Originally published in Sequim Gazette

As the warmth of late summer blankets the Olympic Peninsula, we transition into autumn. As you read this paper, we invite you to kick back, relax, take a deep breath, and picture this–

It’s a bright Saturday morning. Walking downtown to the Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market, you sense the vibrant life of sunny Sequim – a town of over 8,000 residents with a thriving market, cozy coffee shops, and a charming downtown.

The market bell chimes at 9 a.m. As you arrive, passing under changing leaves, you reach the Market Information Booth, ready to explore. You might check for Re-Usable Bag Vouchers, a generous gesture from BrokersGroup Real Estate, or redeem food benefits, ensuring that everyone can partake. Your journey begins with a mix of practicality and community spirit.

Zig-zagging through the maze of farmers’ stalls, you find the autumnal bounty – tomatoes ripe for sauces and squash in its myriad of shapes and colors. Your shopping list guides your way, from Oceanside Nurseries’ delectable fruits to Jembe Farms’ root vegetables to Her Farm’s assortment of peppers and onions. At Rhea Sunshine Farm, you pause, verifying that their eggs, sought after for their farm-fresh taste, are indeed in stock.

Venturing further, Stone Tree Farms captures your attention with an array of squash varieties that could inspire a week’s worth of meals. Seabasket Farm’s stall draws you in, not just for their eggplants but for the woven baskets that share a story of craftsmanship. Joy Farm’s cabbage, a hefty addition to your collection, is a testament to the bounty of the region. And then there are the beets from River Run Farm – enormous. You pick up a vibrant bunch of rainbow chard from Tampopo Farm and ask for suggestions on microgreens at The Watercress.

At Emily’s Flowers, you’re tasked with selecting a bouquet for a loved one before sharing a knowing smile with Master Gardeners as you ask about that one plant that you can never seem to keep alive in your garden. Leaving the grocery section behind, you take a moment to consider your evening’s beverage. Seabeck Cellars and Finnriver Cidery offer suggestions, each recommendation a story encapsulated in a bottle. You ask Meg at Sequim Bee Farm which honey would best compliment your favorite tea and ask how her bees are doing.

You grab a bag of sourdough bread from Sweet Luxury Cookies then Olympic Onion Farm’s seasoning becomes the final touch, the perfect flavor profile to elevate your culinary creations. 

With your bag brimming with a culinary kaleidoscope, you meander towards the artisans’ corner, a place of creativity and inspiration.

Doc at Floating Mountain Arts captures your attention with every brushstroke. DRMontague Art’s watercolor portraits, rich in emotion, evoke a sense of wonder. You watch Shannon wield her hammer at Stamping Cat Studio with dedication and precision. The market isn’t just a place to shop – it’s a space to connect. You chat with Mary Truly, inquiring as to when her next book is coming out.

As you explore PNW Girl’s macrame creations, you see your favorite color and remember you might just need one more plant hangar.

Madrona Ridge Pottery and Fairview Lake Studios entice you with their creations, beckoning you to add a touch of artistry to your home. The woodworking over at Northwest Beachworks catches your eye as you’ve been dying to get some more distinctly Pacific Northwest home accessories. Speaking of the Pacific Northwest, you are delighted over at Olympic Rounds by a tabletop made from a Douglas fir by Lake Crescent. For good measure, you smell all the soaps at Lather and Wicks as well as each candle at Dougerly Candle Co.

Dragon Lady Handicrafts’ home-sewn treasures are a celebration of creativity nurtured at home. Raggedy Rug Company’s upcycled rugs and Colibri Sustainable Living also serve as reminders of the importance of sustainability. Whimsical Woods’ birdhouses remind you that art can also be functional, enhancing your surroundings in unexpected ways.

But your sense of individuality is also enticed. At Inspired Country Store, the custom purses speak to your sense of personal style. You can’t decide between the pine tree or the fern-shaped earrings over at Wheatstalk Boutique, not to mention beautiful beading done by Lisa’s Designs. And before it gets too cold to show off a temporary tattoo, you ask for a custom henna creation over at Wild Feather Henna.

At this point, you’ve been walking for a while. It’s time for some sustenance and self-care. You ask Ivy Phillips Bodywork and Healing to take look at the crick in your neck then ask which pillow might give you a better night’s sleep over at BlissPillow.

In need of food, you agonize over what you’re in the mood for. Is it Shutlz Smokehouse BBQ or vegan comfort food over at Vegetari? Perhaps a burger from Shadowline or a handpie from Blue Mountain Baking Co.?

Nearly ready to go home, you say hello to the nonprofits at the community booths. Then you pick up the garden shears you dropped off earlier in the day at A Razor Edge Sharpening or swing by Sequim Bike Works to ask why your bike chain keeps slipping.

With your bag brimming with treasures and your heart full of experiences, you’re ready to head home. You wave goodbye to your friends and neighbors, knowing that this vibrant community will welcome you back again. As you step away, you carry with you not just goods, but a sense of belonging, connection, and the simple joys of life.