West Sound Communities
With so much to do and all within an hour’s drive, the West Sound will never leave you bored. You can go mountain biking, head to a museum, go scuba diving and more. If you’re hungry, you can find just about any food you’d like. There are restaurants serving world-wide cuisines, locally-owned breweries and eateries specializing in northwest fare. If shopping is what you like, you will find major chains and locally owned shops. One of West Sound’s greatest assets is the wildlife and scenery. Make sure to contact the local chamber of commerce to learn more about what our community offers.
Kitsap County’s population is approximately 250,000 and is one of the most temperate places on the globe. The average temperatures are 73 degrees in the summer and 42 degrees in the winter. Annual rainfall averages 44 inches, winters are mild and significant snowfall is rare. Kitsap County boasts the distinction of having the most saltwater coastline of any county in the U.S.
The community of Bainbridge Island is sought by families who desire a nurturing environment and great schools for their children, young professionals and active retired persons. They come for the rural solitude, the community feeling, the excellence in education and the parks and water views.
The population of the city is about 23,000. The annual growth rate has historically been about 1 percent per year.
In 1990, the city of Winslow annexed the entire island into its city limits. By vote of the residents, the city’s name was officially changed to the City of Bainbridge Island. The City of Bainbridge Island is the newest city in the state and the only rural city with farms and two former state parks. The city is governed by a city manager and an elected city council of seven members.
Pristine forests and parks abound on the island. The beaches, walking and bicycle trails, picnic areas and boat launches are heavily used by outdoor enthusiasts. Camping facilities are available. Eagle Harbor offers visitors a passing parade of world-cruising yachts.
For the sports-minded, the parks and recreation district offers 1,400 acres of parks and facilities. Soccer and softball fields, a public swimming pool, nature preserves, equestrian trails, tennis courts, picnic areas and play areas are just the start. The park district offers programs for team sports in softball, soccer, Little League and gymnastics. There are also numerous programs for outdoor hikes and nature study. The Bloedel Reserve, a 150-acre preserve open to the public, combines natural woodlands and developed gardens. A walk through the quiet elegance of nature at its finest is a special treat, and reservations are no longer required.
Bainbridge Island is also home of Bainbridge Performing Arts, a well-known community theater group. Many contemporary plays are performed each year. Outstanding children’s performances are the culmination of many workshops designed to teach children the workings of the theater. Bainbridge Performing Arts shares its performing arts theater with other popular performers such as the Bainbridge Orchestra and the Chorale, which also perform regularly.
Many special events occur on the island throughout the year. A street fair, fun run and parade add to the celebration of Grand Old Fourth on July 4. In the spring there is a home and garden show, and in midsummer, a garden tour of the island. There is a popular summer festival of the arts as well.
Bainbridge Island School District includes one high school, one intermediate school, one middle school and three elementary schools. Visit its website at www.bisd303.org.
For more information, call the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce at 206-842-3700, visit its office at 395 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, or email info@bainbridge
chamber.com. The Bainbridge Chamber of Commerce website is www.bainbridgechamber.com.
Surrounded by water on three sides and with a view of the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, Bremerton, on one of Puget Sound’s beautiful protected harbors, has one of the most picturesque settings of any city in the Pacific Northwest. A one-hour ferry ride gets you to Seattle, and Tacoma is only 32 miles south via the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
Bremerton is a “Navy Town” and has been ever since Puget Sound Naval Shipyard began its operations in the 1890s. Military installations play an important part in Bremerton’s economy.
Bremerton School District includes four Kindergarten through fifth grade elementary schools, one sixth through eighth grade middle school, one ninth through 12th grade high school, along with two alternative high schools (ninth through 10th and 11th through 12th), one Early Learning Center (pre-school to third) and one elementary STEM academy (pre-school to eighth). Bremerton Home Link is a Kindergarten through eighth home-school partnership program. Visit the district website at www.bremertonschools.org for more information.
You don’t need to look far to find visual and performing arts in Kitsap County, which provides stages and galleries for its own talent and imports acts from throughout the world. Bremerton maintains cultural expressions with plays, concerts, jazz festivals and art shows, often through Olympic College. The restored Admiral Theatre in downtown Bremerton showcases local entertainers and brings to town popular performing artists, as well as acrobats and other acts. Bremerton Community Theatre stages comedies, dramas and musicals. Bremerton supports a symphony orchestra and a concert chorale as well. The growing downtown arts district has monthly exhibits hosted by the local art galleries. SEEfilm Bremerton Cinema, a 10-screen theater that opened in 2012, features new digital technology and a VIP room with a bar for patrons 21 and older.
Bremerton is home to several annual events: Armed Forces Week, Harborfest, Wine Festival, Bremerton Boat Show, Bremerton Brewfest hosted by the Washington Beer Commission, and Blackberry Festival. Armed Forces Week has been honoring the men and women of the military since 1948. This week includes numerous activities, a golf tournament, an Armed Forces Ambassadors Scholarship Program, Military Culinary Arts Competition and the Navy League Gala. The week culminates with the nation’s largest and longest-running Armed Forces Day parade.
Bremerton is served by air, water and bus transportation facilities. Kitsap Transit offers routed bus service in Bremerton, Silverdale, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Kingston and Bainbridge Island. Service is also available between Kitsap communities. The Worker/Driver Program has buses and vanpools that operate like a carpool from several locations across Kitsap County. Paratransit service is available to eligible elderly and disabled passengers. For information on Kitsap Transit services, routes and fares, call the Kitsap Transit customer service office at 377-2877 or visit www.kitsaptransit.com. It is a fast and economical way to move between points throughout Kitsap County.
