USA

A Victorian Twist and some Wooden Boats

We had heard about the wonders of Port Townsend and Port Gamble from our guidebooks and hosts, and decided today (Thursday) was the day to explore them (after much consideration of other options). We set off early to head north on the peninsula, with Tim at the wheel again.

The drive up was really pretty, through forested and scrubland areas with glimpses of the sea / river / sound / whoknowswhat to Port Gamble, which is a small place with lots of gorgeous Victorian houses built when it was a mill town, with plaques explaining their original uses.

We found some interesting trees too, a conker (horse chestnut) where I had an unusually cheesy moment (love conkers all, geddit?!) and an 1875 Camberdown Elm which came originally from a grafted branch from Camperdown Park in Dundee. The Camperdown Elm cannot reproduce naturally and has to be grafted onto a Scotch Elm then the Scotch Elm branches cut off to leave only the mutant tree. Very odd but pretty cool!

For both our mums we stopped in at this amazing quilt shop, with so much fabric and an amazing collection of different styles of quilts hanging around the place.

We picked up a coffee from a cute wee takeaway booth and headed on our pretty journey to Port Townsend, over a floating bridge with strange grated sections which make driving over it odd and noisy but allow it to open for shipping when needed. 

Port Townsend is another old Victorian town, built when the area was developing in the 1890s as the “City of Dreams” in the hope it would turn into the trading centre of the North-West, but lost out to Seattle. It’s been developed into an artsy community over the last 40 years following a period of decline, and the sun was even out to welcome us!

We spent a little time in an Uptown shop selling potential gifts, then walked downtown past the old fire bell tower into the Downtown area which is spread along the sea front, and littered with more artsy places, restaurants and bars. We eventually found a gluten free option in a bar with a balcony over the sea. 

Spotting a nacho theme at all?! 

Over lunch we were talked at by a local, who was very excited for the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend that weekend, so we headed along to the docks area to take a look. This is apparently their major event of the year, with people coming in for the weekend from miles around, as everyone kept asking us if we were there for the weekend. The tents were still being set up and boats arriving, but we had a good wander around the harbour and mini beach in the sunshine before heading back to the car, via a little more house-viewing.

Kate’s friend Angela came over for the night for a tasty dinner of artichoke, prawns (aka shrimp) and dip, followed by ice cream with more Blackberry Wine, then a good game of Settlers of Catan with Baileys! It was good to catch up with Angela and play Settlers with 3 people – sadly we haven’t yet convinced Timmy to play, but we’ll keep trying…

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