Category Archives: Entertainment

The Old General Store – Roy, WA

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In the beginning of November, a very dear friend of mine – who has realistically become a little brother figure in my life – asked me to help plan his wedding. I was ecstatic and very honored to have been asked! Then he said he wanted to get married before my husband deployed … in December … because it was very important to him that my husband be his best man. That meant we would be planning a wedding that would take place within the few weeks! No pressure or anything.

I jumped on the planning bandwagon the very next morning and began calling around. First and probably most important, we needed to book a venue. After that, we would be able to plan food, entertainment, and decorations. I knew the ceremony would be very small and we wouldn’t need a whole lot of room. Since I am a member of Saturn Barter, I looked on their website to see what venues they had available. Luckily, they had quite a few to choose from. One in particular caught my eye because I knew what it was and where it was located: The Old General Store in Roy, WA.

I called the phone number listed and spoke with Diana, the owner of the place. She gave me a lot of information, including pricing, what was offered, and the square footage of the space. At nearly 6,000 square feet of restaurant, bar, and dance floor space, I was unsure if this was the venue for us to use because there were going to be so few guests. My friend, Dane, and I agreed to meet with Diana to look at the space anyway just to get a feel for the venue.

As soon as we walked in the front door to The Old General Store, I had little “visions” of what the place would look like decorated for a wedding. Sure, we didn’t need the entire space but I knew that we could decorate a smaller space and make it more of an intimate ceremony for the bride and groom. Diana gave us a tour and showed us the restaurant space as well as the full size, functional bar. Towards the front of the restaurant is a stage in front of the store’s front windows. Obviously, this was a perfect place for a wedding ceremony to take place. Seeing this meant we knew we could have the ceremony and reception in the same venue. The dance floor could be closed off from the extra seating space by barn style doors, which would work in our favor for our small wedding. The most impressive part of the tour was the large dressing room for the bride that is located upstairs. It wasn’t just a room to change in, it was a full size space that included a mini kitchen, a seating space with a couch and love seat, large tables with mirrors for the bridal party to do their hair and makeup, a private dressing room, and even second private room with a bed for anyone who might want to nap. Down the hall was the groom’s dressing area complete with a poker style table. Across from the men’s dressing room is full size bathroom which features a clawfoot tub and shower. I was completely impressed with the amenities.

The large space upstairs at The Old General Store for a bride to relax and get ready.

Once back downstairs, Diana explained the options for food and catering. She said the less work she does herself – meaning if we had an outside party cater in food – the more it would cost us. She went on to explain some of the food options we would have if her and her husband prepared the food themselves. Dane was looking for a chicken pasta dish since his bride preferred chicken. Diana made a few suggestions of pasta dishes she could make. She also went on to explain how the bar fees would be paid: either a deposit can be put down for an “open bar” style reception or guests could just purchase their own drinks. Any soda, coffee, or tea would be unlimited for guests for a small additional fee added to the cost of food.

We finished up our meeting and tour with the discussion of the cost for the venue rental, food costs, and bar costs. We shook hands with Diana and thanked her for her time. While Dane and I knew at that time that we had put in a few calls to other venues that we were supposed to look at, when we walked back to our car, we knew that The Old General Store was going to be the chosen venue. We knew the space was large but at the same we knew it would work. What seems to close any deal with me is the personality of the person I am dealing with. Diana is a class act who genuinely wanted us to feel comfortable, she wanted to work with us, and she knew we had a vision and wanted to help us make that come to life. I happily called Diana back the next morning to tell her that we had chosen The Old General Store as the place for Dane’s wedding and reception.

Diana sent us a rental contract to sign and we finalized a dinner menu to consist of chicken pasta, salad, and bread. I was given permission to bring in appetizers just so long as it was nothing that had to be kept warm. Understandably, no one wanted to be responsible for getting anyone sick from food that was not kept at correct temperatures. We met with Diana to drop off the contract and discuss table and chair placement. Pretty much, we had free range to do what we wanted – just as long as everything was put back where it was prior to us leaving the night of the wedding.

