Category Archives: Tourism & Recreation

Poll: Where will you get your Christmas tree?

Kitsap residents have a bounty of options when it comes to picking a Christmas tree.

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There are, of course, no shortage of stores and tree lots offering pre-cut firs, pines and spruces.

For families who want to harvest their own, the county home to more than 500 acres of planted Christmas trees, with U-cut farms dotted across the peninsula.

More adventurous tree hunters can buy a $5 permit from the Forest Service and make a foray into the Olympics.

So if a tree is part of your holiday tradition, where do you plan to get yours this this year? (Or where did you already grab one?)

Where will you get your Christmas tree this year?

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If you need help finding a tree this year, the Kitsap Sun has a handy guide to u-cut farms and lots on the peninsula.

Photo by Larry Steagall. See a gallery of Larry’s Christmas tree shots here.

Gas prices remain low for Thanksgiving travel

b0013469343-999094Drivers headed out of town for the holiday will pay a tad more for a tank of gas this year than they did last Thanksgiving.

A gallon of regular gasoline was selling for an average of $2.58 in Kitsap County on Monday, according to AAA. That was up slightly from an average of $2.46 on the same day of 2015.

Nationally, gas prices are still much lower this fall than they were just a couple of years ago:

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Gas tends to cost less this time of year and an abundance of crude oil on the global market is helping keep retail prices in check.

AAA projects 43.5 million Americans will take road trips for Thanksgiving this week.

Travelocity names Kitsap a top 10 destination for beer tourism

brew2_21667175_ver1-0_640_480Kitsap County ranks among of the best destinations in the country for a “beercation,” according to one major travel website.

Travelocity recently released a beer tourism index to assess what areas of the nation are best suited for beer-centric travel.

The index ranks metro areas based on the number of breweries in the area, the availability of rideshare services, air accessibility and the cost of lodging.

Kitsap County (listed as Bremerton-Silverdale) landed at No. 10 on Travelocity’s list of top beer destinations in the small metro area category:

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It’s not a big surprise Kitsap would make this list, considering more than a dozen craft breweries are in business across the county.

Groups like Visit Kitsap Peninsula are already marketing West Sound as a “hops-lover’s heaven.”

Sierra Trading Post announces opening date in Silverdale

sierratradingpost-logoSierra Trading Post will open its first Washington store at 8 a.m. Oct. 27 in The Trails at Silverdale shopping center. 

The 17,000-square-foot store will offer a wide range of outdoor gear and apparel, according to a news release. Interactive kiosks will allow customers to search the retailer’s in-store and online inventory while shopping.

The store is handing out prizes customers in line early on Oct. 27 and will make a $5,000 donation to Seattle Adaptive Sports.

Sierra Trading Post is hiring full-time and part-time staff Silverdale store. Click here for details.

Central Kitsap is suddenly rich in sporting goods and outdoor stores. DICK’S Sporting Goods opened at Kitsap Mall last week, joining Big 5, REI and Sportsman’s Warehouse in Silverdale.

Suquamish Tribe completes casino expansion

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The Suquamish Tribe put finishing touches this summer on a three-year expansion and renovation of Clearwater Casino Resort. 

Mark Lindquist Campaign KickoffThe project launched in 2013 when lead contractor Korsmo Construction began work on a 700-stall parking garage attached to the casino.

Additional phases included the creation of a 98-room hotel towera fine dining restaurant and café, three commercial kitchens, a sports bar and lounge, a renovated buffet and service area, 3,500 square feet of  non-smoking gaming space, and improvements to the existing gaming floor.

Construction wrapped up at the end of August with the upgrades to the main entrance, according to a news release from Korsmo. Work finished a month ahead of schedule.

Opening date set for DICK’S Sporting Goods in Silverdale

dicksDICK’S Sporting Goods plans to open its Silverdale store by the end of the month.

DICK’S will hold “preview days” on Sept. 28 and 29, followed by a grand opening celebration Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, according to a post the store’s website.

Former Seahawks quarterback Dave Krieg will appear at the store from noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 1. You can click here to see additional grand opening promotions.

The athletic and outdoor gear retailer is setting up shop in a 45,000-square-foot space on the west side of Kitsap Mall. About 30,000 square feet was added to the mall’s footprint to accommodate the store.

DICK’S recently announced it would hire about 70 employees to staff the Silverdale location.

This is the first DICK’S store west of Puget Sound.

Bremerton Marina now 85 percent full

harbor3_18647849_ver1.0_640_480Bremerton Marina crept closer to full occupancy this summer.

Boats filled 187 of 221 permanent moorage slips in the downtown marina in July, up from 164 in July of 2015, and 88 back in 2012. July and August are peak months for the facility.

Marina marketing consultant Bob Wise told Port of Bremerton commissioners Tuesday that the port’s “two-for-one” moorage discount continues to reel in boaters.

