A January jaunt: Port Townsend, WA

Our Saturday (01.18.14) morning started later than expected, which, regrettably, is just like us. Our goal to set out from the marina by 8 am was realized at 11:30 am, and we started off a bit discouraged. Our original plan had been to sail south to Quartermaster Harbor on Vashon Island, an area we haven’t yet explored. However, the tides and the winds were not to be in our favor. Neil promised me we’d explore Vashon at some point in the coming months, and we agreed to go north. As luck would have it, however, by the time we finally left Elliott Bay Marina, the wind had waned entirely. We motor sailed most of the way north, crossing our fingers that our return on Monday would be livelier.


We arrived at Port Townsend, WA, at dusk. We’ve been here a few times and have been met with a busy (and sometimes very busy) anchorage every time. Granted, our visits have been during the summer months, when boating peaks in the Pacific Northwest, but we were shocked to find no other boats at all. None. Zero. Zilch. We had the whole place to ourselves! The bustling environment is usually one of the appeals of Port Townsend but also one of the reasons I was looking forward to going to sleepy Vashon this weekend. Okay, so peace and serenity were not all we were seeking in our weekend getaway…high on our priority list was finding a good bar to watch the Seahawks take on the 49ers.

Port Townsend - Town Collage

In our experience, Port Townsend is one of the most charming towns we’ve explored in the Puget Sound. The main streets were minted in the mid-1800s, yet somehow the brick storefronts maintain a rich vitality that has been preserved for well over a century, from the days when Port Townsend was a busy shipping port. The Victorian architecture feels like a step back in time. Today, the storefronts are home to kitschy shops and eateries full of one-of-a-kind art pieces, clothing, and tasty bites. Port Townsend is also home the Wooden Boat Festival each fall, a major attraction that we’ve yet to experience. For a town of less than 9,000 residents, there are plenty of corners to explore. Port Townsend is also a customs point for boats arriving in the US and, might I add, undoubtedly more alluring than Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.


Sunday morning (01.19.14) greeted us with a thick blanket of fog. After a failed attempt to start our dinghy outboard motor (we haven’t started her since September…maintenance time), we paddled ashore and proceeded to wander in and out of shop after shop in pursuit of nothing in particular. Living in a small space and making plans to leave on a big voyage, our purchases tend to be few and very deliberate. Our big find: a teapot! Yes, another to-do checked off our list! We’ve always boiled water in a small pot on the boat, but having faced larger waves during our honeymoon voyage, we realized the importance of investing in a teapot for safety (e.g., to avoid scald burns and spills). A lovely stainless steel teapot (covered in yellow enamel for aesthetics) in tow, we stopped in Doc’s for a quick bite and a couple quarters of the Broncos – Patriots game, before making our way to Sirens – A Pub of Distinction. No, we didn’t add that last bit out of good favor, that’s really its name! Decked out in our Russell Wilson jerseys, we were on the edge of our seats, cheering as the Seahawks beat the 49ers for a place in the Super Bowl!

Sirens Collage

Our homeward trek on Monday (01.20.14) was warmed by the sun, a winter treat that I could not have appreciated before moving to Seattle three years ago! We spent several hours with the sails up, before rolling them in and motoring back into the marina for a just-after-dark docking. How lucky we felt to sneak away and relax together for a couple of days.



One thought on “A January jaunt: Port Townsend, WA

  1. Pingback: Night sailing beneath a million stars | s/v The Red Thread

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