Guide to the South Sound is quirky fun

  • Fri Nov 23rd, 2012 1:14pm
  • Life

Andrea Brown, Herald Writer

This is a guidebook that doesn’t look or act like a typical guidebook: There are no photos, the writing is clever, and the black-and-white illustrations are hand-drawn.

“The South Sound User’s Guide” is hot off the press for the holiday season.

“It really grew out of our pride in this region and our vow that there’s life outside of Seattle,” said Ken Miller, the book’s editor.

The guide proves it, with nearly 200 pages of things to do, buy, see, eat, experience and enjoy in Pierce, Thurston and Mason counties.

Illustrator Sean Alexander’s annotated maps make everything easy to find. His drawings of planes, trains, cupcakes and smiley-faced hamburgers add to the fun factor.

The guide details weather, safety, landmarks, birding sites, festivals, vegan menus and a 3-D black-light miniature golf course in the shadow of Mount Rainier. It is organized by neighborhoods of this distinct region with a regional culture.

“Everything is local. There are no global brands,” Miller said. “I am not against global, but you can get an app for that.”

And you can get an app for this book. It should be available by the end of the year.

“It helped to surface lots of great information about the Sound and crystallize people’s pride in the area,” Miller said.

Not only that, the book feels good in your hands.

“We wanted to make the boundary between form and function a little softer,” Miller said. “For us, that sort of characterizes the region. We think of it like a Craftsman house. The stuff that makes the house sturdy is also part of what it makes it appealing aesthetically.”

The guide is as down-to-earth as its inhabitants.

The $19.95 book is available at Amazon.com and at South Sound bookstores, gift shops and museums. For information: Krm403@gmail.com.