Merge & Al's Excellent Adventures

6 min read

Port Townsend to Seattle (and stops in between)

Day 6 – we managed to get a lot of exploring done today on our way from Port Townsend to Seattle. But we certainly picked a VERY hot day to spend so much time in the car. It went up to 33°C. For my American friends that is 91°F.

Before we began today’s adventure, we had to fuel ourselves up with a good breakfast. So we went to the Blue Moose Café, a little place right next to the shipyards in Port Townsend, and very popular, both with locals and tourists. Fortunately we happened to arrive just as a few tables were opening up and we got seated immediately. Let’s just say we consumed a few calories!

Some of the whimsical art around the restaurant
Al would like to point out that his eggs are poached, and he only ate a few of the potatoes!

Fortified, we jumped into the car and set the GPS to Port Gamble. This is a tiny little seaside town, reminiscent of the seaside towns you might see on the East Coast of the U.S. That probably comes from the fact that most of the houses are constructed in the New England style. The current population of the town is less than 1,000, but because the houses and buildings have been restored, including the quaint New England-style church, it is a great little tourist and wedding destination. Lots of little shops and restaurants, and a great place to stop and visit.

Main street in Port Gamble

Next we continued to the town of Poulsbo. This is another interesting little place, it has a Norwegian history, and the town has taken great pains to play it up. The downtown streets and shops have lots of references to Scandinavian people and products, and unexpectedly, it seemed to also have lots of antique stores. We spent a pleasant hour wandering the streets and exploring the shops, and then it was time to continue our journey.

Notice the Norwegian references

We continued to work our way south, this time crossing the short bridge over to Bainbridge Island. This island is one of the closest in proximity to Seattle, and therefore is a popular destination for the city folk, particularly on the weekend. But today was Thursday, so downtown Bainbridge was not as busy as it might’ve been. The island is also known for its wineries, and the Eleven Winery (very conveniently) happened to have a tasting room right downtown. Merge tried three whites, a rosé, and a white port (yes, there is such a thing as a white port). Al tasted two whites and three reds, but from their reserve collection. We pronounced our favourites, and then went looking for lunch. $15 for a flight of five 1-oz pours, your choice. $20 for a flight of five 1-oz pours from their reserve collection, pre-selected by them.

This is their downtown tasting room, you can also visit their winery just a few miles away

At the Eleven Winery, Greg, our happiness engineer (that’s what they call the person who does the pours), had recommended that we go to the Town and Centre store just around the corner, that is very similar to Whole Foods in that they have a hot, cold, and salad bar. We both picked up picnic lunches and then wandered down to Waterfront Park, found ourselves a picnic table, and had a wonderful meal in the sunshine, overlooking the water.

It was time to make our way to Seattle. The Bainbridge Island-Seattle ferry is actually very close to downtown Bainbridge, and it didn’t take us long to pay our fee, and make our way into the lineup to board. Ferries were running a little bit late today, but eventually we loaded, and were on our way across Elliot Bay to downtown Seattle. During this ferry ride, you get spectacular views of downtown Seattle.

The Seattle skyline
It was windy!!
A gorgeous day on the water

it takes 35 minutes to get from Bainbridge Island to Seattle, and once we pulled into Pier 52 we rolled off the ferry pretty quickly, and we were on our way to our apartment for the next two nights in Normandy Park. We were quickly reminded that we were now in the big city, which means that we now had crazy drivers on the highway. I guess after living in Victoria for a while you forget what big city drivers can be like! Normandy Park is a suburb of Seattle, quite close to the Sea Tac Airport, and a perfect spot for us to explore both Seattle and Tacoma. Our home in Normandy Park is an AirBnB apartment whimsically called the Red Door Suite.

The red door!
A lovely shaded backyard to enjoy a beverage

Once we settled in, we still had plans for the evening — specifically dinner and a visit to the Chihuly Glass Bridge in Tacoma. For dinner, we went to a place that came highly recommended, Garden’s Gourmet in Tacoma. This restaurant is known for its plant-centric cuisine, and we both made some delicious choices. Merge’s was southwestern plant-focused with a topping of shrimp, and Al’s was California plant-focused with a generous helping of hard-boiled eggs. Yummy!

Our final stop for the evening was in downtown Tacoma to take a look at the Chihuly Glass Bridge. If you are previously familiar with Dale Chihuly’s work, you may have seen it at the museum at the base of the Space Needle in Seattle. However he was born and he grew up in Tacoma, and much of his work is displayed here as well. There are actually three components to this outdoor exhibit – the Seaform Pavilion, the Crystal Towers, and the Venetian Wall. The Seaform Pavilion is an overhead installation. As you walk into a short tunnel and look up, you see that it is constructed of hundreds of smaller individual glass hand-blown pieces, each one looking like something from the ocean. Absolutely beautiful!

The Crystal Towers are large tree-like structures and each piece that makes it up is individually hnad-blown.

And the Venetian Wall is 109 separate pieces of hand blown glass artwork, each one displayed in its own separate case. Altogether, these three installations are a beautiful display of Dale Chihuly’s glass-blowing talent.

Tomorrow is our only full day in Seattle, so we have big plans. We might need to get up early 😀.

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