On Sunday, November 18, we arrived at The Old General Store at noon. As I was frantically rushing around unloaded boxes of decorations with my husband, I couldn’t help but notice that Diana seemed to have this grin of excitement on her face! She seemed just as excited as we were for the wedding day. We were able to decorate the restaurant area just as I imagined. We brought in our own linens, centerpieces that I made, lanterns, and decor. The place felt so cozy and welcoming. The “DJ booth” in the restaurant allowed us to plug in our iPod with our selected wedding music and there was dance floor lighting to accompany the music. The bride was thrilled with the luxurious space in which she was able to relax and get ready while we decorated. Everything just seemed to come together perfectly.

After the ceremony, our guests were seated at their respective tables while Diana and her husband served their homemade chicken pasta dinner. It was excellent! We have been to many weddings in the past where I’m sure the bride and groom pay an arm and a leg for catered food that is lacking in flavor. This was not the case for the food that was served that evening. The chicken was tender and had an amazing pink sauce coating the noodles. The bread was crispy and baked perfectly. Certainly not that kind of bread that has been sitting under a heat lamp and a bit soggy. It was like a nice home-cooked meal served at a wedding reception … probably because it was home-cooked! All of the guests raved about how the food was better than they thought it would be. Since I was the designated wedding planner, Diana checked with me about when to serve dinner, when to set out the glasses for a toast, and even offered a homemade pumpkin pie as additional dessert for the guests. She made sure no detail went unchecked and made sure the evening went according to plan.

We were allowed to bring in our own decor and arrange the tables as we felt necessary.

We set up our tables to enclose the dance floor.

After dinner, the cake cutting, and toasts, our guests made their way to the dance floor where we danced for the rest of the evening. One of the greatest things about having a wonderful woman like Diana host the event, is the fact that she felt comfortable enough with us to take up our offer for her to join us on the dance floor! It was truly a magnificent day and we all couldn’t have been any happier for how everything turned out.

The happy bride and groom: Mr and Mrs Dane Ficiak

The Old General Store is open twice a month and available for special occasions. If you’re in the area, looking for a unique place for a wedding or any other special event, I urge you to call Diana Riehm. She was such a pleasure to work with. She is sweet and caring and cares about helping you make your event special.

The Old General Store
104 McNaught Street
Roy, WA 98597
(253) 459-2124

I’d also like to thank Yelm Floral, who I’ve previously reviewed, once again for the beautiful wedding bouquet! It was simple and perfect. Just what the bride wanted.

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The Discovery Trail in Long Beach, WA

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I was lucky enough to do something really pretty awesome while I was in Long Beach. Ariel Smith of Beachdog.com, who arranged my trip to Long Beach, arranged for me to have a bicycle tour of the area. On Saturday, June 16 I went to the lobby of The Breakers and was happily surprised to see that a cute purple colored beach cruiser bicycle had been delivered for me to use. The ladies at the front desk also provided me with a safety helmet to wear. My tour guide, Jim Sayce was already there and he immediately introduced himself. Ariel was also there. It was a pleasure to meet her in person. I liked having the opportunity to thank her for everything, especially the thoughtful goodies that were placed in our hotel room.

On that particular day, it was drizzling out. Jim offered to give me the tour by tour van but in all seriousness, a little rain never hurt anyone. So we took off towards the beach to get on the Discovery Trail. With the light rain in our faces, Jim admitted to me that I won serious brownie points by agreeing to continue with the tour in the drizzling rain. During the beginning of our trek, Jim explained the history of the Discovery Trail and how it relates to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Of course, my history loving self was completely intrigued. Riding along the trail, you are in plain view of the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by tall grass. With not many other takers on the Discovery Trail that day, you would swear you were in the middle of nowhere all while enjoying the salty sea air and yes, even enjoying the rain. That is what adventure is all about, isn’t it?

The Discovery Trail itself was paved with the assistance of theĀ Washington State National Guard, Air Guard, and Oregon National Guard. Stretching over eight miles, it features several historical monuments dedicated to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. I found it fascinating to stop and read the various monuments. One if a life-size bronze statue of Clark with a sturgeon and another features blue whale bones that were dug up and preserved. It represents one of the journal entries from the expedition that stated they had spotted a decaying whale on the beach. If you continue following the trail, you will eventually find yourself in Ilwaco. Since it was Saturday, we were just in time for the big Saturday Market near the Port of Ilwaco. Lucky us!

