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Category Archives: Port Townsend History

Find Port Townsend, WA

March 6, 2016 by bluegullinn

Find Port Townsend, WA

Find Port Townsend, WA

Find Port Townsend, WA

Find Port Townsend, WA. Perched at the northeast tip of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, Port Townsend is a magical combination of land and sea, with panoramic views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, as well as the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges.

Getting to Port Townsend is half of the fun! Located a short ferry ride from the Seattle metro area – it generally takes around two hours to get here from Seattle. You can also drive north from the Portland and Olympia area along scenic Highway 101. If you come from Vancouver, you can drive to Whidbey Island and take a ferry direct to Port Townsend.

Download the official map of Port Townsend (includes historic places).

FERRY SCHEDULES

DIRECTIONS

From Downtown Seattle via Seattle/Bainbridge Island Ferry

Take the Washington State Ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island (the ferry crossing is 35 minutes). Follow HWY 305 for approximately 12 miles to HWY 3 in Poulsbo. Take HWY 3 North for approximately 7 miles to the Hood Canal Bridge. Turn left onto the bridge which becomes HWY 104, take the 104 for 6.7 miles turn right onto Beaver Valley Road/WA-19. Continue to follow WA-19 for 14.1 miles (WA-19 becomes WA-20) go another 3 miles and you have reached Port Townsend.

From South of Seattle or Tacoma

From I-5 South to Tacoma take the Gig Harbor/Bremerton exit 132 to WA-16 W. Follow WA-16 W (27 miles). WA-16 W becomes WA-3 N in Gorst (25 miles). Turn left onto WA-104 W and cross Hood Canal Bridge continue on the 104 for 6.7 miles turn right onto Beaver Valley Road/WA-19. Continue to follow WA-19 for 14.1 miles (WA-19 becomes WA-20) go another 3 miles and you have reached Port Townsend.

From Edmonds or North of Seattle via Edmonds/Kingston Ferry

Take Washington State Ferry from Edmonds to Kingston (approx 25 minutes). Follow WA-104 West for approximately 10 miles through Port Gamble to the Hood Canal Bridge. Turn right and cross Hood Canal Bridge continue on the 104 for 6.7 miles turn right onto Beaver Valley Road/WA-19. Continue to follow WA-19 for 14.1 miles (WA-19 becomes WA-20) go another 3 miles and you have reached Port Townsend.

From Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Leaving Airport, head West on South 170th Street toward Military Road South. (0.16 miles). Turn Left onto Military Road South (1.38 miles). Turn left onto S 188th Street (0.03 miles). Merge onto I-5 South toward Portland (19.63 miles). Merge onto WA-16 West via Exit number 132 toward Gig Harbor/ Bremerton (27.08 miles). WA-16 West becomes WA-3 North. (25.33 miles). Turn left onto WA-104 W and cross Hood Canal Bridge continue on the 104 for 6.7 miles turn right onto Beaver Valley Road/WA-19. Continue to follow WA-19 for 14.1 miles (WA-19 becomes WA-20) go another 3 miles and you have reached Port Townsend.

From Victoria, British Columbia via  Victoria/Port Angeles Ferry

Take the Victoria-Port Angeles ferry (90 minute crossing). Click here to view schedules and fares. Ferry exits onto Laurel St .2 miles. Turn left onto E. Railroad St. 0.1 miles, take 1st right onto N. Lincoln St./US 101 E. and continue for 34.2 miles. Turn left onto WA-20, go 7.8 miles and turn left to stay on WA-20 for another 3 miles and you have reached Port Townsend.

From Vancouver, British Columbia via Keystone/Port Townsend Ferry

Follow Provincial Route 99 south to border crossing. Provincial Route 99 S. becomes I-5 S. Go 46.1 miles take exit 230 toward WA-20/Burlington/Anacortes. Go .4 miles turn right onto WA-20 E. make a U-turn onto WA-20 W. Go 11.8 miles turn left onto WA-20 and continue 16.4 miles turn right to stay on WA-20, go 9.5 miles turn right onto S. Main St. go 0.6 miles (S. Main St. becomes Engle Rd.), go 3.3 miles. Take the Port Townsend-Keystone Ferry. You are now in downtown Port Townsend.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Jefferson Transit provides public transportation in our area. Whether your drive or not, we encourage you to park your car in the Haines Place Park-N-Ride Lot and use Jefferson Transit buses and downtown shuttles to get around Port Townsend.