The ferries in the Kitsap County area have both commercial and transportation value. The four cross-sound ferry terminals are at Bremerton, Southworth, Bainbridge Island and Kingston. Some people use the ferries out of necessity. Others refer to them as the “world’s biggest amusement ride.” Whether you choose to just watch the scenery or to venture around and explore the decks, you’ll find a ride on a Washington State Ferry a delight. There is a foot ferry that makes a 10-minute run between Bremerton and Port Orchard and offers the best view of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The boat runs every half-hour daily except Sunday. Ferry schedules can be found at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries.
Bremerton National Airport, the largest of the three airfields in the county, is on State Highway 3, south of Bremerton. The two other airfields are Port Orchard Airport on Sidney Road and Apex Airport in Central Kitsap near Silverdale.
Lions Community Playfield offers 15 acres of lighted ball fields, lighted tennis courts, a fishing pier, a small boat launch, playground equipment and restrooms. It’s on the east side of the Port Washington Narrows Bridge along Lebo Boulevard.
Evergreen Park offers six acres of good picnicking and access to the waterfront. There is plenty of parking and a small boat launch, a playground and a rose garden. It’s on the west side of the Port Washington Narrows at the north end of Park Avenue.
Bachman Park furnishes a good view of Port Orchard Bay and passing ferry boats. The half-acre park, at Shore Drive and Trenton Avenue on Manette Peninsula, offers beach access and a covered veranda.
The Bremerton Ice Center, an ice arena for the whole family, is a year-round facility featuring sports for both children and adults, an Ice Cafe with a 1950s-style soda fountain, skate shop and fireplace. Programs include youth and adult hockey, figure skating, with fundamental skating lessons available, broomball and birthday party packages. Visitwww.bremertonicecenter.com for more information.
For soccer fans the Kitsap Pumas are one of the area’s premier soccer teams. Home games are played at the Bremerton High School Memorial Stadium. The Kitsap BlueJackets collegiate baseball team plays its games at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds. There are also a number of golf courses, driving ranges and pro shops which can be found at www.golfkitsap.com/golf.
Stephenson Canyon is a heavily-wooded natural park on 28 acres with a canyon and a small creek. There are many trails for exploring and easy walking. It’s west of Warren Avenue between Sheridan Road and Lebo Boulevard.
The Bremerton YMCA, which has been a resource for Sailors and their families in the Bremerton area since 1911, is on Homer Jones Drive in Bremerton, not far from Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton. It offers reduced rates for active military individuals and families who want the family-oriented atmosphere of a traditional YMCA. Check out the website at www.ymcapkc.org/bremerton-family-ymca.
The Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau can give information on local and statewide events and attractions. Visit their website at www.visitkitsap.com.
For any further information, contact the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce at
286 Fourth St., Bremerton, WA 98337, or call them at 479-3579. You may also visit their website at www.bremertonchamber.org.
Kingston is on a bay called Appletree Cove on the northeastern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula. The cove is surrounded by lush evergreens and homes that respect the beauty of the natural landscape.
Kingston’s greatest asset is its proximity to the water. It is the western terminus for the ferry that makes a 35-minute crossing to Edmonds, a town on the east side of Puget Sound about 20 minutes north of Seattle.
The ferry ride effectively separates Kingston from the breakneck pace of Seattle’s half million people. Yet all the resources of Seattle are readily accessible to the people of Kingston.
Kingston has a 300-plus boat marina with all the facilities available for happy boating.
This little town’s population of around 2,000 swells for the Fourth of July celebration, which offers a parade, slug races, the Tiny Town Children’s Fair (a hands-on experience for children), booths and a spectacular fireworks display.
The second Saturday in December is the Kingston Country Christmas. Kiwanis has Santa and free pictures, there’s an arts and crafts fair at the community center, merchants have goodies available in their stores and a hometown band plays at the marina before the tree-lighting ceremony.
Kingston is known for its Kingston Farmers Market, open every Saturday from May to October, selling homegrown, homemade products and giving customers a slice of local flavor through produce, plants and hand-crafted creations.
The Kingston Art Gallery, a co-op of local artists, is open downtown for locals and tourists to enjoy.
Kingston on the Cove invites you to come spend a day shopping and then dine in one of the many restaurants. For more information, call the Kingston Chamber of Commerce at 297-3813 or stop in at the office at 11201 Highway 104, on the corner of State Highway 104 and West Kingston Road, just two blocks up from the ferry dock. Visit their website at www.kingstonchamber.com.
First called “Teekalet” by the Indians, meaning “brightness of the noonday sun,” Port Gamble is a town whose past, present and future blend in harmony. The entire town is owned by the Pope & Talbot Lumber Company, which built its first mill there in 1853.
Restoration of its old New England-style homes began in 1971. One of the most beautiful of the restored homes is the Walker-Ames House, a three-story Victorian giant next to the General Store. A pioneer cemetery overlooks the town, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, still in use after more than 130 years, rises over the rooftops.
Since Port Gamble became a National Historic Site in 1966, it has become an enjoyable tourist attraction. It is a peaceful community tucked away on the Kitsap Peninsula.
For more information on Port Gamble, visit its website at www.ptgamble.com.
The Port Madison Indian Reservation is one of two Indian reservations in northeastern Kitsap County. The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe resides on their reservation near Kingston. They were great fishermen and depended on the sea for most of their livelihood. The Port Gamble S’Klallam descend from one of many S’Klallam bands who lived in villages and camps in rivers, coves and bays from Port Ludlow to beyond Port Angeles. Today there are three S’Klallam bands: the Lower Elwha band, the Port Gamble band and the Jamestown band. They are all members of the greater S’Klallam Nation today, as it was long ago.
For more information, call the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Center at 297-2646, or stop by the center at 31912 Little Boston Road NE, Kingston, WA 98346.