This would be my friend, Clark, and I with this mighty sturgeon.

The Saturday Market in Port of Ilwaco

We dismounted our bicycles and walked by a few booths to see what people had for sale that day. Many people were selling locally made jewelry, fresh fruits, vegetables, and local artwork. We had an invitation to have lunch at Ole Bobs, which was conveniently located in the middle of the Saturday Market. Jim and I took a seat on their outdoor patio and ordered food.

Ole Bob’s – Excellent, fresh seafood.

I ordered the deep fried sea scallops. It was served with a side of fries, cole slaw, and dipping sauce. For seafood lovers, you know there is nothing like eating fresh seafood. It added to the ambience knowing that our lunch had no doubt been caught in the very waters we were sitting next to. Absolutely delicious. I found myself getting full but literally could not stop eating the scallops. Yes, I ended up eating it all. I justified it by saying not only was it incredibly tasty but I needed fuel for the trip home.

Nice view of the Port of Ilwaco from Ole Bob’s

Jim and I chatted about history and our travels. Jim had been to significantly more places than I and he had incredibly stories. He told me a lot about Long Beach and Ilwaco as well. After we finished our lunch, we walked our bicycles along the Saturday Market. During our way, we ran into Blaine Walker, the owner of the 42nd Street Cafe & Bistro that is mentioned in my previous postings. It was so nice to meet him in person! Jim and I continued on our way. Having a tour guide that is passionate about local history made the tour that much more enjoyable. He pointed out the bronze statues of the California condor and what it represented (another tie in for the Lewis and Clark Expedition).

My cute beach cruiser. I need to purchase one of these.

On our way back, the sun was out in full swing. We welcomed the sunshine in hopes that it would dry out our rain soaked clothing. Instead of riding the Discovery Trail, we rode more through the neighborhoods. Here I will bring out more of my nerdy self: many of the houses are beautiful historical homes. I think historical homes are just fascinating. Many of these homes feature two sets of numbers on the home. One is the address and the other is the year the home was built. A lot of them are vacation homes passed through families over the years. Others are available to rent to the public. Coasting through the neighborhoods was another history lesson on its own. Once we were back to The Breakers, we backtracked just a bit in order to see the bronze statue that was a recreation of the tree that Clark wrote about carving his name into. At first glance, you’d certainly think it was a real decaying tree. Who knew that it was bronze? If you dismount your bike and walk to the back of the tree, sure enough, you can see what Clark carved into the tree.

The bronze tree bearing the name of William Clark

We rode our bicycles back to The Breakers and stopped at the lobby. Those sixteen miles went by fast. Starting our day out in the rain and ending it with sunshine sure made the day feel like a full blown adventure. Not all vacations have to be about spending wads of cash and doing stuff that everyone else does. Instead, why not bring (or rent!) a bicycle and get out on the Discovery Trail and create your very own adventure. It is an easy ride within yards of the beach that the whole family would enjoy. You can hear the waves crashing, the seagulls, and even see lighthouses in the distance. Jim said he couldn’t imagine giving that same tour by van. He was right. Getting out there and breathing in the fresh air while riding along a part of history gives you a sense of appreciation. It makes you feel like you could go anywhere. I asked Jim what his favorite part about living in Long Beach was. His response: “We are living on the very edge of the continent. There is something very powerful in knowing that.We take what Mother Nature throws at us.” I think while riding along the Discovery Trail, you get a sense of that power. You get a sense of that freedom. To me, that is beautiful.

A very special thank you to Jim Sayce for his wonderful tour of Long Beach and the Discovery Trail. I couldn’t have asked for a better tour guide.

My article regarding fun things to do in Long Beach was featured in the June 28, 2012 edition of The Ranger Newspaper:
http://www.northwestmilitary.com/installations/explore/2012/07/Shoreline-adventures-await-at-Washington-coast/