One of the many blessings of retirement is time to explore the area where we live. And while I love the occasional visit to a big city center, it’s charming little towns that steal my heart.
Yesterday was my husband’s birthday and, although we’d already celebrated with friends on Saturday, we wanted to do something special, just the two of us. Still fairly new to the area, we were stumped as to where to spend such an unseasonably warm Monday. Our neighbor, who’s lived here for many years, recommended Poulsbo, about an hour away, north of Bremerton on the Kitsap Peninsula.
I’m so glad we went! On a sunny April Monday, the town was pleasantly uncrowded, and we had a delicious lunch at JJ’s Fish House, on the waterfront. After lunch we wandered along the marina and through the shops on Front Street, which runs through the historic district. We visited several vintage clothing shops, antique shops, a lovely bookshop where I bought Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus to read during our visit to Cannon Beach, Oregon, this weekend. (Rain is predicted all weekend. Oh well.) We also bought a vintage poster of alphabet rhymes for our grand-nephew, and quilting fabric with Northwestern batik designs (whales, puffins, salmon, etc.) for my mom. The quilt shop’s owner is French, quelle bonne surprise! I taught high school French for many years and always enjoy an opportunity to chat with French folk. Here’s her website, in case you’d like to pay her a visit. She has lots of lovely fabrics. http://www.thequiltshoppepoulsbo.com/
At the little visitors’ center, we saw the usual nautical bits and learned that Poulsbo is pronounced “Paul’s Bo,” meaning something like “Paul’s Bay.” It seems that the person who filed the paperwork to incorporate the town had illegible handwriting. The area was home to the Suquamish people, who called the area “Place of Maples.” Norwegian immigrants arrived in the 1880s, and the historic town center still reflects a Scandinavian flavor today, from the gingerbread trim on the shops to the kitchy but cute Scandinavian trinkets on offer. In a pet shop on Front Street, I saw a dog dish printed with “Woof Da.”
I look forward to spending more time in this little gem of a town; I’ll bet they do it up marvelously at Christmastime. If you’re up our way, do make time to visit Poulsbo.
Photo credits: 1,2, and 6 are mine. 3 is from Gonorthwest.com. 4 is from the quilt shop’s website–see above. 5 is from Americantowns.com.