Port Townsend, Washington, sometimes referred to as the “City of Dreams,” is the place I decided to call home after extensively exploring much of the United States. Sitting at the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula, surrounded by water against the backdrop of the magnificent Olympic Mountains, it’s no wonder so many people dream of living here.
If you get a chance to visit, here is a look at some of the best places to dine, where to stay and what to do while you’re here.
Where to stay
You’ll find lots of great options when it comes to accommodations, from historic hotels to campgrounds and everything in between. Fort Worden State Park, just a mile west of downtown Port Townsend, offers lodging in 36 historic houses in a spectacular location with amazing views. There are also two campgrounds with a total of 80 sites, many with fantastic views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The Palace Hotel is set inside a beautifully restored Victorian right in the heart of downtown. Many rooms offer views of Admiralty Bay, and some are even rumored to be haunted. The Bishop Victorian Hotel is also an excellent choice, featuring 16 fireplace suites for an especially romantic stay.
Where to dine
Hidden away in Uptown, just a block from the downtown area, Sweet Laurette Cafe is an ideal spot for breakfast or brunch, although they also serve an outstanding lunch and dinner too. Expect to find meals based on fresh, local ingredients as well as decadent treats like the “Apple & Pear Dutch Baby,” along with some of the best coffee in town.
If you’re craving Italian for dinner, Lanza’s Ristorante, right across the street from Sweet Laurette is frequently named tops for its romantic atmosphere and fabulous cuisine. The Silverwater Cafe, next to the Rose Theater downtown, offers an extensive menu with lots of fresh, local foods, including seafood, chicken, steaks, burgers and pasta.
What to do
Many people are just happy browsing the many shops and art galleries that line the downtown streets, and gazing up at the stunning Victorian buildings, but you’ll find a lot more here if you have the time. To delve into the town’s history, visit the Jefferson Museum of Art and History. This great little museum features a spooky old jail and a fascinating look at the ladies of the night who were here back in its heyday.
Puget Sound Express operates whale watching tours from the Point Hudson Marina, including a 4-hour tour departing in the morning and afternoon toward the San Juan Islands to see orca whales, along with other area wildlife like bald eagles, harbor seals, minke whales, humpback whales, porpoise and more.
While you’re here, be sure to visit Fort Worden State Park and take a stroll along the beach, check out the lighthouse, or visit the Marine Science Center to learn more about the local marine life.
K.C. Dermody is a freelance writer and the author of the “Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland.” She has traveled to nearly all 50 states and many countries worldwide and has a passion for imparting what she has learned from her experiences to others.
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