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PNW Explorers learn all about beads

Discovering all the fun in the Lacey Producers District

The Pacific Northwest Explorers experience wine tasting at the Stottle Winery in the Lacey Producers District. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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The Pacific Northwest Explorers ventured to Exit 111 off of I-5 to discover what the buzz was about in the newly named Lacey Producers District. In an area dominated by large warehouse buildings, a variety of businesses are popping up which are open to the public. Craft beverage makers include three wineries, a distillery, a brewery and a new meadery. The grand dame of the area, though, is Shipwreck Beads, the world's biggest bead store, and it is massive.

The Explorers began their day at Shipwreck Beads (8560 Commerce Place Dr. NE) with a Beading 101 class. All the materials and tools you need to make a bracelet and a pair of earrings is included in the class fee. The instructors are very knowledgeable, and everyone in our group was able to make jewelry that we would be proud to say, "I made this." The classroom is large enough to accommodate a group. Visit to find out more about what classes are available and register online.

After class and wearing our new jewelry, we explored Shipwreck Beads. It is massive and really is the "Disney World" of beads. They carry everything you need to make jewelry. Insider Tip: Visit and click on Great Local Coupons. Scroll through the booklet to find the Shipwreck Beads coupon which is good for 20 percent off your purchase.

Our next stop for the day was Stottle Winery (2641 Willamette Dr. NW, Ste. E.) The Tasting Room was a pleasant surprise. You'd never guess it was in the middle of a warehouse district. A well thought out room with cute "Cork Art." We used the separate room for a sit-down tasting of five wines with cheese platters. In addition we brought food with us to make it a lunch. Josh Stottlemyer is the owner and wine maker and he makes some good stuff. Stottlemyer crafts his wine as if he is creating a work of art. An example is the 2014 Big Eddie. This red blend combines Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec from the Columbia Valley AVA to create a Bordeaux-style blend that is a true masterpiece. Insider Tip: The Tasting Room is available for events and is a great location for get-togethers up to 100 people.

Our group did not have time to explore further but the Lacey Producers District has more options to explore. Top Rung Brewery was the dream of two local firefighters and is now celebrating its fifth year. The Madsen Family Cellars and the Northwest Mountain Winery are worth checking out. The Salish Sea Distillery is right next door to the Stottle Winery, and Axis Meads just recently opened for business as well. You can easily spend a whole day in the area.

The Pacific Northwest Explorers is a SubClub of the Lewis Community Spouses' Club which is winding down its year this month. The Club will start back after the summer with a kickoff in August. For more information, visit:

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