Edmonds, Kingston, Port Townsend, & Union (WA)
This was my first time taking the ferry across the water to the Other Side. On Saturday morning, we caught a morning ferry from Edmonds to Kingston; we made perfect timing and didn't have to wait in line too long WOOT! It was cold and rainy, which meant I had the entire deck outside to myself, a photographer's dream. And OF COURSE a perfect seagull sat waiting for me. Yes, he was waiting for only me. My level of exciement was already pretty high at this point as I crept toward him (or her? how does one tell?) until (s)he took flight. SPOILER: This won't be the last animal I stalk on this trip.
So, obviously a warmer day is more ideal for a weekend getaway, but the cloudy skies provided for me the most perfect natural light. I love me some dramatic shadows, but I also love not having to fight against mid-day sunshine when I'm traveling with my cameras.
It's a relatively quick ride over to Kingston, maybe 40 min. Kingston is a tiny little summer touristy town with a little main road right off the ferry with cutesy ice cream shops, antique stores, and local restaurants. I'm sure it's a busy place in the summer, but it was almost a ghost town on a cold February morning. There's a crepery on the corner that I bet is delicious for people who freely indulge in gluten (sniffle), and the staff was kind enough to recommend tacos across the street. Tacos, as it turns out, turned out to be a really good choice.
It was right around this time that my husband started wondering out loud if I would be photographing every second of this entire trip. Why yes, yes I would be. And he's welcome. Because one day we'll be elderly and holding hands in matching sweaters and we won't remember crap. And I'll be like, "hey remember that trip to Port Townsend?" and he'll be like "WHAT?" because he'll be hard of hearing, and I'll repeat, "REMEMBER THAT TIME WE WENT TO PORT TOWNSEND?" and he'll be all like, "No?" and all of our grandkids will be like "that's okay, grandpa! Grandma never left home without her cameras!" and my elderly husband will get that little squinty sparkle in his eye and we'll reminisce.
Cute town. Very, very cold waterfront but I couldn't not visit the boats. It all reminded me a bit of downtown Plymouth, my hometown. I guess any waterfront gives me that familiar feeling.
And with that, we waved goodbye to Kingston and got back on the road. I'd been using my precious Fujifilm x100t up until this point but I whipped out my Nikon d750 once we got back into the car because I wasn't messing around anymore (but really because I prefer my Nikon for photo's taken from the passenger side of a moving car. It's a trust thing.). This was the first time I'd carried two camera bodies on me at all times and I have zero regrets. For my photog friends, I primarily use my Sigma 35mm ART (like, 99.9% of the time) but since my Fujifilm basically has a 35mm equivalent it felt a bit like overkill so I took a step on the wild side and attached my wide angle. I have an inexpensive Rokinon 14mm that I honestly don't love, but I wanted to give it a fair chance to show me what it can do before I go ahead and sell it before it collects too much dust. There's no autofocus, which bums me out in cold weather; I just never walk away feeling like I've really nailed focus with it and I often struggle with little more distortion than I'm comfortable with. So there's all of that.
We made a pit stop in Port Gamble, which is essentially a ghost town turned into little shops. It has quite a bit of history, each house has a sign nailed into a picket white fence explaining who once lived there. Those signs were more interesting than most of the stores created out of the space inside, in my humble opinion. I wished they'd kept the old furniture from that time and let you tour the homes instead.
Nonetheless, there were plenty of interesting things to look at.
I've mentally added Port Gamble to the list of places to re-visit during the summer. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be in full bloom.
Next stop, Port Townsend!
In order to get there, you cross over your standard drawbridge and proceed down a heavily wooded road sprinkled with farmland, including perfectly dilapidated wooded barns (swoon!) for about 40 minutes. Again, this drive is probably gorgeous in the summer.
Port Townsend is freakin' adorable.
Basically, Port Townsend was going to be *the* place to be back in like 1880. It was going to be the final stop for the big fancy Norther Pacific Railroad, which was a super big deal back in the day. Everyone was all like YES, LET'S MOVE TO PORT TOWNSEND and they all came and built it up with this beautiful victorian architecture. And then the depression hit and the railroad never made it that far north. Super bummer. All the rich people were like NOPE and left.
But the buildings have been kept up over the years and now it's full of unique little local treasures. It has old charm, everyone seems to have a dog and a boat.
Also located in Port Townsend, a signed edition of Dune Messiah that my husband will never be able to afford.
Some of the lure of Port Townsend are ghosts. I personally failed to come across any, but it's a thing there. Hauntings and such. Supposedly Palace Hotel is haunted so I intentionally opted to book us at another hotel because I literally don't have time for ghosts. We had three precious child-free days, I'm not wasting them by not getting any sleep because I'm being harassed by spirits. It's not happening.
Still, I wanted to stay somewhere unique because history is rad and Port Townsend is full of it. I settled upon Manresa Castle. Once *thought* haunted, turns out that myth was debunked when a bartender admitted it was all a lie (or something). Anyway, suits me fine. Seemed to fit all of our needs.
