The simpler life has a certain draw. It’s not for everyone fulltime, but we fell in love with farm life near a rural Washington town, and if you ever want to get out and explore the small town life for a day trip, consider this your guide. Each town smaller than the last, these towns near our farm and the Simple Goodness Soda Shop have a delightful, honest charm that can’t be found just anywhere. Hop in the car for an easy and delightful day trip from Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, or Redmond, and with these stops along the way and our Soda Shop as a destination, you’ll have a fun back roads tour through Washington’s South Sound.
Window Shop in Sumner
60 minutes south of Seattle, or 30 minutes east of Tacoma is Sumner, the first slice of small-town life outside the big city. While still central to civilization, Sumner has a certain country air, from the colonial architecture to the farmer’s market atmosphere of the shops and restaurants. Main Street is dotted with antique stores sourced by nearby farms and old homes, and there is always a gem hidden among the shelves. We particularly love the store of one of our stockists, Northlight Interiors, for cookbooks, candles, and other home goods. If you can’t get too far from the city but need a country detox, this is the place to go. Eat and drink at Cockrell Cider and Craft 19 Creperie and Coffee. Sumner also has a variety of great parks for families to enjoy and get the wiggles out mid-drive.
Travel Back in Time in Black Diamond
With only 5,000 people from end to end, our original hometown of Black Diamond is a quiet town with a couple taverns and restaurants, and breath-taking views of Mount Rainier. Our family’s custom furniture can be found at Millwork Outlet northeast of Black Diamond, where you can find doors, windows, and more for your construction projects,historic materials salvaged from Seattle and Tacoma’s yesteryear, and custom built one-of-a-kind pieces from salvaged materials. For small town tourism, it doesn’t get cuter than the old part of town with the free-to-enter Black Diamond Museum next door to the charming and affordable Black Diamond Antiques.Get a chocolate and coconut cake doughnut (belinda’s childhood fave) from the Black Diamond Bakery or a gigantic burrito from Pita’s. Cool hikes along this route include a short 2 mile out and back through lush ferns and moss to the Green River, google “Hanging Gardens” or stop along hwy 169 in Maple Valley at the town’s easy half mile “gnome trail” in the Rock Creek Natural area, with ample parking except for summer Saturday’s, where you’ll find the Farmer’s Market in full swing.
After a semi-educational tour of Black Diamond, there’s a great opportunity to tickle your taste buds. The first stop of the taste-testing tour is Rockridge Orchards on Highway 169 between Black Diamond and Enumclaw. Try the ciders and shop local goods. We highly recommend the vodka from Pursuit Distilling as well as the wine from Bordeaux Wine Bar, the Plateau Wine shop, and local vintner Leony Cellars, with tasting rooms downtown and easily walkable. Last but not least is Fill's Growlers, a beer tavern in a historic home with a cozy atmosphere, perfect for settling in for a beer or cider. For an outdoorsy overnight, consider staying at Mason Jar Farms where visitors can sleep in a teepee. If you’re looking to get a workout and view, check out Pinnacle Peak, a popular training point for Mt Rainier climbers, with a 1 mile elevation gain in one steep, quick mile long trail. Reward yourself with a Pie Goddess pie to take home, and continue along highway 410 to Buckley- you’re just 15 minutes from the Soda Shop!
Watch Buckley Grow
This quiet town is starting to bustle, at least by small town standards. New in 2020 is Anchor House Coffee, a roastery whose proceeds are routed to end human trafficking, housed in a cute blue building on Main Street. Buckley is also home to the Simple Goodness Sisters farm, where we occasionally host special events for those who belong to our email list. Two new breweries sit in the warehouse row along 410: Elk Head and Lost Woods.
Explore Nature in Wilkeson
Our farm-to-table cocktails are our pride and joy. The one and only Simple Goodness Sisters Soda Shop is in downtown Wilkeson, with fresh paninis, homemade spreads and pickles, and ice cream treats pair with flavorful house sodas in flavors like Rhubarb Vanilla Bean and Berry Sage. Wilkeson is a town of 500 locals, less than a dozen buildings in downtown, and a lot of craftsmanship and heart. Our neighbors The Carlson Block serve sourdough woodfired pizza in the historic hotel, and Nomad has Argentinian style empanadas and artisanal coffee. There is also a classic dive bar, the Pick and Shovel, whose french fries have our heart. There’s a big and small kid-friendly playground near the creek, Roosevelt Park, and a historic walking guide to see old churches, the town hall, a giant log from the logging past, Coke Oven park, and the original Wilkeson Elementary school, build from the town’s sandstone quarry.
Wilkeson sits at the edge of Mount Rainier National Park, so this is the place to get cell service and great food and drinks before your adventure. The soda shop is a great appetizer to the great outdoors: travel into the Mt. Rainier National park to the Rainforest Nature Loop for a short yet gorgeous nature walk on even terrain. A more moderate trip is Chenuis Falls, 8 miles with 400 feet of elevation gain to see one of nature’s masterpieces. For a bicycle trip, Carbon Glacier Trail is a full 8 hours of tough hills and rewarding sights and its the only bike friendly trail in the park. Or, in summer months (check for opening dates each July and closing dates in fall) the rough 16 mile gravel road to Mowich Lake opens. If your tires can handle the ruts, you’re rewarded with a pristine alpine lake you can drive right to- bring your kayak or paddle board!
There are many things that make a small town unique, from the people to the history to the nature all around it. When a town gets to be under 5,000 people like Black Diamond, or 500 people like Wilkeson, every bit of culture resonates stronger. Maybe this is why no two towns are quite alike. These Seattle area small towns are etched into our hearts, and we hope you come to visit soon!
For more ideas of fun places to check out in the Seattle area? Check out the article we were featured in: Uncover the Best of Seattle: The Ultimate Seattle Bucket List.