Tag Archives: Port Townsend

Whales, Whales and More Whales!

The Strait of Juan de Fuca has had extraordinary numbers of humpback whales and sightings of a rare-to-these-waters fin whale. Orcas are active and part of the viewing spectacular! Definitely, local attention has been focused on the waters and the whales. On a recent whale-watching tour out of Port Angeles, we saw the trifecta! All three species - humpbacks, fin and Orcas. It was an astounding feeling to have possibly two dozen humpbacks surrounding the boat, breaching, and spouting. With the engines off we could hear them nearby when they were spouting. The fin whale looked rather like a very large brown log floating in the water, until it moved! It was a huge animal. The fin is the second largest whale after the blue whale. The Orcas were feeding, so we missed their usual playful behavior. But, again with the engines off, the Captain lowered a microphone into the water. We heard them talking to one another. Phenomenal! Here's what the naturalist aboard the ship the day we went had to say about our viewings:

Humpbacks and Orcas and a Fin, Oh My!

Port Angeles Highlights: Dozens of Humpbacks L-Pod Resident Orcas "The" Fin Whale Mt. Baker What happens when you mix sunny skies, flat seas, snow-capped peaks, and three species of whale?  Just another great day at the office with Port Angeles Whale Watch! The visibility today was phenomenal providing views of both the Olympic mountain range and Mt. Baker of the North Cascades. The humpbacks were up first, with many of the dozens of whales we spotted yesterday still feeding in the area.  Notable individuals that could be identified included BCX0298 "Split Fin", BCX1068 "Split Fluke", BCX1193 "Zig Zag", and CS631, but there were many, many more whales spouting and fluking in the distance. We next got a call of possible killer whales to the northeast so decided to investigate.  Sure enough, we arrived to see several members of the Southern Resident L-Pod spread out foraging for salmon.  While many of the whales were quite scattered, mom L77 "Matia" and her 4-year old calf, L119 "Joy" stayed nearby for a while.  Because it was so calm today, we were able to turn off the engines and drop in the hydrophone to eavesdrop on an orca conversation of whistles and squeals! It was time to return home, but luckily the route took us right back through humpback territory for an encore presentation.  Much to our delight, however, we were treated to our third whale species of the day - the rare fin whale that's been in the area for the last week or two!  It doesn't get much better than that!  Check out some of the gorgeous photos from today: Erin
Port Angeles: PA Whale Watching, 360.293.4215, whales@islandadventurecruises.com Port Angeles Whale Watch Company is owned and operated by Island Adventures based out of Anacortes, WA. Island Adventures Whale Watching has been in business since 1992 and has carried hundreds of thousands of satisfied passengers.

Port Townsend:  Puget Sound Express,  360-385-5288. https://www.pugetsoundexpress.com/

Three generations of our family have helped visitors have life-changing experiences with some of the most majestic creatures on the planet. Puget Sound Express has been a family business for 31 years!

Whales

Whales

Humpbacks

Humpbacks

Whales in Strait of Juan de Fuca

Whales in Strait of Juan de Fuca

6 Travel Tips for this Spring

Here are six travel tips from a native Olympic Peninsula-ite, who thinks that winter and spring are special times to enjoy the outdoors here. Yes, of course, it can rain, but good gear will negate any reasons to not get out there to enjoy the lush greens and fresh air. You can find exquisite glimpses of nature that only happen at this time of year. There is a quiet solitude on most trails and the beaches entertain the changing weather. Late winter, early spring are good times to come visit. Whether you storm watch or shred the ski slopes, you'll find yourself renewed.
Marymere Falls near Lake Crescent in Winter

