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5 Reasons to Take a Walk

Hippocrates said, “Walking is a man’s best medicine.” In Port Ludlow, the opportunities for walking are endless. With 26+ miles of maintained trails you can hike by the water, in the woods, and everywhere in between.

Whether you’re trying to get in your daily exercise, your canine companion is begging to get outside or simply to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature – a daily walk is beneficial for mind, body, and spirit.

Improve your Mood

Walking outdoors has the amazing effect of making a dreary day into a great day. When we walk, we release cortisol (aka the “stress hormone”) as well as endorphins (our natural painkillers). By releasing these hormones, walking makes us feel happier and more enthusiastic. Walking alone is great for clearing your head or blowing off steam, but walking in groups is a way to connect with family, friends, and neighbors.

Creativity

Researchers discovered that walking can improve the two types of thinking that are associated with creativity – convergent and divergent thinking. According to scientists, walking outside can open the free flow of ideas. In addition, walking can increase your memory, cognition, learning, and even the size of your brain while lessening your risk of developing illness such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Get Rid of Allergies

Put down the Claritin and get outside! Walking outdoors for just 15 minutes can reduce the annoying allergy symptoms like sneezing, itching, and runny noses by up to 70%.

Increase Metabolism

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to increased blood pressure, osteoporosis, and heart disease. Cardio exercise like walking does not just reduce but also reverses damage to our bodies.

Live Longer

Studies have shown that 150 minutes a week of brisk walking can add over THREE years to your lifespan. Exercise is often referred to as a “miracle drug” as it can prevent cancer, lung disease, and numerous other conditions and illnesses.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Why Living by the Water Makes us Happy
“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” – Loren Eisley

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We have all had those moments near the water that feel absolutely magical. Whether that is on a boat or in a kayak, on a stand-up paddle board or swimming, or simply lounging on the beach –feelings of peace and serenity wash over you just like wave.

And don’t just take my word for it. There is scientific evidence that supports that living near the water is good for you. Research has found that nature itself is therapeutic and promotes health and well-being. A 2016 study found that living within sight of water is directly correlated to lower stress levels. Even manmade water features like fountains, ponds, and canals can produce the same effect.

Wallace J. Nichols, marine biologist and author, call this “blue mind” and authored the book on the subject. Nichols advocates that that a “mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment” can be activated by spending time in, on, or near the water.

So perhaps it is time to take Nichol’s prescription for the Blue Mind Rx…go swimming, get out on a boat, walk along the shoreline, go fishing, watch wildlife as these are best practices for health and wellness.

Luckily in Port Ludlow there are endless opportunities to get in your daily Blue Mind….

Hike Beach Loop Trail and walk alongside the water

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Kayak through the Twin Islands

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Catch at trout at Teal Lake

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Paddleboard at Shine Tidelands State Park

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Comb for Beach Glass

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How do you get your “blue mind”? Share your photos and thoughts with us on Facebook or Instagram: @westharborhomes.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Volunteer Opportunities on the Olympic Peninsula

There are many ways to get to know your new community in Port Ludlow. You can socialize with your neighbors, explore neighboring towns, join a hobby club…the opportunities are endless.

One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with your new community is by becoming a volunteer for a local organization. Volunteering can contribute to establishing strong relationships, living a longer and happier life, and providing a sense of purpose.

Here are a few of the many volunteer opportunities in Jefferson County…

United Good Neighbor

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United Good Neighbor (UGN) is a non-profit that helps provide funding and raise awareness for social services in Jefferson County. UGN provides programs such as the Counseling Clinic which provides free counseling to people of all ages with an emphasis on at-risk-youth and The Farmers Market “Gimme 5” Program which provides low-income food assistance programs with $5 matching tokens for fresh produce at the local farmers markets.  Click here to find volunteer opportunities. Current opportunities include YMCA Tutors, Greeters and Gift Shop Volunteers at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, and Festival Volunteers at the Olympic Music Festival.

Port Ludlow Trails Committee

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Without the Trails Committee and the Trail Stewards, Port Ludlow would not have 26+ miles of beautifully maintained trails to enjoy, explore, and exercise on. The Trail Stewards, managed by coordinators, hike particular trail segments and preform blackberry bush maintenance. The Trail Stewards report back to the Trails Committee if major maintenance is needed, for example after a windstorm. The committee is always looking for volunteers to join in on “Fun Day”. Fun Days are limited to two hours for volunteers to enhance, beautify, or fix a portion of the Port Ludlow trails. To get involved with the Trails Committee, click here to email Larry Scott, Port Ludlow Trails Committee Chair.

