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Old 09-07-2009, 22:46   #1
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Seattle Area

We will be travelling in our 34 sailboat from Vancouver, BC south into the Seattle area for the first time this summer. We are interested in visiting communities that have fixed up their waterfront areas for visiting boaters -- shops, coffee shops, heritage buildings, walking/running/biking paths paths etc. We are also interested in quiet anchorages as well and would consider going south of Seattle and perhaps over to Port Townsend on our way to Victoria and up into the Gulf Islands.

Any suggestions?
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Old 10-07-2009, 00:24   #2
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Port Townsend is a very nice area, they have lots of old Victorian houses up on the hill, and they used to have one of the coolest old movie theaters ever, I haven't been there in awhile so I don't know if the theater is still open. The downtown area has some really nice old buildings as well. I really like that whole area.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:40   #3
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I vote yes on Port Townsend, also Poulsbo on the Peninsula (a big Norwegian influence). Poulsbo is much smaller though. Those are the only two I know since I don't get around there much while living here in Hawaii.
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Old 10-07-2009, 14:27   #4
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Other than PT and Poulsbo....On your way south Anacortes has an old downtown, good music, old hardware store etc. marina or anchor. From there you could take the channel south to Laconner. Small shops, good restaurants. City dock or marina there. Or on the other side of Puget Sound, after Port Townsend: At Hadlock in the channel between the Olympic Penninsula and Indian island. There is a great restaurant. (all the actors when an Officer and Gentleman was being filmed used to eat there) Also, Port Gamble near Hood Canal, a lot of boating history there and old houses. No real services. There is a free day dock at Seattle Downtown or small marina (heard it's expensive)
On Bainbridge island, directly across from Seattle is Blakely harbor, nice little quiet anchorage, very small park to stretch your legs etc. No services. You could day in Seattle and sail across for the night.
If you head further south Quartermaster Harbor on Vashon island...go up to Burton there is a park there. No real services. Next toward the Tacoma Narrows is Gig Harbor, lots of boats there and restaurants etc. Through the narrows and south more is Penrose Point State Park up Carr inlet. be preapred to motor!
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Old 10-07-2009, 22:33   #5
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Thank You

Appreciate the ideas and will certainly use them. Does anybody else have any suggestions? Is it worth going all the way down to Olympia? What about some of the State Parks?
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Old 11-07-2009, 10:29   #6
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WA State Parks and more

There are a lot of really nice state parks with marine services - docks, moorings - and a year pass will let you stay at them all for no charge. Usually there are few or no services - sometimes toilets or water ashore, a few may have showers near tent/rv camping.)

Within the San Juans, here are the ones I've stayed at:
  • Sucia Island (excellent anchorage in Echo Bay, plus moorings all over the place, plus a float in Fossil Bay. Popular.)
  • Patos Island (poor anchorage, only two moorings, but what a view!)
  • Stuart Island (anchorage, float, moorings. Popular.)
  • James Island (We took a mooring on the east side, and someone else rowed ashore to pay, so I really have no idea what's here. Moorings on east side are exposed to wake from Rosario.)
Places to go/anchor/visit south of JdFS:
  • Port Townsend, natch. Fort Flagler and Mystery Bay are nearby WA marine state parks, within motored dinghy distance. (tourist trap, great marine services/supplies. Popular. Ferry.)
  • Ludlow (nice resort marina)
  • Mats Mats Bay (totally safe artificial harbor, but lots of permanently moored boats. I'd feel safe here on 2:1, or even less.)
  • Kingston/Apple Tree Cove (the Goldsmith Cafe used to be my personal destination, but I have no clue if it's still in business. Ferry.)
  • Winslow/Kingston (great supermarket, stores. Ferry.)
  • Blake Island Marine Park (There's a longhouse restaurant here designed for cultural tours which I've always wanted to go to. Ice cream! The deer are frighteningly complaisant. Popular.)
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Old 11-07-2009, 21:36   #7
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I second the suggestion of Anacortes, they have one of the best marine hardware stores ever, used, new, stuff that you though you could never find. I could spend days there. They also have a nice bowling alley in the area, that serves a great cheeseburger.
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Old 12-07-2009, 22:40   #8
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Don't forget the marine consignment store in Bellingham (up C street). Some of the best used marine stuff anywhere. I like the hamburgers at the Web locker too. And the fresh shrimp by the marina.....
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Old 13-07-2009, 08:06   #9
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Yes Olympia is worth it based on your description. The waterfront is boater friendly it is urban but with Capital Lake right there it is also a nice place to get off the boat and walk. Two others that have not been memtioned are Bremerton and Port Orchard. Bremerton is fixing up their waterfront and the centerpiece is the marina and urban parks. No easy access to provisions but Seattle is only a Ferry ride away. Port Orchard has a marina and although older the shops and resturants depend on the Marina for a lot of their busniess. Again no easy access to reprovision. The downtown has been improved to be more pedestrian friendly. There is a board walk along the waterfront but like Polusbo it is not very long. There is a nice bike ride along the waterfront back along Rich Passage to Manchester where there is a state park. There is a small foot ferry between Port Orchard and Bremerton. Tacoma has been fixing up their waterfront for boaters but like Seattle it is very urban.
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Old 13-07-2009, 08:33   #10
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Did no one mention Friday Harbor on San Juan Island? Very nice village, but I don't know if anchoring is possible nearby... I've always chartered from there, hence on a dock.
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Old 13-07-2009, 09:48   #11
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Re: Bremerton, you can anchor or catch a park buoy at Illahee State Park and then either hike up the hill and catch a bus or get a cab to the downtown area if you don't want to stay at the marina.

there's also Bainbridge Island, you can check out Winslow, I believe you can anchor in the bay past the ferry dock.

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Old 13-07-2009, 11:49   #12
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Originally Posted by rvennis View Post
Appreciate the ideas and will certainly use them. Does anybody else have any suggestions? Is it worth going all the way down to Olympia? What about some of the State Parks?
Olympian reporting in. I love my home dearly but depending on home much time you have, I honestly would hesitate to send someone on a four-day round sail to see it. Compared to Seattle and all the options you have in the greater Seattle area and the San Juans, it might not be worth valuable vacation time.

However, as New Sensation mentioned: The downtown waterfront is quite boater-friendly. There is a large public dock and a lovely boardwalk with several good restaurants: Water Street, Anthony's, Dockside Bistro, Budd Bay Cafe. There's a 1.6 mile path around Capital Lake with great views of the WA capitol building.

The main reason I wanted to post, however, is to give you this heads up: I'm not sure what your timeline is, but July 13th - 20th is Lakefair. It's kind of a madhouse downtown and you'd be really hard pressed to find a place to tie up. You can anchor in Budd Inlet for a night, but the overzealous marine cops here usually send people on their way after that (they like to blather about homeland security while doing so).
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