New Neighbors Guide – Pierce County Summer/Fall 2022

Letter from the Publisher

Welcome to the New Neighbors Guide!

On behalf of the local community, we welcome you to Pierce County. Whether you’re here temporarily or for the long haul, we know you’re going to love our region. With our natural beauty, lakes, streams and forested trails, this is the perfect location for outdoor fun. With some of the best coffee in the world and a vibrant food and entertainment scene, Pierce County has something for everyone.

Let’s face it, moving to a new city can be expensive and time-consuming—but it’s also exciting! This guide is written by a mix of perspectives from native Pierce Countians to people who moved here from out of the area. We created this guide with the things we wish we had known when we moved here.

This resource guide offers tips and reminders to get you settled and to get the nuts and bolts of your new home well underway. This guide will also help you get connected to your local community, schools and health care, and help you put down “roots” in your daily life here. From great ideas for your home and events to engage in the community, we have you covered.

As we put together this issue, we look forward to providing you with information and education about all the “best things” in Pierce County and we hope to give you a sense of place where you belong and can engage and feel connected. We welcome you, our “new neighbor,” to Pierce County.

Kindest regards,
Robin Lucas, Publisher

This Issue’s Content

Welcome to Pierce County!

You’re a new resident of beautiful Pierce County — congratulations! But now there are some important tasks to take care of. Updating personal information is essential in order to become […]

Dancing Goats Coffee in Tacoma’s Brewery District

When Dancing Goats Coffee Bar opened in the Brewery Blocks, Tacoma residents and UW students were treated to a great coffeehouse with a modern look not seen in their other […]

Life in Pierce County

Vibrant and diverse, Pierce County is made up of over 20 cities, including urban Tacoma, charming Gig Harbor and home of the Washington State Fair, Puyallup. The County is composed […]

The Harbor History Museum

Nestled on the Gig Harbor waterfront where Donkey Creek meets the bay, the Harbor History Museum is celebrating its 12th year of operation. Yet the Museum’s campus has a much […]

Free Summer Ballet Immersion Week

After a two-year COVID hiatus, Tacoma City Ballet School will once again offer its Annual Free Summer Ballet Immersion Week. Students 11 years of age and up are invited to […]

Enrolling in School in Pierce County

Choosing the best academic environment for your child can seem daunting when you move to a new area. There are numerous traditional options to consider—your neighborhood public school, a charter […]

Giving Back in the 253

In any community, a sense of “community” is built on the connections made through unique groups of people that support one another. When I moved to Tacoma five years ago, […]

Team RED: Resourceful • Experienced • Dedicated

Results of a recent survey found that nearly one in four seniors felt they could not move, either because they couldn’t afford moving costs or because they didn’t believe they […]

How To Incorporate Biophilic Design into Your Home

Biophilic design is not just about bringing the outdoors in; the focus is on indoor air quality, natural light, and color schemes grounded in nature. Indoor Air Quality Be mindful […]

Designed to Maximize Sweeping Views

The Elliott Bay House is located in Seattle on a narrow site facing Puget Sound. The house has a south-facing courtyard containing a reflecting pool with two “floating” basalt boulders. […]

Making Your House a Home

Tips to transform a house into a home with decor and furniture from the heart Your entry is the initial introduction to your home and sets the stage for you […]

Getting Settled into a New Home

After the last box is moved into your new home, you might think the hardest part of moving is over. And you’re right, but there are still things to take […]

Olympic Landscape – Heart for Community

Olympic Landscape has been designing, building and servicing outdoor residential and commercial spaces in the South Sound for more than 40 years. As an expert landscape contractor, the company creates […]

The Negro Motorist Green Book

What comes to mind when you hear “road trip”? Joyfully cruising down a highway flanked by incredible scenery, stopping to eat or check into a hotel whenever and wherever you […]

Crumbl Cookie Brings Decadence to Pierce County with New Tacoma Location

When you combine the perfect recipe of location, marketing, and timing — you get one tasty cookie. You may have heard of or had the pleasure of tasting Crumbl Cookies […]

Farmers Markets in the South Sound

Farmers Markets provide access to fresh, local, sustainable food and food products. At most of our local markets, you will find not only fresh fruits and vegetables, but also fresh-cut […]

