On a recent trip, Christina Pivarnik, the marketing director for the City of Port Townsend, showed three of us travel writers around and uncovered places I didn’t even know existed. Even though I’ve spent my entire life in Washington State, until recently I’ve not spent much time in Port Townsend. And it seems like every time I go there I find something new. It’s like uncovering treasures in your own backyard.
Secret Port Townsend
I seriously doubt that I would have ever found the Undertown Coffee & Wine Bar on my own. It’s, well, underground. When you discover the stairs to this coffee shop on Water Street, you’ll see the sign for it.
We walked through a tunnel underneath the street and sidewalk. Then you go through a tunnel until you find the door and while you’re enjoying the Stumptown Coffee they serve, you’ll forget that you’re below street level. The fresh pastries, baked on site in a small convection oven by the lady with a bow in here hair, are to die for.
The Clam Cannery lodging facility remains unmarked and inconspicuous when you drive by, but take a look at the rooms on their web site, www.clamcannery.com. Each suite offers an unobstructed view of Port Townsend Bay and they are pet-friendly. This is definitely a place I want to see from the inside.
I highly recommend T’s Restaurant, located on the waterfront. Tim, the chef, has worked at Spago’s and trained with Wolfgang Puck. T’s has been designated as a stop on the Olympic Culinary Loop.
Menu items include local Manila clams, a cheese plate featuring Mt. Townsend cheeses, fresh sea scallops, Black Angus Flat Iron Steak and my personal favorite, Ginger & Scallion Crusted Cape Cleare Wild King Salmon with artichoke hearts, roasted fennel and edamame succotash, garnished with a pomegranate port gastrique. My compliments to the chef.
Actually the food scene here gets rave reviews so the town prints a “Menu Guide” every year which you can pick up at the Visitor’s Center, 2437 East Sims Way or you can get the basics at www.ptguide.com/restaurants-and-dining.
My grandson recommends the crab shooters in Sambuca cream at Silverwater Café, 237 Taylor Street. For Italian fare, the locals like Lanza’s Ristorante, 1020 Lawrence Street.
For walking off some of those calories, request a room on the third floor of the Bishop Victoria Hotel – you’ll negotiate 44 fairly steep stairs getting to your room. An elevator is not an option. But the room décor as well as the common areas brings back the authentic Victorian era. The Bishop also allows dogs, gives you towels for them and has a stash of treats behind the desk.