ENUMCLAW, Wash. — Nobody knows a place quite like the locals. That's why, when I visit a place like Enumclaw, I let the people who live there tell me where to eat, shop and visit.
"Enumclaw is a town that's just small enough but still has a lot to do," said Belinda Kelly.
I always start these stories at a coffee shop and what better place to find locals than one called The Local? Amy Lundeen opened this place in 2015.
"It's a modern day general store and coffee house," Lundeen said. "We have a little bit of everything. We have lumber in the back, house decor. Just a little bit of everything. So you can kind of come in get a cup of coffee and a piece of lumber."
So where should I go next? Lundeen wants to send me to Bridget's Boutique across the street.
"They've got kind of a cool vibe over there," Lundeen said. It's for women, the clothing, but there's a bar upstairs where guys can go up and have a beer while the women shop downstairs."
Bridget Peterson's selection reflects her own sense of style.
"I think I'm kind of casual with a cute funky vibe," Peterson said. "I sell a lot of denim, a little bit of Boho, a little bit of hippy. I'm a girl of the '70s."
The boutique bar was her idea.
"It was just a dead zone so I decided what can I do? I can put a bar up there," Peterson said.
And to make the men folk feel at home, there's a lot of memorabilia celebrating Enumclaw race car driver Kasey Kahne.
"So that's his dad's stuff and we've been together 20 years," Peterson said.
Here I run into Belinda Kelly who's shopping withy a friend. She suggests an adventure for my next stop.
"You should go to Mount Peak if you're up for it," Kelly said. "It's a mile vertical elevation, a mile distance, with the prettiest view and the nice thing is if you're fast you're up and down within an hour."
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Well I'm not fast and it turns out I'm taking the long and lonely way up. I run into deer and a few people coming downhill. Eventually I start to wonder if I'll find my way to the top when I run into Dan and Brenda Morrow. They let me follow them to the top where a lookout tower and stunning views are the prize.
"You can see Buckley in Enumclaw and you can even see up to Seattle from here," Dan Morrow said.
I asked the couple where I should get lunch.
"I would recommend the Mint Tavern," Brenda said. "Have the French dip."
"You can go in there and feel like you're having lunch at home," her husband added.
The Mint has been around since 1906 and the French dip hits the spot. And that's when I see Elliette Decker celebrating the first day of school with black licorice ice cream.
She sent me to Sweet Necessities around the corner, where thanks to some generous scooping, I ended my visit to Enumclaw the sweetest way possible. I will be back.