The Park-N-Ride is located next to Safeway on Hwy 20.  View Jefferson Transit’s map showing the Downtown Shuttle route and the location of the Park-N-Ride.

Whale Watching

February 16, 2016 by bluegullinn

Whale Watching. For 30 years, Puget Sound Express has set the standard for exciting whale watching tours and wildlife tours around the Olympic Peninsula and the San Juan Islands. Puget Sound Express offers a variety of adventure cruises for you to choose from – all easily accessible from Seattle, Puget Sound, and the Olympic Peninsula:

Gray Whale photo by Merrill GoshoGray Whale Tours

Each spring, migrating gray whales pass through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound, providing an excellent opportunity to visit and learn about these amazing mammals. We run half-day whale tours in March and April to see the grays.

PORT TOWNSEND DEPARTURES
March 5 – April 25, leave Port Townsend, Washington at 10am.
Port Townsend tours feature the 40-seat MV Red Head, and run approximately 3-4 hours. The waters that we travel in are protected and usually calm. The tour must have a minimum of 15 passengers for a departure.

SEATTLE/EDMONDS DEPARTURES
March 5 – April 25, leave Edmonds, Washington at 10am and 1pm
Our NEW Edmonds tour features the 60-seat, high speed foilcat MV Chilkat. These tours run approximately 2 hours and the waters that we travel in are protected and usually calm. The tour must have a minimum of 15 passengers for a departure.

seattle-orca-photo-by--renee-beitzelSeattle/Edmonds Whale Watching Tour

See the majesty and beauty of orcas and humpback whales with Puget Sound Express’ new Seattle Watching Tours out of Edmonds! Ride theChilkat, our high speed foilcat, at speeds over 40 mph to the San Juan Islands. This is the fastest whale watching boat in the Northwest, and when you combine that with three generations of dedication and experience connecting Seattle visitors with the great outdoors – we guarantee you’ll see whales or your next trip is free! Tours begin in April. We leave at 9:00am and return at 2pm In July and August, we add a 2:30pm departure that returns at 7pm.

cwrFour Hour Whale Watching Tour (Port Townsend)

The perfect trip for visitors and travelers with a busy schedule! Departing in the morning, our fast and comfortable 40-seat Red Head seeks out orcas, minkes, humpbacks, and gray whales to give you a guaranteed whale watching experience in the San Juan Islands.

Trips run April – October, and feature an on-board naturalist. If the whales are “singing,” you’ll be able to hear them with our hydrophone.

baby orcas photo by janine harlesPort Townsend – San Juan Island Whale Watching Tour

Our signature tour, this daylong cruise on the Glacier Spirit combines orca watching with an on-board naturalist, and a tour of the beautiful San Juan Islands. We visit the popular town of Friday Harbor for shopping, island cuisine, and sightseeing.

This San Juan Islands trip is also the official passenger ferry route between Port Townsend and San Juan Island, and in addition to seeing killer whales, we often see minke whales, Stellar and California sea lions and Dall’s porpoises. The full-day tour runs May – September.

eagles-smith-island3-Day San Juan Islands Wildlife Cruises

Join Puget Sound Express for exciting 3 day cruises through the San Juan Islands in Washington State. Selected by National Geographic as one of the World’s Top 3 destinations, the waters around the San Juan Islands are home to orcas (killer whales), minke whales, gray whales, humpback whales, stellar sea lions, porpoise, otters, and a dizzying array of seabirds.

PTMSC Protection Island Cruises

Produced in partnership with the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, our three-hour Spring and Fall Bird Migration Cruises coincide with annual migrations of  loons, phalaropes, mergansers, merlins, bald eagles, oystercatchers, harlequin ducks, murrelets, auklets, and more.

Naturalists from the Marine Science Center serve as on-board interpreters and provide commentary on local birds, mammals, geology, history and weather.