Pediatrics Northwest: 6 Tips for Winning Over Picky Eaters

Getting young children to eat a balanced, healthy diet can be a definite challenge. But it’s important to remember that as you help your child learn healthy eating habits for […]

Service and Convenience at the Heart of Light Dental Studios

We can all agree on the qualities for the ideal dental provider: round-the-clock service, entire-family bookings, empathetic service and affordable care. It’s nearly impossible to find a full combination of […]

Physical Therapy with Fun & Family

Owners Kim Bisson and Susan Jankelson wanted to create a clinic that felt like home. Their goal was for each person who walked through the doors, whether patient or employee, […]

Warm-Weather Wellness Tips for Seniors

Warmer weather often awakens a desire to get outside and be active. But seniors who have a higher sensitivity to heat need to use caution when making plans in the […]

New Neighbors Guide for Pierce County – Summer/Fall 2022

Communities & Neighborhoods

Welcome to Pierce County

Dancing Goats Coffee Bar Opens in Tacoma’s Brewery District

Life in Pierce County

The Harbor History Museum

Free Summer Ballet Immersion Week


Enrolling in School in Pierce County

Giving Back in the 253

Giving Back in the 253

Your Home

Making Your House a Home

Getting Settled into a New Home

Olympic Landscape—Heart for Community


Shopping Guide

Dining & Entertainment

The Negro Motorist Green Book

Crumbl Cookie Brings Decadence to Pierce County with New Tacoma Location

Farmers Markets in the South Sound

Health Care

Pediatrics Northwest—6 Tips for Winning Over Picky Eaters

Service and Convenience at the Heart of Light Dental Studios

Physical Therapy with Fun and Family

Senior Living

Warm-Weather Wellness Tips for Seniors

South Sound Private Schools


Annie Wright School
827 N Tacoma Ave

Bellarmine Preparatory School
2300 S Washington St

Charles Wright School
7723 Chambers Creek Rd W

Life Christian School
1717 S Union Ave


All Saints Elementary School
504 2nd Street SW

Cascade Christian Schools
811 21st St E

Northwest Christian School
904 Shaw Rd

Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor Academy
6830 32nd St NW

Harbor Montessori
5414 Comte Dr NW

Lighthouse Christian School
3008 36th St NW


Olympia Community School
114 20th Ave SE

Northwest Christian Academy
4710 Park Center Ave E

Nova Middle School
2020 22nd Ave SE

Relaxation and Results at Serenity Spas

“I think I was 15 the first time I read a spa magazine and I began wrapping my friends in oatmeal and other homemade spa treatments,” said Megan Douglas, Founder of Serenity Spas and Clinic in Tacoma and University Place.

Following a layoff from corporate America in 2001, Douglas decided to explore a new career and entered massage therapy school. She quickly opened her own massage therapy business in conjunction with a local chiropractic practice, adding three employees a couple of years into it.

Now several years later, she’s operating two spas focused on relaxation and one clinic specializing in medical therapy treatments.

Douglas’ newest Serenity Spa opened in University Place’s The Village at Chambers Bay in December 2021. “I had my eye on a spot in the center that was walking distance from my home in University Place,” Douglas said recently. “But then the pandemic shutdown hit, and both my husband and I were glad we hadn’t pulled the trigger just yet.” After a few months, Douglas found out the space in the Village that she really wanted to open her third location in was now available.

According to Douglas, “We decided to move forward with the new location in UP because we realized people need stress relief more than ever.”

Serenity Spas and Clinic feature acupuncture, body treatments, facials, infrared sauna, massage, physical therapy, and waxing and sugaring with the goal of providing relaxation and results. Monthly memberships are available in three variations as well as four curated Spa packages.

Another byproduct of the pandemic shutdown? It gave Douglas time to perfect her own line of body
treatments and products. “It was always a dream of mine to have my own product line.” With a lab in the back of the UP Serenity Spa, Douglas creates her products for the Serenity Now line using the highest quality natural ingredients and essential oils. The Spa’s blissful products can also be purchased to use from the comfort of your own home.