Marymere Falls near Lake Crescent in Winter

  1. TRAVEL TIP #1.  Do some research before you come. If you aren't one to make reservations ahead, at least check to see if there are activities that may limit hotel availability so you will be prepared. Be sure places you want to go are open and accessible on the days you plan to come. For example, at this time, the Hurricane Ridge Road is open Friday - Sunday. And it depends on the weather. Have a back up plan to find snow if the 'Ridge road is closed and that's your destination. Don't over plan. Give yourself time to enjoy being here. The Olympic Peninsula Travel Planner can help with ideas. OlympicPeninsula.org. PS. If you are bringing your dog, be sure check out the Dog-Friendly Map info from another blog.
  2. TRAVEL TIP #2. Plan your visit by drive times, not by miles. Drive times and distance don't always make sense. For example, if you are planning to drive directly to Neah Bay from Seattle it is only 154 miles, but it takes about 4-1/4 hours to get there. Magnificent scenery along the way, but no freeways. From Port Angeles to Forks, it is 56 miles and takes about 1-1/4 hours. These times are dependent on traffic and weather conditions. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the journey. Please obey the speed limit. There are multiple law enforcement agencies that will be watching!
  3. TRAVEL TIP #3. Pack for wearing layers and bring some rain gear. That's an all-season recommendation for the Olympic Peninsula. You can drive from a sunny Blue Hole in Sequim to the damp, wet rain forest. Some tennis shoes are good for hiking on slick boardwalks and sturdy hiking boots are good for trails if they are muddy. I've seen flip-flops on the beach in the winter and wondered if the people hadn't packed correctly, if they were trying to be one with the Pacific Ocean, or if they were just teenagers. I'm pretty sure their feet were cold no matter their reasons!
  4. TRAVEL TIP #4. Budget accordingly. Ferry (if you take one), gas, food, lodging, park permits, attraction fees and souvenirs. The Olympic Peninsula is abundant with things to do for free and low cost. Check out a previous blog for some free suggestions.
  5. TRAVEL TIP #5. Check out what the locals are doing. The communities around the peninsula are little jewels to explore. Take a look at the local papers, or bulletin boards at grocery stores or shop windows. Join the people who live here to see what they support in their communities. You can find everything from gem shows, to yoga retreats, to baking classes, to fly tying workshops, to "you-name-it" gatherings, to great local theater.
  6. TRAVEL TIP #6. Be realistic. I guess this is the biggest tip - to be realistic. Have an idea what you'd like to do, but remember all the variables. Weather, distance being the two main ones. Don't try to do too much. Come and visit multiple times. Enjoy what you can do while you are here. Maybe one trip is only to go to Sol Duc Hot Springs and see one waterfall there. Maybe the next time you'll go to the beach and stay, checking out a couple nearby beaches. The next time, maybe you will only camp at the Hoh Rainforest and do the hikes from the campground and take a raft trip down the river. You couldn't do all of those itineraries in one weekend. Well, I guess you could, but you'd need some R&R when you got home!
Enjoy your visit. Relax, play, and let the nature of the Olympic Peninsula soak into you.

Hummingbirds in the winter? Yes!

Anna's hummingbirdIf you are a birder, young or old, you'll add to your life list on the Olympic Peninsula. I'm interested in them, but I'm not a birder - YET. I know that this area almost always leads Washington State in high counts of species during spring migration. The Christmas bird count a big annual event for the Dungeness River Audubon Center at Railroad Bridge Park along the Olympic Peninsula Discovery Trail. The reason for my investigation?  I've noticed hummers hanging around my house for the last few days. My curiosity was up. So I started some research about these lovely little guys that chose to stay here in the winter. Boy, was I surprised.     In looking for bird information, I found listings for over 350 species that visit the Olympic Peninsula. We have three different types of hummers. Anna's, Calliope and Rufous Hummingbirds all have been reported. Maybe on examination, I think I know which one I saw. Anna's like to live in the forests, brush areas and in town. It is a permanent resident along the West Coast from British Columbia to northern Mexico. Calliope's like to live in the forests and have only been seen on the Olympic Peninsula a few times. They are the smallest - about three inches long. (The ones I saw seemed more robust!) That leaves the Rufous hummingbirds. They live in forest, brush areas and in town. They are rarely seen in the winter. They are common in the spring and early summer, and fairly common in the fall. So I probably am not seeing Calliope's or Rufous. But, I want more information. An email to my birder friend says that Anna's should be the only ones hanging around at this time of year. According to ebird.org, there was a registered siting in Neah Bay on February 1. And, Anna's have been seen on Ediz Hook in Port Angeles within the last couple weeks. Conclusion: Anna's Hummingbirds are at my house! All this is fascinating to me. Think how far birds travel during their life times. Much farther than many of us do over the course of our life times. This graphic from Cornell Labs totally mesmerized me. Be sure to watch the animated migration.
Watch the animated version to see how far birds actually travel

Watch the animated version to see how far birds actually travel

News Spotlight on the OP!

