The village of Suquamish on the clear salt water of Agate Passage is more than just a scenic destination, it’s also the heart of the Suquamish Tribe’s cultural renaissance and a fascinating place to spend a few hours or a day.
The people of Chief Seattle have lived along the shores of the Kitsap Peninsula for 10,000 years and are known for their reverence for nature and their skill at canoe building, woodcarving, wool weaving and cedar basket making.
Start your visit with a stop at the stunning Suquamish Museum, which tells the tribe’s story through art and artifacts. The main exhibit, “Ancient Shores, Changing Tides,” includes a multi-media presentation that features traditional singing and the voices of tribal elders.
Other highlights include a tideline of clamshells, kelp and sea stars embedded in the wooden floor, a giant carved spindle whorl and a sculpture of men carrying a cedar canoe.
The museum is celebrating the art of Salish wool weaving throughout 2016 with a number of activities, including a special exhibit by Suquamish artist Danielle Morsette through May 8. The display juxtaposes traditional patterns with modern creations and shows a work in progress on a loom. Families are invited to a hands-on demonstration from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. March 5.
- Chief Seattle’s Grave – People come from all over the world to visit this gravesite, where the Suquamish leader is celebrated for his skill as both a warrior and a peacemaker. Two spectacular carved cedar story poles flank the cross-topped marble headstone.
- Suquamish Veterans Memorial – Carved figures represent the tribe’s most celebrated warriors, Chief Kitsap and Chief Seattle, but the memorial honors all veterans past and present.
- The House of Awakened Culture – This longhouse is the site of community celebrations and honors Old Man House, the traditional winter home for Chief Seattle and tribal members. The longhouse looks out on the tribe’s recently rebuilt community dock and across the Puget Sound to Seattle.
- Old Man House Park – This one-acre waterfront park is the original site of the tribe’s celebrated longhouse, which is said to have housed eight great chiefs and their families. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Suquamish Clearwater Casino and Resort – The recently expanded resort features a 183-room waterfront hotel complex, full-service spa, music venue and several restaurants. In the summer, the resort offers free Thursday night concerts on the lawn overlooking Agate Passage. Click here for more information.
Dining options in Suquamish village include Bella Luna Pizzeria, a favorite with the locals, especially on mild evenings when the restaurant’s waterfront deck offers a view of Seattle. For fine dining, Agate Pass Cafe showcases fresh local ingredients, prepared simply and served elegantly.
Suquamish is an easy drive from Kitsap ferry terminals or come by boat and tie up at the community dock. Click here to plan your trip.