Port Orchard, the county seat of Kitsap County, is in the southern portion of Kitsap County on Sinclair Inlet, west of Seattle. Port Orchard was platted in 1886 and was originally called Sidney. Lumber, pottery and terra cotta, and shingle mills were the first industries. In 1892, residents voted to change the name to Port Orchard after Henry Masterson Orchard, a navigator under Capt. George Vancouver. The town was the first in Kitsap County to be incorporated.
It is approximately 17 miles from Bangor’s main gate and a 10-minute ferry ride from Bremerton on a historic passenger ferry. Port Orchard is directly south of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. State Highway 16 links Port Orchard to Tacoma on the south and Bremerton on the north.
In Port Orchard, you will find a warm and friendly small-town atmosphere with most of the big-town amenities. Located on Puget Sound’s Sinclair Inlet, Port Orchard is a beautiful waterfront community. Port Orchard is known for its popular marina, shops filled with antiques and crafts, art galleries, museums, golf courses (including McCormick Woods, rated “best course” and “most enjoyable course” by Golf Digest and Golf Week) and casual to fine dining restaurants.
Port Orchard’s Fathoms O’ Fun Festival is one of the oldest festivals in the state. The end of June/early July event includes a street fair, concerts, vendor/craft booths, a parade, fireworks and more. The Port Orchard Farmers Market, one of the oldest and largest Saturday farmers markets in western Washington, runs in downtown Port Orchard on Saturdays, April through October. For more information, visit www.pofarmersmarket.org. The Port Orchard Chamber hosts the internationally known Seagull Calling Festival in May. Participants (many in costume) mimic the call of the seagull, coaxing them to shore with Cheetos, and are judged on their success. As popular as the seagull calling contest, the “Seagull” Wings Cook-off includes amateur and commercial kitchen categories.
The Chris Craft Rendezvous in July draws many boat owners and dreamers. The second Sunday in August brings tens of thousands to Port Orchard for The Cruz custom car show and Festival by the Bay.
In December, Port Orchard kicks off the holiday season with the Festival of Lights and Chimes; the tree is lit, Santa arrives by boat and a holiday pet costume contest takes place. Folks line the streets to watch the parade of costumed pets, ranging from parrots to rabbits to cats and dogs. Earlier in the day the Jingle Bell Run, a 5K walk/run, goes through town. The Port Orchard Yacht Club also sponsors the Lighted Boat Parade in mid-December, a procession of lighted boats cruise along the South Kitsap shoreline, with those aboard calling out greetings to those on shore.
In Port Orchard, live community theater productions are presented by the Western Washington Center for the Arts. Each summer, residents and visitors swarm to the Waterfront Marina Park in downtown Port Orchard for the free Concerts by the Bay series. A downtown 1920s art deco movie house shows independent, art and classic films.
With more than 200 miles of shoreline in Kitsap County, water activities are important in our community. Recreational water activities are limitless: freshwater lake fishing, saltwater fishing and shell fishing. Boating activities include water skiing, personal watercraft, kayaking, sailing, yachting, beachcombing, swimming and viewing salmon returning to spawn. Eagles, ospreys, heron, seals and occasionally orcas can also be seen.
The City of Port Orchard has several neighborhood parks, including some with lighted tennis courts, children’s play equipment and picnic areas. South Kitsap is home to Manchester State Park, on the shores of Puget Sound. Covering 111 acres with 3,400 feet of waterfront, it has 50 standard campsites, a group RV camp area and picnic shelters. Several county parks are in South Kitsap. Long Lake County Park and Horseshoe Lake County Park offer swimming, boat launch and picnic and play areas. South Kitsap Regional Park, a 200-acre park, offers free miniature train rides, ball fields, horseshoe pits, trails, batting cages and picnic areas and will be further developed and enhanced. Youth soccer and baseball are popular in South Kitsap. Drag racing is nearby at the Bremerton Raceway. The 635-acre Banner Forest Park is a haven for mountain biking, hiking and horse riding. Equestrian activities are also popular in Kitsap County with several horse-boarding facilities and the Kitsap Saddle Club in South Kitsap. The Howe Farm in rural South Kitsap offers a dog park and walking trails.
The South Kitsap School District, with an enrollment of more than 10,000 students, operates 16 learning centers offering an excellent educational opportunity for each student. Community pride is evident throughout the district. Each year, parents, businesses and community members volunteer hundreds of hours in the schools and donate thousands of dollars in resources. For more information on the South Kitsap School District, visit www.skitsap.wednet.edu. South Kitsap also has a substantial home-schooling population and several private church-operated schools.
On the outskirts of Port Orchard is the Washington Veterans Home. Originally built to care for Civil War veterans, it has been part of the Port Orchard community since 1910. The Veterans Home is a state facility providing long-term health care for disabled wartime veterans and spouses. Visitors are always welcome at the home on Beach Drive 1 mile east of Port Orchard.
For more information, call the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce at 876-3505 or stop in at 1014 Bay St., Suite 8, Port Orchard, WA 98366. Visit its website at www.portorchard.com.
Only poor handwriting and the interpretation of the postmaster general kept the spelling from actually being “Paulsbo.” Originally called “Paul’s Bo,” meaning Paul’s Place, the town of more than 9,000 residents retains a Norwegian flavor. “Velkommen til Poulsbo,” the public greeting in Norwegian, is easily translated as a sincere “Welcome to Poulsbo.”
Poulsbo was settled in the late 1880s by fishermen, loggers and farmers who likened Dogfish Bay (later renamed Liberty Bay) and its surroundings to the fjords of Norway and adjoining Scandinavian countries.
