Saturday, August 11, 2018

Lots To Do Around Sunny Sequim

Elwha Dam RV Campground
July 2018
Port Angeles, WA

Nestled in the Olympic rain shadow is the small port town of Sequim (skwim).  The Olympic Mts. act as a wall that protects the valley from large amounts of rain and snow.   Thus, Sequim only gets about 18 inches of rain per year.  Because of the sunny weather, the valley has a long history of inhabitants dating back 14,000 years ago.  European settlers arrived in the valley around the 1850s.  It's interesting to note that the land not along the Dungeness River was arid prairie land.  Irrigation canals first brought water to the prairie in the 1890s and farmlands have flourished since then. Sequim was incorporated in 1913.  Today, Washington Street runs through the heart of downtown Sequim  

Like other small towns attracting tourists, antique, book, clothing, and lavender gift shops line the street.

Outside of town, there is lots to explore.  The climate is ideal for growing lavender...and Sequim boasts lots of family-owned farms that invite visitors to come experience the beauty and fragrance of this "amazingly versatile herb".  Washington Lavender Farm was our choice.  Colorful poppies and lavender line the long driveway when you enter the farm.

George Washington B&B is a replica of Mt. Vernon in honor of our first president.  

It sits on a high bluff along the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 


Washington Lavender Farm is different from other farms in the area.  Over 5000 lavender plants have been planted to landscape the grounds rather than being in a single field. 

P.S.  I did try the lavender ice cream...insert yuckky face here...tasted like perfume.

Our next visit was to the Railroad Bridge Park. 

The park is part of the Olympic Discovery you can walk as many or as few miles as you want.  

The Milwaukee Road operated the rail line from 1915 to 1980 transporting passengers and timber from Port Townsend to Port Angeles.  

The line ran "by tide table rather than time table".  In 1992, volunteers replaced planking on the bridge making it accessible for walkers and bicyclists.  

The Washington State Audubon Society purchased the property and created the Dungeness River Center and Railroad Bridge park.  

The Dungeness River Center is all about the birds that visit/live in the area.  Very informative and interesting.

Marinas have always been a favorite stop for me.  

I read that John Wayne had visited the area frequently in his yatcht, the Wild Goose.  His family donated land in recognition of his vision for a marina in Sequim Bay.  We had planned on having lunch at the Dockside Grill there, but it was closed  (every Monday and Tuesday). 

Heading home we stopped at the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge.  This fertile habitat became a refuge, preserve and breeding ground for birds in 1915.  

We were greeted at the visitor kiosk by a volunteer who gave us a map and information about the refuge.

Its a short walk through a forest of evergreens, oaks and ferns to get to the lookout for the spit.

The Dungeness spit is one of the world's largest sand spits and a must see.  It's picture postcard perfect and definitely a "WOW" moment.

And another slightly steeper walk to the shore.  We spent a couple of hours strolling the beach admiring the rocks,  the endless views, the driftwood and a few birds.   

We enjoyed our day in Sunny Sequim.  What's not to like? 

Until next time,
Downtown Sequim

Washington Lavender Farm

Railroad Bridge Trail

John Wayne Marina

Sequim Visitor Center

Trail at Dungeness Wildlife Refuge
The Spit...the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the left and the Dungeness Bay on the right. 


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Small Town Charm and Appeal...Port Angeles, WA

Elwha Dam RV Park
Port A, WA
July, 2018

Port A (I do sound like a local, right?) is often referred to as the "gateway to Olympic National Park".

Or you might hear it referred to as Historic Port Angeles "Where the Mountains Meet the Sea" as it is bordered by the snow-capped Olympic Mt. Range on the south and the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the north.   

Both are fitting and well represent this great small town on the Olympic Peninsula.  

Downtown streets are lined with local businesses...many owned by lifelong residents.  Restaurants, art galleries, gift shops, bookstores and fly fishing outfitters are fun to browse.

Several murals spread throughout the downtown area help tie modern day Port A to its past.  The city we now call Port Angeles began as a small outpost and logging town early in the 19th century.  By 1912, it was home to the world's largest sawmill. The mural below depicts Port A at the beginning of the 20th century.   

Another interesting mural depicts the historic Kalakala (translated means "Flying Bird") ferry. It  was the talk of America in the 1930s.  This sleek futuristic vessel sailed for 32 years and an estimated 30 million passengers  rode the luxurious ship during its lifetime.  It not only served as a ferry, but was also used heavily in WW ll to transport workers, vehicles and supplies...mostly to and from the Bremerton Navy shipyards.

The Conrad Dyar Memorial Fountain is a favorite downtown park to visit.  The 10'X20' mural, "Olympic Visions", serves as a beautiful backdrop for the fountain.  

Saturday mornings in Port A is Farmers Market Day with local veggies, homemade breads and pies, a few crafty things, and garden flowers.

My favorite purchase was a bunch of Sweet Peas !    

The City Pier is located on the waterfront in the heart of town.  It makes for a nice walk and the 4-story look-out at the end of the pier offers a great view of the Strait and town. 

Lots of friendly folks live and work in Port A... smiling faces eager to help and eager to share their community.  Downtown Port A is clean and neat with lots of free, easy parking.  The charm of this small town might very well be because the people who live there take great pride in their downtown neighborhood.  The appeal of Port A is the amazing weather we experienced during our month stay.  It is hard to beat mid 70s daytime highs and mid 50s nighttime lows in July !  And, being the gateway to Olympic NP and the town where the mountains meet the sea, there is no lack of fun things to do and explore.  Would I go back? YES ! 

So, until next time...



Up next, a small town located in the Olympic Rain Shadow.