Everett is about thirty miles north of Seattle, situated on Puget Sound.
Before we moved to Utah, we lived in Everett for just over three years. To the west, you have Possession Sound, part of the Greater Puget Sound and to the north and east you are flanked by the Snohomish River. Just look at all that water:
Everett is the sixth largest city in the state, with over 103,000 residents and just over 48 square miles – of which, nearly 30% is water. However, Everett continues to offer up small town charms and a feeling of community you just don’t always get from towns this size and that is why I have chosen to feature it as this week’s small town USA.
Everett is a marine town – with the largest port and marina on this side of the United States.
Still, the feel is anything but beachy. The downtown core is filled to the brim with historical buildings and homes. The streets are quiet and relaxed even as office buildings and towers replace or settle atop the once single story buildings.
A Brief History of Everett, Washington*
“The lush and verdant peninsula at a site named Port Gardner Bay was for centuries home to Native Americans of the Snohomish tribe. Following the Indian Wars in the 1850s, the Snohomish and other local tribes restructured as the confederation known as Tulalip and were moved to a reservation established at Tulalip Bay.
Settlers came to the peninsula in response to government granted homesteads and in hopes of extracting the area’s natural resources of timber and ore. Nearby mills found this location provided easy access for cutting and transporting timber, and for two decades the area was logged.
More change came in the fall of 1891 when work crews began clearing land to build an industrial boomtown that would be supported, planned and built by wealthy east coast and regional investors. The investors hoped this spot would be where the Great Northern Railroad would first touch western tidewater. Named after the son of investor Charles Colby, Everett was planned with a diverse economic base that, in the beginning, included a paper mill, a nail factory, a barge works and a smelter to refine ores expected to come from the town of Monte Cristo, located in the Cascade mountains. Lumber and shingle mills also began business near the waterfront.
Everett was incorporated in the spring of 1893. Development was scarcely underway when the country plunged into serious depression. Everett’s boom was curtailed by the Panic of 1893. During the next five years, many community services such as hospitals, schools and libraries grew and solidified in response to need. A new economic boom in 1900 solidified Everett’s form as an industrial city. By design, Everett set aside most of its waterfront for industry that now included lumber and shingle mills, wood products manufacturers, iron works, shipbuilders, fisheries, and canneries. There was even a brewery and a shoe factory.
By World War I, Everett was dominated by the lumber-shingle trade, and by the 1920s, the city’s importance as a regional and international waterfront port was well established.
Everett’s past is present today in many buildings and residences that still stand. Restoration and rehabilitation has given new life to older neighborhoods and Everett’s central business district. Structures such as the Monte Cristo Hotel, the Culmback and Krieger buildings, various structures along Hewitt Avenue, several residential areas and the city’s public library and City Hall are examples of successful adaptation of city landmarks.”
*Adapted from the library’s Everett History page.
For more info on the history of Everett – stop by the Northwest Room at the Downtown Library, download the podcast Everett Voices to hear stories from locals or read a brief history provided by Historic Everett.
Today – Shops and Stops
Wicked Cellars was originally opened by the parents of one of Nick’s high school friends. Wick and Edilyn (get it? Wick-Ed, Wicked) have since moved on and “retired” to a town further north and opened another wine store but Wicked remains one of the best local places to stock up on wine. They offer a great selection of both local wines (Washington State wines) and wines from around the world. They have weekly wine tasting events as well as inviting winemakers, distributors and importers into the shop to feature their wine. I recommend following them on Facebook/Wicked Cellars so you can stay in the loop as to what they are tasting and when. They also have winemaker dinners which are a real treat.
Terracotta Red continues to be one of my favorite restaurants, even after a year away I crave their Empress Chow Mein but I also highly recommend the Curry Red and the Drunken Noodles. Just typing this out makes me hungry for their food. Prices are totally reasonable and we go out to eat here every time we make a trip back home to Washington. It’s that good.
If you find yourself waiting for a table at Terracotta, step on over to Sojen Cellars, right next door.