Transportation in Poulsbo’s early years was by boat, horseback and foot. Major buying and selling was done via boat to Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
Fishermen from the Bering Sea brought their catch of codfish here to one of the largest processing plants in the Northwest for salting and preserving. It was also there that lutefisk was processed. You can still eat lutefisk at the First Lutheran Church’s annual lutefisk dinner on the third Saturday of each October. The Fordefjord Lutheran Church was founded by those early Norwegian settlers.
A “mosquito fleet” of steamers sailed from Seattle to Poulsbo for some 60 years, carrying passengers and freight. Poulsbo’s strong ties to the water are still evident today, with the presence of three marinas on the shores of Liberty Bay.
The downtown waterfront area of Poulsbo was at one time part of Liberty Bay. In the 1950s, the community worked together to fill part of the bay to form Liberty Bay Waterfront Park and Anderson Parkway. Some of the buildings you see today were once on pilings. The Kvelstad Pavilion, a popular spot for summer weddings and family gatherings, was added to the waterfront park later. Within a span of five generations, Poulsbo changed from a rowboat on an untouched shore to a thriving community with small-town charm.
Poulsbo’s rich Scandinavian heritage is proudly retained and displayed in the unique storefronts, outside murals such as the one depicting dancers in traditional Norwegian costume, annual events such as Viking Fest, Skandia Midsommarfest and Yule Fest, and Norwegian streets with such names as Lindvig Way, Moe Street and Jensen Way.
The Jewel Box Theatre, close to the downtown shopping area, offers entertaining plays for young and old. After performing for years in different venues, the Poulsbo Players have made the Jewel Box their home.
Bluewater Artworks Gallery and Framing is the newest and largest of five art galleries on Poulsbo’s historic Front Street. Featuring more than 70 local artists, the gallery has handcrafted glass, pottery, jewelry, textiles, wood, sculpture, metal, watercolors, oils, acrylics and mixed media as well as a full-service custom frame shop that offers not only art framing but also custom shadow boxes to display medals and memorabilia.
All of the galleries on Front Street as well as several other businesses participate in the monthly second Saturday Art Walk from 5 to 8 p.m. Enjoy refreshments and live musical performances at Bluewater Artworks and other spots.
The Central Market offers fresh produce, local farmers’ goods, excellent cheeses, diverse beer and wine and, above all, a friendly staff. The high-quality destination market draws customers not only from Poulsbo but from many surrounding communities. It is a block east of State Route 305, between Lincoln and Bond roads.
Activities for all ages can be found at the Poulsbo Marine Science Center at the south end of the downtown area. Visit the center’s giant Pacific octopus, play around with the many interactive exhibits highlighting the Puget Sound and even get close to a few Liberty Bay natives in the many touch tanks.
North Kitsap School District’s administration offices are in Poulsbo. The school district has six elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools. Visit its website at www.nkschools.org.
On the water in the heart of the Kitsap Peninsula, Poulsbo is just a 12-mile drive from the Seattle/Bainbridge Island ferry or the Edmonds/Kingston ferry. From Tacoma, follow the signs to Bremerton and Poulsbo on highways 16 and 3.
For further information, call the Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce at 779-4848 or stop in at 19351 Eighth Ave., Suite 108, Poulsbo, WA 98370. Visit its website at www.poulsbochamber.com.
Silverdale, once a small agricultural community on the muddy shores of Dyes Inlet, has blossomed and now boasts myriad shopping opportunities, recreation and leisure activities, an outstanding school district and residential opportunities in single-family and multi-family units.
Dyes Inlet was named for John W.M. Dyes, the assistant taxidermist on an 1841 expedition. The first settlers arrived in Silverdale 10 years later from London.
On Jan. 16, 1857, a petition to form a new county, Slaughter County, was passed; later the name was changed to Kitsap, after Chief Kitsap of the Suquamish Tribe.
A famous feature of Silverdale is its poplar trees, which tower over parts of this once-rural area. They are the same majestic Lombardy poplars that Napoleon had planted on the Isle of St. Helena.
Silverdale, in the heart of Kitsap County, experienced its rapid growth partly due to the Navy’s decision to build a base for Trident nuclear submarines at Bangor and subsequently by its own economic and geographic attractions. Silverdale’s population is now more than 19,000.
Silverdale has been the site of development and expansion of retail, medical, business, recreational and housing sectors in Kitsap County. It is home to Kitsap Mall, a large regional shopping center with nearly 850,000 square feet of retail space. The mall is anchored by Sears, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Barnes & Noble and Cost Plus World Market, with more than 100 other specialty retailers to meet differing shopping needs. Kitsap Mall also features a number of restaurants and the Periscope Play Area for children. The Trails is a new retail development in Silverdale featuring an open court mall and 220,000 square feet of retail space, large movie theater and grocery store. Full build out will be in the fall of 2015 and will include eight restaurants. Other retail developments, including Ross Plaza, Kitsap Place and Towne Center, provide a top-rated shopping experience. Harrison Medical Center in Silverdale recently opened an orthopedic wing and is expanding the hospital. Full build of the new hospital is expected by 2018 and will include their state of the art heart center. Silverdale is the retail and medical hub of three counties.
The Silverdale/Central Kitsap housing market has seen an abundance of new construction and controlled residential development in recent years. Many homes have water frontage and mountain and marine views. Most housing is no more than 25 minutes away from shopping, educational and employment facilities.
Many of Central Kitsap’s most beautiful areas have been captured and preserved in the abundance of parks available for public use. The Silverdale Waterfront Park in “Old Town” Silverdale, where locals eat lunch or relax on a summer afternoon, offers picnicking areas, a playground, marina and a boat ramp. The park and Old Town is the site of the annual Silverdale Whaling Days Festival. The festival has nothing to do with whaling, but the idea is to attend and have a “whale of a good time.” The Old Town Waterfront also hosts the Annual Water Trail Festival. This festival celebrates the national designation of the only water trail in the United States. Kayaking, Paddle Boarding, 5K Color Run are all part of the celebration.
