I ended up staying my maximum allowed 14 days in the quaint little Point Hudson Marina. Slowly throughout the day after the mass exodus following the Wooden Boat Festival, the marina began to come to life again as a new crew of RVers settled in and weekenders moored their yachts in my back yard. Every day was spent doing some activity that caused me to fall more in love with this town. Here are a few of the favorite ways I passed the two weeks.
It was Isak Dinesen who said, “The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea,” so there is no more therapeutic place to soothe my soul than Port Townsend’s “Soak on the Sound.” I visited as often as my budget would allow. What a treat to slip into the steaming hot pool, crack a window to let the cold damp air in to cool my face while I soak until I can’t take the heat any longer. Then out to the cold shower, rinse and repeat. On Wednesdays, if you book a massage the hour long soak is included.
Port Townsend is known for its love of theatre and the arts. In fact, their annual film festival was the reason I had to leave, as my reservation ended with no way to extend — the town was booked. In the heart of the theatre experience is the glamorous Starlight Room on the third floor of the historic turn of the century Rose Theatre. One enters the 21 and older venue through a bar where gourmet foods can be ordered to go with the cocktails. Instead of a number, you are given a card with the photo of a movie star. Then precede in to choose your seating in plush Victorian chairs with coffee tables and foot rests, while you hear over the PA, “Steve McQueen, your order is ready.” Gaze out the floor to ceiling windows over Port Townsend and enjoy a beverage before the black-out curtains are drawn as the movie starts.
Even the “regular” theater is unique, as first-run films are shown in the 1906 Vaudeville theatre which still contains the original frescos and ceiling. A live emcee provides background before each feature. Even the popcorn is gourmet, with sticks of real sweet cream butter on offer, along with a tray of toppings to suit all dietary needs, from Parmesan Cheese to Natural Brewer’s Yeast (sounds terrible, tastes fantastic!)
The path that lines the Point Hudson Marina dead ends at the beach. A couple of hours before and after low tide, it’s possible to walk all the way to the Point Hudson Lighthouse in Fort Worden. It’s two miles in each direction, a lovely walk mixed with beach, bluffs, sounds and smells from the sea. I try to walk this path at every opportunity.
My absolute favorite stop along the walking path is to visit Charlie. We were born in the same hospital in Ft Worth, Texas. Every sunny morning, he comes down to the water’s edge where he does plein air watercolor painting. I stop for a chat each day he is there. We talk about everything from RVing to painting techniques. I love watching his paintings evolve day by day. I have collected water colors since the early 80’s when I bought my first while living in New Orleans. When I took my round the world trip in 2002, they were the only souvenir I collected, consequently I have a storage shed full of them back in Texas. Now, I have one more…
Best place to start the day is in the little Velocity Coffee Shop inside the Northwest Maritime Center. As I sit and watch the marina come to life, I reflect back on mornings spent here in 2014 when I was still working full time, and would bring my laptop here to work. I find satisfaction sitting in the same chair two years later as a much more contented retiree.
But I think the essence of Port Townsend can be summed up in their Farmer’s Market, which occurs both on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. Truly a community hub, this is when the “localness” that makes Port Townsend unique is at its best. It’s tough getting down the rows as people linger for a chat. Seating on the benches at the live music stage is at a premium. Everything is locally grown, from the cheese from the Mt. Townsend Creamery to the scrumptious Pane de Amore (I highly recommend their Cranberry Walnut Bread!)
There’s plenty to do in Port Townsend during the “high tides” of September – the Wooden Boat Festival, the Ukulele Festival, and the Film Festival are just a few examples. But it’s the slack tide that makes it feel like home…