It Takes A Tillicum

We dropped off our houseguests at the airport this afternoon, after five days of playing tourists in our home town. It was a blast.

We hit some of the restaurants we knew would deliver a unique Seattle experience–Elliott’s, Wild Ginger, Bitter Root Barbecue. We even dragged them along to Ballard Seafoodfest, where I emceed my 14th Lutefisk Eating Championship. If you want to hear what that sounded like, click here.

But it was the trite, often overlooked, “Oh, brother” suggestion that was the hit of the extended weekend.  You know, that feeling you get when out-of-towners say, “We want to go to Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, the Underground Tour, etc.”  For me, growing up in southern California, when family came to town, it was off to Disneyland. But our Florida guests wanted to do something that I haven’t experienced for 25+ years.  They had read in USA TODAY about this place called, “Tillicum Village.”  Oh yeah, one of those tourist experiences you COULD do, but then you start listing the excuses–it’s expensive, it eats up a good part of a day and you don’t have that much time here, it’s “only for tourists”, etc.

For all the times I thought those things or said them out-loud, I’d like to apologize and withdraw my statements.

First off, true: it’s not cheap. However, the value you get for your money rivals any of the other touristy things you could do in town. It’s a four-hour experience that includes a boat ride, an all-you-can-eat buffet, the Native American longhouse and show and, on a sunny day, one of the best views of Seattle you can get anywhere.  Basically, that’s $20 an hour. On that front, I’d like to pass along just a few of the photos I grabbed along our adventure.

Of course, you can’t expect Seattle to be in day 24 of a dry spell, for Mount Rainier to make itself known on the ride home, to see wildlife like raccoons, deer, seals and bald eagles put on a show for you as they did, so maybe we were just lucky. But Blake Island and Tilicum Village are not just for tourists. It was a nice reminder to see families in awe of the place we live, to hear people say they were from Federal Way to Israel and all points in-between. This day impressed me—and I live here.

I’ve seen that, in the off-season, you can get a pretty nice discount on Groupon, if price is a concern. But if you need a one-day vacation and want to stay close at home, I’d highly recommend grabbing a lunch cruise over to Tillicum Village.  AAA gets you 20% off your tickets.

And I can promise you, it won’t be another 25 years until my next visit.

Tim Hunter

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