A haunting history at the Palace Hotel in Port Townsend

…by  MARYROSE DENTON

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….

Do You Believe In Ghosts?

Five types of spirits which may haunt places you go.

Recently, a local publication assigned me to write a story on a historic hotel, built in 1889. But the focus of my story was not on the architecture or genealogy of the building. No, my angle honed in on the permanent residents of the hotel. The ones who never truly left, even after death.

I am referring to the ghosts who still haunt the hotel hallways.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Have you ever seen a shadow or possibly a silhouette, out of the corner of your eye only to look and have it vanish? Or maybe fell a sudden chill or breeze? perhaps you dismissed it as nothing there or a figment of your imagination. But a Harris poll shows 42 percent of Americans say they believe in ghosts and the possibility of spirits returning to previous places.

What is the first thing we do when we hear an eerie noise or experience and unexplainable sight? We try to rationalize it.

We seek some sort of logical explanation. It is how our brains are wired.

When we cannot find an explanation, the summation often comes up as the work of the supernatural.

Maybe you have felt a tap on your shoulder or a brush of your hair. Maybe you have been touched by a ghost. Only what kind of ghost?

The five types of ghosts.
The people in the know about ghosts have categorized five types of spirit encounters. Have you had one?

Edison, WA: Home of the infamous ‘Brewstillery’

OCTOBER 10, 2020

Head 90 miles north of Seattle, and you will find nestled in the open farmland of the Skagit Valley, the quirky town of Edison, WA. A creative hub inhabited by artisans and farmers alike, there is one place they both come together in synergy, a place called Terramar.

What is Terramar?

Overlooking the banks of the Edison slough, Terramar Brewstillery is as eclectic as this small town. Combining a brewpub, winery, pizzeria, and a newly opened distillery coins their now infamous phrase “brewstillery.”

Terramar is the brainchild of Chris and Jen Barker, who, after many starts, stops and life lessons, opened their big barn doors of the brewery in the summer of 2019. This year, on their first anniversary, they celebrated with the grand opening of their newly renovated distillery and speakeasy.(Image:Richard Schmitz)

Terramar is a local business that is doing it all, doing it very well, while keeping their commitment to sustaining a lighter footprint on the earth. Once an old slaughterhouse, the Barker’s revamped this withering structure into the lively, community gathering place it is today, all while maintaining the existing footprint and upcycling materials.

“Sustainability has been very important for us from the beginning,” Chris said. “Every decision made has that in mind.” Including their process for making libations. In keeping with their repurposing principles, they make beer and then use the wash from the brewery to make grain-based spirits like whiskey, vodka, and gin in their newly opened distillery.

Come inside for more on the modern day speakeasy….

How I Prepared a 10-day Meal Plan for Our Sailing Vacation

Cruising out of lockdown on a 36-foot sailboat.

I stand looking down at the piece of paper in my hand, on which I have scribbled my grocery list. I am in front of the potatoes in my local grocers produce aisle. I do not find potatoes on my list. Do we have potatoes? I don’t recall seeing any in the pantry.

Never enough potatoes, I announce to no one around, as I plop a 5 lb. bag into my cart.

A few months ago my partner Richard and I began discussing what it would look like to embark on an extended sailing trip. We had postponed all our previous travel due to Covid-19 restrictions, consequentially feeling a little landlocked.

But there is always sailing! An exciting, fun, and socially distancing activity.

The Vacation Plan

We live in the Pacific Northwest, near some of the region’s most beautiful waterways. With some vacation time coming up for him, we decided on a 10-day sail around the northern Puget Sound waters, circumnavigating Whidbey Island and ending in the archipelago of the San Juan Islands before completing our circle by returning to Bellingham Bay, where we moor the sailboat.

A few weeks ago, we began preparing for the trip. After a weekend sail, earlier in the month, with my son and his fiancee, we knew the sailboat needed to come out of the water for some clean-up and general up-keep maintenance. Richard spent a week cleaning, scrubbing, painting, and waxing the hull of the sailboat Selkie, getting her ready from bow to stern.

My main job was to ready the inside of the boat. Making sure all our supplies were in order from washed linens on the bed to toiletries, to well-stocked pantry shelves.

This brings me to standing in the grocery store, reviewing my lengthy list, and hoping I did not forget anything. Like potatoes.

Creating A 10-day Menu.……

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…..

Going Wild at Cafe Wylde

P stands for Plant-based

Plant-based. What is it?

“We offer local, vegan, and organic food straight from the earth”, reads the sign of Café Wylde in Everett, WA. It is a late February day and uncommonly dry for the Pacific Northwest. I stand on the sidewalk and wait for my friend to arrive for our late afternoon dinner. Both of us just had birthdays and this is our celebration together. Knowing I am vegetarian, she suggested a “plant-based” restaurant. This may conjure a picture of tie-dyed hippies with long hair and Birkenstocks serving behind the counter but today “plant-based” diets reach across many demographics.

There are several derivations for the term, “plant-based”, encompassing diets which exclude red meat to the more commonly associated vegan diet. It is the latter which most people may think of when seeing this description on a menu. Wikipedia says it this way, “a diet consisting mostly or entirely of foods derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, and with few or no animal products.”

People may choose “plant-based” diet for a variety of reasons. Ethical, environmental, and health are usually the most common reasons leading someone to alter their food habits.

At Café Wylde, they encourage that extra leap of health by using locally sourced, organic ingredients. Keeping it local reduces the carbon footprint as well as ensures the highest nutrient value because the produce is picked daily, from the field to your table.

Along with creative and delicious main dishes, there are a variety of healthy teas, smoothies, and fresh juices all prepared in house and on the spot at Café Wylde.  The women who dreamed this vision also incorporate gratitude as their motivation behind the scenes.  Gratitude for the planet, its abundance, but most of all for the support of customers celebrating their birthdays.

Exploring Deception Pass – The Bowman Bay/Rosario Beach Trail

Photo by Deception Pass Bridge; by Author

One of the more accessible hikes and a favorite of mine is the Bowman Bay/Rosario Beach Trail. This is where we headed on a beautiful spring afternoon with water bottles in our backpacks and a picnic lunch packed for our return.

Heading west, we followed Hwy 20 until just before the Deception Pass bridge where there is a road going off to the right with signs directing you down Rosario Beach Road and to the park. This park is a popular spot with camping as well as hiking and has many day use features including picnic areas and public washrooms. It is here where the Maiden of Deception Pass (Ko-kwahl-alwoot) totem pole stands holding a salmon above her head, keeping watch over the Salish sea.

With camera and binoculars in hand we begin our trek heading south on the Rosario Beach trail. The path meanders through wooded areas providing some nice shade on warmer days, up some small inclines and around Bowman Bay. This leg of our day hike is just over 1 mile.

Walking Rosario Beach Trail Photo by Author

Wild, Wet, and Beautiful

A Northwest Getaway

Tiny droplets of ocean spray hit my face as I turn into the wind. I am bundled up
warmly from head to toe; knit hat, quilted jacket, gloves, and warm socks inside my
shiny red rubber boots.
The sun is at a quarter slant in the sky, for it has been up for hours. But we chose to rise leisurely before
venturing out on this late winter morning. My partner and I have come up to Semiahmoo Resort for
a long weekend and rejuvenation get-away.