Beware of Vampires with Fiddles

Published: July 15th 2015
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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 FallsSol Duc FallsSol 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,
Bella's TruckBella's TruckBella's Truck

Forks, Washington
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
Bald EagleBald EagleBald Eagle

Seabeck, Washington
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 DeerPort Townsend DeerPort 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
Lavender FarmLavender FarmLavender Farm

Sequim, Washington
was nice to spend a relaxing month in a small piece of classic Americana.

Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


Lavender FarmsLavender Farms
Lavender Farms

Sequim, Washington
Hurricane RidgeHurricane Ridge
Hurricane Ridge

Olympic National Park
Sol Duc FallsSol Duc Falls
Sol Duc Falls

Olympic National Park
Fourth of JulyFourth of July
Fourth of July

Fort Worden
Independence DayIndependence Day
Independence Day

Port Townsend
Bald EaglesBald Eagles
Bald Eagles

Seabeck, Washington

15th July 2015

I love your must have a very good camera? I loved Seattle and there is so much to see around Washington and Oregon I didn't get to those places that you did when I visited a couple of years ago... It makes me want to go back. I do love USA - such amazing landscapes there.
15th July 2015

Unfortunately we didn't see as much of Seattle as we would have liked. I think our original intention was to spend a month there and travel out to see the rest of the state. Thanks for the nice photo compliment and thanks for following along!
15th July 2015

This is an area we considered retiring to...
it's fun to read along as you search for the ideal retirement location. I thought with Vancouver you had hit the target although it is expensive...but the Canadian to US dollar exchange rate is favorable for Americans right now. So the search continues...
15th July 2015

Port Townsend would be a great place to retire. Nice people and very beautiful. Lots of wooden boats and tiny islands. We're not ready to go home quite yet, but it was nice to spend a month in a nice area of the US.
16th July 2015

Wow, thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. I'm from Sequim and seeing your blog made me really homesick! I love the way that you captured the colors. Happy to have seen this, I can't wait to read more of your posts. Cheers!
16th July 2015

Thanks, Hannah- Sequim was one of our favorite places on the Peninsula and we stopped several times during our stay in the area. The people were friendly and the small downtown was nice to walk around. We even saw the elk herd but didn't get a picture. Thanks for reading. Loved your writing on Sri Lanka and we can't wait to get there someday.
18th July 2015

Looking for that perfect spot!
What a lovely balance between rest and little jaunts to the big city (how great you could get to Seattle and back in a day), small towns and nature. I have lots of friends who've moved there and the surrounding area from CA and swear that it's heaven living there. My parents retired to Whidbey Island (also a fine place), so I've been up there several times. The Sol Duc Falls are so magnificent, and I spent a very fine day soaking in the Sol Duc hot springs. How very lucky to catch the Fiddlers' Festival and fireworks! And of course, there was one of your signature lighthouses. So where will the winds blow you next? I need to find a place to retire, so I love your exploring.
19th July 2015

California North?
A lot of what we have seen in the Pacific Northwest reminds us of California, just a lot less crowded. I really want to keep travelling for a while. There are just too many places to see, and we still feel restless after a short time. But if we were to pick a place to finally settle this would be a good one. Whidbey Island was beautiful and Seattle was great. Our visits to both were too short. We are already off to another nice place that we will write about soon. As always, thanks for following along Tara!
19th July 2015

I am drooling over the natural landscapes and gorgeous colors of the mountains and flowers... you always capture the beauty of every place you go! Victor is really interested in going up to Washington, and after reading your descriptions and seeing your photos, I think I am on board too!
20th July 2015

Thanks for the nice compliment Jennifer. The Olympic Peninsula was very nice and is worth a visit. The weather was unusual and we should have been there just as the flowers were at there peak, but we kind of caught the end of it (which was still nice). Thanks for following along!
14th August 2015

Seattle, Sequim, Port Townsend....
We lived in Seattle for 7 years and loved exploring. So much to do, so much to see and so little time. Your blog brought a tear to my eye and made me want to go back to the Penisula. We have so many wonderful memories. Fortunately we have friends in the area so we can go back and visit often.
15th August 2015

Not enough Seattle...
Our original intent was to spend a month in Seattle but we got lazy making plans and had to settle for Port Townsend. Seattle was fun during our short visit and really seemed like a place we would like to get back to someday. Thanks for following along!
14th August 2015
Lavender Farm

Fond memories of the lavender festival.
15th August 2015
Lavender Farm

As usual, we missed the big event of the year again. We left just before they had it. We visited several of the farms one day and they said that because the west is having such a dry year the lavender was about 1 1/2 months ahead of where it usually was. So at least we saw it in full bloom.

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