Touring the Olympic Peninsula

December 16, 2009

Whether you are a fan of the “Twilight” series’ Team Edward or Team Jacob, you just gotta love the Olympic Peninsula, the inspiration for author Stephanie Meyers’s mythical creatures. Here’s a shot from our car window that shows the moody skies that typify this special place in the world. I love how the sun looks like it’s shining behind waxed paper. Temperatures matched the gray landscape, as it was appropriately dark, cold, and windy the weekend we visited for the region’s annual Passport Wine Tour.

Moody Skies on the Olympic Peninsula

First stop on our research trip of Olympic Coastal Cuisine (a newly minted term coined by the Olympic Peninsula Culinary Tourism Association) was Fins Coastal Cuisine, an atmospheric second-story, waterfront restaurant in downtown Port Townsend (PT). These are the absolutely bounteous Mediterranean mussels I ordered that came swimming in a lovely Rosé-based broth (!) flavored with fresh rosemary. I ate each and every one.

Fins Coastal Cuisine

Walking around the charming boutiques and galleries in downtown PT, we happened upon a new waterfront hotel where we’ll definitely be laying our heads next time we are in the area. Clam Cannery Hotel is built in–you guessed it–a vintage clam cannery, and each of the five rooms is unique and beautiful, with Sub-Zero appliances; sweeping water views; and artisan-crafted doors, cabinetry, and floors.

At dinner overlooking Port Hudson Marina (also in PT), we enjoyed these perfectly fried local oysters served as an appetizer at T’s restaurant. They were light and crispy and just perfect with their beautifully piped aïoli sauce and watercress salad.

T\'s Fried Oysters

A hearty breakfast the next morning at Hudson Point Cafe got us ready to face a day of wine touring in nearby Port Angeles. Here is the Smoked Salmon Omelette with a cup of luscious black beans and whole-wheat toast, paired with pink grapefruit juice.

Hudson\'s Omelet in Port Townsend

We enjoyed the six wineries in the area that spread from Port Townsend to Port Angeles. Highlights included Camaraderie Cellars, where Don and Vicki Corson have built a winery that speaks wine in every detail, from the olive-cluster-studded fire pit to the whimsical wine-themed art work to the wood-fire-burning pizza oven embedded with wine bottles. Harbinger Winery and Olympic Cellars Winery, on the main highway through town, also are well worth a stop, as each excels in ambience and well-crafted wines.

Shortly after we returned, The Seattle Times’ editorial page printed a very interesting article entitled, Sucking the Life out of Forks. It documents the problems of notoriety for this small western Washington town as 60,000 tourists in search of “Twilight” moments collide with a permanent population of just 3,200.

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