Category Archives: Towns of the Peninsula

Sequim Lavender Weekend – Coming Up

Sequim Lavender Field! Courtesy of Sequim Lavender Growers Association

LAVENDER! Photo Courtesy of Sequim Lavender Farmers Association

You step out of your car, take in the beauty of your surroundings, inhale the fresh, sweet aroma and you know you’ve arrived in Sequim for the largest lavender celebration in the country. Sequim Lavender Weekend July 18 – 20, 2014 is home to the Sequim Lavender Festival® and the Sequim Lavender Farm Tour and Fair. The weekend is packed with events for all members of the family.

people dancing at street fair

Boogie your socks off! Photo courtesy of Sequim Lavender Farmers Association

The Sequim Lavender Festival Street Fair is a high-energy event in the heart of downtown featuring quality arts and crafts, hand-crafted lavender products, kid friendly activities, live music and, food galore.

street fair vendors and visitors

Crafts Fair! Fun for all! Photo courtesy of Sequim Lavender Growers Association

Across town at Sequim’s Carrie Blake Park and Water Reuse Site, is the Lavender Arts & Crafts Fair in the Park featuring lavender booths, hand-made crafts, community organizations, beautiful gardens, music and more food! All in a lovely relaxed setting.

And then there are the lavender farms! Lavender growers and farmers welcome guests encouraging them to take in the beauty, scent, and total experience of this wonderful herb.

Lavender Farm

Lavender Farm. Photo courtesy of Sequim Lavender Growers Association

The Heritage Farm Tour features five iconic lavender farms each with a festival in action.  The farms offer educational workshops and demonstrations, crafts, food and beverages, live entertainment and more.  Busses are available to Purple Haze Lavender only. Admission is required for this farm tour.

The Sequim Lavender Festival Farm Tour features six lavender farms and one commercial nursery for guests to experience.  Bring your camera and a picnic and enjoy the uniqueness of each farm.  Admission is free.

A quilt show, art shows, live theater, farmer’s market, evening concerts, and cruises are just of few of the additional events taking place throughout the Sequim-Dungeness Valley during the weekend.  You’ll want to plan plenty of time to take it all in. There is a convenient shuttle bus that runs throughout the City of Sequim to take guest to events in the City. This bus does not go to any farms.

girl in lavender field

Lavender Fields Forever! Photo courtesy of Barbara Hanna

To find out more about Sequim Lavender Weekend, visit www.visitsunnysequim.com, download a copy of the Official Event Map, and begin planning your trip to North America’s premier lavender celebration.

Sequim Irrigation Festival – A True Reflection of Community Spirit

For 119 years, the community of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley has come together the first week of May to celebrate the opening of the irrigation ditches that changed the valley from an arid prairie into fertile farm lands.

Irrigation Festival Logging Show

Irrigation Festival Logging Show

The Sequim Irrigation Festival is the longest running continuous festival in the state of Washington. This year the event is taking place May 2 through May 11 with two action packed weekends. There is truly something for everyone with parades, a carnival, logging show, strongman competition, art shows, street fair, and so much more. You can see the complete schedule of events at www.IrrigationFestival.com

But what’s so remarkable about this festival is not only that it is a really fun and exciting week.  What’s most remarkable is the fact that the festival is organized solely by a group of dedicated volunteers and supported by local businesses that make it happen year after year.  This type of commitment is not new to the Sequim-Dungeness Valley community.  It is exactly how the irrigation ditches got built in the first place.

In 1895, D.R. Callen convinced other local visionaries that water from the bottom of the Dungeness River could run uphill and be brought to the valley.  The Sequim Prairie Ditch Company was incorporated in November of 1895 and the pioneers worked all winter to build the irrigation ditch and flume.  Everyone helped.  The men dug the ditch, women cooked for the workers, and even the children helped by carrying water, running errands, and stomping clay into gravel.

On May 1, 1896, the first impromptu festival took place when families gathered from all over the valley, and as far away as the cities of Port Angeles and Port Townsend.  Everyone brought more than enough food to feed the crowd as they anxiously awaited the flowing water.  After an opening glitch, the water flowed into the flume and made its way into the dusty ditch.  The irrigation water turned the valley into farmable land and began a sustainable industry that would support families for generations.  As you drive through Sequim and the Dungeness Valley today, you will see the irrigation systems still at work supporting farms of organic vegetables, grains, berries, and dairy cattle.