The Olympic Peninsula has been all over media in September! Here's a sampling of what's being said: Congratulations to Port Townsend for the “5 Fabulous Things to Do In Port Townsend” by writer, Paola Thomas, for Seattle Refined, a partner with KOMONews.
  • Breakfast at the Blue Moose Café,
  • Visit the Northwest Maritime Center,
  • Shop at Port Townsend Farmers’ Market
  • Afternoon tea at Pippa’s Real Tea, and
  • Shopping on Water Street.
The Olympic Peninsula is so proud of the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT). Terri Gleich of the Kitsap Sun covered “Olympic Discovery Trail an Expanding Wonder”.  Almost 80 miles of the trail are complete. The ODT is used for both commuting and recreation and will eventually link Port Townsend to La Push with a paved path.
Port Angeles during Crab Festival

Port Angeles during Crab Festival

Of course, the Olympic Peninsula is taking some of the cudos for Port Angeles being named one of the “America’s Best Towns” by Outside Magazine. Second only to Chattanooga, Tennessee, Port Angeles made a strong showing, coming from a wild-card placement in the competition. And, with a population of about nine times smaller than Chattanooga, it’s even more impressive to have lost in the polling by a small margin. The top five places went to:
  • Glenwood Springs, Colorado
  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin
  • Iowa City, Iowa
  • Port Angeles, Washington
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
Olympic National Park Sign at Rialto Beach

ONP Sign at Rialto

Tripping, the world’s largest vacation rental site, named Rialto Beach, in Olympic National Park, one of "10 Perfect Honeymoon Beach Destinations". Other places mentioned were Honeymoon Beach in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands; Wailea Beach on Maui, Hawaii; Carmel in California; and, Hanalei Bay on Kauai, Hawaii. Take a look as some stunning photographs from Shi Shi Beach from an article written by Kristin Jackson for the Seattle Times, "Visiting Washington’s wild and magical Shi Shi Beach". We couldn’t agree more that’s it one of the most stunning, magical places on the Peninsula! Moira Macdonald, a Seattle Times arts writer, captured the charm and essence of Port Townsend in her article, "There’s Something for All Kinds of Tourists in the Olympic Peninsula Town" – culture, history and the outdoors!
Washington State Ferry

Washington State Ferry

Conde Nast Traveler has named the Washington State Ferry System as one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world. And, we're in good company with Hong Kong, London, Sydney and Venice also being in this group! Why not hop on one of those WA State ferries and come out to the Olympic Peninsula, our very own UNESCO World Heritage site, the Olympic National Park.  The journey is part of the fun!  
Olympic Peninsula Sol Duc pools

Sol Duc pools

Here is a link to the online version of an article on Northwest hot springs resorts by Tamara Muldoon. This article, Play, Soak, Repeat at Hot Springs Resorts, includes Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in Olympic National Park. The resort, open seasonally, has basic yet comfortable cabins, RV and tent campsites. Three hot spring pools, a freshwater swimming pool, massage, hiking trails complete the experience at Sol Duc.

Farmers Markets

farmers markets

Beautiful rutabaga at the Jefferson County Farmers Market

It's that time again to revel in the bounty of the Olympic Peninsula. This is a blog that we posted a couple years ago and have updated. Things have changed, but not our love of these markets. The Olympic Peninsula is home to an incredible bounty of fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, fish, meat, flowers, herbs, and locally produced products. Farmers markets are great ways to support local producers and create your own Olympic Coast Cuisine dishes. There are numerous famers markets to choose from, a couple are even award-winning. Many are open primarily during the summer and early fall while a few markets stay open year round. The Olympic Peninsula is also home to bakers, cheese makers, honey producers, and chefs many of whom are represented at the farmers markets. In addition to edible products, many of the farmers markets offer local artisan wares such as jewelry, lotions, pottery, fiber arts, garden decor, and even toys. Below is a list of some of the farmers markets around the Olympic Peninsula. Chimacum Farmers Market - Sundays 10-3, June-October, 9122 Rhody Dr.

