On the last day of my trip to see M, we took the ferry over to Port Townsend to see it. Every single person who had been there told me that I absolutely had to visit if I had the chance, and I’m glad that I listened to everyone! It is a beautiful and picturesque sea-side town that has a charm and peace not often found. The town was officially founded by Americans in 1851, and grew rapidly for the next few decades. Growth petered off in the 1890s. As such, much of the surviving original architecture is in the Victorian style so prominent during the town’s growth and prosperity. We stayed on the main street, but I would love to explore more of the town whenever I have a chance to go back!
This ferry ride is slightly longer than the Mulkiteo ferry between Clinton and Mulkiteo- the actual ferry time itself (not including loading and unloading) is closer to 30 minutes, instead of 15. It is a slightly smaller ferry and the water is stronger and more open. The Port Townsend ferry seemed to list a little bit. It wasn’t ridiculously rough, but you could tell that the boat was moving a little more than normal. Unfortunately, it was pure fog on the ferry ride over, so no pictures. We did very briefly see a dolphin! However, the sun was coming out just as we were pulling into the harbour, and it is an impressive sight, to pull up to sheer cliffs with nineteenth century buildings atop!
If you take a right when you walk off of the ferry, you will end up walking down the historic main street! It is a pretty gorgeous view, with the harbour and waterfront on one side, and Victorian buildings on the other. I can see how it might look a little creepy if you were walking here late a t night in the fog, though! Still, it was bright and sunny and lovely for us, and we couldn’t have asked for a better day.
We ducked into a small bookshop- of course M and I can’t resist the call of books. As much as I am trying to limit my book buying, I of course found a book! (To be found on my book post next week!) The William James Bookstore is a terrific mix of new and used books, with a book on pretty much every single topic you could imagine. Their used history section was small and but incredibly well-stocked. I have to say, this is possibly one of the best small bookstores I have seen, and I have seen hundreds, if not thousands.
We had lunch at the Courtyard Cafe, a small but cute spot right off the main street. I had a roast beef and provolone sandwich that was delicious! Next time we are there, I will certainly be trying some of the cookies and cakes- there were a ton to chose from! We were able to eat outside, and this little guy was right beside us the entire time we were there:
I was continually struck by how perfectly antique and picturesque the town is. Either everything has lasted for an amazing amount of time, or they have some talented restorers- in either case, it looks fantastic and really takes you back to another time. I’m not overly interested in American history, but I do find the mid-to-late nineteenth century, West Coast history fascinating! The development of the frontier and coast could hold my attention for hours. Port Townsend allowed me a glimpse of what the coast might have looked way back yonder!
The highlight of Port Townsend for me was going to Jane Dough. It is a shortbread shop that M discovered a little while back, and I was all in as soon as he said shortbread. I could eat shortbread for hours (and have done so…). While the pieces are on the smaller side, they are most definitely worth the price! The orange shortbread actually tasted like there was orange in it, and the white chocolate and raspberry shortbread was possibly one of the best desserts I have ever tasted, period. If you have the chance to visit, jump on the ice cream and shortbread deal- one scoop of homemade ice cream and two pieces of shortbread for $3!
While I am more of a prairie girl than I would sometimes care to admit, I absolutely loved seeing the harbour from the town. It looked calm and peaceful… until 3 orcas made an appearance in the harbour! I was not fast enough to grab any pictures, but they played with a boat before taking off alongside the shoreline. I am entirely terrified of most everything that lives in water (other than turtles, because who doesn’t love turtles?) but this was truly incredible to see. We guessed that they were females because they were fairly small, as far as whales go. The town has done a fantastic job with city planning, as the parks and piers along the harbour are beautiful!
Overall, Port Townsend was gorgeous, and absolutely perfect for a day trip! If you want to be transported back in time for a few hours, I recommend you take the ferry over if you are in Washington. Bonus points if you bring your pup- it’s very dog friendly!
What is your favourite day trip that you have taken?