Tag Archives: Port Townsend

What’s New and Cool in September, 2016

Fall is almost upon us.

 

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September 2-25:  Washington State Fair in Puyallup, A week longer than normal, but closed every Tuesday during its run. This is the most popular fair on the west side of the mountains. To see everything, it might take you two full days. Fisher scones, Clydesdales, competitions, Super Heroes, funnel cakes, dinosaurs, and more.

Lighthouse on Rocky Shore

September 9-11:  Mukilteo Lighthouse FestivalMain food court, kids food court, battle of the bands, parade, children’s activities, fireworks and a fishing derby top this community celebration.

White-Pelican

September 9-11:  Puget Sound Bird Fest in Edmonds, Bird lovers of all ages unite to learn more about their hobby. Festival includes guided nature walks, a photography exhibition and field workshop, speakers and presentations.

September 9-18:  Bellingham Beer WeekFifth annual celebration of the craft beer scene in our city to the north. Participants include Chuckanut, Boundary Bay, Kulshan, Aslan, Wander, Structures, Menace and Stones Throw. For other beer coverage across the state, check with my friends at the Washington Beer Blog.

September 23-25:  Valleyfest in the Spokane Valley, Short and long-distance bike rides, hot air balloons, bed races, fishing at the falls, a parade, and robotics and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities.

September 23-25:  Port Townsend Film Festival, 98 films at six different theatre venues, one of which is outside.

September 23-25:  Autumn Leaf Fest in Leavenworth, Parades, music, entertainment, car show, breakfast and more.

September 23-25:  Ye Merrie Greenwood Faire in Kennewick, A period Renaissance Faire, need I say more?

September 30-October 1:  Inaugural SeaFeast in Bellingham, This new event takes place in downtown and showcases the rich maritime and thriving commercial fishing there. Local seafood, competitions, entertainment, a pub crawl and salmon barbecue.

Just Plain Cool

Wings over Washington in Seattle is a new attraction on Pier 59 at Miner’s Landing in Seattle. Purchase your tickets at the same place you buy them for the Great Wheel. This flying theatre transports you over and through some of the best scenery in the state. Once you’re strapped into your seat, the chairs drop and you become a part of the landscape and seascape. It feels so real, that I ducked and lifted my feet to avoid the obstacles.

 

Courtesy Doug Walker Photography

Courtesy Doug Walker Photography

The Thurston County Bountiful Byway, is now open so anyone can travel the 60-mile loop filled with fresh food and beverages. “This new program will further the Bountiful Byway’s mission to bring visitors hungry for local produce, craft beverages and farm fresh fare straight to the source,” says Shauna Stewart, executive director of the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau.

 

 

 

What’s New and Cool in July, 2016

Travel and Words: An Excellent Conference

I’ve gone to the Travel & Words Conference for the past two years. Not only is it set in an appealing Northwest location every time, but the opportunities to speak with local Convention & Visitor Bureau representatives, other writers and editors makes it so worthwhile. Writers need to leave their desks once in awhile and socialize. If you’re already a travel writer or would like to dip your toe into this genre, I urge you to consider attending.

Here are the details:  Pacific Northwest Travel Writers Conference runs from April 29-30, at Fort Worden State Park Conference Center in historic Port Townsend, Washington. This year’s theme is “Go! Pitch. Write. Publish.” Some of my colleagues will be speaking on topics that will help all of us with our travel writing.

 

JASON BRICK, of Portland, Oregon, will share his strategies for writing full time as well as being a house-dad and using his experience from the business world as a springboard for gaining paying gigs online and in print

MICHAEL FAGIN, from Redmond, Wash., writes, blogs and forecast the weather. He will disclose tips on how to cast a wider net with your freelancing endeavors.

SUE FRAUSE, who lives on Whidbey Island, writes, blogs, posts on Facebook and Twitter, hosts a culinary theatre show and also is on the road constantly. You must ask her what her time management secrets are. She reveals what the travel writing lifestyle entails.

KAREN GILB, of Vancouver, Wash., writes fiction as well as travel and blogs. She’ll share her new strategy for expanding her Northwest writer’s brand in 2012-13.

MARTY WINGATE, from Seattle, writes mysteries (“The Garden Plot” and the “Potting Shed Mystery” series) and about gardens plus develops garden tours.  Her topic for the conference will be how she’s marketing her writing and traveling interests.

CARRIE UFFINDELL, who lives in Portland, blogs, writes fiction and specializes in writing about family travel in the Northwest and in the country of Wales.

