If you’re going on a trip to Seattle, do yourself a favor and get away from the city for at least a day. One of my favorite parts of our trip was the day we spent in Port Townsend — a historic little seaside town about 40 miles Northwest of Seattle. It was nice to get a change of scenery — away from the tall buildings and bustling city streets.
The Edmunds-Kingston ferry in Northeast Seattle will take you to Kingston in about 30 minutes. I had never been on a ferry where we were not only transporting ourselves, but also a car! We paid to transport the car plus a fee for each person at the tollbooth, and then drove on in! You can also buy tickets in advance online here.
Once you’re parked, you can head upstairs where you’ll find vending machines and lots of comfortable seats to enjoy the view. Or you could always brave the cold and venture outside to the ferry’s bow.
Once you dock in Kingston and get the green light to drive off the ferry, you still have about an hour drive ahead of you until you reach Port Townsend. Kingston is actually where I found the best (homemade!) fudge of the trip at the most adorable little candy shop. You’ll be hearing more on that stop soon enough…
The drive to Port Townsend may be long, but it is beautiful. Maybe I’m just another Hawaii girl geeking out on colored leaves, but I couldn’t stop taking pictures. Just look at those colors!
Port Townsend prides itself on its historic charm — and that’s exactly how you’ll know you’ve made it. Downtown is lined with Victorian buildings remaining from its heyday in the late 19th-century, and if you’re looking to view even more Victorian architecture, just head to the streets of Uptown — it’s lined with beautiful homes.
Downtown itself is actually a National Historic District. If you’re looking to learn the history of the town, stop by the Jefferson County Historical Museum next to City Hall downtown — they lead walking tours through the downtown and uptown districts.
There are so many shops to explore — from vintage clothing stores, to bookstores, and even a bunch of different cafes selling handmade chocolates or their own special coffee brews. We got a pretty early start, so our first stop was Better Living Through Coffee. The coffee was amazing. It is actually the cutest and coziest little shop you will ever step foot in. You can read my Yelp review here.
While sipping our morning coffee we had a beautiful view of an old dock from our table, so we decided to head over to take some pictures and see what kind of history was behind it.
There are two levels: A rickety ramp, rocking with wake will lead you to the dock’s bottom level. This is where we spotted a fisherman patiently waiting for a nibble. It’s so quiet out there! There’s more room to walk around on the top level, where you’ll also find informational signs, laying out some history on the little maritime town and the the dock itself. It’s a nice spot to hang out and watch the boats go by.
There’s no denying that the town has a lot of character. After exploring the different shops for a while, we finally stopped to eat a late lunch at a pizza joint called Hillbottom Pie before making out way further along the coast to see Point Wilson Lighthouse at Fort Worden.
Fort Worden was built as a United States Army installation for the protection of Puget Sound. We didn’t drive out on the sunniest of days, but at least it wasn’t rainy. The cloudy horizon actually gave the beach a nice somber glow — very different from the vibrant, fun-loving atmosphere in Hawaii.
Seeing the ocean from Port Townsend made me appreciate the color of Hawaii’s shores. Beaches really aren’t the same unless you’ve got the sun beating down on you as it warms the water. Of course we didn’t end up in the water, but it was definitely a cold walk from the beach to the lighthouse.
We spent the whole day in the little town and finally made the drive back to Kingston so we could catch a ferry out to Seattle before it got too late. You don’t have to pay a fee for the car on your returning ride — just per person inside. It was truly a memorable day, and a day trip I think is totally worth your time if you’re ever in Seattle.
Be on the look out for my next and final post on Port Townsend where I’ll describe some of the must-see shops in detail!