Port Angeles Washington on the No Regrets Tour


Port Book and News exterior Port Angeles WashingtonFans of Stephanie Meyer’s book (and movie series), Twilight, journey to Port Angeles Washington to follow the trail of the best-selling vampire saga through the Pacific Northwest. In the first novel, human heroine Bella Swan takes a trip to Port Angeles where she reads about the “lure of the cold one” at Odyssey Books (based on Port Book and News shown at left) and has her first date with the handsome deathly-pale bloodsucker Edward Cullen at Bella Italia Restaurant.

Academy Award winner Carter Burwell has composed music for 79 movies in his career. He created the scores for three of the five films of the Twilight Saga: Twilight (2008), as well as Breaking Dawn Parts 1  and  2 (2011-2012). For this week’s Listen Up we’ve chosen Burwell’s haunting composition “Plus Que Ma Propre Vie [more than my own life]” from the movie Breaking Dawn, Part 2.

Strait of Juan de Fuca downtown Port Angeles Washington

MV Kalakala mural Cory Ench Porta Angeles Washington

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We left Victoria BC on a late afternoon ferry bound for Port Angeles Washington, a small port town cast in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains and Olympic National Park. Plans for a visit to the Hurricane Ridge outlook in the park were aborted when we discovered the road was closed due to snow and hazardous icy conditions. One of the most pristine parks in the nation’s extraordinary park system, ninety-five percent of its landmass was designated Olympic wilderness by Congress in 1988.

Disembarking the Victoria ferry on a rainy winter night, the roads in Port Angeles Washington shimmered under street lights. Walking along First Street passing the “open” neon in bar windows and “shut” signs dangling from shop doorknobs, Port Angeles was at sea in a greater starless blackness, a town cast in a void, caught between the wilderness and the Strait of de Fuca, hanging onto the edge of America. On a summer’s eve, the town would be quite different, sparked with the energy of hikers and nature lovers returning from a day captivated by untouched seashore, mountains and rain forest. But not on this night.  We were passing through while the locals had their town to themselves, out here in what seemed so very far away from our hometown, yet very much the same. Settling in for dinner at a local pub, football was on the television, and we eavesdropped on conversations occasionally peppered with political bantering.

In the morning, the sun shone on the town, revealing a painting of a vibrant village with magnificent mountains to the west and a wide strip of placid grey water abutting blue sky on the horizon to the north. From the pinpoint of a hill in Port Angeles, the expansive views of natural beauty stretched our perspective for miles and miles. The preserved and protected view of the natural world that Olympic National Park provided – even when seen from a distance — gave us the freedom to stretch beyond ourselves.

Happy 100th birthday to the National Parks Service! Our parks are treasures that extend beyond their boundaries.

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 Swain's General Store Port Angeles WashingtonHurricane Ridge Road was closed in Olympic National Park and we were not equipped with chains or snow tires to navigate the park safely. With our park plans foiled, we decided to stay in Port Angeles Washington for just one night and consider an extended return visit to the park during the summer season. The Coho ferry from Victoria docked in Port Angeles after dark, so our quick search for inexpensive one-night accommodations led us to the Royal Victorian Motel. For less than $60, we scored a clean, large and quiet room right in the center of town. The hotel had changed ownership that week and the new owners were already hard at work painting and renovating the motel. The décor is 1970’s, not 1870’s as the name would imply, but we recommend this no-frills motel for the budget-conscious traveler.

Join the locals at the Next Door Gastropub for its twist on classic burgers, seafood, sandwiches and poutine. It checks off the gastropub trifecta: great food, a hefty local beer and ale menu, and a funky, friendly, let’s-meet-Next-Door vibe. You’ll want to start your morning at First Street Haven, a tiny restaurant with big flavors. Torn between their famous cinnamon buns and eggs Benedict, we opted for the perfectly cooked eggs with just the right amount of tangy sauce. Walking around the town, with the snowcapped Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca as backdrops, Port Angeles slipped around us like a comfortable flannel shirt. Port Book and News is an excellent, well stocked local bookstore you should spend hours in, but don’t miss Baby Grand, a fantastic home and gift store with an impeccable sense of style. Mystery Decals and Apparel mixes it up with cool graphics and trucker hats alongside 1960’s vintage clothing and objects. Swain’s General Store was closed the day we visited, but their bright neon sign is a good enough reason to put them on our to-do list for next time.

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new dr style bwEarly in my fashion career on 7th Avenue, I designed women’s coats specifically raincoats at Raincheetahs (where the owner was a lunatic) as well as at Nipon Coature. The challenge in creating rainwear was — and remains — both aesthetic and technical:  banish the dreary and keep the client dry with style! .

I’ll never forget the day in 1984 when designer-to-the-political-elite, Albert Nipon, was arrested in the showroom and sent to prison for 20 months for tax evasion. The event inspired a Nipon Coature spring collection in black and white stripes. Appears everything is cyclical and black and white are back, together or separately, joined by transparent and translucent fabrications. Transparency in rainwear is fun because it allows the layers of clothing underneath to become part of the overall look. I particularly love black or black and white clothing worn under clear coats and clear boots. And with the expressive range of patterned socks on the market for both men and women, clear rain boots spell f-l-y.

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In the past year, black and white photography had been artfully arranged on everything from T-shirts to men’s and women’s white cotton shirts, and this season this technique has been applied to raincoat designs, adding  amazing pattern and dimension.  My favorite designers leading that trend are Raf Simons – heavily influenced by the celebrity and homoerotic images of Robert Mapplethorpe – and Melitta Baumeister with her stark dystopian silhouettes.

Embrace the trends — black and white, translucent, transparent, photographic images – with a new raincoat or accessories — gloves, boots, and rain hats —  then finish off the look with an amazing graphic umbrella. Rain, baby, rain.

Singin' in the rain with drops

Check out our newest Pinterest board, “Singin’ in the Rain” for more rainwear fashions (with a tip of the umbrella to Debbie Reynolds) and browse through our other 210 zippertravel boards on design and travel, all at pinterest.com.

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