On the other side of town is another attraction: the Rotarians’ Gateway Skateboard Park. A conglomeration of concrete ramps and pipes, the park hosts regional competitions sponsored by skate stores and other groups.
East of Silverdale is the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, home base for all kinds of festivals, conventions and meetings through the year. The county fair held at the end of August is widely known for its rodeo. The Kitsap County Stampede, held on the fairgrounds in Thunderbird Stadium, has been recognized by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association as a Top 10 rodeo at National Finals.
Silverdale has a branch of the Kitsap County Library in Old Town on Carlton Street. Central Stage Theatre of County Kitsap (C-STOCK), inside the Silverdale Community Center, presents plays through the year featuring local talent. Central Kitsap School District has 12 elementary schools, three junior highs, two high schools, a seventh through 12th grade secondary school, two alternative high schools, one alternative junior high and an off-campus school program for home-schoolers. For information on the Central Kitsap School District call 662-1610 or visit its at www.cksd.wednet.edu.
For any further information please call the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce at 692-6800 or stop in at 3100 Bucklin Hill Road, Suite 100, Silverdale, WA 98383.
Suquamish is a rewarding historic site, popular with bicyclists and sightseers. It is on the Port Madison Indian Reservation where you can visit the grave of Chief Seattle, the famous Native American leader for whom Seattle is named, and Chief Seattle’s former home at Old Man House Park. During the third full weekend in August, Suquamish hosts Chief Seattle Days, a festival to celebrate this great leader.
The Suquamish descend from peoples who have lived in the Puget Sound area for thousands of years. Suquamish ancestors were expert basket-makers, fishermen and canoe builders. Many of these skills are still practiced today.
The Suquamish are one of the several indigenous Native American tribes, bands and clans living on the Puget Sound area before Anglo-Europeans arrived in 1792.
For more information, please call the Suquamish Tribal Center at 598-3311, the Suquamish Museum at 394-8499, or stop by the museum at 6861 NE South St., Suquamish, WA 98392.
Port Hadlock and the tri-area of Chimacum, Nordland, and Irondale are at the crossroads of the most populated area in Jefferson County. This commercial hub is also the gateway to Marrowstone and Indian Islands.
The area has something for everyone, from shopping and restaurants, distinctive accommodations and cultural activities, to a wide range of outdoor options such as crabbing, fishing, kayaking and sailing, to name just a few.
Port Hadlock and the tri-area have a long history of building business and community. In the 20th century, agriculture, smelting and lumber were the primary industries. Today, tourism, education, retail, restaurants and services are at the fore, with agriculture and value-added food services continuing to expand.
Escape to a nationally-recognized, master planned community known as the “Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula.” Port Ludlow has a variety of activities available that will appeal to any traveler. Adventure seekers can kayak, bike or hike. Golfers can play a round on the 18-hole championship golf course that Esquire magazine called “The Most Scenic in the World.” Those looking for relaxation can charter a yacht, go whale-watching, fish or simply relax in beach chairs along the pristine shores of Ludlow Bay. The Resort at Port Ludlow provides breathtaking views of Ludlow Bay, the lush tree-lined coast and the magnificent Olympic Mountains beyond.
Wildlife is abundant in the area, so raccoons and black-tailed deer are spotted frequently. Otters can be seen frolicking in the bay with blue herons standing stoically in the mist. One of the most beautiful local attractions is Ludlow Falls, an active salmon stream, and, in season, visitors can watch as salmon fight their way upstream to begin a new generation. Osprey and kingfishers can be spotted, as well as pileated and other woodpeckers.
The Olympic Peninsula is home to the only temperate rainforest in North America as well as hundreds of species of plants that are native only to the Olympic Peninsula. Area museums and Burner Point celebrate the Native American heritage of the Northwest, and Seattle even derives its name from Chief Sealth, a famous Native American leader who negotiated with pioneers in the creation of the city.
Of course, being located in the Northwest, the question everyone wants answered is “How much does it rain?” Port Ludlow is in a unique location, known affectionately as the “banana belt” of the Northwest, because it is in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. As a result, it rains much less in the vicinity than most other locations in the Northwest. Although Port Ludlow still gets its share of rainfall throughout the year, even on rainy days the scenery is spectacular.
The surrounding area offers plenty of options that compliment a fun filled day in Port Ludlow. Visitors can visit Port Townsend to shop, explore galleries and museums or attend a yearly festival. A scenic 30-minute drive to Sequim allows visitors to explore the world’s longest natural sand spit complete with a 4.5-mile beach walk and endless wildlife viewing opportunities. Families can take children to the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim to view an assortment of wild animals, including zebras, tigers, bears, bison and more.
Being an exciting location with ample recreation both in town and nearby, Port Ludlow lends itself to be a relaxing tourism destination as well as home to those who reside in this residential community often referred to as “A Village in the Woods by the Bay.”
In 1853, the county which surrounded the narrow inlet of Big Skookum (meaning strong water) now known as Hammersley Inlet, was named in honor of the Sa-Heh-Wa-Mish people. Se-Heh-Wa-Mish continued to be the name of the county for 10 years until in 1864 the name was changed to Mason County in honor of Charles Mason, acting governor in the absence of Isaac Stevens. Mason County today is a thriving community with major industrial activities focused on the area’s abundant natural resources, such as timber and shellfish.
There are many activities available in Mason County, from fishing, backpacking and beachcombing to scuba diving, kayaking and skydiving to fine dining and visits to wineries.
