Looking for something to do on a fine summer day? Ride the ferry to Port Townsend, Washington. Those who are lucky enough to retire here have a moderate climate for Washington, not as much rain as you would think, and a great little town. There are 9,500 residents and 25.5% of them are over 65 – well above the state and national average. You can find a charming home with a water view in the $250,000 range. This small town is located on the Olympic Peninsula and is accessible by ferry from Whidbey Island or by driving south from Seattle down to the bottom of the sound at Olympia and then back up the Hood Canal. Either way, you will enjoy some of Washington’s best inter-coastal waterways. Port Townsend is at the base of the Olympic National Forrest, but only gets 18 inches of rain per year. The lower part of the city, old town, sits on a narrow spit of land right at the ferry landing. No need to take the car if you are riding the ferry!
Port Townsend, named by explorer Captain George Vancouver in 1792, is a deep water port, sheltered from the Pacific Coast weather. The town was dubbed “the City of Dreams” in 1851 because speculators thought it would be the major city on the west coast. Port Townsend today is known for its quaint downtown, historic buildings (many on the National Register) and arts community. There are dozens of galleries and shops in this little town. Our favorite restaurant is Sirens where you can sit outside and enjoy the view.
Port Townsend fills the entire year with events to keep the tourists coming including; ‘Strange Brewfest’ in January, the ‘Shipwrights Regatta’ in February, Port Townsend Playfest in March, etc.
There is a Shrimpfest, a Mariners Regatta, Taste of Port Townsend, a Steampunk festival, Blues Festival, Jazz Festival, Concerts on the Dock, Classic Car Show, Wooden Boat Festival, Arts and Crafts Fair.
But the best of all, in our opinion, is in October. In its 32nd year, the ‘Great Port Townsend Bay Kinetic Sculpture Race’ is a race with home-made boats that must be man-powered. No self respecting kinetic boat would come without a bevy of costumed sailors! Some of the boats even float! Powered by bicycles, plungers, all sorts of mechanical devices, these boats (using the term loosely!) are just a hoot to watch! Photo by Editor