See the Event Schedule, Travel and Tourism Exhibitors, and Registration details. I hope to see you April 29-30 in Port Townsend!

Sure Signs of Spring

Daffodil Princesses

The weather isn’t always the best indicator of spring in the Pacific Northwest. So I have my own personal signs that the season has begun. The first is when I see a pair of tennis shoes strung of the overhead wires – I wish I could see the teens while they attempt this fete. Second, is the smell of backyard barbecuing and my third tell is the start of neighborhood parades. Parade season, if you will, has officially launched.

Yesterday we watched the Daffodil Parade as more than 100 entries walked, marched, danced and played musical instruments along the parade route on Main Street in Sumner.                             

Kita and Elias taking in the parade

This parade is the only one in the country that travels to four different cities on the same day. First, the parade travels along Pacific Avenue in Tacoma, then it moves to Puyallup, from there to Sumner and the last leg is in Orting.

Clowns, pirates, horses, cars, bagpipers, marching bands and buses filled the streets of the different Pierce County communities to the delight of children of all ages. Parade entries came from as far as Penticton, British Columbia and Astoria, Oregon. Of course, as the name indicates, the floats were adorned with bright yellow daffodils and daffodils were passed out to the parade goers. The festival atmosphere almost has to make you smile. 

A friendly Seafair pirate

Upcoming parades in 2011 include:
May 7: Washington State Apple Blossom in Wenatchee
May 21: Rhododendron Festival in Port Townsend
May 28: Ski to Sea in Bellingham
June 4: Farmer’s Day in Lynden
June 18: Berry Dairy Days in Burlington

July 4: Independence Day celebration parades in Blaine, Everett, Sedro Woolley and Tumwater
July 16: Capital Lakefair Twilight in Olympia

Does your community have a unique parade? I would love to hear about it.

Top Travel Trends for 2011: The Washington State Version

Happy New Year to you all.

View of Mt. Rainier

Thomas Stanley, COO of Cox & Kings laid out his top predictions for the kinds of travel people want to take in Luxury Travel Magazine recently. Lo and behold, I discovered that every one of his trends can easily be experienced right here in Washington.

Here’s how:

  1. Travelers will be taking Multi-destination Vacations to basically get more bang for their buck or their time off. Since we have almost every kind of terrain from mountains to forests to desserts to the Pacific Ocean and you can easily drive from one to another in less than a day, this is ideal. One way to do this would be to start in Seattle (www.visitseattle.org) for city activities, drive to Mt. Rainier (www.visitrainier.com) and stay overnight and then go to Tri-Cities in eastern Washington (www.visittri-cities.com) to experience wine country.

 

  1. Group Tours will increase in popularity. I can easily recommend the eco-friendly Evergreen Escapes tours (www.evergreenescapes.com). This winter you can choose from the Woodinville Wine Trail, Olympic National Park, Mt. Rainier and more. Or tour Seattle by land and water with Ride the Ducks of Seattle (www.ridetheducksofseattle.com), a laugh-a-minute tour.

 

  1. Then there’s Contemporary Cultural Travel. We’ve got this one more than covered with the Seattle Art Museum (www.seattleartmuseum.org), the free Frye Art Museum (fryemuseum.org) in Seattle, Tacoma’s Art Museum (www.tacomaartmuseum.org) and Museum of Glass (www.museumofglass.org); and if you’re on the far side of the mountains take a gander at the Northwest Museum of Art and Culture (www.northwestmuseum.org) in Spokane.

 

  1. Resurgence of Tour Guides and Travel Agents. I don’t know any tour guides personally, but what about checking out some of the tours offering guidance via a CD at www.washingtonfolkarts.com. There’s Othello to Omak, Leavenworth to Maryhill, the Cascade Loop and several more.

 

  1. Learning Vacations rank high on the charts.  This February you can learn how to make cheese over a three-day period in Lynden (www.wsu.edu/creamery/basicplus.htm). Roadscholar.org (formerly Elderhostel) offers many learning opportunities for seniors including the study of  “Seabirds and Shorebirds of Coastal Washington in Port Townsend. We also have the Stonerose Interpretive Center (www.stonerosefossil.org) in Republic where you can dig your own fossils.

 

More to come on top travel trends for 2011.

Port Townsend: A Victorian Seaport Then and Now

Water Street in downtown Port Townsend

Sin flourished in the brothels along Water Street in the late 1800’s. Proper Victorian women and their children kept their distance from the bluff above. Banned from the downtown area, so they wouldn’t mix with the seamy women for hire, the wives and offspring of seafaring captains stayed in their mansions on the hill.

