Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A beat of a different drum

Port Townsend, WA

This is one of those little towns that accepts anyone who accepts anyone else. Equipped with little more than a few Victorian buildings down Main Street and some piers stretching out toward Canada, Port Townsend still manages to attract Antique collectors and Skateboarders at the same time.

There's Quimper Sound (the Analog Lounge), where vinyl and orange prevail, and you can listen to your tunes in what might be the only (or at least the oldest) genuine record vault. Quimper Sound occupies the former First American Bank Building at 230 Taylor Street, which means that their record vault is an original, intact bank vault.

Port Townsend has its own big city draws, such as the Port Townsend bus line (where each stop has a classic, Victorian feeling) . It also manages to pull off some even cooler feats which no big city could accomplish, such as Thirsty Dog water bowls scattered through downtown, and unexpected gatherings, such as the Kinetic Race.

The town doesn't feel like an old town section of a larger urban area, even though it has some similar characteristics. There is the eccentric shop filled with everything from party tricks to greeting cards (April Fool & Penny Too); the old-fashioned & delicious ice-cream parlor (Elevated Ice Cream); a coffee shop that knows the value of fresh pastries (Bread & Roses); and plenty of crafty, artsy, near-souvenir shops with even funkier names.

Up the highway is Fort Worden (more on that later), and if you look down certain alleys, you can spot plenty of dive bars and kids hanging out in beat-up cars.

There's plenty to see. And the entire place is miles from your average small-town. Okay, so they could have been a little bit more creative with the name of the town. But at least you know where you stand when you're there.

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