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….

A Road Trip of a Different Color

“Road trips are the equivalent of human wings. We will stop in every small town and learn the history and stories, then we will turn it into our own story that will live inside our history to carry with us, always. Because stories are more important than things.” — Victoria Erickson

Road trips hold a sense of anticipation and excitement for that unknown but soon to be discovered thing. Sometimes they open our eyes to new places and our hearts to newly made friends. If we are very lucky, they open us too, to new possibilities and perhaps to dive within ourselves.

I am embarking on a road trip of a different sort, aboard a sailboat, and I invite you to come along! If road trips are to be like human wings then doing it by sail is the purest form of flying. The wind is literally beneath your wings and sails.

Before we cast off.

Our plan is to be sailing for roughly nine to ten days. There is a little wiggle room padded into our itinerary to account for any weather delays or unexpected situations.

But before we cast off with the Selkie (name of our boat) there are preparations to be done…..