My Favorite Place

This week’s photo challenge is to post a photograph of my favorite place, and then describe why it is my favorite.

This is a great challenge for me right now as I am extremely bogged down with work for the next few weeks – finishing up many hours of continuing education, jammed with tax work on my own and many client demands.  I end each day feeling almost more buried than the day before.  And, this time of year I really start to get spring fever and the itch to get away, to hit the road for some much-needed adventure and fresh air.  So, the timing of this challenge is perfect.  I can think about my favorite place to be and why I love to be there.

I took this photo from the parking lost of a retail center in downtown Port Townsend one late afternoon.  Those ships are the WA State ferries at the dock in Port Townsend, WA.

The Pacific Northwest holds a very special place in my heart. The sea air, the mild climate, and the green all simply make me happy.  Growing up in the desert in El Paso, Texas there wasn’t much green; the air was always brutally dry and harsh, and well, spring was the time of massive dust storms.  Then came the intense summer heat. So, the first time I visited the Pacific Northwest, I was in awe.

Taking a deep breath of the sea air was incredibly refreshing.  My lungs were actually happy.  That air is so clean and pure; it is simply invigorating yet also relaxing.  I felt like I was home, really home.  My soul seemed to be instantly contented.

Yet this challenge seems to call for more – a more specific place and more detail as to why.  My favorite place is Port Townsend, Washington.

Port Townsend Harbor 1wp
This is the public harbor in Port Townsend.  Just look at that water and sky; how can you not love this place?

What is so special about Port Townsend?  It is a small city in northwestern Washington without major highways or big box stores.  It is not the home of any large multinational corporation.  It is by most measures quite regular.  So why is it my favorite place?

Point Wilson Lighthouse
This is Point Wilson Lighthouse just outside of town in Fort Warden State Park.  This was one of 3 major critical navigations aides in the late 1800’s and earlier 1900’s.

This little city makes me smile, inside and out.  Oh, it has all of the typical Northwest charms – the mild climate, ocean access, stunning mountain views, and lush green vegetation.  But, there is more. Port Townsend is a happy place.  Just about everyone I meet there is smiling and happy. The shop keepers are relaxed. The city workers seem peaceful and happy as they go about their daily tasks.  Free thinkers abound.  Port Townsend embraces individuality, and it is evident everywhere. The people there are so accepting and accommodating in so many ways.  Here you will see folks from all walks of life — commercial fishermen looking for adventure and a big paycheck, retired executives or teachers wanting some sea air and to have fun in their boats, young folks trying to find themselves and craftsmen who have found a home building sailboats.

 

In many places, including my current home town of the greater Salt Lake City metro area there are unwritten codes of conduct, dress, etc.  Go to downtown and one must be properly dressed.  Want a glass of iced tea in predominantly Mormon central Utah?  Well, you are told that “we don’t serve that kind of drink here”.  Want a beer!  Yeah, right.

Party in port Townsend
I took this one summer afternoon while at a free concert downtown in park.

So I go to Port Townsend to live.  I can go to the park down my the water on the main street (Water Street), and there is a festival on many summer evenings. Want a beer while listening to the live bands?  Just ask, and you get what you want.  What to wear? Whatever you want.  Just be comfortable.  The town embraces diversity and is so inclusive at the same time.  The individual diversity brings a common bond.  Since everyone is so different and diverse, there ends up being this commonality in the diversity.  There is broad acceptance of just being you.

So, this little town seems to hit all the right notes.  Of course it is not literally paradise.  The Northwest coast winters are dark and wet; it rains most days. Being so far north, the winter days are short.  The local economy is slowly transitioning into a more tourist driven mode, so there are a fair number of vacant buildings.

Another view of the public harbor in Port Townsend.

But, Port Townsend makes me smile.  I love the rain and the way it makes the air smell so fresh.  I love that the air is always so incredibly clean, and that I can see the Olympics  (a very rugged coastal mountain range to the west) as clearly as if they were just across town.  Or that sometimes the fog rolls in and the town feels as if it is the only place left on Earth.  I love that I can go to the Public House (a wonderful restaurant in an old historical building on Water Street) on a Friday evening and get a table by the window.  The waitress makes me feel at home, and takes the time to tell me about the town and her day.  And, I see and hear local families just happy to be together.  I love that people feel so comfortable that they are out dancing in the park while the band plays.  And I love that the Washington State Ferry staff are so nice that they will refund your ticket if it’s too foggy to cross the channel.  I love that in Port Townsend I am free to be me.

PT Fish Harbor wp
I shot this out of my hotel room balcony one summer afternoon as a storm was clearing.
Port Townsend Trees WP
These trees sit on a hill in Fort Warden state Park.  They have taken their shapes from the many years  of brutal winter storms.
PT Harbor Boat wp
Here is another look at the trees and this old boat left long ago.

 

8 thoughts on “My Favorite Place

  1. Great pics and a very heartfelt post about a place you love. Does it rain all the time there? I am so drawn to the PNW, but think the rain would get to me… I feel the same way you do about Salt Lake City :-/.

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    1. Ha ha! Thank you very much. I am laughing about the rain part. The Pacific Northwest is fairly rainy, and Port Townsend is over on the Olympic Peninsula that is generally quite wet. Does it rain all the time? The short answer is no. The rains are more seasonal, with the winter months getting more frequent precipitation. It rains a lot in the winter. But the summers are quite a bit drier, with lots of beautiful sunny days. And with the city being on the water the temps year round are really mild. A lot of folks can’t handle those long, dark, rainy winters. But then the sunny days are appreciated all the more. Thanks so much for reading.

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  2. I love Port Townsend too! I’ve only been there once but absolutely loved it. Your photos are beautiful and make me long to go back there again soon! Bummer we don’t have endless free time to just explore on a full time basis 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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