The deal allows tenants to pay moorage every other month, if they agree to a two-year contract.

The port rolled out the discount in 2013, and offered it again at the Seattle Boat Show in January. That resulted in 31 new leases, Wise said.

Most tenants are sticking around to sign full-rate contracts after their two-year discounts expire. The retainment rate for boaters attracted by the two-for-one deal is about 70 percent, Wise said.

The discount “gives us an opportunity to showcase what we have to offer,” he said.

More downtown activity is also helping draw attention to the marina. A revamped Rock the Dock concert series drew large crowds this summer (the last concert of the season is Saturday). Brewfest and the Harbor Festival are popular with boaters.

The port continues to aggressively plug the marina on social media, in magazine ads, and at boat shows. Revenue has increased as slips filled up, but the facility is still far from breaking even.

More than 500 planes confirmed for Bremerton airport fly-in

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Registration numbers are soaring for an aviation convention planned this weekend at Bremerton National Airport.

B0015742479--722623As of Wednesday morning, 523 pilots had confirmed they planned to land at the airport for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Fly-In, which kicks off Friday evening and continues through Saturday.

Nearly 160 participants planned to camp under the wings of their planes.
Total registration for the event had topped 1,700, but closer to 3,000 attendees are expected, according to airport director Fred Salisbury.

“It should be a packed house,” he said.

Weather forecasts should help boost attendance. The National Weather Service predicts sunny skies and temperatures in the high 80s this weekend.

The Bremerton event will double the size of the AOPA Fly-In Spokane hosted in 2014, which attracted 1,500 attendees and 240 planes. (A torrential rainstorm the day before festivities began dampened attendance.)B0013904477--374701

Big registration numbers for Bremerton are encouraging to organizers, who believe the event will provide an economic boost to the area.

AOPA Fly-Ins typically generate about $680,000 for the local economy, according to the association. The conventions create business for hotels, transportation companies, food vendors and contractors.

Jack Edwards, manager of Bremerton’s Baymont Inn & Suites, said roughly one-third of his rooms (about 50 units) were booked for the weekend by Fly-In participants. He started receiving reservations from AOPA members as early as April.

“We’re still getting calls from them, but we’re full,” Edwards said.

A plane flies above Mt. Rainier as seen from the window of a Beechcraft Baron piloted by Avian Flight Center's Pat Heseltine on Friday, June 3, 2016. (MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN)

Visitors who waited until this week to book rooms would be hard pressed to vacancies anywhere in Bremerton, he said.

Visit Kitsap Peninsula Executive Director Patty Graf-Hoke said the Port of Bremerton deserved praise for bringing the Fly-In to Kistap.

“The AOPA very prestigious national organization and their West Coast event offers locals new opportunities to introduce hundreds tourists to the region,” Graf-Hoke said in an email. “Guests are filling up hotel rooms which is good for local businesses and the economy.”

The AOPA Fly-In is free and open to the public. Click here to learn more about the event.

You don’t have to be a pilot to enjoy the beauty of the Kitsap peninsula from the air. Click here to see Meegan Reid’s gallery of aerial photos taken earlier this year.

Sierra Trading Post planning Silverdale store

sierratradingpost-logoOutdoor gear seller Sierra Trading Post is planning a brick-and-mortar store in the Trails at Silverdale shopping center.

A permit application to build out the retailer’s space at The Trails was filed with the county last month.

However, a Sierra Trading Post representative said Tuesday she could not confirm a Silverdale location was planned.

The store appears to be headed for one of the remaining large retail spaces at the north end of the Greaves Way development.

GraphicTempSierra Trading Post is part of the TJX family of stores, which includes T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Homegoods (Homegoods already opened in the Trails).

Sierra is best known as an online retailer, but TJX recently began a push to open more physical storefronts, according to a story by Chain Store Age.

Silverdale shoppers will have plenty of options when it comes to outdoor apparel and sporting goods.

The town already has a Big 5, REI and Sportsman’s Warehouse. Dick’s Sporting Goods will open in Kitsap Mall later this year.

More Trails stores opening soon

Trails at Silverdale General Manager Paul Brett said two large stores are expected to open at the shopping center in August.

First will be Old Navy, which is moving from Ridgetop Boulevard. Shoe store DSW should open later in the month, Brett said.

Minding Your Business is off on a journey

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I’m taking a break from my regular business beat duties this week to join the Port Gamble S’Klallam Canoe Family on the Paddle to Nisqually.

We’ll be pulling from Port Gamble Bay to Suquamish on Monday, then making our way south down Puget Sound to the final landing Saturday in Olympia. You can find a map of this year’s Tribal Journeys route here. 

I’ll be posting updates to the Sun’s Trails and Tides blog, whenever I can find Wi-Fi, and sharing pictures on Twitter (@tsooter).

If you have a news tip to share, please email sunnews@kitsapsun.com.