Immediately west of Hood Canal is Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. Visitors will find mountain trails, waterfalls and more. Lake Cushman, the Mt. Ellinor Trail and the Staircase entrance to Olympic National Park are just three of the top attractions.
Additional information on lodging, activities, attractions, festivals and events are available at www.explorehoodcanal.com.
Olympia, the capital of Washington state, may surprise you with its wealth of cultural and historic venues, family activities and recreation opportunities.
In the Olympia area, your family will find plenty of fun activities for the young at heart. Olympia’s Hands On Children’s Museum, founded in 1987 to stimulate curiosity, creativity and learning for children, is now the most visited children’s museum of its size in the region. At the Olympic Flight Museum in Tumwater, you will find World War II-era aircraft, along with more than 300 scale models of aircraft, piston and jet engine displays, and aviation memorabilia. See wolves up close in their natural habitat and learn about them on guided public tours at the Wolf Haven International sanctuary south of Olympia.
Be sure to bring your walking shoes and binoculars to the 3,000-acre Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge just north of Lacey where you will find more than 200 species of migratory waterfowl, songbirds, raptors and wading birds, plus many small mammals that share the saltwater marsh and forest habitat. Stroll Olympia’s mile-long, waterfront Percival Landing Boardwalk, and splash in the Heritage Park Fountain. Pack your picnic lunch for a stop at Olympia’s 312-acre Priest Point Park, which features 1,000 feet of saltwater shorelines, a rose garden, nature trails, playground equipment and picnic areas.
The farmers market in historic downtown Olympia, open weekends from April through December, offers fresh, locally grown produce and handcrafted items — fun to explore as well as shop. A bead-dazzling experience awaits you at family-owned Shipwreck Beads in Lacey, which boasts the world’s largest selection of beads with more than 17 billion beads in stock.
No visit to Olympia is complete without a stop at the Washington State Capitol Campus and a tour of the Legislative Building, a monumental landmark of columns and hand-carved friezes. Six cast-bronze doors weighing 5 tons apiece, each one bearing a scene from Washington’s past, open into a sumptuous world of polished marble and plaster ceilings.
For more information, call the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau at 704-7544, or visit the VCB website, www.visitolympia.com.
On the Olympic Peninsula you’ll find nearly a million acres of adventure waiting in this unique three-parks-in-one playground. From the 73 miles of pristine, wild Pacific Ocean beaches to moss-draped rain forest valleys to the peaceful, wildflower-carpeted alpine meadows at the doorstep of glacier-capped mountains, there truly is a special moment waiting around every corner.
Topped by the crags and glaciers of 7,695-foot Mount Olympus, this is some of the most remote wilderness areas in the entire contiguous United States. Just off Highway 101, the rain forests of the Hoh and Quinault rivers beckon with Douglas firs that stretched skyward when Columbus arrived in the New World. Go beachcombing along miles of uncluttered Pacific Ocean beaches. Relax in superb resort and motel accommodations or in national, state or private campgrounds and RV parks. Fine fishing, comfortable resorts and magnificent scenery abound across the peninsula. National Park lodges can be found at Lake Crescent, Lake Quinault, the Sol Duc Hot Springs and Kalaloch.
The interior of the park is 95 percent wilderness, crossed by 600 miles of trails. To reach the park’s year-round playground, head to Hurricane Ridge. You can hike in the summer or ski and snowshoe in the winter. Take the ranger-led snowshoe walk if you go in the winter. Explore the magical, misty Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail. Some falls are only seen from watercraft; some are in the backcountry; some can be seen by a short walk or from the windows of a car; one is wheelchair accessible. Many do not have signs, so finding them is part of the fun. And while you’re here, enjoy the bounty of Olympic Coast cuisine. From artisan cheese and good wine, to organic farms and cideries, to abundant seafood including the delectable Quilcene oyster, your inner gourmet will be happy.
Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island and Fort Worden in Port Townsend are former military bases that sport old gun emplacements and other memorabilia. At Fort Worden, you can visit the Coast Artillery Museum and the historic Commanding Officer’s Quarters furnished in 1910 style. Fort Flagler, established in 1899 at the northern tip of Marrowstone Island, has its own museum. Salt Creek Recreation Area west of Port Angeles is a 196-acre Clallam County park with forests, access to tide pools, a sandy beach and campsites with gorgeous views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island. The site was used for harbor defense during World War II, and remnants of Camp Hayden, as it was called, are on park property. There are two concrete bunkers that house cannons and several other smaller bunkers.
A unique event on the peninsula was the removal of two 100-year-old dams on the Elwha River. This restoration project for the Elwha Valley will return more than 70 miles of spawning habitat for Pacific salmon and other migratory fish. This landmark deconstruction project comes at a cost of more than $300 million. The Elwha Dam removal was completed in late spring 2012. Work on the Glines Canyon dam was finished in the summer of 2013. The restoration project includes construction of water treatment facilities (completed in 2010), restoration of fish stock and revegetation.
Plan your trip to discover the Olympic Peninsula. Plenty of information is available at the Olympic Peninsula Gateway Visitor Center, www.olympicpeninsula.org.
Port Townsend, one of only three Victorian seaport towns on the National Historic Register, is situated on the Quimper Peninsula, on the Olympic Peninsula. In 2001, it celebrated its sesquicentennial. From its early days, Port Townsend has been a town of dreamers with creative ideas in commerce as well as the arts.
Port Townsend Bay, recognized as a protected and safe harbor by the Native tribes of the Northwest long before early Euro-American settlers arrived, was named by Capt. George Vancouver who sailed into the bay in 1792 and named it for his friend, the Marquis of Townshend.
