Trust us; you will want to see these with your very own eyes. From breathtaking views to one of a kind sights, these destinations are the perfect places to take in the highlights of our beautiful home.  All of Washington is known for being a scenic place, but Ruston and the nearby areas top the list.  In the hustle and bustle of life, we do not want you to miss out on the wonderful sights that you can see in our very own backyard. Try checking these places off on a lazy Sunday or when you have guests in town and you can play guide, they are well worth the trips.

Port of Tacoma

From the Port of Tacoma’s Observation Deck, one can gaze endlessly as the lively port loads and unloads crates. The independent seaport is one of the largest seaports in North America.  If you have the time, we recommend staying to take the free tour to learn more about its activities and the history of the port.

Fireman’s Park

Perched on a hillside, Fireman’s Park’s features a full stretch of 180-degree views of Commencement Bay that will not disappoint.  The park has been a fixture of downtown Tacoma for many years, known for its unparalleled views of the entire area and art installations.  One of the art installations is an 85-foot tall totem pole that pierces the sky that was commissioned more than one hundred years ago. 

National Scenic Byway around Mt. Rainier

If you want a bit of adventure, hop in the car and cruise down State Highway 410.  As the designated National Scenic Byway around Mt. Rainier, you can get a closer view of the gorgeous peak that acts as the backdrop to Commencement Bay.  They highway weaves right up to the national park showcasing the beautiful forest that surrounds one of the nation’s highest peaks.  While you are on your drive, don’t forget to stop in some of the mountain towns along the highway, each one unique in its own way.

The Commencement Condominiums

We would be remiss to leave out the Commencement from a list of best places to take in the views.  The condos unobstructed views are envy-inducing and incredible sights to wake up to each and every day.

For more information about the Commencement Condominiums, check out our website or contact Cindy and Joanne, we would be happy to show you the views and the fantastic condos that accompany them.


RUSTON, Wash.—It’s been a whirlwind at The Commencement this year. Only nine units remain for sale out of the 62 total units at the luxury condominium community; six have sold in the past month. However, two of the most desirable units have recently been released, affording the opportunity for some elevated living in the sought after Ruston area.

“Units 604 and 606 are the only penthouse level units for sale right now,” explained Cindy Stewart, co-listing broker at The Commencement and broker for Windermere Professional Partners. “They’re gorgeous units with unobstructed water views and Mt. Rainier views. You can see to Seattle from these units.”

In addition to the ability to see the Columbia Center from your living room, these top-level units also feature higher ceilings and additional design elements, like coved ceilings in the dining rooms. Both units are two-bedroom, two-bath homes with a den/office, but each has a different layout.

“Unit 604 is The Coastal floorplan, which is probably the most popular floor plan,” Stewart said. “But each is lovely and it’s nice that you can choose between two uniquely different layouts that both contain more than 2,000 square feet of living space.”

In addition to the spacious layouts and high-end design finishes featured at The Commencement, each unit includes two designated parking spaces within the covered garage and a designated storage unit.

However, when buyers choose The Commencement, they’re not just gaining access to the beautiful design, desirable location and additional amenities, like the Dalco Lounge. They’re also joining a community.

“A lot of people choose to purchase at The Commencement because of the community,” Stewart said. “The residents host bunko nights, book clubs, wine and cheese evenings and other social events. It’s a very inclusive community where anyone who wants to be involved is welcome.”

The Commencement is located at 5204 North Bennett Street in Ruston, Washington. Model units are available for viewing daily from noon to 4 p.m. For more information about The Commencement, call JoAnn Jett or Cindy Stewart at Windermere Professional Partners at 253-370-3473 or visit


Situated right above Commencement Bay, The Commencement enjoys unparalleled access to one of Washington’s most prized features, The Puget Sound.  With an abundance of excellent weather, it is hard to find an excuse not to take advantage of our beautiful community.  This year we want to make certain that you know some great ways to spend time in, on and around this wonderful feature beyond it being a perfect backdrop, so we have rounded out our top 5 area activities to enjoy the Puget Sound from Commencement Bay.



