm Stand and Public Market, just down the road from the RV Park. They have a lovely selection of local produce and organic and gluten free products. The highlight for me was finding some local raw and unpasteurized honey and bee pollen, provided to the store by a local beekeper named Ron. I love shopping at local stores and finding products like this that are locally grown or produced. I look forward to continuing this trend as we travel through various states across the country!
Elma & Olympia, WA Highlights
Hands On Children’s Museum - our kids had so much fun at the Hands On Children's Museum! There are so many different things for them to see and do, including a play area for younger kids and an arts and crafts room. Well worth a visit!
King Solomon's Reef Diner - typical diner fare, with lots of vegan friendly options available - gluten free, not so much. Great, stick to your ribs food a close walk from the Hands On Children’s Museum.
Orca Books - A fantastic book shop with a great selection and very helpful staff!
Capitol Buildings - very impressive and similar in architecture to the Capitol Buildings in DC. They run tours that look to be very interesting, we ran out of time but will keep it in mind if we are back this way again!
Elma RV Park - The Elma RV Park is set up in a typical parking lot style, with lots of space to turn in and park trucks and trailers. They have wonderful staff, everyone was incredibly helpful and their warm hospitality really made our visit.
Elma Farm Stand and Public Market - a fantastic (you guessed it) Farm Stand and Public Market, very close to the Elma RV Park. They have a wonderful selection of produce, plus local bee products and a great selection of natural products.