Hoping to capitalize on the reputation of Port Townsend Bay as a good harbor, early settlers had dreams of Port Townsend being the major port of commerce on the northwest coast. For a brief time, the town grew and became the busy port early settlers had imagined. As the young town grew, its downtown area was a rough and tumble seaport town with a culture of brothels and saloons. Hardworking men, far from home with money in their pockets, did not seek the same lifestyle and entertainment as those raising their families and trying to live the proper Victorian lifestyle. Two distinctive areas of the town developed. To this day people refer to the area where the residential family homes were built, many of them now splendid bed-and-breakfasts, as Uptown Port Townsend. Here, where the small commercial area of yesterday allowed “proper” ladies to do their shopping without having to expose themselves to the roughness of the downtown port district, one finds restaurants and shops with a neighborhood ambiance.
Downtown Port Townsend, which had the old shops, taverns, boarding houses and brothels (now restored to fine hotels), offers art galleries, theater, a variety of retail stores, fine restaurants and coffee houses, as well as professional businesses.
Port Townsend thrived along with the sailing vessels that plied the West Coast with trade goods. Sailing ships were eventually replaced by steamboats that could go farther into Puget Sound’s protected waters and then by trains, which began to transport goods over land.
The promised train tracks never made it to town, and the town was quickly abandoned by many of its citizens. It would be decades before Port Townsend’s original splendor would re-emerge and new “settlers” would see the potential of the City of Dreams. Port Townsend’s resurgence as a town with beautifully restored residential and commercial buildings has made it a major destination for people looking for a place to live or visit. People come to enjoy the blend of seaside living and elegant architecture as well as the rich maritime culture and arts community the town has become.
The location of Port Townsend that made it ideal for early settlement and commerce also made it a strategic site for a military fort. Fort Wilson, built in 1855 to protect the new settlement, was used for only one year. Its locale is marked by the Point Wilson Lighthouse.
Steam-powered ships with powerful cannons presented a new threat to the Puget Sound area late in the 19th century. To combat this threat, three forts were built between 1897 and 1911 — Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island and Fort Worden in Port Townsend. Fort Worden, named for Adm. John L. Worden, commander of a Northern Civil War battleship, had a military presence from 1902 to 1955. From 1958 to 1971, the fort became a state juvenile treatment center. In 1971, Washington State Parks acquired the fort and opened it as a state park in 1973.
The restoration efforts by private citizens throughout the community of residential homes and commercial buildings have been matched by the restoration of buildings at Fort Worden. The park offers visitors camping areas, residential homes to stay in and full conference facilities. The park is an ideal setting for meetings, retreats, reunions, weddings and other group activities. It is home to Centrum, a center for arts and creativity that sponsors a Jazz Festival, Country Blues Festival and Fiddle Tunes Festival, as well as writers’ workshops, dance and chamber music events. Within the park grounds visitors will find the Marine Science Center and Natural History Exhibit, the Coast Artillery Museum and the Commanding Officer’s Quarters, a restored residential museum.
The history of Port Townsend is one of commercial dreams, growth, abandonment and rebirth. It is celebrated annually during the Victorian Festival in March. The Wooden Boat Festival, held every September, is the largest festival on the West Coast celebrating and honoring the tradition and culture of wood boats. Boatbuilding is part of Port Townsend’s thriving maritime trades. During the Wooden Boat Festival, Port Townsend Bay is once again filled with wood sailing vessels from far and near.
For more information on Port Townsend, contact the Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Center at 440 12th St., Port Townsend, WA 98368, 385-2722 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can also be obtained online at www.enjoypt.com.
San Juan Islands and Whidbey Island
A few years before the American Revolution, Spaniards, probably hunting for the Northwest Passage, furs and gold, discovered the 750 islands and islets now known as the San Juan Archipelago. Native people of the Coast Salish tribes were already established throughout the islands.
A Washington State Ferry ride through the San Juan Islands from Anacortes is one of the most breathtaking trips in the Pacific Northwest. The Blockhouse at Coupeville on Whidbey Island revives echoes of the past.
Several of the islands offer beautiful parks and campgrounds.
History abounds at San Juan Island Historical Park’s American and English camps on San Juan Island, and a 6,000-acre state park on Orcas Island is near some of the finest accommodations in the state. Many different types of lodging dot Lopez, Orcas, San Juan and Whidbey islands. Here you can experience the thrill of salmon fishing, sea kayaking, golfing across the oceanfront, clam digging or fishing for trout in crystal-clear lakes.
Seattle is the water and air gateway to Alaska and Asia. A year-round deep-water port, this city is the cultural, business, educational, commercial, manufacturing and distributing hub of Washington.
Seattle offers much of its cultural interest at the Seattle Center, site of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, also known as the Century 21 Exposition. The sparkle of show business comes alive in Marion Oliver McCaw Hall and Bagley Wright Theatre. Also included are the Pacific Science Center, Pacific Northwest Craft Center and Gallery, restaurants, the Space Needle with its sky-high revolving restaurant, the Experience Music Project Museum and the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
Seattle is a great place for sports fans as well. The NFL’s Seahawks, MLB’s Mariners and the University of Washington Huskies all call the city home.
Pike Place Market, operating since 1907, bustles with morning market activity seven days a week and includes many shops, boutiques and restaurants. The market shops offer fresh meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and flowers.
Pioneer Square, the only survivor of the rip-roaring, pre-fire days of the Alaska Gold Rush, has come to new life with music, galleries and shops.
Seattle’s waterfront is another must-see. On a casual stroll, one can savor the sights and sounds of one of the world’s greatest deep-water ports. Along the waterfront you will find a number of import shops, restaurants, bakeries, fast-food specialties, curio shops and art and craft stores, including Pier 57, a development that combines Old World charm with New World sophistication.