One of the simplest and most enjoyable ways to take advantage of the water is to hop in for a dip. The water temperature ranges from 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on what time of year it is, making for a comfortable temperature to dive into by North Pacific standards. A great spot is Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park for an excellent place to hang out all day. Owen Beach opens 30 minutes before sunrise and closes 30 minutes after sunset. 

Paddleboarding and Kayaking

If you are looking to dip your toes just a little bit, we recommend taking on the water with a kayak or stand up paddleboard.  Both offer a great workout while being able to cover a distance, enjoying even more of the water.  While you are out there, you might even spot a seal or two, but make sure you give them space – it is the law. If you do not have your own kayak or paddleboard to carry down to the Bay, you can rent one hourly or for a full day from locals Don & Beth Torbet, owners of Don’s Ruston Market & Deli, who also operate the kayak rental shop out of Owen Beach. Foss Harbor Marina; is also a great place to get a rental, but on potentially busy days, be sure to call ahead or reserve your floating device online.


If you are gazing out over the bay, you will often see boats sprinkled across the water, and being on the boat is an experience you will love.  If you are partial to sailing, you will be happy to hear Commencement Bay shares a border with the Tacoma Yacht Club. The club hosts numerous regattas throughout the year including the first race in the Southern Sound Series and the Memorial Vashon. If you prefer to B.Y.O.B. – bring your own boat, that is – there is a public boat launch at the Vashon Ferry Terminal at Point Defiance Park.  Boating rentals are also available nearby at the Point Defiance Marina.

Ruston Way Scenic Trail

So you do not want to get in the water, we understand! Just below The Commencement is the Ruston Way Scenic Trail and another option to enjoy Commencement Bay. Feel free to bike, skate, stroll, or sprint down the path that runs right along the Ruston waterfront for beautiful views of Mt. Rainier, Cascade Hills, and the Olympic Mountains that will motivate you to power through your workout or encourage you to spend the whole day outside.  The trail is just over 7 miles and is mostly flat and linear for a comfortable experience.


Sometimes the best way to show your appreciation is observing – observing becomes even more enjoyable when delicious food is being served at the same time. With incredible views and the best chowder in town, Duke’s Chowder House comes highly recommended.  Don’t feel obligated to get the chowder though, the menu is full of mouth-watering dishes and the cocktails are worth a happy hour trip.  Another option is to prepare your dining experience at home and head outside for a picnic.  Along Point Defiance Park, the Ruston Waterfront, among many other places there, are great spots to set up the perfect meal on your own terms.

The Commencement is more than a place to call home; it allows its residents to enjoy a lifestyle that is unparalleled in the perfect location. If you are looking for your next home, stop by The Commencement to learn what these condominiums can offer you. 

Hans and Judy Brockhoff, former residents of Old Town Tacoma, recently purchased a luxury condominium at The Commencement, just above the waterfront in Ruston, WA. Now, they’re taking advantage of all that The Commencement’s Ruston location has to offer including proximity to area attractions, amenities and character.

“Ruston is such a charming place,” Judy said. “We are continually thankful that we made the decision to move to The Commencement. Ruston has so much to offer in terms of small town character and activities and our condominium is right in the heart of it all. However, when we want the quietude of home, the layout and location of The Commencement above Commencement Bay make you feel as though the rest of the world is miles away.”

The Brockhoffs came to love condominium living while Hans was in the Navy and stationed overseas. Though they most recently lived in a craftsman home in Tacoma, they had been considering revisiting condominium living for more than a year before they put down an offer on their new home at The Commencement.

