We’re lucky. Right in our own backyard are wonderful drives down roads lined with old growth trees, mountains & bays in the back drop , even the occasional bald eagle flying over head….its pretty cool. Looking for a fun day Sunday? Let me make a suggestion.
We recently set out to visit the oyster saloon at Hama Hama Oyster Company. I had heard they created an outdoor kitchen and dining experience right on the shores of their oyster farm. We set out last Sunday to check it out. Here is what we stumbled upon along the way.
First, to get there, take HWY 3 to Belfair then get on 106 to drive along the south shore of the Hood Canal. This is a scenic drive in itself , you’ll pass Twanoh State Park and Alderbrook resort, both also interesting stops if you choose.
We decided to pull off in Union at the Union City Market. WOW, talk about quintessential Pacific Northwest… this is a must stop. First, as we walked up, we noticed tables set up, a couple guys grilling, chatting, handing out breakfast orders on wood planks to bundled up guests sitting outside just soaking up the morning. Inside, they have a perfectly curated gift shop with local art, foods and ciders. Want a mimosa while you shop …..no problem, they’re happy to sell you one. I am excited to go back to this stop. It’s also a marina with fuel and moorage, evidently most of their patrons show up by boat. Sounds pretty nice to me.
Union City Market
As we reluctantly left this newly discovered spot, we headed out towards HWY 101 where you’ll drive through the small town of Hoodsport. While not expecting to stop, I noticed a distillery and tasting room. Of course, you can’t just drive by that! We turned around and pulled in.
Hardware Distillery Co. is a find. What made this stop really special is that the owners, Chuck & Jan , are on site and love telling the story of their craft. Super local, from the water to the grains, they proudly source their products locally. The story of the barrels and the process is fun to learn along with tasting their products. We tasted their gin, whisky and the award winning aquavits.
We left there with the ingredients to make their recipe for a Fort Worden, a delicious drink that left me with warm cheeks.
So……now, where were we going? By this time we were ready to get to our Oyster Saloon for lunch. From Hoodsport, we had about another 14 miles or so to go. This drive has you in and out of the Olympic National forest with trailheads and turn offs every so many miles. The hood canal shoreline is on your right and is just breathtaking.
Arriving in Lillywaup, we had made it, at last, to the Oyster Saloon. Lots of parking, its easy to get in and check it out. Along with the outdoor Oyster Saloon, they have a large commercial building with fresh oysters, smoked salmon, gourmet foods, sweatshirts and other items for sale. You’ll walk around the building to the saloon, it provides outdoor eating areas that are covered and uncovered with heaters going and a fire pit. They have a simple menu where you can sample oysters raw or cooked, there is a chowder that warms the belly as well as beer, wine and soda. You’ll order at a counter and they bring it to you. Since the line can get long at times, you may want to order strategically.
We ordered the cooked oysters and two bowls of chowder. The Oysters are dressed with tasty sauces, ours came out with three different styles, pretty garlic forward, but all amazing. The chowder is hot and hearty and feels good on a cold day. Dress warm if you’re headed out in the off season, but even a cold winter day, this is a fun experience, especially with a fire going. You can walk out to the beach, explore the mountains of oyster shells or walk out to the Hamma Hamma bridge. Best to watch out for where you can walk your dog, there are some restrictions near the beaches, but all of our stops really made our dog feel welcome.
We left with full bellies, some smoked salmon for the road and a new sweatshirt. It was a perfect stop.
Hama Hama Oysters
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to keep your scenic drive going, continuing on HWY 101 will take you another 45 miles or so to connect you with the Hood Canal floating bridge which gets you back on the Kitsap Peninsula and on your path back to Bremerton. There are many amazing spots to explore in our backyard, let me know what your favorites are.