A colorful display at the Sequim Farmers Market

Forks Open Aire Market- Saturdays 10-3, Mid-May-September, 1421 S. Forks Ave. Jefferson County Farmers Markets- Saturdays 9-2 April-December, Wednesday Summer Market 2-6, 650 Tyler St. Port Townsend Quilcene Farmers Market-April through Sept at Hwy. 101 & Center   Port Angeles Farmers Markets - Saturdays 10-2 Year Round, Wednesday Summer Market 10-2, Downtown at Gateway Transit Center Sequim Farmers Market - Saturdays 9-3, May-October, 2nd & Cedar St.

Baskets at the Chimacum Corner Farmstand

Shelton Farmers Market - Saturdays 9-3, May-September, Franklin St. Farm fresh produce and products can also be found year round at farm stands and stores. Chimacum Corner Farmstand- Open daily 9 am - 7 pm. 9122 Rhody Drive, Chimacum, WA.  360-732-0107 Nash's Farm Store - Open daily 9 am - 7 pm.  4681 Sequim-Dungeness Way, Sequim, WA.  360-683-4642 Sunsets West Co-op - Open daily 10 am - 7 pm, longer in the summer. 16795 Hwy 112, Clallam Bay, WA.  360-963-2189

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.

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

Summer Concerts

summer concerts

Music in the Park at Sequim's James Center Amphitheater

As the days heat up, summer concert series pop up around the Olympic Peninsula. There are community concerts planned most days of the week. Venues range from waterfront piers to forested parks. Some are alcohol free while others have local beer and wine for sale. In Port Angeles there are bubbles and sidewalk chalk for the kids and Port Townsend's concert series has a beer, cider, and wine garden. Grab your lawn chair or picnic blanket and head to a venue near you. Free Community Concert Series: Concerts on the Pier  presented by the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce WHEN: Wednesdays 6-8, June- September WHERE: Port Angeles City Pier Music in the Park  WHEN: Tuesdays 6-8 pm, June- August WHERE: James Center Amphitheater in Sequim Water Reuse Park Continue reading

Brass Screw Confederacy- Steampunk in Port Townsend

brassscrewlogoThe Brass Screw Confederacy, a steampunk event, will transform Port Townsend back to its Victorian roots with more than a few fantastical twists. The Brass Screw Confederacy's High Command describes steampunk as "drawing from a Victorian foundation, it mingles history and elements of science fiction." June 7-9. 2013 is the Brass Screw Confederacy's "Maiden Voyage." The weekend will be filled with creative costumes, cabaret, artistic inventions, magic lantern shows, sorcery, games, and live entertainment spanning from local bands to a real flea circus. Brass Screw ConfederacySome events are open for all ages including the steampunk fashion show, Brass Screw Chautauqua with late night movies and live entertainers, Bazaar of the Bizarre, and Zombie Hunt.  Whistle Stop Toy Shop will be the headquarters for the event's signature game Airship Apprentice. The Pope Marine Building will be home for Brass Screw Confederacy's live entertainment such as independent films, lectures on historical airships and submarines, a flea circus, and a show of steampunk sorcery.  Continue reading

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Lupine flowers near Hurricane-Ridge Winter rains lead to a flower-filled spring transformation on the Olympic Peninsula. As the lush green landscape is dotted with delicate buds, our towns and parks are cause for celebration. In early spring the streets of Port Angeles are lined with yellow daffodils, pink cherry blossoms, and a rainbow of tulips. Washington's State Flower is center stage at Port Townsend's Rhododendron Festival in mid-May. This week long fete includes lots of fun events and the crowning of Rhody Royalty.  Peony Farm in Sequim, invites the public to see more than 200 varieties of its namesake flower during Peonies on Parade. Visitors to Brinnon, can enjoy a stroll and picnic among the flowering trees, shrubs, and blooms at Whitney Gardens and Nursery. Continue reading