Published: December 14th 2008July 20th 2007
We visited Sequim,
Washington and the surrounding area on an extended weekend trip during July of 2007. I did not write a day by day account of this trip, so below I will provide a brief summary of the places we saw and things we did.
Sequim is located on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State along the Dungeness River near the base of the Olympic Mountains. It is most famously known as one of the driest spots in Washington, only receiving an average of 15 inches of rain each year. Because of the lack of rain, the city has attracted many retirees, including Mike’s grandparents, who call Sequim home for six to seven months each year. Our reason for visiting the area was of course to visit his grandparents, but I also wanted to see the famous lavender fields of the city in full swing, so we chose to go during the annual Lavender Festival.
Aside from the festival, here are some of the other things we saw:
• Dungeness Spit: A 5.5 mile long sand spit that juts out from the edge of the Olympic Peninsula, just north of downtown Sequim. All of the land
is part of the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
and there is a lighthouse at the very end of the spit. Unfortunately, walking 5.5 miles on sand was not the quickest process, so after walking for nearly two hours and probably going only halfway on the spit, we decided that we weren’t going to have time to go all the way to the lighthouse. However, we did have a really good time exploring the coastal waters and finding treasures in the sand (none of which we kept of course!). At some point in the future, I would like to hike all the way to the lighthouse, but we will have to block out the better portion of a day to accomplish this task.
• Hurricane Ridge:
Located within the Olympic National Park, this area provides amazing views of the park, and on a very clear day, a glimpse of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Unfortunately, our visit occurred on a rather cloudy day, so no views were to be seen. We visit Sequim at least once a year, and we hope that on a future visit, the sun will be out so that we can
drive up to the viewpoints at Hurricane Ridge. However, although it rarely rains in Sequim, it never really seems to be sunny either. In fact, I’ve only ever seen the sun come out once in Sequim, and that was for just a few minutes on this trip; quite strange.
• Olympic Game Farm:
This so-called farm is home to dozens of species of wild animals, including Elk, Yak, Bison, Deer, Cougars, and Bears. Many of the Walt Disney nature specials were filmed at this 90 acre preserve during the 1960’s. Being a lover of animals, I was excited to visit the farm, assuming it was set-up as a sanctuary. Unfortunately, as soon as I saw the caged-in cats, I realized that it was not at all as I had imaged. While we had fun feeding the massive-sized animals through the windows of our car, I couldn’t help but feel terrible for the conditions the animals had to live in. The ones that made me feel the saddest were definitely the bears. They each had their own separate pen, which weren’t actually that big. These bears were the ones used in many of the Disney movies, and would stand
on their two hind legs or roar (as if on cue) in order to have us throw them the bread. It made me feel very sad and depressed that these bears had no idea what life was really like out in the wilderness and that they had to live in the never ending life of cars driving next to their pens each and every day. It’s unfortunate that the park has been set-up in such a way that that animals cannot roam free over at least a small portion of the 90 acres. We won’t ever go back and I wouldn’t recommend a visit here, especially to those who care about animal welfare and cruelty.
• Lavender Festival:
I was most excited to visit the many lavender farms that have made Sequim known as “the Lavender Capital of North America”. Since our visit occurred during the annual festival, we were required to purchase a “farm tour” ticket, which enabled us to visit all of the farms. I thought the price was steep, but it was either pay up or not visit any of the farms. From what I understand, if you visit any of the farms outside of
the festival dates, entrance is free. In hindsight, this would have been the wiser plan as we would have not only saved money, but would have been able to enjoy the farms without the hordes of tourists that were everywhere! We ended up visiting five of the farms, and even bought a few small lavender plants back home with us! In addition to visiting the farms, we also walked through the street fair, which was within walking distance from Mike’s grandparent’s house. Interestingly enough, there was several food vendors selling lavender flavored foods, including ice cream and bratwurst (neither of which we were brave enough to try!).
• Eating: As we were staying with Mike’s grandparents, we only ate out twice. The first was the Oak Table Café,
which was a huge restaurant with great character and even better food. We were there for breakfast, so the place was packed. If there’s a line, don’t be discouraged; it’s worth waiting in! We also ate at a Mexican restaurant called El Cazador
for dinner one evening. The food was okay, but only so-so, so we probably wouldn’t eat there again.
• On our last day, we stopped
in at the city of Port Townsend
on our way home. Port Townsend has 70 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places and also has more authentic architecture from the Victorian era than any other town north of San Francisco. While there, we visited Fort Worden State Park,
a few of the downtown stores, and viewed just a sampling of the many beautiful exteriors of Victorian homes. We only had about two hours in the city, but much more time is required if you want to really see the sights; an overnight visit and two days is what I recommend.
There are more photos below