Pacific Coast

The amazing thing about the West Coast is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself.

Toward Seattle: Port Gamble

You have a number of options if traveling to or from Port Townsend. You can follow US-101 around the western Olympic Peninsula, or take a ferry via Whidbey Island and explore it and the even prettier San Juan Islands to the north. Last, but not least, you can take a middle route across the Kitsap Peninsula, then catch a ferry to Seattle.

This last route, which includes a trip on the very frequent Washington State Ferries between Kingston and Edmonds, has the great advantage of taking you through Port Gamble, a slice of New England on the shores of Puget Sound. Owned and run by the Pope & Talbot Lumber Company from the 1850s until the mill shut down in 1995, the entire town is a National Historic Landmark District, with dozens of immaculate Victorian buildings standing along maple tree-lined streets. After wandering past the saltbox houses, have a look inside the large Port Gamble General Store (32400 NE Rainier Ave., 360/297-7636), which includes a seashell museum, a local history museum ($4), and a popular café.

Map of Pacific Coast through Northern Washington.

Map of Pacific Coast through Northern Washington.

Port Gamble General Store (32400 NE Rainier Ave.)