Day two of our Port Townsend adventure started with a quick bite to eat courtesy of our hotel complementary breakfast bar – nothing fancy, just cold cereal and hot coffee. Suits me just fine thank you very much.
Since it was pouring down rain and we still wanted to explore but didn’t want to get sopping wet, we decided to finish up the historic homes tour from the comforts of our car – hot coffee in hand
There are over 50 homes and buildings featured on the historic homes tour – the oldest of which is the Frank A. Bartlett Home built in 1860. As it so happens, that was my favorite home of the whole tour.
You can’t really tell from the picture because it was so gloomy and rainy out, but this home is right on the bluff overlooking downtown (Water St) and the port – beyond that open water out to the Straight of Juan de Fuca. Absolutely stunning detail. Again, this homes tour was listed in the Getaway Guide we picked up on the ferry; the description of this particular house: “has a French mansard roof and fine architectural lines – at 314 Polk.”
Other favorite sites include:
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church – built 1865
Capt. Thomas Grant House built 1871
And best picture of the weekend goes to:
This is the Ann Starrett House – thanks to our commenter below, Mike for knowing his PT architecture!
Lucky for us, we finished up our house tour just in time to hop in the ferry line and take our journey across the water to Whidbey Island. I realize that calling a day spent on Whidbey Island “Part 2 of our Port Townsend Adventure” is a bit misleading but you’re going to have to get over it. It’s our trip and we can call it whatever the heck we want, even if it’s wrong! Shoot, this might as well be our trip to Hawaii.
If you are planning to visit Port Townsend and to take the ferry to Whidbey – please be advised that the ferry service is incredibly unreliable. The tide conditions get pretty crazy and ferry service can be cancelled sometimes without warning. Be sure to check www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries to check the schedule, make reservations and to check tide cancellations.
That being said, the ferry ride was wonderful. I’ve always enjoyed riding the ferry and I was particularly pleased on this ride because we saw dolphins! See, I told you – Hawaii
**Brief side note: probably five years ago I was telling Nick about how my mom and I had seen dolphins on a ferry ride when I was younger. He “phssaa’d” me and thought I made the whole thing up. Imagine my (and his) surprise when years later we see dolphins while on a ferry ride together! To my immense satisfaction, Nick still disregarded the dolphins until we saw a sign posted inside the ferry showing animals “seen often” on this route – “harbor porpoises” were the first listed! Boom! In your face Nicholas!
***Extra side note: Nick is still not giving me the dolphin story. Apparently the term harbor porpoise (as opposed to dolphins) not to mention seeing the sea creatures with his own eyes is not enough to prove him wrong. Sore loser.
Okay so the ferry ride from PT lands in Keystone which is really not much of a town. We drove into Coupeville for lunch because that was the “big city” around these parts.
Ha! Just kidding… coupeville is this big…
There it is folks – the entire town.
We originally walked into a little cafe but immediately felt like the place (and owner) was a bit stuck up. So off we went to “Toby’s Suds – Fine Dining” – the fact that a tavern on the ocean is calling themselves fine dining is a joke in and of itself – these are my kind of people.
Also, my kind of people because at eleven in the morning, the waitress asked me what I wanted to drink and when I learned that a bloody mary wasn’t an option, she offered me a glass of wine instead. Wine before noon? Sure, why not. It’s not called vacation for nothin.
We decided to split the halibut fish and chips and a side of steamed clams. Happiness in a bucket
After lunch we were off to do some wine tasting along the highway as we moseyed our way down to Langley where we had a dinner date.
More wine tasting? Yes indeed.
First up we stopped in at Greenbank Farms which was a bit of a let-down. Don’t get me wrong – the place is very cool, it just wasn’t exactly what we thought we were getting into. For one, we thought they had their own wine (they had a tasting room of local wines; local being as far away as Yakima) and we also thought they had a cheese tasting room and store, which turned out to be just a cheese store.
So off we went to Holmes Harbor Cellars which is situated along Honeymoon Bay. While we really liked all of the wines we tried, we felt that the prices were waaaaay too high especially in comparison to the other wines we had tried on this trip. Call us cheap, that’s fine.
Next up was Greenbank Cellars. As we drove up, I fell in love with the lay of the land, the old barn and also the lovely art studio attached to the front of the main house. Unfortunately, it was entirely obvious that the place was closed up – a for sale sign out front. Hey, if you’re looking to start a winery and want the grapes already planted – the whole place was only $450,000 and it comes with the house! So… that’s a deal for somebody I’m sure.
