11 photos that explain why Sumner, Washington is pure Americana

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.

Wood Avenue in Sumner in the fall
Wood Avenue in Sumner in the fall

And nothing goes with Americana like rhubarb pie, for which Sumner is the world capital.

A piece of strawberry-rhubarb pie a la mode from Sumner
A piece of strawberry-rhubarb pie a la mode from Sumner

They are deadly-serious about their rhubarb pie.

Raspberry rhubarb pie a la mode from Sumner
Raspberry rhubarb pie a la mode from Sumner

I’m not kidding about the pie. There’s a festival and everything.

Judges enjoying Sumner's annual Rhubarb Pie Festival
Judges enjoying Sumner's annual Rhubarb Pie Festival

But if there’s anything that can bring out the locals faster than rhubarb, it’d have to be classic cars.

Classy Chassis is a classic car event that's part of Sumner's annual Rhubarb Pie Festival
Classy Chassis is a classic car event that's part of Sumner's annual Rhubarb Pie Festival

Or concerts and movies throughout the summer in a downtown park, because these things still exist here.

Music Off Main is a free summer concert series at Heritage Park in downtown Sumner
Music Off Main is a free summer concert series at Heritage Park in downtown Sumner

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.

Sumner's Santa Parade is a tractor-heavy event right through the heart of downtown Sumner
Sumner's Santa Parade is a tractor-heavy event right through the heart of downtown Sumner

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.

The Sumner Spartans parade down main street for homecoming
The Sumner Spartans parade down main street for homecoming

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.

Craft 19 is an urban coffee oasis in an otherwise sleepy and nostalgic city
Craft 19 is an urban coffee oasis in an otherwise sleepy and nostalgic city

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.

Rhubarb pie from the Berryland Cafe is how to experience the pinnacle of the piesmithing craft
Rhubarb pie from the Berryland Cafe is how to experience the pinnacle of the piesmithing craft

And since Sumner is situated basically in the shadow of iconic Mt. Rainier, you could have worse views.

The view of iconic Mt. Rainier from just outside Sumner
The view of iconic Mt. Rainier from just outside Sumner

If you’ve had your fill of the big cities in Seattle and Tacoma, Sumner is just about 15 miles and 60 years away.

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