Weekend Getaway: Oyster Farm Tour in Olympia, WA

Last weekend, we drove an hour south of Seattle to Washington’s capital, Olympia for a getaway via Experience Olympia. Olympia is close enough for a quick trip yet still feels like an adventure. Over the span of two days, we fit in an oyster farm tour, plenty of delicious meals, a hike, and a farmers’ market! See our itinerary below:

Oyster Farm Tour

I totally recommend touring an oyster farm if you like seafood! Experience Olympia arranged a tour of Chelsea Farms, where we got to meet the owner, Shina Wysocki, who toured us through her farm that was started by her parents in 1987.

We looove seafood so we were geeking out that Chelsea Farms was the first in south Puget Sound to rig up the tide tumble system. Shina told us the story about how her mom used to go out daily at midnight in the winter (when the tide was low) to manually tumble each bag of oysters. Her dad decided to tie buoys to the oyster bags so the tide would tumble the oysters. This suspended culture method creates petite oysters with deep cups, like the delicious Chelsea “Gem” oysters. We totally have even more respect for the labor of love that goes into growing oysters (some age for over 3 years)! No wonder they can be pricey. ūüôā Chelsea Farms also grow geoduck — there are about 40,000 under the sand where we were walking!

Chelsea Farms does not usually offer public tours. However, if you want to have a group tour or event, you can contact them. You could visit Taylor Shellfish nearby and Hama Hama Oyster Co. about an hour farther for public tours!

Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar

After touring Chelsea Farms, we had to stop by Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar! We got to try their own Chelsea “Gem”, Chelsea “Bonita”, and Chelsea “Olympia” oysters. I loved them all but I think the “Bonita” is my favorite! I could eat a whole bucket.

In addition to the raw bar, Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar also serves incredibly flavorful seafood dishes with an Asian fusion twist. The executive chef, Austin Navarre, used to work at Ba Bar, which is our neighborhood modern Vietnamese restaurant (we go 1-2 times a week for pho). I especially loved the Chelsea Farms clams in a kimchi broth with Dungeness crab, shiitake mushrooms, and tofu.

Chelsea farms Oyster Bar is connected to 222 Market, which is an adorable artisan market with a flower shop, gelato stand, crêperie, and a bone broth bar.

Tumwater Falls Park

After that delicious meal, we decided to walk it off at Tumwater Falls Park. It’s a light hike right by the Deschutes River next to gorgeous views of the Tumwater Falls. This “hike” was totally our speed: little physical exertion with immediate payoff haha.

Dinner & Drinks at Dillinger’s

When we travel, all we do is eat haha. After the hike, we freshened up at our hotel and ended out to walk around downtown Olympia. Since we had a big late lunch, we decided to go to Dillinger’s Cocktails & Kitchen for craft cocktails and small bites. Dillinger’s (probably named after Depression-era American gangster John Dillinger) is a Prohibition-style bar in an old bank built in 1927.

Where to Stay

Experience Olympia booked us at the Hilton Garden Inn, which felt so tucked away but was a convenient 5-minute drive from everything. The hotel is decked out with a heated indoor pool, restaurant and bar, and more. Thank you for a wonderful stay!

Olympia Farmers’ Market

The following day, we visited the Olympia Farmers’ Market, which is always a fun Sunday activity. For brunch, we had crab cakes eggs benedict and a fried seafood and chips platter. After the Farmers’ Market, we strolled around downtown Olympia and got gelato at Hawley’s before heading home to Seattle.

Thank you to Experience Olympia for organizing a fun weekend getaway!

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  1. July 6, 2017 / 5:52 pm

    I'm not an oyster fan but it must be so interesting to get to visit an oyster park! Seems like you had a lot of fun during this weekend, I love little getaways like these!
    Lucie, xx


  2. July 9, 2017 / 1:32 am

    We were just in Olympia in June and enjoyed many of the same experiences. Glad you had a great time. Tumwater falls was a really awesome place. ūüôā

  3. July 24, 2017 / 10:26 am

    Great post! I like all the details and the ideas!
    please follow me : BISSQ

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