After that we stopped in at Blooms Winery which is a tasting room just outside of Langley, their bottling facility just down the road in Freeland. We sampled some wine, made friends with the owners (wonderful people) and enjoyed a bite to eat. A perfect pit stop!
And I made friends with a mermaid!
The kind folks at Blooms mentioned a distillery just up the road that was serving up Loganberry Liqueur so naturally we headed over there next.
Okay guys, I know it doesn’t look like much but Whidbey Distillery was so rad. For starters, the owners are a retired couple – the husband was looking for “something to do” in retirement and decided to start up a distillery. A retired physicist (aka rocket scientist) and a still? What could come of this???
A fancier, more efficient way to distill liquor that’s what! That large clunky thing above is the “traditional” style and the long, lean still below is his invention which is now being patented.
It doesn’t get boiling hot and that’s one of the reasons the berry flavor of the loganberry liqueur is so “in-tact” and not muddled or burnt.
A witty sense of humor comes with the job description I suppose Get it? The still isn’t watched because he has it all automated and can even shut it off via remote from his home – and it never boils because it’s a different process than traditional distillation. The unwatched still that never boils. I like it.
Our last wine stop of the day and the whole trip was Comforts of Whidbey. Man we talked those people’s ears off but it sure was fun!
They are in the process of getting their place set up as a bed and breakfast as well as a wedding destination. With a view like that, I have to admit that I’d consider getting married all over again
We missed a few of the places we had wanted to stop in for tastings – one being closed unexpectedly (Spoiled Dog Winery) and then just running out of time to hit the last two. Where does a day go? Too quickly when you are on vacation that’s for sure.
We decided to stop in for a quick cup of coffee before dinner and it was one of those stops that was just so random and yet, I am so happy that we happened in on this particular place. The owner was there and we had a lovely time chatting and hearing about his life – moving up here from Texas with his kids, starting a restaurant/coffee shop and sort of getting thrown into the thick of it. I was a bit sad that we had already made dinner plans for another restaurant because it would have been great to stay and chat longer. Plus, The Eatery had a pretty enticing menu. Just one more reason we’ll have to go back!
Nick’s aunt from LA was staying in Langley on a writer’s retreat and we had plans to meet her for dinner. Since she was basically staying at a cabin in the woods all by herself (there’s a house on the same property but its all fairly remote), she had set up a bunch of dinner dates for herself over her week-long stay. That way she could work on writing her book, making edits all day long and then break things up a bit by venturing into town and having some human contact. To be honest, I’m incredibly jealous of her trip and I would love to settle into a teensy cabin to just sit down and write. Sounds lovely. A ton of work and I’m sure hellish at times when the words just won’t come – but overall, lovely.
In case you’re interested – she was staying at the Writers Refuge – Foxglove which is a bare bones cabin so all you need to worry about is writing. Also located on Whidbey is Hedgebrook which is a nonprofit writing community that offers a “writers in residency” program that allows women to take a writers retreat for two weeks, free of cost, to just buckle down and write.
She had chosen Prima Bistro for dinner and we had a lovely time talking about writing, blogging, and pulling it all together. I hope that at some point I can go visit her in LA – she ha so many stories and life experiences that I’d love to hear more about.
After dinner it was time to catch a ferry and head back with our bounty of treasures
If you’re following along with the maps, here is the route for the day – starting in Port Townsend, taking a ferry to Keystone and then driving southeast along Whidbey Island to Langley and Clinton, then a ferry to Mukilteo and lastly a drive to Everett. Whew!
All in all, our mini vacation route looked like this:
And as a frame of reference for those out-of-state folks – here’s where Puget Sound, the Peninsula and the Islands are in relation to the rest of the state. Our stops indicated by red stars.That’s it folks! We had so much fun exploring and wine, cider, liqueur tasting
Special thanks to our family that was so helpful with the kids and having slumber parties while we were out having some grown up fun.
If you are looking to make the trip to Port Townsend, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of the Getaway Guide – available on the ferry and also at various coffee shops and restaurants in town. Packed with information, dining recommendations, the town history, and seasonal happenings, that guide is likely to give you plenty of ideas for an adventure all your own.
Alright, that pretty much gets us caught up on the blogging front – we’ll be back to regularly-scheduled posts tomorrow morning. Hi-ho, hi-ho it’s off to work I go!