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Pacific Northwest Explorers

Getting spouses out and about

Pacific Northwest Explorers pose for a group shot at Uncork and Unwind, a Tumwater wine bar and shop. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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The Pacific Northwest (PNW) Explorers is a subclub of the Lewis Community Spouses' Club (LCSC) on Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). Subclubs are a membership perk of joining LCSC. The PNW Explorers typically meet on the third Thursday of the month to get out and explore the local area.

The group schedules its outings so they meet after children leave for school and return before they come home from school.  Outings typically include a morning activity, lunch and an early afternoon activity.  Adventures are like an adult field trip. Explore all the South Sound has to offer with hiking and shopping at locally owned business.  Learn the history and insider secrets of the area. The day is designed for busy spouses so that you can pop in and do one event even if you can't attend the whole day.

Recent activities included a day in Thurston County. The group started at Lattin's Country Cider Mill and Farm and enjoyed fresh-from-the-fryer apple fritters. They met county treasure 85-year-old Carolyn Lattin, who shared stories of the farm with the group. Next stop was Uncork and Unwind in Tumwater for lunch. It is a wine bar and shop with great food and a fun cellar that doubles as group space. The day ended with a tour of the Ice Chips Candy factory. The two owners, Bev Vines-Haines and Charlotte Clary, also known as the two grannies, were featured on the Shark Tank television show. Ice Chip Candy is very popular and as part of the tour, everyone was able to try the different flavors.

Other fall trips included a morning at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. One might think the zoo an odd choice for adults, but many of the spouses in the group have children and it gave them the opportunity to tour the zoo without chasing after little ones. Fall weekdays are a perfect opportunity to enjoy fewer crowds. After the zoo, the group headed to Ruston Way to enjoy lunch at the Lobster Shop and take in the beautiful views of the Puget Sound from practically every seat in the restaurant.

Military spouse Gwyn Nielsen is new to the group this year and enjoys spending time with the group.  "(It's) fun, fellowship and fantastic adventures exploring the local area with the PNW Explorers Club," she said. "I can hardly wait for what is next."

The group will not meet in December and kicks back off again after the holidays. Adventures will be held the third Thursday of the month from January through May. Some upcoming events include two-story laser tag at "Ocean5," a new venue opening in Gig Harbor, and in the spring the group will tour an iconic Pacific Northwest garden.

The group is very friendly and welcomes new members. If you are interested in joining the PNW Explorers, you must first become a member of the LCSC, which typically offers a half-price membership beginning in January.  

The next PNW Explorers' adventure will be held Jan. 18, 2018.

Visit for more information.

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