Get Out There & Live...Sustainably
What’s at the End of Town in Port Townsend?

What’s at the End of Town in Port Townsend?

Port Townsend

The only way to find out is to keep reading.

But first take a moment for this Port Townsend experience.  It was a chance encounter at a local coffee shop (Better Living through Coffee, more on that) where I met a woman who just so happened to have a blog about Port Townsend aptly called Waking Up Strange. She introduced me to this poem by Dennis Schmitz.

by Dennis Schmitz

Two deer alike as clones stop
at the curb, the steep stair

to the four-room Carnegie library
behind them as though they’d come

down benumbed by a former
life in books. The day that had changed

with them is downhill,
its color beaten to the undersides

of clouds, the sun low & thwarted
as the animals might be by outwaiting

our stopped human traffic
that also waits to see them

cross (ironically) to the closed realty
office: a village has little turnover

in housing, no industry & few plans.
I make theocracies in my car, complain

the deer are not Ovid’s godlings.
Peninsular Washington’s a forest

cut into cottages or Asia’s pulp.
I look downhill, almost to Asia

for traffic answers, the car throbbing
as though it too looks

into a future solely of cars & instrument
gleam, not this line of streetlamps

punctuating human tasks, deer exits.
One deer is a locution

but two confirm the indrawn Biblical
breath that will make a world fecund.

Both animals turn, surely not in scorn
of us but not denying attraction either,

their thin legs scissoring them
back up the library steps to the preliterate

& Edenic sideyard, dark with rhododendron.

Port Townsend
Port Townsend

Located about 40 miles northwest of Seattle and with a well-earned reputation as a Victorian Seaport and Arts Community, Port Townsend is a pretty, gritty, groovy, hipster’s spot. Character about sums it up. With shop names like Completely Puzzled and Sport Townsend, the cool quirks are plentiful in Port Townsend. Check out PT’s calendar of events to discover some of the interesting activities in town and check out the city’s site for more groovalicious bits.  A local’s blog about sustainability helped negate my angst after watching a house painter clean his brushes over the sound.

Manbuns and hippies
Gritty, historic and hip
in this funky town

Not sure, paper mill
Billowing toxic gases
tainting the blue skies

A painter cleans up
Black silk runs into the sound
harm comes from a brush

A focused busker
Nary a teenager, he
Played his violin

My thoughts conflicted
Community gardens, butt litter
Some content some not

Town Comparison Criteria Spreadsheet*
Port Townsend

Port Townsend
*The criteria details are explained on the first post of this series.

The Palace Hotel

1004 Water Street

Rated 1 – 6 (high)
Cleanliness (floor, bathroom, bedding): 5
General Accommodations (comfort, space, service, amenities): 4.5
General Environs (location, quiet, nearby restaurants): 6

This dog-friendly hotel is mind-blowing, down-to-earth-elegant eye candy. It looks like a brothel straight out of Gun Smoke. Did they have brothels in Gun Smoke? Maybe the Bear Flag is more apropos. But back to Gun Smoke, we had Miss Kitty’s room and also Miss Ruby’s room. This lacy, pinkish, lush hotel is worth spending time in and exploring its many nooks and crannies. Take a rest on a velvet chaise or imagine a corseted walk on one of the grand staircases. Truly beautiful and curious and fun.

The imposing grandness and perfect location override any internet hiccups or lack of comfort which arrived in the form of a too-firm bed and too much morning light coming through my eyelids. There are worse things than getting up with the sun. Keep in mind, I am also very very picky when it comes to cleanliness. So, even one hair in the tub will skeeve me enough to deduct a point. Still, 1.5 points deducted for those above factors.

Room Tip
I choose Miss Kitty over the others. It was a corner room with views of town and the sound.

Vegan Wanderlust in Port Townsend

Where do I begin? While we didn’t find any specifically designated vegetarian restaurants, finding veg options was not at all a problem. Check out any or all of the following places on your next jaunt to Port Townsend.

Alchemy Bistro and Wine Bar prepared us an exquisite meal, the best we’ve had yet on this journey. A fresh organic salad of greens and local farmer’s veggie dish with rice. The folks at Alchemy were happily accommodating. Scott had handmade ravioli.

Better Living through Coffee rocks the organic house. Ben, one of the proprietors was a real bean. I earned myself a full-on sugar high with the coconut milk hot chocolate and a delish, plump vegan cookie chock full of chocolate chips.

Banana Leaf Thai Bistro with its gluten-free and plentiful vegan options had our neurons firing in up, down and all around. I had the Hot Pot Vegetarian, but you must check out their Vegan Glory menu. Y.U.M.

If you want a real Port Townsend treat while simultaneously doing good for others, then go to the Port Townsend Boiler Room. Run by volunteers, the Boiler Room is a coffee house-music venue-art gallery-soup kitchen that feeds vegan soup to upwards of 100 people in a weekend. For 20 years, it has offered one of the only public drug-free zones for the youth in town to hang out. Cody, a wise-beyond-his-years high school senior has volunteered there for two years, and Jason, has been there since he was twelve. He’s now in his early twenties. We chatted, piano music in the background, laughter in the foreground. This cool place is worth a stop if only to grab a scrumptious rooibos soy chai and check out the local art.

I spent an easy hour in the Food Co-Op, a Port Townsend market that boasts local organic produce.  Any and every food and household need can be found RIGHT here.

Groovy organic
Better living through coffee
We’re digging this joint

Must shop the Co-Op
Local organic fresh
Took pics of produce

But wait!
What did we see at the end of town in Port Townsend?
In addition to the mysterious and much-in-need-of-renovation Point Wilson Lighthouse, we saw…

OTTERS! We saw uberly adorable river otters!


At the end of town
Preening, rolling, napping pups
River Otters play


**Photos, videos and stuff**
Please contact me for permission to use images and text for commercial or private use.
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Poetic Passage Through the Pacific Northwest

Post #1: Poetic Passage through Pacific Northwest Washington
Post #2: The Gig is Up Gig Harbor
Post #3: The Not-so-slick Limerick of Bainbridge Island
This is Post #4: What’s at the End of Town in Port Townsend?
Post #5: Some Bunny Loves Langley on Whidbey Island
Post #6: Monday at Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
Post #7: It’s Always Sunny and 82 in Edmonds, WA


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