Port Townsend is located on the Quimper Peninsula, also known as the Key Peninsula, on the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula. It's known as the City of Dreams for good reason. A visit to the Jefferson County Historical Museum, located at Port Townsend City Hall, will teach you of Port Townsend's rich in history. Picture a bustling Victorian town full of merchant sailing vessels arriving in the 1880’s with hopes that a railroad would be put through. The town exploded with construction of brick commercial buildings downtown and Victorian mansions uptown, only to bust by 1892 when the railway went to Seattle instead and the nation suffered an economic depression. You can still see all the Victorian architecture, now containing dozens of shops and restaurants.
Historylink.org has a short essay on the first settlers, the S'Klallam tribe, the early economy, and the strategic importance that brought the military to the area, leading to the development of the "Triangle of Fire" harbor defense fort network we enjoy today as a recreational area.
A walk down Water Street will take you between historic Victorian buildings from the late 1880’s with cafes and tea shops, hotels, underground shops, plenty of excellent restaurants and music, and views of the Puget Sound. You will find yourself wanting to return again and again to explore its history, hidden delights, great cuisine, and entertainment. Add in a wide array of year round festivals, including the historic Rhododendron Festival, popular Wooden Boat Festival, Port Townsend Film Festival, and even a Steam Punk Festival, and you’ll always have something to do while in town.
No festival? No problem! For an outdoor adventure, head to Fort Worden State Park with its sandy beaches, bunkers, and more trails than you can explore. You can also visit any of the city parks like Chetzemoka and North Beach, or take a bike ride down the Larry Scott Trail. Check out a local winery or brewery for a drink, or take a look at the boats at the Point Hudson or Port of Port Townsend marinas. Did I mention there is an Uptown Port Townsend too? Stop in at the Pan D’Amore Bakery, Saturday Farmer’s Market, Aldrich’s Market, or one of the top notch restaurants.
Port Townsend is known for its high quality craftsmanship and education opportunities in arts, music, literature, and maritime fields. Centrum at Fort Worden State Park, the Northwest Maritime Center, Marine Science Center, Port of Port Townsend, Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, Port Townsend School of the Arts, School of Woodworking, and the Aero Museum are just a few of the organizations that provide a unique blend of jobs and experiences for locals and visitors alike. It is also home to both Peninsula College and Goddard College.
Holding tight to its rural and eclectic roots, Port Townsend hosts events like the Jefferson County Fair, Kinetic Sculpture Race, numerous music festivals, and the Victorian and Steam Punk Festivals. Film, dance, theatre, woodworking, rowing, and sailing programs for youth and adults add a vitality often found only in larger cities. Whale watching tours and the Soak on the Sound spa are available too for a day of relaxation.