Friday, May 16, 2008
Next up: Rhododendron Festival, Port Townsend WA
After a 17-hour trip, I finally arrived Thursday night on the Olympic Peninsula, the last slip of the continental U.S. I am in Port Townsend, a 19th-century shipping port which has been transformed in the last two decades as a weekend getaway spot for upscale travelers. Just walking down the main drag is to encounter the uneasy dance between the well-heeled visitors trolling the little boutiques on Water Street and the frustrated year-round residents trying to live and work here when so many of the small town's resources are directed at visitors. To get a sense of one tradition that is truly local and whose benefits are squarely focused on those who live in Port Townsend, I have a full schedule ahead today, including shadowing the Rhododendron Festival queen and her court as they move from Kiddie Parade to Bed Races to Fish Fry. Watch for posts.