For Additional Information
Serenity Spas


Eliseo: New Name & Bright Future

Changing your name for any reason is a big deal. For eliseo, the community formerly known as Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community, the name change was monumental. After serving local seniors for more than 80 years, a name change signified the beginning of an inspiring and dramatic organizational transformation.

In conjunction with a major community expansion, eliseo in June 2021 introduced a new contract, making it a true “Life Plan Community.” This is a tremendous step for eliseo as an organization and an amazing opportunity for anyone considering the move to a retirement community where the security of care is all on one campus.

Kevin McFeely, eliseo President and CEO, emphasizes how important inclusion and diversity are to eliseo’s overall mission, “Engaging lives through active living, compassion and dignity.” Kevin went on to explain, “In my first five years serving as this community’s CEO, not a week went by that I wasn’t asked if a person has to be affiliated with the Lutheran Church to move here. My response without exception was, “We welcome everyone!” When the decision to move forward with a revolutionizing, 91-unit, independent living expansion and new contract offering was announced in 2019, a name change and rebranding felt like a natural first step for this well-established and beloved organization’s path forward.

Every element of the brand has meaning. “You would probably be surprised to learn just how much work and consideration goes into an effort like this,” says Kelly Sizemore, eliseo’s account manager at LevLane, the advertising agency tasked with the exciting challenge of bringing this brand transformation to life. Honoring a strong, faith-based foundation remained a priority throughout the renaming and branding process. Literally translated, eliseo means, “God is my salvation” in Hebrew. From the unique logo and vivid color scheme to the copy used for the website and advertising, every detail is meant to simultaneously represent eliseo’s rich history and bright future.

After an exceptionally trying two years for the senior living and health care industries, the team at eliseo is proud of their success and ability to focus on the future while continuing to provide care for current residents and their families. eliseo has a bright future and looks forward to serving seniors in Tacoma and beyond for generations to come.

For Additional Information
eliseo Senior Living Community


Anne Burrell: Chef at Saint Martin’s Gala

Celebrity Chef Anne Burrell is bringing her A-game to the popular Saint Martin’s Gala on November 5. “I love making things that feed the soul as well as the body,” says Burrell, whose cooking keeps the attention on simple, seasonal, and flavorful. “Making soulful delicious food feels like a hug from the inside– very satisfying,” she adds.

You might recognize Burrell from her spiked hairdo or one of her many Food Network appearances. She is designing an exquisite five-course menu for the black-tie affair. “When I cook for a small group, I really try to focus on the people I am cooking for and make things that I know that they will love!” says Burrell. Of course, there will be a larger audience at this event, but she remains clear that making interesting, tasty food can still work to please the Gala guests.

Burrell is a chef, passionate teacher, TV personality and author, to name a few of her roles. What does she do when she’s not planning another grand event or filming with Bobby Flay? With great enthusiasm, she confided in a few of her personal pastimes:

“I love to sing karaoke. Like LOOOOOOVE! It’s a great and fun way to blow off some steam! It doesn’t matter if you are not a great singer, you just have to commit to it. My husband and I regularly sing karaoke at home. We have a blast doing it!” exclaims Burrell.

She also shares, “I love to knit. I knit during my downtime, like when I’m watching TV. I always like to keep my hands busy. During the pandemic I started knitting baby blankets for friends. I think I am currently working on blanket 21! That’s a lot of kids!”

“I have two Maine Coon cats that I am absolutely addicted to!” says Burrell. “Their names are Nutty Nancy Crazy Pants and Marcia Marcia Marcia. They are the most loving and entertaining kitties. I can’t imagine life without them! When I travel, I miss them terribly.”

“And lastly, I am a huge New York Rangers fan! I go to a lot of games. I ALWAYS wear a jersey and never ever leave a game early–even when they are losing.

It’s going to be a fabulous and entertaining evening with Chef Burrell.

For Additional Information
Saint Martin’s University


Team RED: Resourceful • Experienced • Dedicated

Results of a recent survey found that nearly one in four seniors felt they could not move, either because they couldn’t afford moving costs or because they didn’t believe they could sell their home. Local Keller Williams Realtor and founder of Team RED, Kathy Kleber, and her team of nine real estate agents have created a plan to tackle issues specifically facing transitioning seniors.