“We are both very busy with work these days and the upkeep involved in living in a single family home sounded less and less appealing as the years went by,” Hans said. “We both wanted to exchange the responsibilities of mowing the lawn and maintaining our home for more time to spend pursuing what we love. Living at The Commencement means that if we want to travel, we just lock the door and leave. Everything is taken care of for us. The time that we don’t have to spend doing yard work can now be spent exploring our new community. In fact, we just purchased our season passes to the Point Defiance Zoo. It’s a short walk from The Commencement, just like many of the restaurants on the water and the shops in Ruston. It’s also worth mentioning that we are a short drive from Tacoma and only 40 or so minutes from Seattle. We feel like everything is right at our fingertips here, but we can relax and enjoy the pace of Ruston daily.”

The Brockhoffs have nine grandchildren and couldn’t help but notice the 3,000 Easter eggs and the egg hunt that the City of Ruston puts on right outside The Commencement each year.

“What an exceptional way to get a community together,” Judy said. “Who knows, maybe one day our grandkids will take part in that hunt. It seems like everywhere we turn we find more hidden gems in this community and more reasons to be pleased with our new home.  After my initial visit, I went home and told Hans that he ‘had’ to see this place. He returned with me that afternoon and we made an offer later that day. “

“It felt right then, but the longer I live here the more I know that we’ve found a very special place,” Judy said. “I can’t wait to create more memories here and become more ingrained in this community.”

Hans agreed.

“While initially I was impressed with the quality of construction, views and layout of The Commencement, I’ve come to find that it has far more to offer than just that,” Hans said. “We looked at a few other condominium developments in the area, but I’m so pleased that this is where we chose to live. The Commencement and Ruston have everything we’d hoped for and more.”

The Commencement is located at 5204 North Bennett Street in Ruston, Washington. Model units are available for viewing daily from noon to 5 p.m. For more information about The Commencement, call JoAnn Jett or Cindy Stewart at Windermere Professional Partners at 1-253-625-7121 or visit

The Town of Ruston has a varied history. What started as an industrial center has quietly transitioned to a town defined more by its small town charm, growing local business community, restaurant scene, natural beauty and lifestyle.

“Ruston has a charm and livability that buyers at The Commencement have been noticing and capitalizing on for the past few years,” said Cindy Stewart, broker at Windermere Professional Partners and co-listing broker at The Commencement.

The Commencement is a luxury condominium community located just above the waterfront in Ruston. It has sold more than $28 million in real estate since late 2014.

At the last census, Ruston reported nearly 800 residents, a fact that Stewart and co-listing broker JoAnn Jett say is often viewed as desirable by their buyers from Seattle and King County.

“It’s remarkable how many times I hear buyers say, ‘Ruston and the waterfront remind me of Seattle when I first moved there’ and I hear locals express wonder at all the positive changes happening in town,” said Jett. “Buyers also recognize that their money goes further here, as Ruston real estate prices are considerably lower than that of Seattle and King County.”

Jett and Stewart believe that what buyers are referring to is Ruston’s small town charm coupled with its easy access to Point Ruston. That charm is apparent in the welcome recognition of community institutions like Don’s Ruston Market & Deli, The Antique Sandwich Shop and The Defiant Goldfish. A stone’s throw away, Point Ruston has added Farelli’s Pizza, The Jewel Box Cafe, and Stack 57 Burger and Whiskey Bar. The project also has a new theater complete with lounge chair seating.

“There is a lot to do here. People love how you can walk or ride a bike nearly everywhere you want to go in Ruston,” added Stewart. “The Commencement is located right in the heart of it all. Point Defiance Park and Zoo are practically right next door, the waterfront and Point Ruston are just down the hill, and a few blocks up the hill is a fun and vibrant downtown area.”

Ruston residents also benefit from relatively quick travel times to most business and social hubs in Tacoma.

“If you are looking for spacious, stunning one level view condos in a perfect setting, come see The Commencement. We think you’ll be happy you did,” added Jett.

