Take a 32-minute ride aboard the Sounder train toward Tacoma to the Rhubarb Pie Capital of the world. There, you’ll find Sumner, a town that’s proud of its farming roots, which date back to 1853. There are numerous antique stores, the Sumner Woodworker’s Store, Sumner Animal Grub, Sumner Tractor and fields upon fields of cheery, yellow daffodils to be found.
But don’t mistake this town for having only small-town charm. This town is big enough to be home to Tully’s Coffee roasting plant (which moved from the former Rainier Brewery in Seattle in 2009) and Sumner Meadows Golf Links, as well as several national bank branches and a mix of independent restaurants and chain eateries.
Located 35 minutes south-southeast of Seattle, off the intersection of state Route 167 and Highway 410, Sumner has lots of hidden treasures waiting to be found.
There’s the Secret Garden Tea Room & Gift Shop (1711 Elm St.), located in a large Victorian house on the north side of the town center, as well as Windmill Gardens (5823 160th Ave. E.), which not only offers plants grown in its 16 acres of greenhouses, but is home to The Pond Store, Windmill Bistro and the Tea Madame Tea Shop, among others.
To the west of the town center, inside the Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse (13608A Valley Ave. E.), you’ll find 10 acres of furniture — it’s so big that the west side of the warehouse lies within the Puyallup city limits. Youngsters will enjoy the 7 scale miles of model trains traveling overhead, and history buffs will take pleasure in the relics left behind from when the building was an actual cannery.
For a little more history, there are the four large-scale murals painted by Paul Cislo that depict Sumner’s olden days: One appears on the north side of the Old Cannery building, and the three others can be found on the sides of buildings in the downtown core.
Or take a stroll through Loyalty Park, the oldest park in Sumner; Heritage Park, which provides historical snippets of the town’s past buildings; and the 19th-century Ryan House (1128 Main St.), home of the Sumner Historical Society.
Outside of the downtown core and on the east side of the industrial area is Roach Gymnastics (1627 45th St. E.), started by former gymnast, seven-time U. S. National champion and two-time Olympian weightlifter Melanie Roach. The gym boasts 22,000-square-foot of space for competitive gymnasts to tumbling toddlers.
Sumner is also one of four towns to host the one-day Daffodil Festival parade, which takes place the second Saturday every April as a tribute to the Puyallup Valley’s flower industry. The parade — complete with a royal court representing every high school in the participating towns — starts in Tacoma and travels through Puyallup, Sumner and Orting through the course of the day.
Coming up on Friday, Nov. 25, the Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse will host the lighting of the White River Bridge, starting at 5 p. m., immediately followed by a fireworks show. Santa will then parade through town on Dec. 3, starting at 2:30 p. m.
For more information, visit sumnerdowntown.com or www.ci. sumner. wa. us.
— Vera M. Chan-Pool