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Published: July 15th 2015
It didn’t take long to get into the swing of things. We couldn’t get the key from the lockbox to open the dead bolt, so we had to spend a couple of hours at the rocky beach on the inlet waiting for the owners to come and let us into our new apartment. There were lots of people on the nearby beach. Mostly retirement age people, but a few had young children, probably grandchildren visiting during the summer.
We watched the Kite man for a few minutes. He flew several kites at once from the back of his black SUV. We noticed most of the beachgoers were searching for something on the beach. They would walk a few steps and bend forward to rake a small area. We ask and found out that they were looking for sea glass, small pieces of well-worn bottles from a time when the ocean was thought of as a garbage disposal. Surprisingly easy to find, brown and white were common, green and blue more rare. We even found one piece that was red, the most treasured color. Silly sounding but oddly addicting, searching for colored glass was how we started our visit
Sol Duc Falls
Olympic National Park
to Port Townsend, Washington, a small town on the Olympic Peninsula located just at the entrance to Puget Sound.
Port Townsend was founded in the late 1800’s on the strategic point on the biggest natural harbor on the Pacific Coast. Speculators felt the town could be the major American port in the area once the railroad came to town. They bought land and built handsome buildings on the main streets. Grand mansions were built that rivaled what could be found in San Francisco. The railroad never came and neither did the expected riches. The town stayed alive, if just barely throughout the next century. A military base was built to protect the inlet and provided just enough income to keep the town alive. Eventually a paper mill came to town to provide a few jobs.
While no fortunes were made by the original investors, the lack of development left the town virtually untouched by the changes that would occur during the 20th
century. The brick and stone buildings of downtown were left original and the Victorian Era houses on the bluff were perfectly preserved. When late 20th
century tourists and retirees discovered the area,
new money brought the old buildings back to life and helped create a nearly perfect replica of an 1880’s gold rush era town.
We were tired of travelling after spending the last 4 months in 4 different countries and decided to take a rest in a gorgeous area of the US that neither of us had spent much time in. We hoped that we could find enough things to do to not go crazy, but at the same time catch up on some much needed rest. Hopefully Port Townsend would prove to be the perfect spot.
After spending some time exploring the town and neighboring Fort Worden (which has now been turned into a state park), we headed west along the Strait of Juan de Fuca towards the small town of Sequim (pronounced Skwim). Sequim is famous for its rare dry climate in an area where the rainfall is measured in feet vs. inches. The dry weather is perfect for growing lavender and they have made this into a major cash crop for the area. The lavender was in full bloom and quite beautiful. Walking among the rows was a small breath of what
heaven must smell like.
Another Day we headed west toward Olympic National Park. We were chasing waterfalls today and seeing three in one day meant no time to waste. The Olympic Mountains lie between the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound, somewhat blocking the frequent ocean generated clouds from passing inland. As much as 14 feet of rain is common in many of the valleys. Combined with the snow melting off the Olympic Mountains many small waterfalls can be found everywhere. We picked three of the most popular to visit. We had lunch on crystal blue colored Lake Crescent after visiting the first two falls and saved the most beautiful, Sol Duc Falls for last. The 2 mile hike through the huge evergreen trees was spectacular and the payoff of the triple chute falls was well worth the effort.
Another day we headed south to visit Seattle. We crossed from the peninsula to Bainbridge Island where we would eventually catch the ferry across Puget Sound and directly into downtown Seattle. The drive across the island was beautiful with frequent views of the bay. The ferry ride was enjoyable and just long enough to feel you
were taking a nice cruise. Dolphins could be seen frolicking in the water at times. The downtown area of Seattle was very attractive and well preserved. Bustling with pedestrian traffic, the streets were lined by unique stores and many cafes and trendy restaurants. Pioneer Square was a favorite area, but the best was the famous Pike Place Market. Multiple buildings were filled with restaurants, crafts, seafood, meats and vegetables. Even a hotel and theater were included. For coffee fans, the original Starbucks was located in the marketplace and was easy to find due to the block long line outside the door.
Another day we drove to the town of Forks. Forks is located between the Olympic Mountains and the Pacific Coast and is ground zero for Washington’s famous rainy weather. The frequent rain and foggy days was the primary reason that Forks and nearby La Push were used as the setting for the famous Twilight books and movie. The books author never visited Forks prior to writing the books so no actual places were used. The movies were shot elsewhere also, so it was a little bit of a letdown as far as finding locations. The tourist
Port Townsend Deer
As plentiful as squirrels in Port Townsend
bureau did set up a map for visitors to find places that are of interest for the many fans that visit daily and it was easy to spot Edward and Bella’s followers along the route, usually posing near signs that refer to the movie.
Another day we visited the nearby town of Seabeck, which is famous for its large group of bald eagles that visit annually. The eagles are interested in the fish that are easy prey in the shallow water of the lagoon and it was exciting watching them battle amongst themselves and other water fowl for the plentiful bounty.
We finished our visit to Port Townsend by attending the annual Fiddler Festival that was held at the fort. Hundreds of fiddle players from around the world attend the festival and a concert of the best was held on Independence Day. After an afternoon of musical merriment, we found a great seat on the high ground overlooking the bay and enjoyed the fireworks display that brightly lit the sea glass beach where we started our visit at.
While not the most exciting place we have visited during our travels, it
was nice to spend a relaxing month in a small piece of classic Americana.
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