The Commencement is located at 5204 North Bennett Street in Ruston, Washington. Model units are available for viewing daily from noon to 4 p.m. For more information about The Commencement, call JoAnn Jett or Cindy Stewart at Windermere Professional Partners at 1-253-625-7121 or visit www.thecommencement

  • Sales nearly double year over year from 2015

RUSTON, Wash.−December 10, 2016−Sales and sales related activity at The Commencement in Ruston, Washington, located just outside of Tacoma, near $28 million as autumn 2016 comes to a close. The luxury condominium community saw roughly $13 million in sales activity since December of 2015 and interest continues to be strong moving into the holiday season.

“It was a very busy year at The Commencement,” said Cindy Stewart, co-listing agent for the property. “Not only did we enjoy continued traction in the Tacoma-area, but we saw significant interest from King County buyers too. As real estate prices there continue to rise at a rapid pace many King County residents are venturing to the Tacoma area to look at homes and are discovering the charm of Ruston and The Commencement. Several times I’ve heard people say, ‘this reminds me of Seattle when I moved there years ago’.”

Unique in the Tacoma and Ruston-area real estate market, The Commencement offers generous square footage ranging from 1,680 to 2,300 square feet. The expansive floor plans are made even more desirable by high-end finishes, gas fireplaces, decks that provide an outstanding indoor/outdoor living experience in warmer months and garage parking. Equally attractive are the properties views which include the Olympic Range, Puget Sound, Commencement Bay, Mt. Rainier and the lights of Seattle. Prices for The Commencement’s luxury condominiums start in the $500,000s.

Jett and Stewart said that the accelerated pace of sales this summer actually prompted the developer, Real Capital Solutions, to prepare and release additional inventory ahead of schedule. To date, The Commencement is 65 percent sold out and with more than $25 Million in sales in the last two years.
“There really isn’t anything quite like The Commencement in the greater Tacoma area,” said JoAnn Jett managing broker at Windermere Professional Partners and co-listing agent with Stewart. “Ruston is an exceptional place to live and this property is arguably the best buy around. Buyers are recognizing that and jumping at the opportunity to own here. Quality construction, location and ease of living seem to be the three most common reasons that our buyers decide to move to The Commencement.”

The Commencement is located at 5204 North Bennett Street in Ruston, Washington. Model units are available for viewing daily from noon to 5 p.m. For more information about The Commencement, call JoAnn Jett or Cindy Stewart at Windermere Professional Partners at 1-253-625-7121 or visit

"We've only lived at The Commencement for two months, but it already feels like itís been home for a long time. That says a lot when you consider that we lived in our last home in the Olympia area for 37 years."  Sharon Grundhoffer, resident at The Commencement. 

RUSTON, WA-October 22, 2016- Barry and Susan Gourley are originally from the Northwest and lived in the Tacoma-area in the early 2000’s. In 2004, however, work relocated the Gourleys to Nebraska, which was home until October of 2015 when Barry and Susan closed on their luxury condominium unit at The Commencement, located just above the Waterfront in Ruston.

“Our daughter lives in Tacoma and we would regularly come back to the area to visit. As she started a family our trips became even more frequent,” Susan says. “In late 2014 we started to look into moving back to Tacoma. Barry is nearing retirement and we’ve moved a lot. What we really wanted was to find a special place that would be our ‘forever home’. Someone recommended that I call Cindy Stewart at Windermere Professional Partners. I did and the search began.”

Cindy Stewart and JoAnn Jett, of Windermere Professional Partners, are the co-listing brokers at The Commencement. Stewart and the Gourleys first met at The Commencement and toured the property that day.

“I remember looking at several units and the stunning views and location. We were both impressed by the quality of construction at The Commencement, but that early in our search there was still a lot to see and we were also considering a single family home.

In the following months the Gourleys looked at nearly everything available in the Tacoma-area.