Join us for the 119th Sequim Irrigation Festival and capture the true community spirit of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley “Where Water is Wealth.”

To learn more about Sequim go to www.visitsunnysequim.com

 

The Government Shutdown Isn’t Bringing Us Down on the Olympic Peninsula

Due to the U.S. Government Shutdown, admittance into both the Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park has been ceased.  Calls to the ranger stations must go unanswered and websites now display a “not operating” message like this http://www.nps.gov/shutdown/index.html.

Kinetic 2010 Sally the Map Lady

Participants brave the Autumn waters during the Kinetic Sculpture Race

So what are visitors supposed to do?  Don’t worry!  There is still a plethora of things to do and see on the 5,316 square miles of the Olympic Peninsula outside of governmental lands.    This weekend, October 5 & 6, is the 32nd Annual Shelton Oysterfest http://www.oysterfest.org/.  Enjoy wonderful seafood and watch the West Coast Oyster Shucking Championship.   Then travel north up Hwy 101 to enjoy the Kinetic Sculpture race and events in Port Townsend http://www.ptkineticrace.org/.  Afterwards, warm up from watching those crazy-geniuses enduring the race’s frigid waters at the North Olympic Fiber Arts Festival, just 30 miles west in downtown Sequim http://www.fiberartsfestival.org/.  See beautifully hand-crafted woven arts and get in the cozy, Fall spirit!

Even though camping and hiking in the National Park and Forests might not be an option, there are still plenty of beautiful areas to explore.  We’re using this time to visit coastal grounds and towns as well as our beautiful State and County Parks that are located throughout the Olympic Peninsula.  On the east along the Hood Canal is the Dosewallips State Park http://www.parks.wa.gov/parks/?selectedpark=Dosewallips and the Dungeness Recreation Area in the North http://www.clallam.net/Parks/Dungeness.html.  Both are open year-round with spectacular water views.  Travel along the Hwy 112 Scenic Byway to take in the Autumn splendor over looking the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Stop at the Salt Creek Recreation Area near Joyce http://www.clallam.net/Parks/Dungeness.html.  Explore the tide pools in Sekiu (watch for the giant red jellyfish this time of year, but don’t touch.) and listen for the last of the migrating birds as they make their way south.

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The cliffs of Cape Flattery

This is also an excellent time to visit the Makah Indian Reservation at Neah Bay.  Spending an afternoon at the amazing Makah Museum would not be regretted.  Enjoy the boardwalk along Cape Flattery and scan the vistas for whales.  Also happening this weekend on the West coast is the La Push Last Chance Salmon Derby http://forkswa.com/salmonderby/.  Fisherman don’t want to miss out on our record high salmon run this year!

Hopefully these tips can replaces a few disappointments with inspirations as we endure these changes that out of our control.  For more information planning your trip or for a free travel planner, call us!  (360) 452-8552.  Our complimentary travel planner can also be downloaded from www.olympicpeninsula.org.

Town Spotlight: Port Ludlow

Port Ludlow, WAPort Ludlow is a residential and recreational community nestled near the west end of the Hood Canal Floating Bridge on the Olympic Peninsula. Early explorers of the Pacific Northwest often named sheltered inlets with names beginning with “Port”. Communities which subsequently developed often adopted inlet’s name. Today Port Ludlow is both the name of the beautiful inlet and the community nestled on its shore.

Port Ludlow, Cyrus Walker residence, 1920's

Port Ludlow, Cyrus Walker residence, 1920’s

The first shipments of timber from the Puget Sound to San Francisco, California in 1851 stimulated interest in the business potential of building sawmills on Puget Sound. In 1852 two explorers with vision of timber exports found the environs of Port Ludlow Bay promising. A timber claim was filed and soon a mill was built there capable of producing 3,000 feet of lumber daily. The trees along the banks of the bay were logged first and then oxen and horses were used to bring more distant logs to the mill. The mill soon began to attract other settlers and Port Ludlow began to thrive.

