Lakewood Travel Guide

  • Herb Knot Garden at Lakewold Gardens
    Herb Knot Garden at Lakewold Gardens
    by kevanrijn
  • A quiet shady corner in Lakewold Gardens
    A quiet shady corner in Lakewold Gardens
    by kevanrijn
  • The upper end of Steilacoom near where I lived
    The upper end of Steilacoom near where I...
    by kevanrijn

Lakewood Things to Do

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    Herb Knot Garden at Lakewold in August 3 more images

    by kevanrijn Updated Sep 18, 2006

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    Even if you aren't that keen on gardening yourself, you will probably enjoy Lakewold Gardens. Lakewold Garden is a 10 acre estate garden, open to the public for a small fee. It's at its most beautiful in the spring, when the spring bulbs and shrubs are in bloom, but it's lovely at any time of the year. Located in the Lakes District south of Tacoma in Lakewood, Lakewold Gardens boasts almost perfect growing conditions in a temperate climate that has been called "a gardener's paradise." The garden is the work of many, but primarily Eulalie Wagner (a former owner) and one of America's finest landscape architects, Thomas Church. The famous Olmstead brothers are thought to have designed the perimeter fence, gate (built between 1914 and ca. 1918) and brick walkway.

    Make sure to bring your camera and plan to spend an hour or two wandering the grounds. If you are looking for a lovely place to have a romantic picnic, this garden would be ideal. They even have a rustic picnic table at the bottom of the garden with a lovely view of the lake. I recommend visiting during the week (when opening hours permit) for maximum enjoyment. Even at peak season, on the weekends, the gardens are seldom truly crowded.

    There is a gift shop on the premises that sells some plants, including sometimes the hard-to-find blue poppy, and has wonderful things for the gardener on your gift list.

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Edgewater Park rope swing and swimming hole 2 more images

    by kevanrijn Updated Sep 18, 2006

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    It's a small park--only about one acre--but it's lovely. The park runs along the edge of Steilacoom Lake. It provides a public boat launch access to the lake. The boat launch is free. The area of the lake near the boat ramp is also a popular summertime old fashioned swimming hole, complete with (at this time anyway) a rope swing.

    There's nothing else there. Just the lake, the shoreline, the grass, the boat ramp.... Parking is extremely limited. Nevertheless, it would be a lovely place to have a picnic. According to the parks department there are picnic tables there--but I've never seen them, so I recommend you bring your own ground cloth and something to sit on. The park available for fresh water fishing. It's also a nice place to stroll through and admire the lake.

    A small word of warning--sometimes swimming in the lake is not advisable due to kelp bloom. Please check with the local parks department that it's safe...before you go in.

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Fishing
    • Kayaking

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    Fishing/viewing areas on the bridge 4 more images

    by kevanrijn Updated Sep 17, 2006

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    Drive down Interlaaken Drive in Lakewood, WA. Interlaaken Drive crosses Steilacoom Lake at a very scenic point. If you park your car at the end of the bridge (there's room for 2-3 cars to park) and walk out halfway across the bridge, you can catch a wonderful view of Mt. Ranier and its reflection in the lake when the visibility is right. This would be a good place to take your camera!

    Also, fishing is allowed off the bridge. There is a sidewalk across the bridge, with a couple of small built out areas for people to stand and fish, or stand and take pictures, without impeding the walkway for people walking across.

    Do be careful on Interlaaken Drive--traffic is surprisingly heavy on this road, given that the road only links two residential areas. People tend to drive too fast on this road. Also, if you get here by driving on Lake Steilacoom Drive, be aware that you must keep turning to stay on Lake Steilacoom Drive as the road forks numerous times.

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Lakewood Restaurants

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    Great Cuisine of India on Gravelly Lake Drive 2 more images

    by kevanrijn Updated Sep 23, 2006

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    I'm going to try to hire their chef as my personal chef! This restaurant is the best Indian restaurant in the Tacoma area. In fact, in my opinion, Great Cuisine of India makes the best Indian food I've ever had--and I've eaten in Indian restaurants from Tokyo, Japan to Salt Lake City, Utah to Washington, DC.

