A local getaway puts some ‘sunshine’ into rainy winter days

By Joanne Peterson | Feb 27, 2014

Our corner of the country has plenty of delightful small towns to visit: Cashmere, Roslyn, Manson, Leavenworth, Poulsbo and Langley come to mind. Every small town has something to offer, from museums to festivals to pioneer cemeteries, but some places are especially attractive for a time away from routine.

Port Townsend is one small-town destination I’ve enjoyed numerous times through the years. Recently I spent part of a week there with a friend who has a time-share unit in the area.

Visiting waterfront towns in winter is different from visiting in summer. Port Townsend is no exception. Streets are quiet, some stores and restaurants appear closed for the season, and others have limited hours.

Parking isn’t a problem, and walking paths and beaches aren’t crowded. Driving through Fort Worden, I didn’t see one person. I know that in summertime, when the tourists arrive, the scene is different.

I have memories of waiting in line in Port Townsend for a ferry to Clinton on a family camping vacation when my children were young. Another memory takes me back to a time when the ferry ran from Edmonds to Port Townsend, and my mother and I walked onto the ferry to spend a day browsing and lunching in Port Townsend. We were sorry when that short-term ferry service ended.

After all these years, the town hasn’t lost its charm – big Victorian homes, the wooden boat building industry, book stores, cafes – and old movie theaters. My friend and I took advantage of the opportunity to go to the downtown Starlight Theatre, an upstairs venue of the venerable Rose Theatre.

Although an elevator serves the Starlight, my friend and I took the stairs, both up and down. I counted 45 steps, a bit of a workout – especially going up!

Our evening at the Starlight to see a Spanish-language film from Chile (English subtitles, yes) was a highlight of our Port Townsend stay. The over-21 venue is a pleasant surprise with seating on assorted couches and cushy chairs under half a dozen glittering chandeliers.

A screen glides down from the ceiling when it’s time for the movie. Wine and food are available for purchase to enjoy during the show. It’s all quite posh.

The Port Townsend time-share where my friend and I stayed is located on acres of evergreen-studded property, with great opportunities for walking. The nearby beach offers walks, too.

Our first day, snow flurries added to the beauty of the place, although we did not mind when the weather changed, and rain showers took the place of snow.

I think any sort of getaway brightens the winter, and my trip to Port Townsend with my friend was a good example. Somehow, leaving town and enjoying different places – any time of the year – gives me fresh energy and enthusiasm for my activities and responsibilities when I come home again to Edmonds.

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