I'm just going to save myself some time and copy the direct review I left about this hotel after our experience:
"Our experience here wasn't horrible, but we're not likely to return. The building was interesting, which was why we'd chosen this accommodation in the first place. The room was TINY, but kept that historical feel, which was neat. My major issues with this hotel is three-fold: 1) for the price, I would have preferred more present and friendly staff, more information about the history of the hotel, etc., 2) the location stinks; and I get it, this is more on me for not better researching prior to arrival, but in retrospect it would have been worth paying a bit more and staying right down in town. This place is literally across from a hospital, so I guess that's convenient if you have a serious health condition or just enjoy the unpredictable thrill of being within 1000 feet of an emergency room. And lastly, 3) I can only speak for my own room, located in the center of the building, but you can literally hear everything going on in every other room of the hotel. Like, all the things. And not in a spooky, haunted way. In a I-know-what-the-room-down-the-hall-watched-on-tv and I-know-what-the-woman-upstairs-sounds-like-in-the-midst-of-a-rather-romantic-evening kind of way. It was essentially a surround-sound of hotel guests that I never asked for. Glad we didn't bring the kids!
So, all in all, a mediocre time was had within the confinements of this establishment and it's not likely either of us will return, but at least we left with a good story to tell!
Next time, I'll sleep with ghosts.
On Saturday, we decided to explore some residential areas showcasing some beautiful old victorian homes. We stumbled upon the only wooden fire bell tower in the US; it's been restored and it's actually really beautiful. At 75ft tall, it overlooks downtown and the waterfront. It's just this beautiful piece of history nestled up among the residential houses.
...And then we ran into some deer (not literally; no deer or fenders were harmed in the taking of these photos), so obviously I got distracted and trudged through strangers' backyards because, animals.
So, we get back on the road. Almost to Fort Worden when OMG PULL THE CAR OVER AGAIN.
LET ME LOVE YOU.
I Heart Fort Worden.
Historically speaking, Fort Worden was basically the Navy saying 'SUP? and Port Townsend's struggling economy was like "Oh haaay!". Fort Worden is cool as shit. Like, sorry to be super blunt about it but it's really freakin' neat. There's an entire row of officer's housing that has been fully restored and kept up really well, renovated barracks, an old theatre, bunkers, and a super awesome lighthouse. Fort Worden must be STUNNING in the summer.
Neighboring the lighthouse is a duplex and a little old, dilapidated playground. Meaning at some point in time, families were stationed there making them the luckiest families ever because THEY GOT TO MAN A LIGHTHOUSE AND LIVE ON THE COAST WITH THE BEACH AT THEIR BACKDOOR. Cool. As. Shit.
The base itself is gorgeous and, like I said, must be stunning in the summer. I even stumbled upon this awesome little old boat. COOL, RIGHT?! I was fairly certain finding this boat was the highlight of the entire trip, like the one shot that makes lugging around two cameras for three days straight 100% worth it.
But for real, it was FREEZING. I didn't bring gloves and I took as many photos as I could before my fingers couldn't move anymore (which wasn't actually a ton because by now my Fujifilm was dying and we've already discussed how I feel about manual focus in cold weather). Then it was time to head to Union.
We made a pit stop at Eaglemount Wine and Ciders because ciders are the bees knees and I'd never been to a cidery before. NO REGRETS! The tasting room is adorable, the staff was awesome, and we had a really great time trying the ciders and wines. We left with two ciders and some day when we're not on a tight budget I'll go back for their Raven red wine because it was love at first sip.
Note, this is also where my Fujifilm died. It was a sad moment because I wanted to photograph every detail of that sweet little tasting room. But I had a flight of 5 ciders and wines to be excited about so I just let it go.
I was feelin' real good when we left. I'd had, after-all, about the equivalent of a single cider by that point, so basically I was a wild woman. The drive to Union was relatively uneventful; it rained and then it snowed.
At last, we arrived at Robin Hood Village Resort in Union. You guys. Cutest. Cottages. Ever. What a perfect little tucked-away getaway! The snow made everything extra cozy and my only regret with this place is only staying one night!! We'll be back FOR SURE, and I have no qualms about bringing the kids to this little gem.
Not to sound like a broken record, but this place would be SO FUN in the summer! Hood Canal is right across the street and they've got kayaks, a floating dock, bbq, hiking trails, ALL THE THINGS. But they also have HOT TUBS. PRIVATE HOT TUBS. Yes, I spent my entire evening there. But I digress. It was low tide when we arrived so we were able to walk out a bit and explore the beach.
We ate burgers and mac and cheese then retired to the hot tub. The next morning we woke up at high tide so we ventured back to Hood Canal. So peaceful. So gorgeous. A beautiful way to end a wonderful weekend.
No stops on the way back except to grab some breakfast at Starbucks. We caught the 1115 ferry back to Edmonds and that was that. I've basically been editing photos and writing this post ever since because I'm still on a travel high. I love being able to share my little adventures and I figured it was time to add some words to my images.