Road Trip – Days 14-17 – Port Townsend, WA

Port Townsend is a wonderful old town on Townsend Bay. It’s also the dividing line between Juan de Fuca Strait and Puget Sound [fun fact: the national boundary between the USA and Canada runs down the middle of the strait]. The main street (Water St) runs along the water, of course, just a few feet above the waterline. A block back, where we stayed, sits on a bluff above this part of town. A little further up is the historic ‘uptown’ area. Both the water front and uptown have shops and galleries for the tourists and locals.

The building construction is very Victorian due to a building boom that took place in the late 1800’s when it was thought the railroad would come this far. The port city would have made a convenient stopping point for ships crossing the Pacific. The city, surrounded on three sides by water, is much closer to the ocean than the now much bigger Seattle, and the water is very calm. Alas, the railroad stopped at Seattle and the rest is history. PT, as the locals portray it, kept the old town feel as the artist communities moved in.

The surrounding area has the remains of three forts to protect the US from a Canadian invasion—we were still worried about the British trying something back then. These are all parks now. On Fort Worden, there is an old Coast Guard lighthouse station out on the point. This was a fully functional station way back when I was in the Coast Guard, but in 1976, it converted to an automated lighthouse and the crew left. The buildings remain for the tourists to gaze at.

As I mentioned, we stayed on the bluff above Water Street. Just below us was the PT Ferry, which became our transportation over to Whidbey Island on our way to Orcas Island (one of the San Juan islands). This is the view through our living room window.

Here’s a view of Mount Rainier from our window. It’s almost exactly 100 miles away. We could only see it in the evenings when the sky cleared.

We did a very touristy thing and went sailing on a Whale Watching Boat. We saw Orcas and Humpbacks. At the halfway point we stopped for lunch at Friday Harbor. The boat in the center is our whale watching tour boat. We docked at Friday Harbor for about two hours and walked about town.

Early in the morning, Port Townsend is quiet and serene, except for the crows. After hearing them mock me from the rooftops as I stroll down Water Street, I can see why storytellers for ages have been using crows as ominous characters. Their sound, as they seem to talk to each other, sounds very conspiratorial and eerie. I walked a little quicker and ended up at Better Living Through Coffee coffee shop. On my walk back, I didn’t mind the crows. Then we packed to leave this wonderful town.

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