We headed into the town of Port Gamble today around noon. We wanted to check out the town and have some lunch at the Port Gamble General Store and Cafe (well, technically brunch, since we skipped breakfast). We took off in the dinghy, loving the quiet, non-smelly electric Torqueedo (though I think we may invest in a second battery, to tame the battery complex we occasionally feel while far from Airship). We toured the shore looking for a spot to beach. The point there where the mill used to be, just beneath town, is now a big construction zone, but we saw some people walking along the beach so we decided we could beach there and then walk up the hill to town.
As we walked up the beach toward town, however, it appeared that we were "inside" an area that was fenced off from town. I called up to the cafe to see if they knew where we might be able to get some legal beach access, and they were not so sure, but the guy said he thought there might be beach access around the point toward the Hood Canal Bridge at a park near Salisbury Park. He said the construction area wasn't completely fenced off...and that there was a road going in so people could get to the research center around the corner. Just as we hung up, a gentleman in a big white truck drove over to, um, chat with us (through a giant wad of chewing tobacco he was shoving into his mouth as he was rolling down his window...gross). I told him we were anchored out and we'd just beached the dinghy but that it looked like we weren't supposed to be here. He agreed. He said this area is a (closed, non-operating) construction zone, and dangerous to the public. (Looked like just a big muddy lot to us, but okay.)
That pale yellow building on the hill is the Port Gamble General Store and Cafe. So close, yet so far.
I asked if he knew of a spot where we could beach the dinghy and walk up to town, and he said maybe around the point by the kayak shack, so we headed out into the choppy (but not too bad) water in search of beach access.
Looking toward town, the old mill in the foreground:
We could see Salisbury Point down by the bridge (it was far, and probably a bit of a walk to town from there) but as we rounded the corner a bit more, we saw a bunch of kayaks on racks and what looked like a kayak rental shack or something. Oh, and some beach!
Low tide was an hour ago, so we pulled the (now lighter without that big outboard) dinghy up quite a ways up the beach. (Turns out that was way more than we needed, but whatever.)
Sure enough, a kayak rental place. They were apparently closed so we just borrowed the beach for an hour or so.
We had lunch in the cafe adjacent to the Port Gamble General Store.
The food all looks and sounds great online, and their website is very nice. The food was good, but not go-back-for good. I mean, we'd go back, but our expectations would be different. We shared a burger that was fine (a little overcooked for our taste)...with bacon, bbq sauce, onion strings, white cheddar, and cornmeal crusted fried jalapenos. All that sounds great, and it was tasty, but overall needed more juiciness. The fries and homemade ketchup that came with it were fabulous though. We also shared a prawn tostada salad (Alaskan prawns, cabbage, lime cilantro dressing, avocado etc.) and for a $17 salad, I think we expected more than a small skewer on top with three small-medium prawns. It seemed excessively expensive for what you got. The prawns sounded like they should have been a highlight, but felt too separate from the rest of the salad. I think we'll try breakfast next time. ("Voted North Kitsap's Best Breakfast/Brunch" says their website.) :)
After lunch we wandered around town, and as we were halfway down the main street, we realized we'd driven through here before when we were camping in the Airstream on Hood Canal in 2010 and we drove the truck into Seattle to pick up our Hobie Tandem Island. The large expanses of green grass surrounded by bright white picket fences that makes up the historic part of town is hard to forget:
Woodpecker in a tree, doing his woodpecker thing:
Mrs. Muir's House of Ghosts and Magic:
Port Gamble is apparently famous for its paranormal activity and hosts an annual Ghost Conference in October.
Lots of great Victorian architecture in Port Gamble:
We stopped in at the general store before heading back to the dinghy to pick up a couple things. I think they're really trying to up the tourism in this town...it's definitely cute and has the "blinky light" vibe and a few funky shops and museums that make for a successful tourist stop, but it's a bit of a hassle if you want to visit by boat. If they just had a little dinghy dock or a convenient public beach, that'd be great! Nearby Kingston has 'em beat with easy access to town by boat.
Now we're back on Airship working. Kevin's broken wrist seems to be healing up well after surgery. He's doing all the therapy exercises prescribed every two hours, and is spending some time out of the brace when he's kicking back doing something more sedentary. He's able to type with both hands now (not totally 100%, but he's writing his own articles, rather than dictating them to me for typing). This text with youngest daughter the other night was pretty funny:
Her: So, how is boating with your broken arm? Is it way harder, or just a little bit harder?
Kevin: Oh, it's WAY easier. Laura does everything. I'm like a queen. "Honey, after you get those dock lines and finish the dishes, could you give me a massage?"
I have to say for me...boating with one hand down is definitely harder and more work all around, but it's way more fun for both of us to have Kevin happy and healing out here on the water than it would be hanging at home or in the home office.