Published March 07, 2010
Taking Edmonds in strideSHARON WOOTTON AND MAGGIE SAVAGE; Contributing writers
Four hundred cookie jars, an exhibit of 100 years of paper dolls, a co-op art gallery that has operated for 48 years, an underwater park, and public art are in the mix of attractions in Edmonds. Conveniently, it's all within walking distance, most of it within a few downtown blocks. A JARRING VISUAL We started out by ordering a culinary treat (try the éclairs) at the Edmonds Bakery and we discovered a visual treat as well. About 400 colorful and distinct cookie jars lined the shelves. Years ago, owner Ken Bellingham offered a cookies-and-cookie-jar special that didn’t go well. The result was the collection, which has since been supplemented by residents’ donations. “Cookie jars are a bit of history,” Bellingham said of the impromptu cookie-jar museum. The collection includes jars shaped like the Queen of Hearts, Disney and “Star Wars” characters, The Muppets, W.C. Fields, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Batman and Dracula, as well as cookie jars shaped as a frog, an Oreo cookie and a New York City tour bus. The owner is not the first to put a collection on the walls. The previous owners mounted dozens of accordions. PAPER AND WOOD If you played with paper dolls as a child, it’s unlikely that you thought about their history. Catch up on what you missed with the Paper Dolls exhibit at the Edmonds Museum. The exhibit highlights 100 years of paper dolls, originally created for adult entertainment. One case is on advertising and paper dolls, and includes an 1817 Sweet Sylvia from Swifts Premium; another case features famous entertainers. Back when shingle mills were creating an Edmonds skid row, the town looked like Stump City. An excellent diorama of Edmonds in the 1920s, down to outhouses and the mosquito fleet, is near the museum’s entrance. Downstairs, examine a cutaway of a typical shingle mill. A 7-foot saw blade on the wall has its counterpart in the diorama. “Occasionally the saw blade would fly off its axle and go through the side of the building,” said museum director Joni Sein. Check out the display on excelsior, known as wood wool in Europe. Edmonds’ Excelsior and Manufacturing Co. turned logs into very thin and curly strips used for packing and stuffing. Before plastic, excelsior was dyed green and used in Easter baskets. THE ART TRAIL The arts scene is a major part of Edmonds’ persona. In the works is a cultural corridor that will link historic sites with some of the public art. A year-round art walk is offered the third Thursday of each month. Art is located at 15 sites. The most obvious artwork is the Edmonds Fountain in the roundabout at Fifth Avenue and Main Street. Several galleries offer opportunities to support the arts, or just to enjoy creativity. “Edmonds for a long time has been considered one of the art towns of the Northwest,” said Cole Gallery owner Denise Cole. The gallery represents 37 Northwest artists. Original paintings include Northwest-inspired images. One of the most eye-catching is a Mark Boyle painting of nighttime razor-clam diggers, titled “Twin Harbor’s Evening.” Gallery North is the only co-op in Edmonds and the oldest one in Snohomish County. It has served generations of artists, two of whom are in their 70s. There’s even a small gallery at the Frances Anderson Center, a recreation and cultural center on Main Street. The current show is En Plein Air, with working drawings and small sculptures. It runs through March 15. This summer an African-American quilt show will be featured. Although C’est La Vie is an upscale gift shop, it offers its own take on creativity with an eclectic collection of mostly handmade items. “I search out things that aren’t easily found and I walk away from trends,” said owner Colleen Bowman. The gifts include Fire and Light, recycled glass dinnerware that is fired by hand, one item at a time; Sugarboo frames, wide recycled barn wood frames with a 4-inch-by-4-inch opening for a photograph; and colorful whimsical clocks. OTHER ATTRACTIONS Edmonds also is host to the Write on the Sound writers’ conference, which celebrates its 25th anniversary Oct. 1-3. And it is home to travel guru Rick Steves’ Europe through the Back Door business. It’s a must stop for anyone interested in traveling to Europe because of its well-informed staff, study room, maps, DVDs, books and luggage. Head downhill to the Edmonds-Kingston ferry landing. To the right is Brackett’s Landing and the Edmonds Underwater Park, where scuba divers enjoy underwater trails with ropes and street signs, and sunken boats that attract marine life. Or turn left and follow the waterfront walkway, play on the beaches, admire the sculptures large and small, and check out restaurants and shops. Near the end of the waterfront is Union Oil Marsh, a wildlife sanctuary and interpretive site popular with birdwatchers. Travel writers Sharon Wootton and Maggie Savage are co-authors of “Off the Beaten Path: Washington.” If you go TRIVIA Edmonds’ bragging rights include being the hometown of Rosalynn Sumners, the 1984 Olympics women’s figure skating silver medalist; travel guru Rick Steves; and actress Bridget Hanley, who played Candy Pruitt in the 1960s TV series “Here Come the Brides.” Information Edmonds Chamber of Commerce. 120 Fifth Ave. N., 425-776-6711. Galleries Cole Gallery. 107 Fifth Ave. S., 425-697-2787. Gallery North. 508 Main St., 425-774-0946. History Edmonds Museum. 118 Fifth Ave., 425-774-0900; Paper Doll exhibit through April 4. Other Stops Arista Wine Cellars. 320 Fifth Ave. S., 425-771-7009. C’est la Vie. 320 Fifth Ave. S., 425-673-8905. Rick Steves’ Europe through the Back Door. 130 Fourth Ave. N., 425-771-8303. Lodging Best Western Edmonds Harbor Inn. 130 W. Dayton, 1-800-441-8033. Dayton B&B. 522 Dayton, 425-778-3611. Maple Tree B&B. 18313 Olympic View Drive, 425-774-8420. Food Anthony’s Homeport. 456 Admiral Way, 425-771-4400; tried and true with a view. Chantrelle. 316 Main St., 425-774-0650; great atmosphere on the corner. Café de Paris. 109 Main St., 425-771-2350; French cuisine. Edmonds Bakery. 418 Main St., 425-778-6811; no preservatives. El Puerto. 425 Main St., 425-672-2469; Mexican food and margaritas.