Visiting the Seattle area and looking to escape the madding crowds for a bit? The Pacific Northwest is so much more than the Space Needle and Pike Place Market! Opportunities to get away from the more touristy attractions and head out into its eclectic environs abound. Why not explore Poulsbo for an afternoon?
Poulsbo (pronounced pals-bow), a Scandanavian infused town about an hour from Tacoma, is a unique place to spend an afternoon. Nestled on the edge of Liberty Bay, Poulsbo is a picturesque town with a multitude of shops, eateries, brew pubs, museums, and galleries. Poulsbo, population 10,800, was founded by a Norwegian, Jorgen Eliason and is known as ‘Little Norway. ‘
Strolling down Poulsbo’s Front Street transports you to another land. It is easy to ignore the cloudy weather and soak in the Scandinavian flavor of the city. We were enchanted by the town’s senior center! Rain or shine, this little town has something for everyone.
Our first stop was the Sluys’ Poulsbo Bakery. This bakery has been satisfying Poulsbo residents and guests since 1966. They offer all the traditional baked delights you might expect, with the added bonus of Norwegian specialties.
We were thrilled to find lefse here! Lefse is a traditional soft, Norwegian flat bread made with potatoes, flour, butter, and milk. Cooked on a large griddle, it resembles the more familiar Mexican tortilla.
With our bellies pleasantly full and sugar coursing through our veins, we continued our exploration of this little gem town. The Norwegian decor of the buildings transported us right out of the grey Northwest day to another land.
Being of Norwegian descent, I really enjoy all things Scandinavian. In fact, one of my favorite words is a finnish word: sisu. Sisu is a tough word to describe. There is no equivalent word in the English language but roughly translated, sisu means extraordinary determination and courage, especially in the face of adversity. Sisu is a trait revered in the Scandinavian cultures, a foundation for life, a part of their being.
Imagine my surprise when I entered a little Norwegian shop and found not only a book about sisu, but stickers and buttons, too! My trusty and loyal 2016 Subaru Outback is even named after this amazing Finnish word! (I couldn’t get the traditional spelling so I had to improvise.) Of course, I had to buy the little book and a new sticker for Sisu.
The shopkeeper was astounded and delighted when I showed her a picture of my car and told her the story of how she was named.
After all that walking and shopping, we had worked up an appetite for lunch. We headed to a little European place across the street, trotted up the stairs, and settled into Tizley’s EuroPub.
Advertised as German faire in a chalet setting, this seemed perfect for our lunch stop. Tizley’s offers a full menu, a quaint bar, and their welcome board advertised Oktoberfest activities for the whole family.
Lunch was delicious! I especially savored my hot potato salad, a German specialty and a must try if you have never had it before. Yum!
Poulsbo is a very visual town. Be sure to look for the beautiful murals painted on the the buildings, note the Scandinavian details on the shops and churches, and absorb the Norwegian feel of the town. We felt far from Seattle, even though we had only driven an hour to get here.
Liberty Bay Waterfront Park is a lovely place to walk off some of the calories you will consume on your visit here. A beautiful gazebo and views of the marina and surrounding Liberty Bay await you as you stroll along the waterfront area. We were happy to see that leashed dogs are welcomed along this stretch.
Though we were in Poulsbo for just a few hours, there is a lot more to explore. Check out this website for a calendar of upcoming events. We enjoyed our visit and will return!
Have you explored Poulsbo? Let us know what you thought in the comments below! Follow, like, and share our blog for daily posts about interesting places!