A haunting history at the Palace Hotel in Port Townsend


In the heart of historic Port Townsend, where Victorian buildings stand stately along Water Street, there is one such building with its own colorful past. The Palace Hotel.

Built in 1889 by retired sea captain Henry L. Tibbals, this landmark housed many businesses throughout its years, from a billiard parlor and saloon to a town newspaper. The more well-renowned proprietorship to call this building home lived here from 1925-1933. It, too, was named the Palace Hotel, better nicknamed the Palace of Sweets, as it operated as both a hotel and a brothel.

Today, the current incarnation of the Palace Hotel pays homage to those good ‘ole days. A step back in time is the slogan displayed in the lobby — a room furnished in the turn of the 20th-century style. In fact, everything inside the Palace Hotel has been renovated in the old Victorian motif. Even the 16 rooms, named for the girls who once worked there, reflect the essence of their time and their world.(Image:Richard Schmitz)

Rumor has it, some of the girls never completely left after the brothel was shut down in the mid-1930s.

This time of year, there is a small pilgrimage to these historical buildings of Port Townsend, for lore of a different kind. The tales sought after are of the spirit world, and yes, everything which goes bump in the night.

The Lady in Blue

The Palace Hotel hosts a few permanent guests, so the story goes, who come out at night, sometimes to mingle with the living….

Another Mercury Retrograde Has Begun

But there is no need to panic

The world may feel like it has turned upside down these days, from our social crisis to climate change, to fake news, and an upcoming election on top of it all. Sometimes it all feels backward. The only thing worse? Another Mercury retrograde has begun.

This happens to be the last of three Mercury retrograde for 2020. And like much of 2020, I look forward to putting both in my rear-view mirror.

What is a Mercury retrograde?

A Mercury retrograde is when it appears as if Mercury is traveling backward in its orbit through the night sky. This is, of course, an illusion, the planet does not physically spin backward. Yet according to astrology, retrograde periods can have their effect on our emotions.

The planet Mercury rules communication in all its forms; writing, reading, speaking, even listening. It has been characteristically thought during these periods, to be associated with confusion, errors, delays, frustrations, and miscommunications.

One might experience emails gone awry or mixed-up travel plans, or loving intentions unrequited. Often there seem to be more computer issues or mechanical problems than usual.

Because mercury rules all types of communication the best thing to do is to take a long, slow breath and try to remain patient and flexible. Double-checking your communications doesn’t hurt either. Give that email a second glance, allow extra time for travel, smile more at those around you. We are all in this particular experience together.

This is a good time to review new projects …..

Changing the World for the Better, One Meal at a Time

By MaryRose Denton

A recent Sunday evening, I find myself sitting next to my favorite guy, outside a local downtown Bellingham, WA, brewery. We are sipping our cool ales and enjoying the last rays of a waning sun. A feeling of peace and normalcy flutters around on the light breeze. What could make this delightful scene even better?

Dinner, from my favorite food truck!

Outside the brewery, the familiar green food truck with the fist logo is parked off to one side. This is Sage Against the Machine. Owners Tara and Nate Johnson have been inside all afternoon cooking and serving up their version of down-home vegan fare, with a flair! Come early, is the best advice, for even though their open hours list until 7pm, they typically sell out each evening.

How it all Began

Tara’s quest began seven years ago. She desired a healthier lifestyle, experimenting with various vegan recipes to find the ones her family would enjoy. Her love for cooking quickly turned into a passion. What she did not expect was to find love, community, and a sustainable small business. She took all her favorite recipes and turned them vegan. Now they are what’s for dinner on the menu.

She has been an off-and-on vegan for most of her life. As someone who loves to throw big dinner parties and feed people, opening a food truck seemed like a natural extension for her tasty talents.

It was her read of the book, Forks Over Knives by Gene Stone which changed her view on food. “I woke up to what is in our food and what is being done to it.”, Tara said. For this reason, she chose the name Sage Against the Machine, inspired by the ‘90s alternative rock band, Rage Against the Machine, whose music and lyrics spoke to action and revolutionary change. Tara and Nate hold the same intention, hoping to inspire positive change in the food industry. “Changing the world for the better, one meal at a time”.