    The ambience cheerful and exotic, but the food is the real draw here. My husband and I either eat in or order take out from this place on an almost weekly basis. Never have either of us been disappointed in the food or service. If I could afford it, we'd be eating there 3 or 4 nights a week!

    I've never eaten Indian food in India (one of the places I've yet to visit), but my husband grew up in England and he says this is like the Indian food he used to get in England 30 years ago. All I know is (1) it's delicious and (2) if you order spicy, believe me, it will be spicy! and (3) the portions are generous. Vegetarians will have a lot to choose from as there are over a dozen dishes on the menu which are meatless.

    The restaurant interior is nice--cloth tablecovers, light and clean interior, Indian tapestries on the wall--and, if you come at the right time--belly dancers to entertain you. The second and fourth Sunday evenings of the month they have live belly dancing entertainment.

    Favorite Dish: Everything we've ordered at Great Cusine of India has been delicious. The dishes burst with distinct flavors but the spices are handled subtly. You can choose your spice level in your dishes--I'm a real wimp so I take everything mild, but my husband likes it spicer and orders his medium.

    My personal favorite is the Chicken Tikka Masala. My husband's favorite is the Rogan Josh. We both love their Basmati rice. An order of those 3 dishes plus an order of Naan Paneer comes to about $27. We always end up with enough leftover food for at least one of us (and sometimes both of us) to have lunch the next day. By the way, the lunch buffet is very affordable--only $7.95 per person and the selection is good. Great Cuisine of India is open 7 days a week from 11 am to 10 pm.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Food and Dining
    • Road Trip

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    Cascade Bagels front entrance 2 more images

    by kevanrijn Updated Sep 18, 2006

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    Cascade Bagels has two locations--one in Lakewood and one in Tacoma. The Lakewood location is much more calm and serene than the Tacoma location because the Tacoma location is right off the University of Washington at Tacoma campus. The Tacoma location is also right next to the Glass Museum and the Washington State History Museum so that location can get pretty slammed with customers at times. But the Lakewood location is never crowded and it has a very relaxing atmosphere--not to mention the place smells wonderful!

    You get the best bagels in the area at these two locations. They also have homemade soups and sandwiches plus homemade cookies, muffins...you name it. I've been there numerous times--on my own and with out-of-town guests--and everything any of us ordered was always excellent. All the baked goods are baked in-house, fresh daily--and you can buy day-old products too. They even have a grill so you can get your eggs made to order at breakfast.

    Additional great things: Free wi-fi hot spot, outside tables and chairs in warm weather.

    Check out their website. It's got the entire menu listed, with prices.

    Favorite Dish: Plain bagel with regular cream cheese is my personal fav. Hey, what can I say? It's my version of comfort food. But they've got all kinds of wonderful bagels and flavored cream cheeses.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Budget Travel

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Lakewood Warnings and Dangers

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    by kevanrijn Updated Sep 17, 2006

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    Thugs with black hooded sweat shirts pulled tight over their heads, including at least one in "angry" clown makeup, have been attacking people after dark in Pierce County's Fort Steilacoom Park. Yelling "woo, woo, Juggalo" as they assault park visitors with a machete and fists. These dangerous thugs call themselves "Juggalos." Supposedly Juggalos are a subculture that has developed among the fan base of the rap/metal group Insane Clown Posse.

    During the summer of 2006, these criminals stole cellphones, cash and wallets and even threatened to cut their victims' heads off. Two victims suffered broken jaws in the attacks that occurred the nights of June 18-20 and early in the morning of June 21, 2006. Another victim was kicked in the head, and a woman said her attackers demanded that she take off her pants. According to the police, the violence was totally gratuitous since the victims had already given up their stuff and were assaulted anyway

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