I recently spent a weekend with my husband in Port Townsend, just a ferry ride away from our home on Whidbey Island. It’s a frequent destination for us, and this particular weekend was Jazz Port Townsend, which we’ve been attending for 20+years. Not only is the jazz festival a musical highlight of the year, it’s always fun to poke around Port Townsend, especially in summer.
My only complaint about PT (as we locals call it), especially on big festival weekends, is the difficulty of finding good accommodations. Usually we book a room at the moderately priced Aladdin Motor Inn or Harborside Inn, but they were full. And since we’re not a fan of Victorian B&B’s, that wasn’t an option. So we ended up at the Tides Inn, which I will simply say to other traveler’s: Don’t! An overpriced and tired property, with some serious cleanliness issues, this hotels needs a huge infusion of TLC and money. Rent the movie instead (An Officer and a Gentleman was filmed here, and they have a cheesy suite by that name).
When we weren’t at Jazz Port Townsend’s main stage concerts at Fort Worden, my husband and I were hanging out in town. Our first stop after a yummy breakfast at Upper PT’s Sweet Laurette’s, a go-to morning spot, was the Port Townsend Farmers Market. Of all the markets in the region, this is my favorite, simply for the displays alone. The local farmers have finessed the fine art of showcasing the fruits (and vegetables) of their labors — I’ve never seen carrots, radishes and flowers look so divine!
Good choices for lunch are Fins Coastal Cuisine and Doc’s Marina Grill (both with outdoor seating) and Hanazono Asian Noodle. Among the many dinner options are Silverwater Cafe, Alchemy Bistro and Wine Bar, Khu Larb Thai Restaurant, Fountain Cafe and Public House Grill.
If you’re wondering what happened to the former Town Tavern (most recently Water Street Brewing), it’s morphed into a design shop called Conservatory Coastal Home. Owner Heather Pollock has pulled together a colorful array of both locally made and imported products. Described as a “seaside inspired lifestyle store,” the shop mixes clean line design with rustic vintage and nautical finds. Color is everywhere, from a giant blue glass chandelier from Murano, Italy to bright orange throws and pink-hued scarves. Housed in the N.D. Hill Building (1888), which is on the National Register of Historic Places, the former Town Tavern bar can now be found in the main dining area of Alchemy Bistro and Wine Bar. And if you can drag yourself inside from all the summer activities, don’t miss seeing a movie at the Rose Theatre. Along with The Clyde Theatre in Langley, this is one of the best little movie palaces in the Pacific Northwest.
Summer in Port Townsend | August-September 2013 | Events Calendar
- Port Townsend Farmers Market | Saturdays | 9-2 | Upper PT
- Centrum Acoustic Blues Festival | August 2-3 | Fort Worden
- Jefferson County Fair | August 9-11 | Fairgrounds
- Kiwanis Classic Car Show | August 17 | Memorial Field
- Uptown Street Fair | August 17 | Upper PT
- Wooden Boat Festival | September 6-8 | Point Hudson Marina + NW Maritime Center
- Jefferson County Farm Tour | September 14-15 | Chimacum Corner Farm Stand
- Port Townsend Film Festival | September 20-22 | Taylor & Washington Street