We get it. Tacoma’s no longer gritty.
Or we’re still gritty.
Whatever. We can’t keep track anymore.
But here we are again, the subject of a travel story — this one in The Vancouver Courier.
“From grit to hip: Tacoma gets its groove back” was the headline on a feature story Wednesday in the British Columbia newspaper.
“Tacoma, Wash. has long been the Rodney Dangerfield of the Pacific Northwest,” the piece opens. “Mocked by snickering Seattlites to the north, sped past by travellers en route to Portland to the south, and tarnished with the lingering, nose-turning catchphrase ‘aroma of Tacoma’ for decades.”
Yes, Courier, Tacoma is often overshadowed by our big brother to the north. Kind of like how your newspaper is big-footed by The Vancouver Sun every day.
Hurts, doesn’t it Courier?
But hey, thanks for pointing out we don’t smell anymore. (We prefer “Eau de Paper Mill,” by the way.)
To get his man-on-the-gritty-street perspective, writer Michael Kissinger recently spent some time in the City of Destiny. He was the guest of Travel Tacoma, the city’s tourism bureau.
Until his recent trip, and like so many people before him, Kissinger had conducted only drive-by tours of Tacoma via Interstate 5 while listening to Neko Case.
He’s been the victim of “soul-crushing traffic” while being forced to view “advertisements for classic rock concerts and monster truck events at the Tacoma Dome.”
But after drinking the sweet brewed nectar of Tacoma he is a changed man.
Kissinger gave us props for the free Tacoma Link, the University of Washington Tacoma campus and a “shiny new convention centre.”
We think “centre” means “center,” but our Canuck is a bit rusty.
The writer spent most of his time downtown, but made at least one trip to the hinterland.
“Grit and hip collide along Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue,” Kissinger writes.
Perhaps he just ran afoul of a stylishly dressed pothole crew.
The writer argues that Bluebeard Coffee is the “epicentre” of Sixth Avenue with its “eclectic clientele of boho types, lumberjack imitators and telecommuting Macbook owners.”
Note to Kissinger: In Tacoma, only amateurs refer to loggers as “lumber jacks.”
The writer spent much time maneuvering past mountains of Chihuly glass scattered around town as he conducted in-depth research at several Tacoma breweries.
No travel writer can ignore Tacoma’s museums, and Kissinger doesn’t disappoint. He was particularly taken with LeMay-America’s Car Museum, which he describes as “a cross between a stylish Quanset hut and airport hangar.”
We prefer “futuristic microwave oven,” but as Kissinger writes, “That also could have been the beer talking.”