“Throughout the process we often reminded ourselves that what we wanted was more time to focus on what was important to us, like our grandchildren and family. Because of that we ruled out single family home ownership. Time spent on upkeep, yard work, etc was time we would rather spend doing things we enjoy. The more we looked, the more we talked about what we’d seen at The Commencement,” Barry adds.

The Gourleys chose to purchase their home at The Commencement and have been pleased with their decision.

“It really is the perfect location,” says Barry. “We are a short walk to the Waterfront and all the amenities of Point Ruston and Ruston itself. The quality of construction also makes The Commencement far quieter than previous condos we’ve lived in. The condominium is gated and adjacent to Ruston’s police station, so safety is never a concern.”

“Having lived here for a year now, I have to say the ever changing landscape of Commencement Bay is one of my favorite things. We knew the views were astounding, but I didn’t think about how much activity there would be on the water and how fun, pretty and intriguing that would be. On any given morning we could wake up to 40-50 sailboats on the bay, the next day it could be cargo ships that move goods all over the world, or local sea kayakers, wildlife, you name it. There is always something going and it’s very relaxing to watch. We also have a great view of the Christmas Ship during the holidays and at the 4th of July we can see nearly a dozen displays of fireworks, including Seattle’s,” adds Susan. “There is no doubt this is where we were supposed to live and that we found our ‘forever home’.”

The Commencement is located at 5204 North Bennett Street in Ruston, Washington. Model units are available for viewing daily from noon to 5 p.m. For more information about The Commencement, call JoAnn Jett or Cindy Stewart at Windermere Professional Partners at 1-253-625-7121 or visit

RUSTON, WA-August 20, 2016-Roughly three years ago Mike and JoAnn Dunne decided to sell their two story waterfront home to downsize to a “rambler-style” single floor home. Their house sold quickly and without their eye on a specific home to buy the Dunnes decided to rent a luxury condominium unit at The Commencement in Ruston, Wash.

“The plan was to live here at The Commencement in a unit that we thought we may want to buy, all the while exploring the real estate options in the area. Keep in mind that we both still had our hearts set on a rambler,” said JoAnn. “Mike is a builder and has a keen eye for quality and a high standard.”

The Dunnes tenure at The Commencement continued on past the one year mark, then two, then three.

“We were actively looking at real estate the entire three years, searching for the perfect home. One day we asked ourselves, ‘what more do we want than what we have here at The Commencement’. The answer was ‘nothing’. It’s 2,400 square feet and lives like a rambler. We have 270 degree views from our fourth floor corner Majestic unit that include Mount Rainier, Seattle and the Olympic Range. The security here is top notch with gates and the Ruston Police Department next door, we are right above the water and waterfront and a short walk to restaurants, shopping and the waterfront recreation path. Our unit, which had been in the rental pool, was about to become available for purchase. The decision was easy.”

The Commencement, which has gained the attention of selective buyers over the past few years, is currently releasing new inventory to market.

“We are ahead of pace in releasing new inventory, but we had sold most of the original offering and the buyer demand is there. Some of the same floor plans that weren’t available earlier in the summer are now being released for sale from our rental pool,” said Cindy Stewart, broker with Windermere Professional Partners and co-listing agent with JoAnn Jett at The Commencement.

“Access to all of the amenities here and in the area, views, security and neighborhood were all big considerations, but the quality of construction here at The Commencement sealed the deal for me. I do notice the small details and, as a builder, know that they matter in the lifespan and resale of a property. I didn’t see anything that had this level of quality at this price point in this market”, added Mike.

“We’ve bonded with so many of our neighbors and have formed some great friendships”, said JoAnn. “The Commencement’s layout makes seeing one another and getting together very easy, that and the fact that I can see the sunrise over the water from my bed made up my mind.”

The Commencement is located at 5204 North Bennett Street in Ruston, Washington. Model units are available for viewing daily from noon to 5 p.m. For more information about The Commencement, call JoAnn Jett or Cindy Stewart at Windermere Professional Partners at 1-253-625-7121 or visit