Now the mill is long gone and this quintessentially Northwest destination on the pristine shores of tranquil Ludlow Bay, with views of the majestic Olympic Mountains at every turn, is still beckoning the traveler to the present day. Continue reading

Fall into the Olympic Peninsula Pin-It to Win-It Weekend Getaway Sweepstakes

“Fall into the Olympic Peninsula” this season by entering our Pin-It to Win-It sweepstakes for a chance to win a different prize package all season-long!  Up to five (5) Winners will receive weekend getaway packages, to be drawn on or around September 27, October 2, October 16, October 30 and November 27. The packages are listed as follows:

Art Lover’s Dream Weekend (to be drawn on or around September 27, 2013, for the weekend of October 4, 5 and 6, 2013). Total approximate retail value: 450.00 USD.  In Sequim, the town that’s the Queen of Lavender, you’ll soak up the local art of the North Olympic Fiber Arts Festival and First Friday Art Walk and Nourish yourself in the rainshadow of the Dungeness Valley.  Take in the views of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains as you relax at the Holiday Inn Express.  Then head on over to the Victorian seaport town of Port Townsend for the mechanical fun of the Kinetic Sculpture Race and events and a stay in the charming Ravenscroft Inn.

Port Townsend

Port Townsend Waterfront by Anne Norup

  • One (1) double-queen guest room for one (1) night, including Express Start Breakfast for two, at the Holiday Inn Express in Sequim, Washington
  • Explore the North Olympic Fiber Arts Festival, the First Friday Art Walk, and the Saturday Sequim Farmers Market.
  • One (1) $50 gift certificate for meal service at Nourish Restaurant in Sequim, Washington (valid October 30, 2014).
  • One (1) room for one (1) night at Ravenscroft Inn in Port Townsend, including dinner for two at Doc’s Marina Grill ($50). Valid through March 31, 2014, excluding November 28, 29, 30, 2013; December 24, 25, 31, 2013 and January 1, 2014.
  • Two (2) tickets to the Great Port Townsend Kinetic Sculpture events in Port Townsend, Washington, valid for October 5 and 6, 2013.

Port Angeles Dungeness Crab Festival and a Northwest Coast Adventure (to be drawn on or around October 2, 2013 for the weekend of October 11 and 12, 2013). Total approximate retail value: 322.00 USD.  Soak up some color with orange leaves and orange crab.  Indulge yourself in the biggest crab celebration of the year where the mountains meet the sea in beautiful Port Angeles, WA.  Relax at the Red Lion on the waterfront and spend an afternoon taking in the autumn sights along one of the newest National Scenic Byway of Highway 112.crabdetail

  • One (1) room for one (1) night at the Red Lion Hotel in Port Angeles, Washington. Valid October 11, 2013
  • Two (2) tickets to the 12th Annual Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival – Peninsula Daily News Community Crab Feed in Port Angeles, Washington, which takes place the first night of the festival, Friday October 11.
  • One (1) two-person room for one (1) night at Winters Summer Inn Bed & Breakfast, including gourmet breakfast, in Clallam Bay, Washington. Valid through March 31, 2014.

The Great Hood Canal and PumpkinFest Quest (to be drawn on or around October 15, 2013, for the weekend of October 25 and 26, 2013). Total approximate retail value: 300 USD Well, maybe not the type of “quest” from medieval legends but you will find yourself in several enchanted places this weekend.  Discover the secrets of the historic Elk Meadows Bed & Breakfast and Farm tucked away in the valley of the Dosewallips River.  Then journey south along the ancient glacial fjord of Hood Canal for a stay at the Robin Hood Village Resort.  There you can celebrate the season while honing your catapult skills at the Union PumpkinFest.

Elk in the Dosewallips River by Joy Baisch

Elk in the Dosewallips River by Joy Baisch

  • One (1) two-person room for one (1) night at Elk Meadows Bed and Breakfast, including breakfast, in Hood Canal, Washington. No pets, children over 14 are welcome. Valid through March 31, 2014.
  • One (1) room for one (1) night at the Robin Hood Village Resort in Union, Washington.
  • Two (2) tickets to Union PumpkinFest (weekend of October 25 and 26, 2013) plus participation in pumpkin catapult contest.