Tara grew up in Oregon, moving around some before finding her way to Bellingham. Once she did, she knew this was her community. She was home.

Finding love, community, and a new adventure. It also led her to love…..

Lavender and Its Ability to Unite a Community

FieldsLavender and Its Ability to Unite a Community and Heal the World.

by; MaryRose Denton

“The air was fragrant with a thousand trodden aromatic herbs, with fields of lavender…”(William C. Bryant).
Voyage to the largest island in the San Juans, just off the Northwest coast of Washington, on any summer day in mid -July and you will experience the aromatic and visual delight of fields in the peak of purpleness. This is lavender in full bloom. This is a “place of great gathering”, this is Pelindaba farm, http://www.pelindabalavender.com

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Pelindaba, owned and operated since 1999 by Stephen Robins, is a premier grower of certified organic lavender, hand-crafting their lavender products which are made with the essential oil, distilled on-site at the farm. Thy are the largest vertically integrated lavender operation in the country which translates into they do it all themselves; they grow the lavender, distill it into essential oil, harvest it, and make all their products in house. The only do lavender and they do it, very, very well.

(insert Farm pic)

At Pelindaba, they live by a certain ethos, one of sustainability. The farmland is a preserved open-space as well as agricultural land. The cutting fields, which grow 4-5 different varieties of lavender, is open to the public year-round. “Never locking the gates”, is Stephen’s philosophy for this communal spirit invites anyone to walk the fields or picnic on the benches, while soaking in the healing vibrations of these pretty purple plants. Weddings and private functions are held in the fields which are also open to painters and photographers alike, of all degrees, for inspiration and any artistic activities. Any time of year is splendid to visit these fields on San Juan Island but in mid-summer, at the height of blooming, the flowers and fields are purely magical.

(insert Path of Lavender and pic of Cutting fields)

Just to the left of the gravel drive as you enter the farm, is the Gatehouse. It stands a charming, white farmhouse which became the first retail store in 2001, for all the Pelindaba products. Walking up the steps to the Gatehouse, you walk through what is termed the Demonstration Garden. In here, more than 50 types of lavender grow, with the intention to show the wide diversity of this plant.

Behind the Gatehouse are educational exhibits including a hands-on distillery area. A second tier to the Pelindaba ethos is education and a sense of responsibility, a giving back to the community be it a county wide community or a world- wide one. As Stephen stated, “by doing good in the community in which we live, we are doing good by the world”.
(insert picture of Stephen)

So, what makes lavender so popular to the aficionado as well as the new comer? It has universal appeal. Lavender has been written about for centuries in prose and poetry, giving it a sentimental air, and can be found as a fundamental staple to the quintessential Shakespearean garden. From the garden to the plate, lavender is widely used in culinary dishes for both flavor and decoration. Its oil has been used for hundreds of years to remedy all sorts of maladies from sore muscles, insomnia, and tension headaches to nervous conditions and anxiety. The chemical components of lavender, such as linalool, not only provide antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties but also have shown to be analgesic for pain relief. Lavender is safe for all ages and pets too!
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Besides being an environmental and sustainable crop that requires very little resources, it is a versatile, non-toxic product for almost anything that ails you, and it can be found 100% certified organic, made by Pelindaba. In 2004, Pelindaba expanded their retail presence off the farm and into the neighboring community of Friday Harbor. Today there are stores throughout Western Washington as well as Oregon, Colorado, California, Illinois, Florida, and Hawaii. Throughout it all; the years, the growth, the ups and the downs, Pelindaba has continued to maintain its vision and the vision of its creator Stephen Robins, “to do well by our island environment – physically, economically and culturally.” It is a great gathering of crops and a place for great gatherings of people. It is Pelindaba.
(insert row of lavender and pic with butterfly)

To read more on the inception and concepts of Pelindaba Lavender farm or to find a store location, please visit their website at http://www.pelindabalavender.com .
For further information on visiting the San Juan islands please contact the San Juan Visitors Bureau at http://www.visitsanjuans.com .

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