Category: Hometown Tourist

Summer hazeTacoma, WA

Commencement Bay sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Right around the Fourth of July, it’s like someone flips a switch around here, and the dry season begins. Then the stereotypical Northwest rain goes away, and nearly every day is clear, dry and balmy. You can bet that this is when I do the most sketching around my town—and you can probably guess what… More

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Super moonriseNisqually, WA

Mt. Rainier and supermoon sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I had other plans for today’s post, but I had a surprise on Saturday evening that changed all of that. I spent the day on the Oregon coast, and arrived on the home stretch just as the last light was fading. As I neared the Nisqually Delta, I looked east out of habit, where I… More

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Pink pachydermSeattle, WA

Elephant Carwash sketch by Chandler O'Leary

If the Yoken’s whale is the queen of the east coast’s Route 1, then the Elephant Carwash sign surely must rule Highway 99 in the west. The restaurant inside the Space Needle can eat its heart out—this jumbo gal is my favorite spinning landmark in the Emerald City.

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Okey-dokey, artichokeyTacoma, WA

Artichokes sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Now, I know these might not exactly be roses by another name, but I didn’t have to travel far or wide to see them: these artichokes are my favorite thing in my next-door neighbor’s garden. Turns out she grows them as ornamentals, as she’s not a big fan of eating them. So thanks to her,… More

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Big towSeattle, WA

"Toe Truck" sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Seattle is one of the most tow-happy cities I’ve ever encountered. If you’ve ever tried to decipher the convoluted weekday parking rules downtown here (where signs say things like, oh, I dunno, “2-hour parking except third Wednesdays in months with an “R” in them, between 3 and 6 pm, and then only if driver is… More

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Perfect panoramaMt. Rainier National Park, WA

Mt. Rainier sketch by Chandler O'Leary

For the many days of the year, these mountains are invisible. If you showed up in western Washington in November, you might not even know we had mountains here. Our rainy Northwest climate makes these peaks disappear into the clouds on most days—even, sometimes, when you’re right there, standing amongst them. Not in the summertime,… More

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Perennial pagodaPoint Defiance Park, Tacoma, WA

Point Defiance Pagoda sketch by Chandler O'Leary

This Sunday my town is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the pagoda at Point Defiance Park. Originally a streetcar station, the building features an Arts & Crafts design, Japanese-style roof and Welsh ceramic roof tiles. A teenage arsonist nearly destroyed the structure in 2011, but the subsequent restoration brought back several of the original features… More

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