Beach and Forest Fireside Weekend (to be drawn on or around October 24, 2013, for the weekend of November 9 and 10, 2013). Total approximate retail value: $300 USD.  Play catch with the surf, race the banana slugs, and relax your pace on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Listen to the soothing sounds of the Quinault River just outside your room at the Quinault River Inn.  Enjoy dinner at the Lake Quinault Lodge.   Sit long enough around a fire on the beach while staying at the Kalaloch Lodge Oceanside Cabin and you might even find yourself roasting a s’more or two.

beach

Kalaloch Beach by Dave Logan

  • One (1) two-person room for one (1) night at Quinault River Inn in Amanda Park, Washington. Valid through May 31, 2014.
  • Dinner for two at Lake Quinault Lodge in Quinault, Washington. Valid through March 31, 2014. (Up to $100 value, excluding alcohol, must be used in one sitting.)
  • One (1) room for one (1) night at Kalaloch Lodge in an Oceanside cabin, plus breakfast for two, in Quinault, Washington. Valid through June 30, 2014.

Holiday on the Peninsula (to be drawn on or around November 18, 2013, for the weekend of December 6 and 7, 2013). Total approximate retail value: $709 Value Welcome the 2013 holiday season in luxury at the Port Ludlow Resort.  Take a break from your holiday plans to enjoy 18 holes of golf and a leisurely kayak tour around the water inlets.  Then travel west to the temperate rainforest for a stay at the Miller Tree Inn in mysterious Forks.  Delight in the Festival of Trees and Twinkle Light Parade.  You’ll return home feeling rejuvenated and ready to ring in the new year.IMG_0537

  • One (1) view room for two people for one (1) night, including breakfast, at the Inn at Port Ludlow in Port Ludlow, Washington. Valid through Valid through March 31, based on availability.
  • 18 holes of golf with a cart at The Resort at Port Ludlow in Port Ludlow, Washington.
  • One (1) kayak rental for two at the Port Ludlow Resort Marina in Port Ludlow, Washington.
  • One (1) room for one (1) night at Miller Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast in Forks, Washington Valid through March 31 excluding Feb 14 & 15 and March 15, 22 and 29.
  • One (1) $30 Gift certificate for two at Golden Gate Chinese Restaurant in Forks, Washington (no expiration).
Elwha River Hike Photo by John Gussman

Elwha River Hike Photo by John Gussman

Visit the Olympic Peninsula facebook page for more information and to register.

Get started PINNING!  Check out our Olympic Peninsula Pinterest board for inspiration.

The Northwest Coast

The northwest coast of the Olympic Peninsula, from the beaches of Clallam Bay along Highway 112 to the culturally rich Makah Indian Reservation and down to the rugged beauty of Shi Shi Beach and Lake Ozette, offers a wide variety of unique experiences. Something for everyone isn’t just a cliche here. It’s the simple truth.

beaches

Shi Shi Beach

For those who love the water, an unforgettable adventure awaits at Clallam Bay and along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A stay in the fishing village of Sekiu, right on the bay, is a chance to slow down while walking the docks and breathe in the sea air. For generations, anglers have launched their boats into the protected bay in search of record-breaking salmon and halibut. To the north, across the Strait are spectacular views of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Clallam Bay offers great family adventures such as hiking, camping, birding, beachcombing, diving, kayaking, wildlife watching and just about any outdoor fun that does require waiting in line or at stoplights.

Northwest Coast

Road to Sekiu by Randall Hodges

A drive up Highway 112 towards Neah Bay, home of the Makah tribe and the point of Cape Flattery, offers a chance to take in the views of the Strait. Motorcyclists especially appreciate the 249 curves of the road along the coast to Neah Bay. By the late 1700s, the Native American populations of Makahs and Ozettes numbered over 200 in villages near Neah Bay and Lake Ozette. Europeans first visited the area in the 16th century and later established settlements along the coast. Today, the outstanding exhibits at the Makah Cultural and Research Center in Neah Bay offer a look at the early life of the Makahs.

The boardwalk trail to Cape Flattery offers breathtaking vistas with four observation decks where one can see Tatoosh and Vancouver Islands, sea life, and ship traffic. A two mile hike on the southern end of the Makah Reservation leads to pristine Shi Shi Beach. Only accessible by foot, Shi Shi has a special kind of natural setting that attracts those hikers looking to slow down, or perhaps even go surfing.

