A Resident’s Perspective – Surprising Bonus on the Tour of the Capitol

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. March 2015

This month there was a wonderful outing/tour arranged by our Lifestyle Enrichment department here at Panorama. Now that we are approaching our second year in residence here, we decided to take advantage of the tour of the State Capitol in Olympia, which is just down the road from us here in Lacey. Panorama offers this tour a couple of times a year, and especially at Christmas when the Capitol is all decked out.

We had never toured our Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, where I got my degree, nor had we toured California State Capitol in Sacramento, CA, when we did our working years near there. We’ve not been overly political over these later years of our lives, but as it was so close and there was an outing bus going, we signed on.

The bus arrived to the Capitol grounds covered in blossoming trees. Pinks and whites festooned the landscape on a foggy day. Our guide told us that they had only a day or two earlier started to bloom!

We were amazed at the marble from five different countries used in the construction. Major amounts came from Alaska. Wonderful drapery and window treatments were the only place gold was used and it was in the thread. No gold was used in decorative things around the capitol, it was all bronze. We saw the special wood flooring in the State Reception Room, under the wonderful single run carpeting from an East Coast mill when our knowledgeable tour guide rolled back the corner of the carpet. The room is used for Inaugural Balls and other fancy happenings. The Tiffany designed and made chandeliers are more than can be explained without seeing them all. The ones in the State Room had 10,000 plus individual beads hanging in swag loops.

Congress is sitting now, so the tour took us to the Gallery for the House of Representatives which was “at ease” on a morning break. We learned about how the electronic voting for the 90+ representatives from each County worked and was displayed on the board.

What was very special and totally unexpected was our visit down the hall to the Senate Gallery. They were discussing and voting on a bill before them. We filed in quietly and sat in the seats overlooking the floor. These are roll call votes, not electronic for the 49 State Senators. After the vote was taken, the president of the Senate looked up at the Gallery and announced that residents from Panorama Continuing Care Retirement community were visiting. We got an ovation from the floor and were urged by our guide to stand up and be acknowledged. How very special and totally surprising.


This was topped by going to the Governor’s Office reception room for more historical facts and viewing portraits of past Governors. Minutes after arriving there, Governor Inslee came out of his office and greeted us, even as he was on his way to a meeting. It was very cordial and much appreciated by our group.

Capitol Tour_Governor Inslee

We loved anecdotes from the tour guide and she especially urged us to keep aware of things in February. That is the month that many potato farmers come to the Capitol (Washington is larger grower of potatoes than Idaho) and provide free, baked potatoes in the Rotunda with all the fixin’s!!!! There is never a set date, but you know we will be mindful of information when that is happening and you will find us with a piled high baker in the Rotunda. In fact, I am planning on spending a day soon at the Capitol with lunch in the cafeteria. It will be interesting to watch sessions of both bodies. The best thing is that on our Channel 23 cable, they have the entire proceedings of the sessions running real time and then repeated after hours. This is wonderful transparency of government.

There are so many outings offered by our Lifestyle Enrichment department, if you’ve not traveled with them or gone to things offered in the monthly activities in the “Panorama News,” do try some of them. It is a wonderful introduction to our area. You never really know what kind of extra you will be afforded and you always learn a lot.

Sandy Bio



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