Yesterday I traveled out to the peninsula to visit the small seaside town of Port Townsend. In typical western Washington fashion, the sun was shining brightly when we left Vashon Island and it was misting, overcast, and cold by the time we arrived in Port Townsend. No matter. This wasn’t a pleasure trip (though it was pleasurable), but a research trip. I’m considering setting part of my next novel in Port Townsend and I wanted to visit to investigate the place and get a taste of its flavor.
Turns out its flavor is quirky.
In only a few square miles you have funky waterfront that draws tourists from around the northwest, a stately neighborhood of Victorian homes perched on the bluff above the ocean, a working port full of wooden (and other) boats being repaired on the hard, while hundreds of others bob in the grey sea, and a decomissioned WWI fort turned State Park where old batteries hunker in the brittle grasses and a lonely lighthouse looks out on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Ferries glide in from nearby Whidbey Island, the rolling hills above the bluff host green pastures and orchards, and there are few places in town to escape the shriek of gulls or the smell of saltwater.
The place definitely lived up to my expectations and I about wore myself out wandering around, taking photos and videos, and making notes. In order to properly appreciate the local atmosphere it was also necessary to eat many crepes, sample root beer floats, and drinks lots of tea and coffee. The place is perfect for what I have in mind – remote but not somnolent, full of character and life yet quiet and serene. It will do nicely.
And, though I plan to set the book out on the Olympic Peninsula, no, it will not feature sparkly vampires. I promise.