Down the Hoko-Ozette road to the south along the Pacific Ocean lies Lake Ozette. First settled in the 1800s by Scandinavian immigrants, the area around Lake Ozette was included in the Olympic Forest Reserve. At over nine square miles, Lake Ozette is the largest natural lake in the state of Washington. The Ozette Triangle is a popular 9.4 mile loop from the recently uncovered ancient village of Ozette at the northern tip of the lake, along the cedar-planked boardwalk through wild forests and meadows to Cape Alava, down the primitive beach to Sand Point, and back another cedar-planked trail to Ozette.

Town Spotlight: Port Hadlock

Port Hadlock

Port Hadlock 1903

The Port Hadlock, Irondale area is steeped in a strong industrial, maritime heritage. Samuel Hadlock, the founder of Port Hadlock, moved west in the 1850s, landing in the area that would become Port Hadlock in1870. He built a large lumber mill on a spit of and off the Bay, with deep enough waters for tall ships to moor and load nearby. The lumber from the thriving mill was shipped mainly to San Francisco.

The next industry to the area was what would became the first iron producing blast furnace in what is now Washington State. When this iron mill was completed the new boom town near Port Hadlock, Irondale, was born in 1881. The initial hope was for Irondale to become a major iron and steel producer for the western United States. About 1200 tons of pig iron was produced during its first year of operation, with ore obtained from the nearby Chimacum valley, This dream was not to be, the iron mill was closed during the depression and bank panic of 1889, and, with the lumber mill fire the Hadlock, and, Irondale residents were looking for new hope. Continue reading

Town Spotlight: Port Townsend

Port Townsend

Port Townsend Waterfront by Anne Norup

Port Townsend was named one of the “Top 10 Coolest Small Towns in America” recently by Budget Travel, FOX News, NBC News and Yahoo Travel, gaining a national reputation for its authentic charm as a Victorian seaport and its maritime heritage, with a touch of urban chic. Make a lifetime memory and treat yourself to an unforgettable experience in this beautiful city. Explore Port Townsend’s parks, beaches and trails on foot or by bike. Meander through a museum, dance up a storm, enjoy live music, attend a festival or just saunter through town.

Dubbed the “Paris of the Pacific Northwest” by Sunset Magazine, the city’s restaurants, bistros and cafes prepare delicious, local fare at its finest, fresh from the farm, field or sea.

Continue reading

Lavender Weekend

Lavender Fields by Val Henschel

Summer is flower season on the Olympic Peninsula. Mountain fields are covered with wildflowers and blossoms accentuate scenery in North Olympic Peninsula towns. Sequim, known as the Lavender Capitol of North America, fills with the delicate scent of this fragrant herb. The surrounding farms and fields are covered in bright purple blooms. The third weekend of July is the annual Sequim Lavender Weekend. The three day event includes the Sequim Lavender Festival and Sequim Lavender Farm Faire.

Lavender Weekend is a family-friendly celebration with farm tours, U-pick opportunities, street fairs, juried art show, live music, kids games, and more. A handful of farms are open to the public for free, self-guided tours. There’s also the Heritage Lavender Farm Tour which includes six farms. Each of these farms has its own mini-festival with live music, workshops on growing and using lavender, crafts, and more. Tickets for this tour are available at the farms, in local retail outlets and online HERE.  The Olympic Peninsula’s incredible culinary bounty is showcased in the delicious food, wine, beer, and ciders available at both events. Detailed information with dates, times, and locations is available HERE.

There are many options for overnight accommodations- though it’s best to plan early as this is one of the biggest events of the year. There are bed and breakfasts, quaint inns, hotels, campsites, even converted train cabooses to stay in. The nearby towns of Port Angeles and Port Townsend have additional accommodation and restaurant options.

2013 Lavender Weekend Maps

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Town Spotlight: Port Angeles

Pier in PADesignated the nation’s second capital city by Abraham Lincoln, Port Angeles is a beautiful sea port with nearly limitless outdoor recreation possibilities, a vibrant art scene, an award-winning farmers market, and easy access to Canada.

As the gateway to Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, and Sol Duc hot springs, Port Angeles is a popular destination for lovers of the outdoors. From here visitors can travel on the Discovery Trail to the nearby towns of Sequim and Port Townsend or head into the park on the Adventure Route.  Continue reading