Don’t send visitors home without local souvenirs
August 27, 2013
By Joe Grove
Your visitors have had such a wonderful time in Issaquah that they want something to take home as a reminder, and here is where one more good time begins: a souvenir treasure hunt.
The success of the hunt depends on whether the souvenir has to be Issaquah-specific. If it doesn’t, the hunt is much easier.
The Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery anticipate souvenir hunters, and they open their gift shop Saturdays and Sundays, starting Labor Day weekend.
Most of its souvenirs celebrate fish and Issaquah and include such things as posters, caps, prints, lapel pins, a DVD about the journey salmon make, post cards, books and educational materials. They are primarily fish-related.
The gift shop is at the west end of the main hatchery building, 125 W. Sunset Way.
If fish aren’t your thing, then maybe the gift shop at Cougar Mountain Zoo, 19525 S.E. 54th St., will have something for you. Since the mountain shares a name with the beautiful wildcat, you might want to take home the memories of actually seeing a cougar up close, and while there, pick up a souvenir.
There are keychains, magnets, coffee mugs, stuffed animals, caps, etc. The souvenirs are animal-specific rather than Issaquah-specific. You can enter the gift shop without having to go through the zoo if all you want is a memento.
However, if your souvenir has to be Issaquah-specific, you could start at the Issaquah Visitor Center, 155 N.W. Gilman Blvd., where you will find a few sweatshirts and jackets with Issaquah written on them. They are a little pricier than the usual coffee cup or trinket.
The next logical move would be Gilman Village. This shopping center that preserves many early Issaquah homes is noted for its small gift shops and restaurants. Stop at the Revolution Gallery. Ask the clerk about Issaquah souvenirs because they are not going to be obvious. Your choice will be a mini-oil painting of an Issaquah scene or a coffee coaster with a hand-painted Issaquah scene. Both are handcrafted souvenirs.
If you are still in an artsy mood, drift over to artEAST, 95 Front St. N., where you will find some great prints of historic Issaquah buildings or works of art created by Issaquah artisans.
If you like to drink your souvenir and keep the bottle for display, you have several options. At Issaquah Distillery and Brewhouse, 35 W. Sunset Way, you can get Issaquah White Frog Ale and Apple Frog Ale in Issaquah-specific bottles.
You could also try a souvenir from an Issaquah winery such as Passion Vineyards (www.passionvineyards.com), Twin Cedars Vineyard (www.twincedarswinery.com) or Tiger Mountain Winery (www.tigermountainwinery.com). All three list current releases on their websites.
The search then switches to drugstores; they are often known for little trinkets that make good souvenirs. Walgreens has a display of Seattle and Washington state souvenirs, but only a couple of sweatshirts that are high school specific for Issaquah.
The next stop is Bartell Drugs on Eastlake Sammamish Boulevard, where the clerk said they didn’t have any souvenirs. When asked about cups, she perked up. They did have a large display of wonderful coffee mugs that were Issaquah-specific, though she said they were not an item the store stocked on a continuous basis.
Finally, a stop at Rite Aid at the Pine Lake shopping center: nothing Issaquah-specific, but there were a few shirts promoting Sammamish.
If your visitors happen to be here the first weekend of October for Salmon Days, disregard all the above, as you have hit the mother lode. There will be booths all over historic downtown where your visitors can find souvenirs to take home.