Port Townsend Washington has been on our list of places to visit since last year when we first visited the Olympic Peninsula. At that time we stayed in the heart of the peninsula. So this year we decided to explore the area closest to Seattle.
Back when we set up camp in the casino in Seattle, we discovered that the back of the motorhome and the front of the car were covered with a film of oil. And realized that during the annual service for Island Girl in Canada, the oil was overfilled. We did not realize the gravity of the situation until we drove to Port Townsend, when we discovered the oil cap had blown off! This would need attention.
But first we set up camp at Jefferson County Fairgrounds, a very reasonably priced and simple RV park. Check out my review of the campground here.
We chose to visit this area during the not so great weather window, that is, the rainy season, because we are considering the Pacific Northwest as a possible next home, and checking out different communities in the area. But we are not sure that we can handle the rainy winter season.
Port Townsend first came to our attention when we heard that it was located in the Olympic rainshadow and receives less rain than other areas of the Olympic peninsula. Forks, the town where we stayed last year, is surrounded by the Olympic rainforest. So, while Forks gets about 120 inches of rain per year, Port Townsend reportedly gets only about 19 inches of rain.
It is a pretty cool town, with a large number of Victorian homes, a strong arts community, and, of course, access to Olympic National Park. Not to mention deer walking around the town and hanging out in people’s yards.
So we spent some quality time exploring the town and its surroundings. And it is in fact a charming town with lots of interesting architecture, great shops, restaurants and bars, a fabulous natural foods grocery co-op and lots of green space. And of course the ocean and the National Park.
Since we were there during the rainy season we did experience rainy weather. And gray, humid days. But we also had a few partly sunny days. Not too terrible.
And it turned out that the 14th annual Dungeness Crab Festival was taking place in Port Angeles, about an hour away, during our visit. So we drove out to check out the arts and crafts, music and cooking demonstrations and to sample some of the food.
Port Angeles, however, is NOT in the rainshadow and it was raining when we arrived. As we began to explore the arts and crafts tents the rain turned into a deluge and the vendors gave up their valiant efforts to keep the contents of their tents dry.
So we adjourned to the main tent where they featured live music and lots of great seafood. Dungeness crab is from this area of Washington, so there were lots of options. Yum! And it was quite the festive crowd.
Back in Port Townsend, we spent a little time looking at real estate to get a feel of what was available. It was not a serious search but rather an orientation of neighborhoods and the local real estate market.
We also visited Fort Worden State Park and took a little hike with Angel, and of course spent time around the pretty harbor. Boating is obviously a strong tradition here, and there is a rowing and sculling club, a maritime center focusing on education, and an annual Wooden Boat Festival, now in its 19th year. We got a glimpse of some beautiful sculls through the windows of the building where they are stored.
On our way out of Port Townsend, we stopped in Tacoma to take care of the overfilled oil problem. The folks at the Freightliner dealer there drained the excess oil and steam cleaned the engine. And the Freightliner Dealer in Canada paid for it, since they had made a mistake. Anyone can make a mistake, but it is if and how they recover that is important.
Our next stop was Portland, where we were meeting friends before flying out to Miami for a week. And also where we were sure to experience more rainy weather.