Sojen has a great wine tasting line up as well as live music on the weekends. Jen and Max are lovely people and they have been strong, active supporters of the community (including but not limited to supporting the Young Professional Networks and Cocoon House – via wine donations and hosting fundraising events/concerts/tastings). I absolutely adore them and all that they do.
Sol Food is relatively new to the scene but their food is absolutely fantastic. My mom and I made a quick stop in over Thanksgiving and fell in love – with the food, the ambiance and the spice! Below, baked plantain stuffed with Sol Sauce, cojita cheese and other wonders of the world. A perfect appetizer; one I have tried to recreate here at home but not to any degree of success.
Of course I also have to share my favorite espresso stand/coffee shop of all time. If I was rich, I’d have this stand – and the employees – drop shipped from Everett to Utah just so I could have them back in my life.
(Typical gloomy morning in Everett)
Espresso Avenue is located on Everett Avenue between Wetmore and Oakes. I used to stop by nearly every morning and all the gals that worked there were just fantastic. My mother-in-law also made her morning coffee run here and was such a regular, in fact, that her husband had flowers delivered to the stand; the gals surprised her with the enormous bouquet when she came in for her morning mocha. Now that is customer service!
I know at this point you’re probably thinking that I’m talking an awful lot about wine – and you’re right – but in sharing my favorite places, let’s be honest, wine is a priority
Port Gardner Bay is a young winery – I believe this is their second year into actually having wine for sale but they jumped out of the gates excited and with the whole community rooting for them after a rocky start with the City of Everett and the silly zoning regulations. All that settled, Chris and Linnea had an incredibly fun grand opening party summer of 2011 and have been in the groove ever since. Added bonus: because they are still small, most of their bottling and labeling is done with the help of volunteers and that means you can go spend a Saturday learning about wine and helping out. Pretty rad if you ask me.
Additional Points of Interest
Comcast Arena is home to the Everett Silvertips – hockey, Washington Stealth – lacrosse, Tilted Thunder Rail Birds – roller derby – as well as having a conference space and community ice rink. We’ve gone to everything from charity auctions to hockey games, to Cirque du Soleil, to the circus, to wedding shows, to motocross. Comcast Arena does a wonderful job of bringing in concerts and events all year long. Check out their calendar to see what’s going on now.
The Imagine Children’s Museum is a special place for our family – Mack still asks about it and thinks we could go for a visit any old Saturday. Never mind that we are over 12 hours away…we could go, right mom? A great place to play on a rainy day they have indoor activities that meet a wide range of children’s interests – take an imaginary plane ride in a spare from Boeing, drive one of the City of Everett’s big red buses, play with water toys and river collection in the ferry room, put on a play, read a book in the tree house, there’s so much to do here. Summer time and want to be outside? No problem, there’s a roof-top playground complete with dino dig site as well. Host a birthday party here or go to one of their special events. Worried that it might cost too much? Get a membership and go any time you please or partake in one of their free family nights, hosted by Target – check their website for details.
There’s also the Future of Flight exhibit at Boeing Everett, tons of trails and hikes, the marina is a wonderful place to grab dinner, feed the seagulls with your kids, or catch one of the summer concerts. Ride the free ferry to Jetty Island where you can play in the sand, admire the view, and watch the kite surfers do their thing. They have events all summer long, including day camp and free classes, so be sure to check their website for further info. Check out the Everett Music Initiative to find local concerts, Experience Everett to stay up to date on local happenings and Downtown Everett’s Facebook page and website to for a calendar of events and guide map .
The wine and the water front haven’t sold you on coming to Everett for a visit? How about the mountain vistas, the fishing and crabbing, the boating, the concerts, the food…shall I go on?
Some of my favorite things about Everett are the summer farmer’s market at the marina, the public library’s activities for children, and just seeing familiar faces up and down the city blocks. It’s a big city but it starts to feel like home in no time at all.
When to Come?
As far as I am concerned, summer is the best here – happy hour on the waterfront, concerts in the park, ferry rides out to the jetty, the farmers market in full swing, and tons of festivals.
No matter what time of year you come, be sure to check in with some of my friends and see what they’re up to – go to a hockey game, grab a glass of wine, enjoy some live music. Enjoy!
You can see all of the Small Town USA posts here.