You are looking at the most haunted house in Washington State. The location: Port Gamble – located on the northern shores of the Hood Canal and Puget Sound. Thanks to a recent article in the local Tacoma News Tribune, I would have never known that this small, eclectic town even existed. And I mean small! But, oh, the treasures that be found! C’mon with me for a little visit!
Turning onto the one and only main street of Port Gamble, one is greeting by a pair of green, wooden towers bearing the name of the town and when it originated – 1853. That’s a long time ago!
Most of the homes are built in New England style. That’s because most of its original residents came from Maine, and the homes have been kept in beautiful condition, all painted in light pastel colors. There are plenty of parking spaces for curious shoppers to check out the eclectic boutique stores built right into the entryways of homes. And yes, I’ve been told, that most of the residences are haunted. In fact, there are scheduled tours of the haunted Walker-Ames house, shown at the top of this blog. Visit this link for some background history. http://www.portgamble.com/#!paranormal/c1ov9
The first place I visited is the Port Gamble General Store and Cafe. This is a must see, especially now during the holiday season. You’ll be taken aback by all the beautifully decorated Christmas trees inside. There are tons of little, novelty gifts and items of all sorts to peruse and buy. Lots of unique Christmas ornaments, too! In the back of the store is a restaurant and a cafe that has wonderful, big dessert portions. I was tempted, but managed to back away. Upstairs is a real surprise! It is a sea and shore museum that wraps around the whole upstairs area. It has really cool specimens from around the world of sea life and insects – really big ones, I might add. So if you love sea shells of every type, shark jaws, and bug specimens, this place is for you! The Sea and Shore Museum is free, but there is a donation box for those who wish to help maintain the exhibits.
Another must visit is the Port Gamble Historic Museum. It is located downstairs, behind the General Store. Just look for the sign next to the store that points the way. You can’t miss it!
There is a very small admission price to the museum and worth every penny! During the winter season, it will be open Friday – Sunday only. This is a first class museum! If anything, please stop by and visit it. I was absolutely delighted with the displays and vignettes along with the realistic sound effects. There’s a lot of rich history in this place that was once a thriving milling town. It also had the beautiful Puget Hotel, which no longer stands. It had sustained major damage from a severe wind storm, and the decision was made to take it apart instead of restoring it. Such a shame!
As mentioned, there are several boutiques, each with their own specialties. The one I visited was called Mrs Muir’s House of Ghosts and Magic. Lots of neat things here! If you’re into Harry Potter, there’s even a small room full of really neat things dedicated to the popular series.
Next, I visited the town’s small cemetery located on a small knoll overlooking the water, noted for lots of paranormal activity as well. What a beautiful and peaceful spot! And it was a beautiful, calm and chilly but sunny day. The gravestones here are very old and worn, most dating back into the mid-late 1800’s. I couldn’t help but notice the large number of graves of young children and babies. A bit sad. There was a specially decorated one with wrought iron fencing around the grave belonging to a US Navy shipman killed in battle with Northern Indians from British Columbia, in 1856. See below.
Here’s that haunted Walker-Ames house again. Looks a bit spooky with the bare branched trees around it, doesn’t it?
Now, you’re probably wondering how to get to Port Gamble. It’s actually quite easy. If you’ve ever taken a trip to the Olympic Peninsula, you probably bypassed it by going over the Hood Canal Bridge. If you live in the Seattle area, you may want to take the Kingston Ferry. That would be the most direct approach. Upon landing, follow highway 104 to Port Gamble. Otherwise, the other main route is from Tacoma via Hwy 16. Drive all the way to Bremerton and get onto Hwy 3. Continue past Silverdale and Poulsbo. When you get to the turn-off for the Hood Canal Bridge, continue straight. Do not turn left at the light onto the bridge! You will now be on Hwy 104. Yes, Hwy 104 also goes across the Hood Canal Bridge, but you don’t want to go in that direction. Continuing past the turn-off for the bridge, you will be in Port Gamble in just minutes. Beware of the 25 mph speed limit within the town. Make a sharp left onto Rainier Ave by the two, green towers and you’re there. Park anywhere along the street and start to explore this little, haunted town. Enjoy, and happy traveling!