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Nancy Hilliard Businesses cater to Island tastes
If you havent found Finders at 7607 S.E. 27th St., youre missing the best of Island kitsch. Try a Sunday afternoon (also Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.) to discover the funky gifts and folk-art.
Owner Judith Olson says destination staples continue to be Adah Edwards primitive bowls painted with Mercer Islands iconic buildings and Byron Ives hand-carved shorebirds.
Some of the hottest funk is Susan Fosters mixed fiber and bangled scarves, Ann Ryans hand-crafted birdhouses, and Carol Airut Murphys pop-top jewelry. Youll find hand-woven rugs, hand-dipped candles and hand-knit goods. Hoda Greiss knits baby sets; and Inga Bastidas hat profits go into her grandkids college fund.
Olson says more than two dozen local artisans sell here, including Steve Roberts book of Wine Trails of Washington; CDs of jazz singer Gail Pettis and pianist Connie Wible, and Carolyn Armstrongs watercolor greeting cards.
We parents and grandparents know Finders as Webkinz central and a place to get a little discount on our birthdays. Where else can we buy jewelry made of Mahjong tiles?
Adages abound. A counter sign reads: Your husband called. He said buy anything you want. Messages on pillows say: Strong women may we know them, raise them, be them; or Call home, your mother worries. Five rules of living adorn a paper-weight gift for graduates.
Judy has been collecting for Islanders for 23 years and has built a following of 5,000 loyal customers. Tami Szerlip is her mainstay helper, along with Carol Becker, Ann Fenwick and Jinny Sewell. Lest we not forget Barbara Setters, originator of Finders in the late-70s, and Marilyn Adams (now Roy), who worked there then and in 1984 spun off Pennsylvania Woodworks, now in a Woodinville warehouse and still selling Amish furniture, Hadleyware and other country items.
Islanders Derek and Jessica Newman have created and are marketing Zevia, new carbonated beverages sweetened with a rainforest herb sweeter than sugar, with no calories (www.zevia.com/products_stevia.html). The health-conscious yet soda-thirsty pair sought an alternative to the artificially sweetened sodas, particularly during Jessicas pregnancy. You can try it in three flavors: COLA, ORANGE and lemon-lime TWIST.
Lil Tokyo Teriyaki Restaurant is now under the ownership of Ms. Hee Kim, who features a new Bento Box menu and family dinners for four. Take out or dine in. She will also retain the Indian chicken curry recipe of the former owner. Open 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m., 2717 78th Ave. S.E.
Travel Tastes: About 25 years ago, there were four times as many travel agents on the Island gone are Mercer Island Travel, Kowaguchi Travel, Travel Masters, Dayton Travel, Tour and Travel, Global Express but still serving us are Continental Travel and Admiral Travel. Theyve survived the sea change of individuals booking their own travel, lodgings and ski trips on the Internet by becoming specialists in tours and more complex excursions.
At Continental, Betty Orrico is the cruise queen; Virginia Sperber, the Scots expert, whether it be whiskey, golf or castles; Rick Long and Alisa Kruse arrange Journeys to Paradise to follow the sun, exotic lands or other milestone adventures; Ray Meisgeir is an Asia specialist, who spends 70 percent of his time arranging corporate travel.
At Admiral, Erica Hauck says its staff plans such international experiences as a trip on the Russian Volga with guides and every detail; African safaris at multiple camps; all the arrangements to the China Olympic games, or a family reunion aboard a cruise ship. They can schedule you on the Bullitt Train through Japan and book you in the best traditional ryokans, replete with Tatami mats, Yukata robe, hot-spring bath and futons (www.ryokan.or.jp/english/what/index_02.html or www.ryokan.or.jp/english/yukata/index.html). Or, get you to a Spitsbergen, Norway, hut for a snowmobiling adventure. Leave your guns behind, says Erica. The guide provides one in the event of polar bear attack.
They say MI popular travel destinations are Hawaii (year round) and Europe especially Italy, in the summer. In the United States, MI families most often fly to New York City and Washington, D.C., for the culture and history. Runner-up spots are the Grand Canyon, Machu Picchu and the Yucatán to see the Mayan ruins.
[Speaking of travel several weeks ago, I asked if you knew where a map of the New York Subway system is displayed publicly on the Island. Did you discover it at Noahs Bagels?]
Finally First-liners: Cindy Carujo at Island Books is collecting and posting favorite first-liners from books. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times, from the Tale of Two Cities, comes immediately to mind. The latest posted in the store is: There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubbs and he almost deserved it, from C.S. Lewis Voyage of the Dawn Trader. Get yours to Cindy.
To contact Nancy Hilliard, e-mail her at email@example.com.