Seattle is the home of the University of Washington, one of the nation’s great public universities. The University of Washington Arboretum is a 230-acre green interlude in the city’s pattern.
At Pier 59 at the foot of Pike Street, the Seattle Marine Aquarium contains fish and aquatic mammals native to the Northwest. Two of the main features are the salmon ladder and the outdoor exhibition.
The Space Needle is 605 feet high and offers a revolving restaurant and platform deck for panoramic viewing of Seattle. An elevator travels to the lower observation deck and to the top floor for a nominal fee.
Also, Seattle has its own zoo and gardens. Woodland Park Zoo, which contains more than 1,000 animals, and Woodland Park Rose Garden at Phinney Avenue and North 50th and North 59th streets.
Seafair, a month-long celebration that begins July 1, includes midsummer pageantry, spectator and participant sports and parades, and is highlighted by championship unlimited hydroplane races on Lake Washington and an exhilarating air show performance by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and tours of Navy ships. Seafair offers a sparkling array of parades, including the Chinatown Seafair Parade, the Seafair Torchlight Parade and a milk carton derby on Green Lake. Seafair information can be obtained at www.seafair.com.
Further information on the city may be obtained from the Seattle Visitor Center at 206-461-5840, or the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce at 206-389-7200. The Chamber of Commerce is at 1301 Fifth Ave., Suite 2500, Seattle, WA 98101, and on the Web at www.seattlechamber.com.
For information on attractions and festivals, Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau can be reached via mail at 701 Pike St., Suite 800, Seattle, WA 98101, the Web at www.visitseattle.org, or by calling the visitor center.
The city of Tacoma is the third-largest city in the state. The metropolitan area, second largest in the Puget Sound area, has a population of approximately 200,000.
More than 100 county and municipal recreation areas may be found in and near Tacoma. They offer such diverse activities as hiking, swimming, horseback riding, lawn bowling and boating. Tacoma’s location on Puget Sound offers additional opportunities for participating in many saltwater activities such as sailing, water skiing, scuba diving and salmon fishing. The area offers snow skiing, saltwater and freshwater fishing, boating, camping, snowmobiling, beachcombing and bird and big-game hunting.
A totem pole at Ninth and A streets was carved by Alaskan Indians in 1903. At 105 feet, it is the tallest totem pole in the U.S. carved from a single tree.
Old City Hall, at Seventh Street and Pacific Avenue, was completed in 1893. Its clock and chimes were a gift to the people of Tacoma
Stadium High School, on 111 N. E St., was built in French chateau style. It was intended as a Northern Pacific Railroad hotel but was damaged by fire. It was subsequently purchased by the Tacoma School District and graduated its first class as Tacoma High School in 1906.
One of Tacoma’s finest parks is 638-acre Point Defiance Park, which includes a zoo, children’s farm zoo, aquarium, boat rentals and rose gardens.
Fort Lewis Army Post opened in 1919 during World War I. Encompassing 104 square miles, it is the one of the largest military reservations in the U.S. It was once known as Camp Lewis, named after Capt. Meriwether B. Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame. Today, the post is the home of I Corps and numerous tenant units. Nearby is McChord Air Force Base, home to the 62nd Airlift Wing and several tenant and direct support commands.
Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base were administratively merged in 2010 as Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), home of I Corps and the 62nd Airlift Wing.
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge was built to replace the original Narrows Bridge or “Galloping Gertie,” as it came to be called. Gertie fell into the Narrows during the windy morning of Nov. 7, 1940. The new bridge was opened some 10 years later at a cost of $18 million and is one of the longest suspension bridges in the United States. A second parallel bridge is now open, with tolls collected eastbound.
For more information on Tacoma, stop by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber office at
950 Pacific Ave., Suite 300, Tacoma, WA 98402, call 253-627-2175 or visit www.tacomachamber.org.
For further information about Tacoma Regional Convention & Visitor Bureau, please call 253-627-2836 or visit www.traveltacoma.com.
Washington State Ferry System
The Washington State Ferry (WSF) is the largest ferry system in the United States, serving eight counties within Washington and the province of British Columbia in Canada. WSF’s existing system has 10 routes and 20 terminals that are served by 23 vessels that travel throughout Puget Sound and its inland waterways, carrying more than 22 million passengers to 20 ports of call in Kitsap, Pierce, King, Snohomish, Skagit, Island, San Juan and Jefferson counties. The ferries travel up and down the Sound, acting as a marine highway for commercial users, tourists and daily commuters alike. There are more than 1,500 dedicated employees who have made Washington State Ferries one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.
Ferries can be a challenge and intimidating if you have never ridden a ferry before. Here are a few tips to make it easier:
- Wait times are available online for a specific terminal. Knowing how early to arrive for a ferry may ease the stress of waiting in line. Directions to terminals are available online with specific step-by-step instructions.
- Generally, terminals are set up such that you drive up to a tollbooth and ticket sellers will collect your fare. You’ll then be directed to a holding lane to wait there until the vessel is ready to load.
- As you board, the mates and able-bodied seamen will direct you where to park. Follow their directions closely, as some of the car decks may feel tight and other passengers are getting out of their cars. Set your parking brake and enjoy the ride.
For more information about the Washington State Ferry system, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries. Tickets can also be prepurchased online. Information is also available at 877-808-7977.
Washington State Park Regulations
Washington has many state parks offering numerous different outdoor activities — hike, ski, bike, boat, camp or go rock climbing. Park passes are required. For more information on state parks and rules for park visitors, visit www.parks.wa.gov.
Washington State Hunting and Fishing Regulations
For information on hunting and fishing regulations and seasons, or to purchase licenses, visit https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov.