A harbor town filled with early 20th century buildings (the library was built with a Carnegie grant), Victorian homes, quaint bed and breakfasts and gardens of rhododendrons, Port Townsend is a modern town proud of its historical roots. In the 1970s, a renewed interest in this little port village was found, and along with the flower children and their laid back attitude, came the restoration and rebuilding of many of Port Townsend’s century old homes. Today, there’s still a relaxing vibe in this Olympic Peninsula town of just about 10,000 residents. Named one of the top 100 places to live by Money Magazine in 2007, here’s some of what makes Port Townsend great:
You can take the Bainbridge Island ferry or the Edmonds/Kingston ferry. Once you’ve crossed, go over the Hood Canal Bridge on Highway 104, and follow the signs to Port Townsend (Highway 19).
Places to Stay:
Ann Starrett Mansion
744 Clay Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368
Built in 1899 by George Starrett for his wife, Ann, this grand Victorian home has the spiraling staircase, the turret, the sitting room and parlor all decorated as if Mrs. Starrett just stepped out for a moment. The rooms and suites are reasonably priced, starting at just $115/night. All rooms have their own private baths, and there is free wi-fi, and gorgeous water and mountain views. From the hotel, you are able to walk to the local shops and restaurants, museums and art galleries.
The Palace Hotel
1004 Water Street
Port Townsend, Washington 98368
Built in 1889 by Henry Tibbals, the building was originally called the Captain Tibbals Building. The bottom floor of the three-story structure housed the Townsend Tavern and billiards room. The second and third stories had rooms for rent. In the 1920s to 1933, Madame Marie ran the “Palace of Sweets” brothel in the building, until it was shut down following a Sheriff’s raid. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that restoration began on the building, and by 1984, it became the Palace Hotel. With a nod to its racy past, each of the 15 rooms and suites is named after Madame Marie and her “girls”. Most have private baths, but all have soaring ceilings and large windows, in keeping with Henry Tibbal’s original design, and on the first floor, you’ll find the Palace Hotel Tyler Street Coffee House, where you can sip a latte and enjoy a sweet treat, and the The Wine Seller at the Palace Hotel, where you can choose from local wines and enjoy free monthly tastings.
Where to Eat:
Water Street Creperie
1046 Water Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368
Located in the heart of historic Port Townsend, Water Street Creperie is in the Kuhn building, built in 1892. For a fabulous breakfast, or even a quick lunch, there are a plethora of egg dish crepes (made with cage free eggs), sweet crepes and savory crepes. There are gluten-free crepes as well. Ready for breakfast? Try the egg, spinach, onion, artichoke, tomato, mushroom and cheese stuffed crepe. For lunch, try the Mediterranian – ham, feta, olives, artichoke hearts, spinach, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms and pesto in a fresh made crepe. Espresso drinks, smoothies, and shakes are on the menu, and now the Water Street carries nine different flavors of all natural Italian gelato and sorbetto.
The Silverwater Café
237 Taylor St.
Port Townsend, WA 98368
Using many locally grown and organic ingredients, The Silverwater composts their kitchen food scraps. They only serve line-caught salmon and ling cod, beer from Port Townsend Brewing Company, and wine from local wineries. Come to their Mezzaluna Lounge for a light supper, cocktail or late night snack. The lounge is open until 10pm Sunday through Thursday, and 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Brunch on Sunday is from 10:30am until 2:30pm. With a wide variety of lunch and dinner choices, you can have most anything from Oysters Bleu (with Hood Canal oysters), to Wild Mushroom Fettucini to the house Bacon Bacon Burger. The number of desserts are so vast, you’ll each want to order. From classic Blackberry Pie, to Molten Chocolate Cake, to a Caramelized Banana Ring topped with vanilla bean ice cream, you will want to break your diet, if only for one night.
Things to Do:
Annual Rhody Bike Tour
Sunday, May 1st, 2011 is the Annual Rhody Tour, with 32, 45, 55 and 62 mile rides and a family trail ride at 12 miles. The family trail ride is flat and primarily on the Larry Scott Trail, a hard-packed surface trail from the Boat Haven to Douglas Way. The ride is fully supported, with food/water stops, grocery/convenience stores along route & SAG. For information, contact Mary Toews, firstname.lastname@example.org or call Phil Walkden at 360-385-5979.
Annual Walking Kitchen Tour
Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is th 14th annual AAUW Kitchen Tour isExplore eight spectacular Uptown and Downtown Port Townsend kitchens where you will discover amazing remodels as well as incredibly unique new kitchens. Share the Tour with a friend by starting at the Hospitality Center at 9:30 a.m. located at the First Presbyterian Church, 1111 Franklin Street.
Occurring the first Saturday of every month from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., galleries and venues in the downtown waterfront district show off the work of local artists. Informal and enticing, the Gallery Walks encourage exploring the many nooks and crannies of the town’s historic center. The next Gallery Walk will be Saturday, May 7.
Hiking the Olympic National Forest
There are lots of great hiking trails in the Olympic National Forest so you can head out for a nice day hike. Pets are allowed in the forest, but not in the Olympic National Park. Check out the US Forest Service website for all the details: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/olympic/recreation-nu/trails_1.shtml
Fort Worden State Park
There are over 400 acres in this state park, dedicated in 1973. Fort Worden is named after Rear Admiral John L. Worden, a Civil War naval commander, and is the only fort named for an officer of the U.S. Navy. Built in the 1890s, the fort was headquarters for Puget Sound Harbor Defenses and its fortifications helped guard the entrance to Puget Sound along with Fort Flagler and Fort Casey. There are remaining barracks, gardens, a schoolhouse, chapel and bunkers on Artillery Hill. You can see the Commanding Officer’s House, a Victorian home complete with period furnishings. The Marine Science Center is also inside the park. It’s on the pier between the park entrance and the Point Wilson Lighthouse. Bring your camera – the views are stunning.