If you’ve lived in the area for any length of time, you’ve probably heard that Poulsbo is affectionately known as “Little Norway.” Located on the northern end of the Kitsap Peninsula, this picturesque village on Liberty Bay was founded by Norwegian Jorgen Eliason. With the Olympic Mountains to the west and its navigable waterways, Scandinavians were attracted to the region because of the many similarities to the homeland they left behind. In fact, Norwegian was the primary language spoken in the area until World War II.
Poulsbo is a delightful destination for a day trip, offering numerous opportunities for entertainment, dining and shopping. In no particular order, here are a few suggestions:
A perfect stop this time of year is at Poulsbo’s Fish Park (288 NW Lindvig Way). Not only does it have a nice walking trail, but it’s one of the best places to watch migrating salmon. In fact, if you can visit on Saturday, November 3 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the Kitsap County Extension of Washington State University is offering a salmon viewing day with educational exhibits, guided tours and other activities. It’s a handicapped-accessible event and good for the entire family.
Norwegians are known for their pastries, and a visit to Poulsbo isn’t complete without a stop at the family-run Sluy’s Bakery (18924 Front Street NE). While the bakery has novelties such as glazed donut boys and massive apple fritters, it also offers traditional breads such as Norwegian Black Bread and holiday offerings including Julekake and stollen.
The SEA Discovery Center (18743 Front Street NE) has exhibits featuring local marine life, educational movies and an art room for creating a souvenir. Operated by Western Washington University, it is slowly going through a much-needed upgrade and is a good place to introduce children to the wonders of the Salish Sea. Admission is free (donations accepted) and the facility is open Thursday through Sunday. (note: the museum will be closed on most Sundays this fall for maintenance, so call ahead for current hours: (360) 598-4460).
One of the only places in the world with a shrine to licorice candy is Poulsbo’s Marina Market (18882 Front Street NE). The Licorice Shrine is located on a shelf topping over 500 varieties of licorice from places around the globe, including Finland and Sweden. Every type of hard and soft licorice, from filled candies to un-licorices such as Red Vines can be found in one spot. You can also find over 1,000 craft beers, of which 15 have licorice as an ingredient.
The Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park (18809 Anderson Parkway) is Poulsbo’s iconic place for a casual stroll, a picnic or a bathroom break (public restrooms are in the stone house). It’s the home of the seasonal Poulsbo Farmers Market on Saturdays.
The Poulsbo Sons of Norway Lodge (18891 Front Street) is a great place to try your hand at a Norwegian craft, folk dancing and much more. Many of the events are open to the public. On most Wednesdays, you can sample a traditional Norwegian lunch from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. with homemade soup, open-faced sandwiches, pickled herring, lefse, krumkake and more. It’s $12 and it comes with a gorgeous view.
Finally, if brewpubs are your thing, you have several choices in Poulsbo. The Slippery Pig (18801 Front Street NE) is a sustainable brewer, sourcing most of its ingredients locally. Valholl Brewing (18970 3rd Avenue NE) is Viking-themed and has a child-friendly tasting room. Rainy Daze Brewing (650 NW Bovela Lane Number 3) offers Goat Boater IPA, the 2017 Peaks and Pints Winner of Best IPA. And these are just three of the many establishments in the area, so make a day of it!
This sadly marks the end to Rachel Berry’s local travel column for KP News. We wish her well as her life adventures continue far from the Key Peninsula. Happy trails to you, Rachel.
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