The Olympic Peninsula in Winter

I spent four days of my winter break on the Olympic Peninsula, at Fort Worden. It’s a family thing that we do every year. My aunt and cousin come out from New Mexico, my uncle and grandparents from the Seattle area, my parents and my grandma from Bellingham, my sister from Olympia, and me from the mountains. The 11 of us converge for four days in one of the old officer’s houses at the fort. Animated discussions about politics, school, and life spill over into walks on the beach, excursions into the hills, and cooking big family dinners.

Walking on the beach. Photo by Saul Weisberg.
Looking at the multitude of rocks, shells, and sea glass on the beach. Photo by Saul Weisberg.

I don’t remember who suggested Fort Worden as a place for these family gatherings, but it’s great. The fort is less than a 10-minute drive from downtown Port Townsend and is full of adventures waiting to happen. Created to guard against attacks from the sea, construction on the fort began in 1897, continuing until it finally closed in 1953.
Most of the old buildings, tunnels, and fields are open to the public which makes exploring the grounds feel like having a huge playground where anything could be found behind the next cement structure or at the end of a narrow, dark tunnel, leading gently uphill.

Old abandoned buildings and tunnels scattered across the hillsides above the offices and housing at Fort Worden. Photos by Saul Weisberg.

Grad school tends to reach into all areas of my life, whether I want it to or not, so I brought a pile of homework to do over break. Sitting in my favorite Port Townsend coffee shop on our second to last day, I drew the sunset over the water (pictured at the top). The next morning, we all stopped in there for a last cup of tea or coffee and a bite to eat before boarding the ferry. I was struck by the difference between this day and the previous day—sunny vs heavy clouds, colorful vs shades of grey. So typical of the Pacific Northwest…

The same view as the image above the title, but very different coloring. Colored pencil drawing by the author.
Leading photo: Colored pencil drawing of a sunset over the water in Port Townsend. Drawing by the author.



  1. jill i

    I love Port Townsend and Fort Worden! Stayed there with my family a few years ago. How wonderful to have such a big extended family gathering, treasure those times together (I’m sure you do).

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