The division still exists today, but not for the same reasons. Geographically there’s still an uptown and downtown, but anyone is welcome to roam between the two.

Port Townsend is one of only three registered Victorian seaports in the United States, due to its preserved marine and architectural heritage. The town holds an annual Wooden Boat Festival (this year’s was the 34th) and prides itself on a number of fine dining restaurants that serve local seafood.

I just tried one of those restaurants in September – T’s Restaurant. They serve salmon, scallops, local Manila clams, prawns and more in addition to the chicken, steak, duck and pork chops. I highly recommend this family operation. Tim, the chef, wanted to be a chef since he was very young. He would serve his parents breakfast with a towel draped over his arm and then present them with the bill. I know I mentioned this restaurant before, but it bears repeating.

One of the historic buildings in downtown Port Townsend

Back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s – People who opened businesses in downtown made a fortune from the never-ending marine traffic. With their new found wealth settlers tried to recreate the look of New York City. Using lots of brick, tall windows and doors, exposed cast iron pillars and trapdoors inside some of the buildings they created a look unlike any other town in this state. Modern renovations have preserved that look in a grand way.

If you can, take time to enjoy a movie at the Rose Theatre, one of those beautifully restored buildings. The Rose opened in 1907 and moved to its current location on Taylor Street the next year. It is one of the most treasured features of Port Townsend’s National Historic District.

Besides the best, fresh popcorn and superb sound, every show is personally introduced by the Rose’s host.  (www.rosetheatre.com) It’s an experience you’ll not soon forget.

Close by is the Silverwater Café, another knock-your-socks-off culinary delight. I recommend the crab shooters – crab leg meat, crab bisque and Sambuca cream – not something you can order anywhere. It’s delicious as are all the seafood offerings and the beef, poultry and pasta. And it’s just steps away from the Rose Theatre.

Visit Fort Worden for a Host of Fun

An appetizer courtesy of Bon Appetit

Fort Worden, in Port Townsend, along with Fort Flagler and Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, once guarded the nautical entrance to Puget Sound. Established in the late 1890s, these posts became the first line of defense designed to prevent a hostile fleet from reaching targets like Bremerton and Seattle. As an aside, I remember my dad talking about Fort Worden where he was stationed for awhile during WWII.

But these forts were never challenged and Fort Worden closed down in 1953. Eventually all three became state parks. The dedication for Fort Worden State Park took place in 1973.

Fort Worden, a 434-acre state park has 80 campsites, 60 picnic sites and holds a place on the list of State and National Register of Historic Places. The old barracks now serve as dorms and the hospital offers meeting space.

Besides offering public recreation, conference facilities, performing arts venues, vacation housing and historic and educational interpretive programs, it’s a darn cool place to visit.

The old Guardhouse has become a Gift Shop and Information Center filled with mementos like shirts, caps, coffee mugs, key chains, magnets, tasteful lighthouse gifts and of course, friendly volunteers. All proceeds from the gift shop go to improve the Park.

If you’re coming to the Fort for a conference or taking a class through Centrum, opt for the meals at Fort Worden Commons. Besides being a bargain at $34 for three meals, you’ll have numerous choices and from the sampling I tasted, the food is off the charts. You can thank Bon Appétit and Chef Jay Payne for the quality and freshness of the food.

Touch tank at Marine Science Center

Visitors can begin at the Guardhouse Gift Shop and navigate a walking trail with interpretive signs through the Fort’s history, which includes bunkers, tunnels and gun emplacements. Kids love to take flashlights inside the bunkers and tunnels and play.

On the beach, you won’t want to miss the Port Townsend Marine Science Center with its large touch tanks and creative geologic history and coastal wildlife displays. You can get up close and personal with a live octopus and an endangered pinto abalone. Hydrophones allow you to hear the sounds Orca Whales emit underwater. The Marine Science Center offers bird migration cruises, summer science camps for kids, nature walks, public programs and lectures. To check for days and times for events, visit www.ptmsc.org.

Alexander's Castle is a one-bedroom vacation rental and the oldest buiding at Fort Worden

You can rent the Officer Row homes for your vacation or even as a place to have Thanksgiving dinner if your family is large. Two of the units have been designated pet-friendly. www.fortworden.org

Enjoy your visit.

Port Townsend for a Day or Three

An artisan latte from Undertown Coffee & Wine Bar

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.

Dining

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.

For more information, visit:  www.ptguide.com or www.enjoypt.com.

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