3 Day Audubon Birdwatching Cruise

The Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society and Puget Sound Express invite you to take part in an amazing three-day birdwatching and wildlife cruise in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, April 12-14, 2016.

Tour Naturalist Bob Boekelheide (formerly Director of the Dungeness River Audubon Center) will be pointing out all the birds for us. In addition to wildlife and bird watching, we will visit and stay overnight at the historic Roche Harbor Resort, tour fascinating sites on San Juan Island, as well as Deception Pass near Whidbey Island.

Port Townsend Historic Sites

February 3, 2016 by bluegullinn

Port Townsend Historic Sites

Port Townsend Historic Sites

Like many young communities in the Puget Sound, Port Townsend aspired to greatness.

Calling itself the “Key City” and the “New York of the West,” Port Townsend quickly became a bustling seaport and customs gateway to the Pacific Northwest, with an impressive waterfront commercial district of stone and brick buildings and many elegant Victorian homes on the bluff above.

Although economic activity shifted from Port Townsend to Seattle, much of the 19th Century and early 20th Century remains intact. In 1976, the waterfront district and the residential area on the bluff were designated a National Historic District, and Port Townsend is today recognized as one of only three Victorian Seaports on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you want to explore the history of Port Townsend, your first stop should be theJefferson County Historical Museum next to City Hall downtown. In addition to impressive exhibits and helpful staff and volunteers, the Museum leads walking toursthrough the downtown and uptown districts, helping visitors to glean the exciting history of the area.

Some of the more impressive and notable sites to explore include:

The Rothschild House

  • Located at the corner of Jefferson and Taylor Streets in uptown Port Townsend, the Rothschild House is virtually unchanged from a hundred years ago. Managed by JCHS, the home features original furnishing and decor. Learn more.

The Jefferson County Courthouse

  • The Jefferson County Courthouse majestically overlooks Port Townsend Bay and the entrance to Admiralty Inlet. Approved for construction in 1890, the Courthouse’s deep red, smooth bricks were shipped in from St. Louis, and nearly 800 tons of sandstone were brought in from Alaska. Learn more.

The Port Townsend Post Office and Customs House

  • The Port Townsend Federal Building – originally home to the Port Office and Customs House,  is the oldest federally constructed post office in Washington state, and the only example of Richardson Romanesque design in a federal building in Washington.  Still in use today, the building was constructed in 1893.  Learn more.

Uptown Victorian Homes

  • Strolling the uptown district of Port Townsend and sampling Victorian architecture is a favorite pastime of visitors and locals alike (although many of these historic homes are private residences – please respect their privacy). Learn more.

Downtown – the whole thing!

  • The entire downtown core is a National Historic District! Look around and imagine yourself walking the same streets and seeing the same buildings more than a hundred years ago.

Many Historic Sites to Visit

June 16, 2015 by bluegullinn

Historic County Courthouse

Historic County Courthouse

Lady Washington

Lady Washington

Wooden Bell Tower

Wooden Bell Tower

Historic Sites

Many Historic Sites to Visit while in Port Townsend, WA

Like many young communities in the Puget Sound, Port Townsend aspired to greatness.

Calling itself the “Key City” and the “New York of the West,” Port Townsend quickly became a bustling seaport and customs gateway to the Pacific Northwest, with an impressive waterfront commercial district of stone and brick buildings and many elegant Victorian homes on the bluff above.

Economic activity shifted from Port Townsend to Seattle, much of the 19th Century and early 20th Century remains intact. In 1976, the waterfront district and the residential area on the bluff were designated a National Historic District, and Port Townsend is today recognized as one of only three Victorian Seaports on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you want to explore the history of Port Townsend, your first stop should be theJefferson County Historical Museum next to City Hall downtown. In addition to impressive exhibits and helpful staff and volunteers, the Museum leads walking toursthrough the downtown and uptown districts, helping visitors to glean the exciting history of the area.

Some of the more impressive and notable sites to explore include:

The Rothschild House

  • Located at the corner of Jefferson and Taylor Streets in uptown Port Townsend, the Rothschild House is virtually unchanged from a hundred years ago. Managed by JCHS, the home features original furnishing and decor. Learn more.

