Just a two-hour drive from the thriving metropolis of Seattle is the quaint, historic coastal town of Port Townsend. At a moment's notice, my sister, her friend Madeline and I drove to this scenic city by the shore. I was honestly surprised at just how much there is to discover in this tiny town. Port Townsend's treasures are definitely worth discovering on a bright summer day.
Perched at Washington's edge, Port Townsend is anything but an average beach town. This little corner of the Pacific Northwest was established as a European-American settlement in 1851. Filled with Victorian architecture, it was hard not to admire the buildings as we walked down Water Street. Some of the structures had depreciated due to decades of rain, but that only added to the antique authenticity this coastal city has.
Seeing old advertisements painted on the sides of red brick buildings easily transported us to a time that was much simpler. Nowadays, the buildings hold artisan products of a new age. Port Townsend is a shopper's paradise with plenty of home decor emporiums, bookstores, spice shops, outdoor vendors and even a few clothing boutiques each with their own charm. We got a taste of it all by visiting The Spice & Tea Exchange, The Writers' Workshoppe, William James Bookseller and Conservatory Coastal Home. At the end of our shopping stroll, we cooled off under the shade of Haller Fountain, which was donated by prominent Seattle civic leader Theodore N. Haller and installed by the City of Port Townsend in 1906. The Venus-inspired piece flanks a stairwell leading to Uptown Port Townsend.
Finding a unique souvenir Downtown was not a difficult task, especially upon entering Phoenix Rising, one of the largest metaphysical shops in the country. Glittering crystals, books on meditation and incense among other spiritual trinkets fill the 4,000 square space. I loved some of the quartz that Phoenix Rising had and can definitely feel a spiritual connection to some of the crystals and stones there. I took a Snap of the stones and other points of interest—as marked with the app's signature ghost—in Port Townsend for my followers on Snapchat (My username is jgooding92).
Halfway through the day we stopped for a caffeine fix at Better Living Through Coffee, which serves fair-trade, organic, locally roasted drip coffee and espresso drinks. The coffeehouse is simply decorated with eclectic artwork and plenty of wooden seating. Better Living is the perfect place to take it easy with a vanilla latte and a stunning view of the bay.
After having a refreshing drink, we climbed up the mere two uphill blocks that separate Downtown from Uptown Port Townsend. Uptown is lined with historic landmarks and exquisitely detailed Victorian homes. One of those landmarks is the Old Bell Tower that was constructed in 1890 to summon volunteer firemen.
My favorite part of this day-trip was simply passing by the old Victorian houses that only looked more beautiful bathed in sunlight. Most of these historic homes are still private residences today, but that didn't stop tourists like me from taking pictures of the places that belong in Better Homes & Gardens.
The farther we traveled through the residential area of Port Townsend the more that a mysterious clock tower came into view. We all made our assumptions of what the intricately designed building could be (A boarding school? A library? A crematorium? Just kidding... but not really) until we finally reached its front doors. To each of our surprise, the building was actually the Jefferson County Courthouse. As lackluster as that revelation was, I have to admit the building still has a grandeur about it.
We ended our day with one last look at the waterfront, where so many of the town's residents engage in maritime activities. I love how dedicated this seaport is to educating visitors and citizens alike with venues like the Jefferson Museum of Art and History to the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building. I left Port Townsend feeling creatively inspired; this beach community is where art, history and marine life collide.