Team RED agents, an acronym for Resourceful, Experienced and Dedicated, offer special services to support seniors. They help with each step of the selling process from getting the senior connected with services in the community and locations for their next home to supporting them in any upgrades their property needs to maximize the selling price.

“Almost every senior specialist I know has come from a senior association, including me,” said Kleber recently. Nearly 20 years ago, Kleber and her parents were facing their own housing dilemma. Kleber’s dad’s health was failing but her mom was very active and social. A move to Wesley Homes, a United Methodist Community for active senior living in Des Moines, became their home. Kleber’s father passed a year or so after the move, but her mom lives there to this day where she is active, travels and serves on the board of everything.

“That experience taught me to understand the journey and love on seniors as they work through this time in their lives,” she said. “And, it became my heart’s work,” she added. Team RED is a family affair with her husband, Kirk Kleber, a founding member, and daughter, Ellisa Greer, as part of the team. Greer’s background in geriatric nursing is a huge benefit to the Team RED organization. Plus, her service in the Army and that of her Dad, Kirk, in the Navy, adds to their concierge-level service for all veterans.

The biggest difference in Team RED’s approach is to get the seniors moved and settled first. According to Kleber, “We always start with the person — where are you going and what are you taking with you?” Once that is settled, then a project manager steps in to oversee necessary renovations by one of their three sets of general contracting teams. Then it is time to stage the home and implement a successful sale.

“Serving with heart, homes for all life’s seasons,” remains Kleber’s motto.

For Additional Information
Team RED


How To Incorporate Biophilic Design into Your Home

Biophilic design is not just about bringing the outdoors in; the focus is on indoor air quality, natural light, and color schemes grounded in nature.

Indoor Air Quality

Be mindful of the items you bring into your home such as harsh chemical cleaners, scented candles, and other toxic chemicals. Open windows and let the fresh air and sound of nature find the way into your home and your mind. Clear out clutter and change your air filters on a regular basis.

Add Live Plants

They increase oxygen and purify the air and improve your indoor air quality. You want to select plants that are a good fit for the level of care you can provide. If you have pets, make sure you are selecting plants that will not harm them or small children if that is a concern.

If you do not have a green thumb, faux plants may seem like an obvious choice, but they do not provide the same effect. The main disadvantage of fake plants is that they have no health benefits and most are made from synthetic plastic which actually adds the toxins in your air.

Maximize Natural Light

Natural light in a home is always better than artificial light. It bathes your room in a rich full-spectrum hue that light bulbs can only hope to duplicate, and it increases your body’s feel-good serotonin levels. But if you do not have natural light, you can use natural light bulbs providing high-quality light, no eye strain, better focus, and a happier mood. If you work from home, they can enhance productivity.

Incorporate Colors Found in Nature

Most people think of the dark green of leaves, the warm orange of the sunset, and the earthy brown of the mud. But colors do not need to be rustic to be grounded in nature; layers of whites and cream can also feel very tranquil and work well when used as a base. You can add high-contrast neutrals for a more dramatic color scheme. Greens, browns, and grays work well also because they lend a warm cozy feel to your interior environment. We recommend choosing three colors and repeating them throughout. This creates continuity and the combination of almost any three colors will work. You can also add natural materials, shapes found in nature, and large-scale art.

For Additional Information
Alinda Morris Interior Design
Instagram: @alindamorris

Summer is Here and So are Great Outdoor Events

Summertime is filled with fantastic events, festivals and fairs in the South Sound. Everyone is itching to get out and enjoy some in-person events, so here’s a sampling from around the area.


Enjoy concerts, food trucks, kids’ activities and, of course, fireworks at Lacey’s 2022 Fireworks Spectacular on Sunday, July 3 from 4-11 pm at the Rainier Vista Community Park. On Thursdays, July 9 to August 13, enjoy a series of free events from 2-3pm for families featuring unique entertainment, from comedy for kids to fun, family shows at various local parks.


In nearby Olympia, you’ll want to check out Olympia Harbor Days over the Labor Day Weekend, September 2-4. This 48th annual non-profit festival celebrates the maritime heritage of the Puget Sound with a weekend of entertainment, food, art, history, and everyone’s favorite – tugboat races. Entry is free, but you can buy tugboat rides–highly suggested to purchase in advance.


