Imagine a place where the lines between childhood and adult adventure are blurred. A place with sailboats, float planes, friendly little farms and a cool place to hang out with friends or loved ones to cook, drink and laugh together after a day of playing. Well pack your camera and your appetite, hop aboard a float plane or ferryboat and head to The Clam Cannery in Port Townsend, WA where you will find relaxation, adventure and rather surprisingly – a lot of good food.
Set in a thoughtfully restored brick canning plant, this unique overwater boutique hotel is a great base for exploring the culinary, scenic and maritime delights of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. With views of the Cascade and Olympic mountains, fully equipped gourmet kitchens with Sub-Zero and Bosch appliances, comfortable living/entertaining areas filled with the work of local artisans and salvaged materials (see if you can find the clamshells!), each of the four roomy suites feels more like a friend’s warm and welcoming vacation condo than a stark hotel room. Oh, and your four-legged friends are welcome too – plush dog beds await.
So what’s a hungry adventurer to eat? Stop at the Mt Townsend Creamery on the way into town to taste their hand-crafted cheeses and stock up on cured meats from Armandino Batali’s Salumi, chocolate from Seattle’s Theo and other local treats. The Seastack and Trailhead cheeses are my favorites, but you can’t go wrong with any of their lineup which includes varieties infused with black truffles, Kilt Lifter Ale and the delightfully smoky “Campfire”.
Then swing by Key City Fish Company to pick up some fresh, local seafood to cook while you enjoy the views across to Whidbey Island. Find more local eats – including an entire culinary itinerary – by exploring the Olympic Culinary Loop. Not in the mood to cook? The hotel doesn’t currently have a restaurant, but they have some unique and exciting dining options starting May 2011, and they’re located a block off the main street in town which is lined with restaurants, shops and bars (try The Fountain Cafe for dinner).
You’re also going to need something to sip as you watch sunset over the water, and I recommend a stop at Finnriver Farm and Cidery. Their small-batch organic ciders are dry, refreshing and pair beautifully with food. Stay awhile to wander their orchards and blueberry fields, and taste their naturally carbonated Champagnoise cider (be sure to pick up some fresh eggs for breakfast on your way out)! Make a last call at The Wine Seller for a well-considered selection of Northwest wines and some inspired picks from South America and beyond. Be sure to chat with the rather interesting owner, Joe Euro, who also hosts tours to wine regions of Europe. If you’re still thirsty, take a trip to some idyllic Olympic Peninsula Wineries.
Stay for a weekend, stay for a week. Bring your friends, a loved one or escape by yourself. Go sailing, take a flying lesson, get a massage, read, write, watch your favorite obscure indie flick on the flatscreens hooked up to Netflix. Whatever you’re in the mood for, this is a blissful place to enjoy some downtime, Northwest style.
Photo Credits: All photos, Fiona Van Alstyne.