Tag Archives: Port Angeles

Ferry Around the Islands

From one ferry you see another, courtesy of the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau

I love riding on a ferry. One of my past e-mail addresses was ferryprincess. I even have a collection of ferry boat memorabilia. My husband and I even got married on a Washington State Ferry.

This all stems from my childhood. When we went to visit my grandparents in Port Angeles, we took two different ferries because the Hood Canal Bridge hadn’t been built yet, so I associate those big vessels with the wonderful times grandparents show their grandchildren.

This past week-end we attended a Ukulele Fest on Vashon Island and I had the pleasure of riding the ferry from Pt. Defiance to Tahlequah. Although it was only a 15-minute crossing those fond memories quickly came back. My grandfather always had black licorice for me and Nehi soda.

Should you want to take advantage of one of the largest ferry systems in the world, here are some ideas of where you can go in Washington State.

With no traffic to worry about, visitors can leave their stress at the ferry dock, relax, enjoy a cup of coffee and scan the waterways for marine life during the length of the vessel’s cruise.

Although only 12 miles long, Vashon offers a wide variety of scenic countryside and outdoor activities like squid jigging (a method used to catch squid), clamming and beachcombing.

Also accessible by car-ferry from Vashon Island is Port Orchard, a city that celebrates the Kitsap Harbor Festival and a Seagull-Calling Festival.

Situated north of Vashon and just a short ferry crossing from Seattle is Bainbridge Island.  Anchored by Winslow, a quaint town filled with boutique gift shops and restaurants, this island also features 17-acre Fay Bainbridge State Park, a park ideal for camping and picnicking and the Bloedel Reserve, a beautiful 150-acre nature preserve and garden.

Two highways, 20 and 525, serve as the main roads on Whidbey Island. Rural historic areas rule most of Whidbey, with Oak Harbor offering more of a city feel. Langley, on the southern end of the island, captures spectacular views of Saratoga Passage and bountiful shopping opportunities. Coupeville lies in the north central portion and exudes small-town charm.

The Keystone ferry (reservations suggested) on Whidbey sails to Port Townsend, one of only three registered Victorian seaports. The town’s film festival held in September warrants a visit and who wouldn’t want to see where “An Officer and a Gentleman” was filmed.

Last, but definitely not least, the San Juan Islands are Washington’s northernmost islands and reachable by a ferry from the town of Anacortes. Travelers can also start their island journey here and work their way south. Filled with shops and galleries offering art made by locals, Friday Harbor on San Juan Island is known for its whale watching.

Just a short ferry hop from Friday Harbor is Orcas Island, a picturesque framework for Mount Constitution, the highest peak in the islands. While driving up the mountain, vistas include the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, the rest of the islands and the recreational opportunities below like kayaking, hiking and photography.

For Washington State Ferry information, visit:  www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries

Take a “Twilight” Tour

The Chamber of Commerce is your best bet for a starting point for all things Forks/Twilight

As you may know, the “Twilight” books are set in Forks, Washington, because the average yearly rainfall there is 10 – 12 feet (yes, that’s not a mistake – Forks measures precipitation in feet, not inches). Vampires, who dominate the story in each of the books, don’t tolerate sunlight, but thrive in rain-soaked Forks.

Although none of the “Twilight” movies were or will be filmed in Forks, you can still visit many of the places mentioned in the books – where the characters go to school, play, eat, sleep and work. You can pay for an organized, narrated tour offered by the folks at the Dazzled by Twilight store in Forks or you can pick up a map highlighting “Twilight” icons at the Forks Chamber of Commerce and take a self-guided expedition.

What you’ll see

Driving north on Highway 101, you’ll know you’ve reached the “Twilight” zone when you see Bella’s (the heroine of the books) rusty red Chevy pickup truck parked in front of the Chamber of Commerce. The “Bella” vanity plate gives it away.

Stop at the Chamber office and pick up a tour map and check out the “Love Bites” jewelry crafted by the administrator at the Forks Hospital and her sister.

The self-guided map points out:

  • Bella and her dad’s house
  • The police station where Charlie Swan (Bella’s dad)works
  • Forks High School where Bella first meets her love interest, Edward
  • Forks Community Hospital where Dr. Cullen works and has his own reserved, well-marked parking space
  • The Cullen’s home, which is an actual bed and breakfast that usually has a note on the front door saying where the Cullen’s have gone
  • Forks Outfitters, aka Newton’s Olympic Outfitters in the books
  • First Beach in La Push where the high schoolers get together one Saturday and hike


Drive a short distance to Port Angeles where you can sample mushroom ravioli (what Bella ordered in the first book) or whatever you like at Bella Italia Restaurant. It was the site of Bella and Edward’s first date. Bella Italia offers fine Italian cuisine and an extensive wine selection.

Shop for Memorabilia

Take home a souvenir to remind you of your “Twilight” adventure. Tee-shirts, mugs, Twilight brew coffee, emblems, bookmarks, jewelry, post cards, Twilight-themed signs, posters, sound tracks and even the Twilight books are available. Some businesses will stamp your book “Bought in Forks,” which makes it a collector’s item.

Beauty and serenity abound in the area surrounding Forks. Side trips to the Hoh Rain Forest, Lake Crescent, La Push and Hurricane Ridge are highly encouraged.

To find out more about Forks, visit www.forkswa.com.