Summerfest is a day loaded with old fashioned Fourth of July fun! Treat yourself to a pancake breakfast, fishing derby, a fun run, followed by games, contests and entertainment throughout the day plus a parade, demolition derby and fireworks. Later in the month, Centralia celebrates their annual Antique Fest in historic Downtown Centralia and the Hub City Car Show returns in August with hundreds of unique cars, a BBQ, prizes, and games.


Love comic books and the Marvel/DC Comics universe? Then you’ll want to check out Summer Con (think Comic-Con in San Diego) at the Washington State Fairgrounds June 17 to 19, then head down the street to downtown Puyallup and Pioneer Park for the Meeker Days Arts & Music Festival on those same days for food, music, kids’ activities, and more. And, of course, the biggest fair in the state is at the Washington State Fairgrounds from September 2 to 25.


Tacoma knows how to celebrate the Fourth of July with two major events. The Summer Blast presented by Metro Parks Tacoma will be held from 11:00am to 10:30pm at Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park. Attendees will be treated to a free family event featuring live music, food trucks, a craft market, and fireworks. And, also on the Fourth of July is the annual Freedom Fair along Tacoma’s waterfront. Enjoy a variety of activities including a fireworks display, an airshow, Camp Patriot dedicated to our military, a car and hot rod show, a children’s area, a beach pole vault competition, and an international food marketplace. And, after a COVID hiatus, the Taste of Tacoma says it will be back in Summer 2022.

Gig Harbor

This year’s Maritime Gig Festival is June 4 and 5 at the Skansie Brothers Park and will feature a fun run, parade, children’s fair, Wheels on the Water Car Show, Blessing of the Fleet and food vendors, plus live music throughout the weekend. After a two-year COVID-induced absence, Gig Harbor’s popular Summer Arts Festival returns. Held on Saturday, July 16 and Sunday July 17, the Festival features juried arts and crafts from over 120 artists and creators.


The Downtown Sumner Association is planning a funfilled summer. The lineup includes a Community Block Party on June 18 from 3-7pm and a weekend of live music, crafts and vendors during Rhubarb Days and the Vintage Market July 9 to 10. In August, check out the Sumner Classy Chassis Car Show happening on July 9 from 10am to 3pm.


Always Something to See at the Thurston County Fair!

Guess who is turning 151 this year?

If you guessed a five-day, fun-packed, family outing known as the Thurston County Fair, then you are right! The dates for 2022 are July 27 to 31. The Fair will have all of the favorites, animals, carnivals, vendors, entertainment and the traditional tasty fair food.

“We have special discount days during the fair week–One Buck Wednesday admission will be $1 with a donation for the Thurston County Food bank and Tuesday is Kid’s Day with $2 admission for all kids under 18,” says Theresa Reid, Thurston County Fair’s manager. “We also serve many military families, so Friday is Military Day when all retired, active and reserve personnel and family members are only $2 per person.”

Located near Long Lake in Lacey, the fair is a pint-sized version of the Washington State Fair held later in September; many of the kids showing off their livestock will compete for a placement that will allow them to enter at state level. From pygmy goats to well-heeled golden retrievers, you can watch as the animals and their handlers strut their stuff in the presentation competitions. Children as young as 5 years old are allowed to enter the animal competition –they are called Cloverbuds. You can also catch the Thurston County Market Animal Sale on Saturday at 6pm.

Entertainment for 2022 includes Professor Bamboozle’s Magic Show, Reptile Isle with the Ring of Torti, and The Grizzly Artwork show and chainsaw carving competition. Community singers, dancers and bands will perform, along with all of the 4-H and FFA exhibitors showing their animals and projects. Other exhibits also on display include Home Arts, Quilts, Hobbies and Crafts, Fine Arts, Photography and Floral. So if you’ve taken up a new hobby since the start of the pandemic, this could be a good opportunity to learn from some award winners.

The Thurston County Fair has a history that goes back over 150 years, and was held at different locations such as the South Bay School and Grange, until settling in at the current fairgrounds in 1958. The Thurston County Fair continues to thrive and gives our community a place to celebrate, educate, create and support our local businesses!

For Additional Information
Thurston County Fair