Back in May, we threw Miles in the car and took our first road trip of the year over to Port Townsend, a quaint Victorian town 40 miles northwest of the city. The beauty of living in the Seattle area is that we can hop in a car and drive an hour in any direction and end up somewhere completely different- mountains, water, desert, rainforest, you’ll find it! Reminds me of California…
On the ferry- goodbye Seattle!
To get to Port Townsend, we took the ferry to Bainbridge Island and drove an hour and a half to this charming, sleepy town. It was a major seaport in its heydey (once predicted to be the largest port on the West Coast) and is now known for its Victorian era architecture and its maritime community.
Nick and Miles; entrance to a clam cannery; Victorian-style buildings- the oldest Episcopalian church in WA; Ann Starrett Mansion; Palace Hotel
A fun highlight of this trip? Definitely our accommodations at the Palace Hotel- a restored building that used to be a ship captain’s house in the 1800s, and a former brothel in the early 1900s. There are 15 rooms, each named after one of “the girls”, and is furnished with antiques from the area. Here’s the kicker- IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE HAUNTED! We stayed in Room #12, Miss Lou. But don’t worry, we were left at peace. Maybe because Miles was with us. Thank goodness (but darn).
This lovely lady in blue, the former madame is supposed to haunt the place
Port Townsend is the perfect weekend getaway. The town has enough attractions to keep you busy over a couple days, but can be explored at a leisurely enough pace to be relaxing. Saturday morning, we stopped for coffee at a local spot in front of our hotel, and ran into a seal molting on the beach at the front door. The Seal Sitters had just arrived and taped off the area so curious viewers would not disturb the seal. Such is life in the Pacific Northwest.
This little guy was pretty content exactly where he was
View from our hotel room; the Rose Theater (est. 1907); from the dock
We explored the downtown area of cute boutiques, antique shops, and cafes, stopping at a farmer’s market uptown, and walking the neighborhoods, admiring the beautiful and historic Victorian houses. I loved imagining what life was like a hundred years ago and in this town where time seemingly stops, you could easily visualize it. After our walk, we grabbed lunch along the water and then walked Miles down to the beach and watched people harvest seaweed. Fort Worden State Park was a short drive away, where there was a neat little lighthouse. My favorite moment of the trip, however, was stumbling across historic Chetzemoka Park, a hidden jewel of a place with an expansive grassy area where people could picnic, beautifully tended gardens, and a gazebo overlooking the water. Visitors can also meander down to the beach below. I love it when we find these unexpected sights, it makes these trips more special.
Strolling downtown; farmer’s market baked goods; climbing the rocks in Fort Worden State Park; swinging in Chetzemoka Park
Vintage cigarette cards from the antique store; Chetzemoka Park; Miles stares suspiciously at a friend; original plaque from one of the buildings downtown
Fort Worden State Park; view of downtown Port Townsend from the dock
Well, I have two favorite moments from the trip. The first mentioned above, and the second being the drive-in theater! We had the most delicious dinner at the Silverwater Cafe (I’m consistently impressed by the food in these little out-of-the-way towns and local islands), and we were looking for something to do- with Miles, since we weren’t allowed to leave him in the hotel. While reading through the local paper, I found out that there was a drive-in theater nearby. Nick said he had never been to one, so off we went to the most lively spot that evening. When we arrived and parked, we watched with interest as the locals came in their big trucks and vans, with their kids dressed in their pajamas. They brought snacks, drinks, and piled their sofas and backseats onto the open grass for more comfortable viewing. These were drive-in PROS. The theater was in an enclosed, forested area, not like the city drive-ins I remember as a kid. It was a truly a local experience, and we really enjoyed ourselves, watching the movie from the comfort of our car, with snacks and Miles sleeping in the backseat. So what if it was a bad Tom Cruise movie? And why aren’t there more drive-ins around these days?? I can get used to this.
the local drive-in where we caught a movie; local art on the beach
Before we left town the next day, we stopped by the Jefferson County Historical Society and over the next few hours, became familiarized with the town history and even the county jail where Jack London, author of The Call of the Wild (my favorite book as a kid), once spent a night for public drunkenness and disturbing the peace when he was in his early 20s. Again, love these little discoveries as we travel!