Sumner is a small town outside of Tacoma, Washington that is often overlooked, but is a closely held secret by those in the know. Sumner is pure Main Street U.S.A., but not in a contrived Disneyland way. Rather than a replica of a town from decades gone by, it’s more like those decades had a meeting and voted not to touch Sumner. If you're visiting the Pacific Northwest, that makes it an ideal and idyllic place to put on the brakes, slow your roll and enjoy some nostalgic down time.
If you do, you'll notice…
Sumner is pretty much the epitome of Americana.
And nothing goes with Americana like rhubarb pie, for which Sumner is the world capital.
They are deadly-serious about their rhubarb pie.
I’m not kidding about the pie. There’s a festival and everything.
But if there’s anything that can bring out the locals faster than rhubarb, it’d have to be classic cars.
Or concerts and movies throughout the summer in a downtown park, because these things still exist here.
Or in the winter, the city's affinity for rhubarb combines with holiday spirit for the annual Santa Parade. It's kind of like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but smaller, later in the season, and with tractors.
Main Street is where people still gather, festivals and parades still happen, antiques shops still sell their wares and the local high school marching band still practices.
But Sumner is still firmly planted in the Pacific Northwest, and therefore also has the obligatory third-wave coffee shop where the beans are roasted about three blocks away.
Did I mention they do not mess around about the rhubarb pie? The Berryland Café is the closest thing rhubarb aficionados have to an actual pilgrimage site.
And since Sumner is situated basically in the shadow of iconic Mt. Rainier, you could have worse views.
If you’ve had your fill of the big cities in Seattle and Tacoma, Sumner is just about 15 miles and 60 years away.