At first glance, the tiny Kitsap Peninsula town of Port Gamble seems frozen in time. That’s because the whole town is a 120-acre National Historic Landmark. Well-preserved 19th-century buildings line the few streets and retain their period details. Neat picket fences surround yards. One can almost imagine a child in period dress rolling a hoop down the street.
Port Gamble was founded in 1853, a lumber mill company town in what was then a wild frontier. In 1995, the old Pope & Talbot mill finally ceased operations; at that time, it was the oldest continuously running mill on the continent.
Today, the commercial buildings and residences of Port Gamble house a museum, galleries, boutique and antique shops, and cafes and coffee houses. Just under two hours from Seattle by ferry or highway, it makes a perfect destination for a day trip. It’s still under the radar, so no battling with crowds or lines.
Take a quick walk through the Port Gamble History Museum for a glimpse into this company town’s early years. Stroll the town’s main street, N. Rainier Ave., and browse the shops that attract your attention. Grab a bite at Butcher & Baker Provisions (butcherandbakerprovisions.com) on Pope St., handsomely housed in what was once the town’s filling station and garage. (The food there is superb, from salads―they make a perfect Salade Lyonnaise―to charcuterie boards to baked goods.) In the evening, for something a little different, go on a guided ghost walk of the town’s alleged paranormal sites (portgambleparanormal.com).
Go to portgamble.com to find out more.