The Jefferson County Courthouse

  • The Jefferson County Courthouse majestically overlooks Port Townsend Bay and the entrance to Admiralty Inlet. Approved for construction in 1890, the Courthouse’s deep red, smooth bricks were shipped in from St. Louis, and nearly 800 tons of sandstone were brought in from Alaska. Learn more.

The Port Townsend Post Office and Customs House

  • The Port Townsend Federal Building – originally home to the Port Office and Customs House,  is the oldest federally constructed post office in Washington state, and the only example of Richardson Romanesque design in a federal building in Washington.  Still in use today, the building was constructed in 1893.  Learn more.

Uptown Victorian Homes

  • Strolling the uptown district of Port Townsend and sampling Victorian architecture is a favorite pastime of visitors and locals alike (although many of these historic homes are private residences – please respect their privacy). Learn more.

Downtown – the whole thing!

  • The entire downtown core is a National Historic District! Look around and imagine yourself walking the same streets and seeing the same buildings more than a hundred years ago

While in Port Townsend stay at the Blue Gull Inn B&B

Port Townsend, WA City of Dreams

June 3, 2015 by bluegullinn

Port Townsend 1890

Port Townsend 1890

 

Early History of Port Townsend, WA. Port Townsend, WA City of Dreams

The City of Dreams, Port Townsend, WA is one of the finest examples of a Victorian Seaport in the United States. It is one of 3 Registered Victorian Seaports in the US. The other 2 are Cape May, NJ and Galveston, TX.

The City of Port Townsend was the City of Dreams. Originally named ‘Port Townshend’ by Captain George Vancouver (for his friend the Marquis of Townshend) in 1792, Port Townsend was immediately recognized as a good, safe harbor, which it remains to this day. The official settlement of the city took place on the 24th of April, 1851. Called the “City of Dreams” because of the early speculation that the city would be the largest harbor on the west coast, wealthy and prosperous, somehow though, those early dreams failed to materialize because the rail road never came.

For several thousand years the only occupants were native Indians. In the late 1700s and early 1800s the Indian population thrived. Many American Indian tribes were in the area at the time, they included:, Chimakum, Hoh, Klallam, Quinault and Twana. They were all in the area which is now Jefferson County.

In the 19th century, Port Townsend, WA was a very well known seaport. It is located at the entrance to Puget Sound. It has a large deep water bay that made it a natural stopping off point for ships and crews. Sailing ships had to stop here to pay tariffs and tolls before entering Puget Sound.

In those early days Port Townsend was as very “wild town”. Most of downtown was brothels and bars to accommodate all the sailors. There are actually tunnels that run under parts of town, so when a sailing ship needed a crew, some of the bars actually had trap doors in them. The sailors would get drunk or drugged and would wake up aboard ship.

Like many small towns in the Northwest. Port Townsend described itself as the “Key City” and the “New York of the West” It quickly became a bustling seaport and customs gateway of the Pacific Northwest. Located right on the water at the entrance of Puget Sound, it was very visible from the water. Many boaters even today find Port Townsend by boat. It had an impressive downtown, many of the commercial building were built of brick and stone and many elegant Victorian homes on the hillside above. It must have been very inviting town as you passed by, especially after months at sea.

In the early 1880, because of Port Townsend’s waterfront location, the business men of the day decided to bring the railroad to town. It only made sense to off load and load ships here and then ship the goods by rail. That dream lasted until 1892. At that time the railroad said it was too expensive to travel all the way to Port Townsend. Back then, the largest port was Seattle, so the railroad went there instead. Port Townsend then went into a huge depression because of the railroad.

Stay at the Blue Gull Inn B&B

 

Early History of Port Townsend, WA

April 6, 2015 by bluegullinn

 

Lady Washington

Lady Washington is part of the Early History of Port Townsend, WA

Early History of Port Townsend, WA

The City of Dreams, Port Townsend, WA is one of the finest examples of a Victorian Seaport in the United States. It is one of 3 Registered Victorian Seaports in the US. The other 2 are Cape May, NJ and Galveston, TX.

