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Discovering Sumner

The rhubarb pie capital of the world


 

the rhubarb pie capital of the world

Photo by Marguerite Cleveland

Written by Marguerite Cleveland


Charming Sumner, just 13 miles from Tacoma, shines in the summer months — and especially during Rhubarb Days June 22 and 23, 2024. The farms in the Puyallup Valley make this region one of the top rhubarb producers in the country. Any visit should center around Historic Main Street filled with Mom-and-Pop storefronts and local dining establishments. The area has undergone a renaissance of late, with many new businesses adding a vibrancy to this historic area.


Shop


Parking is free in historic downtown Sumner, with areas allowing up to three hours of parking. This gives visitors time to shop and dine. Locals love their plants, especially downtown. In addition to the Main Street hanging baskets, many local businesses maintain lush and colorful pots throughout the season. Garden shops in the area are destinations, with Windmill Gardens just a short drive from downtown and the VanLierop Garden Market off Main Street. At the Windmill Gardens, guests can enjoy meals at a bistro, shop for plants and garden supplies while enjoying the outdoor space, stop in the tea shop and even get their hair done. The Garden Market has a shop filled with great gift ideas and artwork. The outdoor space is a lovely courtyard with a fountain, as well as a variety of plants and garden décor for sale.


Bookstores are always a popular stop, and A Good Book is the place to go for a meticulously curated selection of Sumner and the Puyallup Valley centric books. A fun feature is “Blind Date,” which are wrapped and unlabeled books. If you want a Sumner souvenir, then Sparrow & Nightingale’s is the place to shop with a large selection of mugs, totes, stickers and other items with a Sumner theme. Foodies will love Simple Tidings & Kitchen with a variety of kitchen gadgets and gourmet foods.


Play 


A furniture shop as a play activity? Well, the Old Cannery brings in savvy visitors from all over and is one of the largest furniture stores in the Pacific Northwest. It serves as the Sumner visitor center and has a retro kitchen serving refreshments and fudge (make sure to ask for a sample). The Old Cannery Railroad has 7 scale miles of suspended G scale trains. It is the largest multi-train suspended railroad west of the Mississippi River and winds throughout the showrooms.


Rhubarb Days, taking place June 22 through 23 this year, is a Pacific Northwest festival that just gets better every year. Celebrate the Rhubarb Pie Capital of the World with a weekend of live music, a beer garden and a vintage garden. The event takes place in historic downtown Sumner, where Main Street is closed to vehicles and set up with tables and chairs. The perfect spot to enjoy a slice of rhubarb pie.


Outdoor lovers will enjoy a walk or bike ride on the Sumner Link Trail. Swing by the Bonney Lake Bicycle Shop of Sumner for all your cycling needs. Right next door is the Main Street Dairy Freeze, an old-fashioned burger joint with ice cream and milkshakes — a delicious way to treat yourself post-ride.  Local craft breweries and the Valley Social Wine Bar are also fun afternoon stops.


Stay


For a truly unique stay, venture out to a local farm and stay at the Tiny Alpaca House or the Highland Tiny House. Both can be rented through Airbnb. The farm is located along the scenic Puyallup River. These cozy accommodations are surrounded by darling alpacas and fluffy Scottish highland cows that graze in the pastures surrounding the tiny home. Delightful. For more traditional lodging, Sumner offers a Holiday Inn Express and Suites and the Candlewood Suites.




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