Things You Know (or should know) if you live in the Upper Snoqualmie Valley

[Article by contributing writer, North Bend resident and owner of Miss Lola’s Academy for Wayward Dogs, Melissa Grant]

The Upper Snoqualmie Valley is an odd place, and that’s the reason we all love it so much. If you’ve lived in the Valley for some time, you’re likely already aware of some of its quirks. If you’re new, consider this a little schooling on all things Valley-related. As the Upper Valley grows, one way to separate locals from newcomers is with a little game of resident trivia. See if you know what a few true “locals” told me and let me know what I missed! 

Location, location, location! We don’t seem to need many words to explain what we’re talking about in the Valley. If you’re in North Bend, plan on meeting a friend and tell them “Ok, I’ll meet you at…The Rim, the Lake or the big rock on 202,” Say no more we know exactly where to go. The Ridge has a similar verbal shorthand when it comes to The Bog or The Club but please specify if you’re talking about the old or the new Starbucks lest we go to the wrong one. Similarly, both cities have places they will NOT tell people about. Snoqualmie is very protective of THAT driveway and its homeowners – so don’t even ask where it is.  Long-time North Benders, when questioned about Twin Peaks shooting locations, may just give an eye roll in reply. 

Social media topics If you live here and are on local Facebook groups, you probably could distinguish the towns by their most talked about subjects. Like most cities we detest dog poop and fireworks. “Its 10:30pm. anyone else been hearing what sounds like gunshots?” or “We went to the new Tollgate park today and I was astonished at how much dog poop was everywhere!” but we also have our own special quirks. You know you’re in North Bend when everyone is talking about SWAT being there and is being scolded about reporting it online. Hot summer days you can read about how bad the poop smell is downtown and when the heck are they doing something about it? Conversely, you know you’re on the Ridge page when you’re reading about ding-dong dash, wind, Highway 18, white rocks and folks putting their garbage out the night before pick-up. 

Both communities know and LOVE Kevin from Bartells. Unfortunately, I sense a Hatfield and McCoy style feud brewing over his transfer from the Ridge Bartells to the North Bend location. TOO BAD! He’s ours now!

Kevin – a customer favorite at Bartell’s

Valley Vexations: You know you are a true local when you know what to avoid locally. As a resident you know where to go to send a package to get it to its destination…and where not to go. You know which grocery stores will give you the best, quickest experience, which parking lot has tiny spaces (and that you’ll be shamed for parking badly on Facebook) and where to never attempt a left turn. You know parking in North Bend will stink if there is ANY kind of train related event…I’m looking at YOU Thomas and Santa! Rattlesnake Lake is a no go on nice weekends for you, but you do know where to park if you decide to brave it. As a North Bendian you know driving through town on Friday afternoons in the summer is a risky proposition, but if you live beyond exit 31 you can get there in a secret roundabout way. Shhh, don’t tell Waze! Snoqualmie residents know to only brave the Salish and Falls on weekends if very cherished relatives are in town, and then only for their super-secret discount. 

BIG News: We remember all the exciting stories of the past few years. The explosion that jerked us all awake, the odd tale of the bunker on Rattlesnake Ridge and who can forget the suspense of waiting for news of the missing hiker and her dog near Mt. Teneriffe? Many of these stories seem to revolve around Mt. Si and wildlife typically. We remember a helicopter rescue from the haystacks, a group of women lost because of a bear sighting, a still missing bat suit wearing skydiver and an intoxicated plane crash. (Look forward to an upcoming article with all your favorite top stories.)

Long-time Local Lore: I’m told long-timers will remember businesses by what used to be there: Carmichaels was formerly The Red and White, Twede’s used to be the Mar-T and the North Bend Bar and Grill was the Chalet.  They remember when you hiked into Riverbend and Wilderness Rim to just a few cabins and Ernie’s Grove was an area for car camping. They remember the Railroad Café, Normanbrook Farm and were born in the old hospital close to where the Casino now stands. They’ll also tell you our summer festivals will always be Alpine days vs The Festival at Mt Si and Snoqualmie Days vs Railroad Days – but they probably aren’t going because its just not like it used to be. 

Bittersweet Memorials: Those of us who have been here awhile know the reason behind the Tanner Jeans Bike Rodeo, the little shelter filled with stuffed animals on North Bend Way or the blue cross by the side of the road on Stone Quarry Way. RIP to our valley residents lost far too soon. 

Memorial for Baby Kimball on North Bend Way

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  • Okay a little story about the Railroad Cafe – my longtime valleyite friend and I went antique shopping in downtown Snoqualmie a few years back. In the back, they had an old section of the bar with stools that used to reside in the Railroad Cafe. OMG we immediately knew where they came from and I wanted to buy them so badly. I didn’t have the money at that time and to this day I regret not buying them. The person working at the time was oblivious to their importance in valley history, but ya know, their loss!

    It was such a gem of a restaurant. My mom worked there for a short time and I remember going down for ice cream in the summers when I was around 6 or 7.. I just love Snoqualmie!

  • Living Snoqualmie