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Ideas for getting out of town

Historic Snohomish, antique capital of the Northwest. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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I recently polled some of my military spouse friends and asked, "Where do you like to go to spend a day with a friend?"

I was not surprised when I received three different answers.

Sumner: Laura Williams, a retired military spouse, recommends Sumner.

"There is so much to do," she said. "The Buttered Biscuit for lunch, A Picket Fence and Sugar Babies to shop at and so many more. It is a small, cute, walkable town with easy parking."  

Sumner is about a 25-to-30-minute drive from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). The Sumner Downtown Promotion Association is sponsoring a "Girls' Day Out" May 13. Purchase a goodie bag, spend some time with your best friend and enjoy activities designed for ladies. On a fun note, Sumner is called the Rhubarb Pie Capital. For more information, visit

Snohomish: Claire Foley, a military spouse at JBLM, favors Snohomish.

"It has a cute downtown filled with antique shops, home stores and coffee shops," she said.

Foley is not alone. Budget Travel recently named Snohomish one of the top 10 coolest small towns in America. Depending on traffic, Snohomish is a one-and-a-half-hour trip from JBLM.  With more than 175 antique dealers in historic downtown Snohomish, it earns its title as the antique capital of the Northwest.  The Snohomish County Centennial Trail, great for a stroll after lunch, begins in Snohomish and follows the Snohomish River along the old railway. For more information, visit

Centralia: "I love the outlet shopping at the exit, and downtown has adorable coffee shops and outlet stores. There is even a ball gown store. I also like Central Glass Works. I found them on Groupon. When we have family come in town, we take them there to blow their own glass," said April McClung, president of the Lewis Community Spouses' Club.

Centralia is a 45-minute drive south from JBLM. Download a copy of Hidden Treasures in Centralia, and you will have a day's worth of shops, treats and sights. Don't miss the historic art deco Fox Theatre. To learn more, visit

There are some great resources available to help you find your own favorite day trip.  I love Trip Advisor and Google. I'm always looking for the best restaurants or fun things to do.  Something as simple as, "It's the Rhubarb Pie Capital" can spark interest in a visit. I also like local travel sites such as, which has great ideas for local trips and experiences. Groupon is another source for inspiration - and you receive a discount. Lastly, don't overlook local military retirees: They are a fount of knowledge about the area and often know the best military discounts. JBLM is the most requested duty station in the Army, and time flies for families who are stationed here. It's no wonder so many military retire in the area! Take advantage of your time here, and discover the unique towns, food and sights that make the Pacific Northwest so special.

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