Like many small towns in the Northwest. Port Townsend described itself as the “Key City” and the “New York of the West” It quickly became a bustling seaport and customs gateway of the Pacific Northwest. Located right on the water at the entrance of Puget Sound, it was very visible from the water. Many boaters even today find Port Townsend

by boat. It had an impressive downtown, many of the commercial building were built of brick and stone and many elegant Victorian homes on the hillside above. It must have been very inviting town as you passed by, especially after months at sea.

Port Townsend was a very wild town in the day. Much of downtown was brothels and bars. Tunnels run under the downtown area. Many of the bars had trap doors in them. When a ship needed a crew they would get the sailor drunk and he would then find himself serving as a crew member out at sea.

In the early 1880, because of Port Townsend’s waterfront location, the business men of the day decided to bring the railroad to town. It only made sense to off load and load ships here and then ship the goods by rail. That dream lasted until 1892. At that time the railroad said it was too expensive to travel all the way to Port Townsend. Back then, the largest port was Seattle, so the railroad went there instead. Port Townsend then went into a huge depression because of the railroad.

For more information about Port Townsend visit www.ptguide.com

Port Townsend events www.enjoypt.com

While visiting Port Townsend, stay at our Historic Bed & Breakfast in Uptown www.bluegullinn.com

When you decided you want to live in Port Townsend or Jefferson County, contact John Eissinger at Remax for real estate information, check-out,  www.johneissinger.com

Point Wilson Lighthouse at Fort Worden State Park

June 17, 2014 by bluegullinn

Having had the opportunity to travel much of the United State by car. I believe that one of the best State Parks you will find anywhere in the United States is right here on the Olympic Peninsula in Port Townsend, WA. It is Fort Worden State Park. As you enter the park and turn right at the stop sign, you drive by many historic buildings. Keep driving down the hill, you will find the Marine Science Center and on the other side is a beautiful curved sandy beach. Kids swim in the water even though it is cold. In the summer time when the tide is out the sun warms the sand and as the tide comes back in it warms the water just a little.
As you take a walk down the beach, at the end you will find the Point Wilson Lighthouse, sometimes it is open for tours. Enjoy all that Fort Worden has to offer, Commanding Officers Quarter, Coast Artillery Museum, 2 Campgrounds, do not miss going through the old concrete bunkers. Fort Worden was built in 1902 to protect the entrance to Puget Sound. One of the best moments of Fort Worden was when it was transformed into a Navy base for the shooting of the movie Officer and a Gentlemen. You can still walk the lower bunker where Richard Geer walked and had to do push ups. Visit Port Townsend, Washington’s Victorian Seaport and Arts Community. Many great places to dine and come stay over night and really enjoy all that Port Townsend has to offer.

Fort Worden State Park

Fort Worden State Park

Old Quincy Street Ferry Dock

June 15, 2014 by bluegullinn

Visit Port Townsend, Washington’s Victorian Seaport and Arts Community.

Part of our Historic Downtown is the old Quincy Street Ferry Dock. This ferry was privately owned for years. It gave you access to Whidbey Island by way of Coupeville. Now the ferry service is an extension of Highway 20 now operated by the Washington State Ferries. Do not miss the opportunity to pack a picnic lunch and walk on the ferry. Just on the other side is Fort Casey State Park. It was built in about 1902 to protect the entrance to Puget Sound. Take time to see the old concrete bunkers and gun emplacements. Enjoy your lunch and take in the views of Puget Sound, Port Townsend Bay and the Olympic Mountains.

Old Quincy Street Ferry Dock

Old Quincy Street Ferry Dock

 

 

 

 

June 14, 2014 by bluegullinn

Port of Port Townsend
Marina Port of Port Townsend
Wooden Boat building and repair
Many other marine related activities
Brewery, coffee roasting, good food are all part of the Marina district in Port Townsend, WA
Many people find Port Townsend by boat. The marina is just a short distance from the dining and shopping in downtown
Just across the street is a nice Safeway grocery store so you can restock supplies for you next adventure

Rufus Hummingbird

June 4, 2014 by bluegullinn

Port Townsend, WA

Feeding at the Blue Gull Inn B&B

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