Jefferson County Library

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Are you a bibliophile (aka book lover)? Then perhaps a volunteer opportunity at the Jefferson County Library is the perfect fit for you. Jefferson County Library is located in Port Hadlock and also has a bookmobile that visits Port Ludlow, Brinnon, Cape George, Coyle, Quilcene, and Gardiner. The library relies on volunteers to provide support and assistance to their patrons. The library will match your skills with volunteer opportunities. Currently, some of the volunteer jobs include shelf reading, mending books, and sorting and straightening the magazine collection. Click here to email Brwyn Griffin, Administrative Services Manager, about volunteer opportunities.

Tri-Area Community Center

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The Tri-Area Community Center is located just ten minutes away in Chimacum. The center offers senior nutrition, a food bank, and a variety educational, cultural, and informative programs and activities. The community center is always looking for volunteers to assist with the food bank, landscape maintenance, drivers to deliver Meals on Wheels to seniors, reader board and bulletin board maintenance, and depending on the time of year volunteers to for free Tax Aide. Click here to fill out your volunteer application.

The Olympic Peninsula has all sorts of festivals and events each year including the Wooden Boat Festival, Sequim Lavender Festival, and Port Townsend Film Festival, to name a few, which always need volunteers each year. Click here to see a wide variety of volunteer opportunities available to further explore and learn more about your new community.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

5 Reasons Port Ludlow is one of the Best Places to Live
Olympic Peninsula Rain Shadow

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Port Ludlow is located in the Olympic Peninsula Rain Shadow. Not sure what the Rain Shadow is? Simply put, it means that storms heading inland from the Pacific Ocean dump most of their moisture on or around the mountains, leaving a dry spot in North Puget Sound. Right where Port Ludlow is located. Port Ludlow receives an average rainfall of 27 inches per year compared to 40 inches or more in other Puget Sound communities.

26+ Miles of Maintained Hiking and Biking Trails

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We are so lucky to have over 26+ miles of maintained hiking trails to explore, exercise and enjoy. We are thankful to the Port Ludlow Trails Committee and the Trail Stewards for their service. The trail system was originally created from service roads that remained in Port Ludlow from the sawmill era. Today, the trails are traversed by residents and guests alike. Exploration on the trails will take you on adventures to the woods, the beach, and everywhere in between.

Location, Location, Location

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Port Ludlow is home to an 18-hole championship golf course, 300-slip marina in a protected bay, a farm-to-table restaurant, and a boutique waterfront inn. And of course, the Olympic Peninsula is home to Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. With numerous activities and exploration activities, you are going to have to schedule time to relax.

Social Life

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Port Ludlow is a close knit community that gathers from everything from gardening to fly fishing. With over 100+ hobby clubs including hiking, bird watching, pickle ball, photography, woodworking, pottery, and more – your neighbors will quickly become your friends.

Farm-to-Table

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Farm-to-Table is not a buzzword. It’s our way of life. Located just 10 minutes from Port Ludlow is the agricultural region of Chimacum. Where you will to happily change up your grocery shopping routine. Visit Red Dog Farm which provides a self-service, honor system farm stand open daily with fresh, in-season produce. Swing by Finnriver to enjoy not just their delicious and award-winning ciders, but local delicacies like wood fired pizza from Dented Buoy, Mt. Townsend cheeses, Hamma Hamma oysters, and more. Turn down historic Egg and I Rd. and visit Egg and I Pork for farm fresh eggs and pork. Or stop by one of the local farmers markets in Chimacum, Port Townsend, or Port Gamble to shop and meet your local farmers.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Championship Golf Right Down the Street

One of the most beautiful places to relax and play in Port Ludlow, is at the Port Ludlow Golf Course.The course was designed by distinguished Golf Course Architect, Robert Muir Graves, to challenge golfers of all ability levels. The 18-hole, championship course was designed to be a challenging, yet rewarding, golf experience while preserving the natural surroundings. Players of all levels will appreciate the course’s rolling fairways, abundant wildlife, historic logging stumps, and incredible views of Ludlow Bay and the Olympic Mountains.

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Haven’t played for a while or new to the sport? No problem. Our team of PGA Professionals is here to help you take your game to the next level in private or group lessons and provide tips & tricks on how to best play the course.

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Make sure to swing by the Port Ludlow Pro Shop, offering a large selection of the finest in golf equipment, clothing and accessories combined with friendly service from our knowledgeable Port Ludlow Golf Course team. Whether you’re looking for new equipment to improve your game, get the latest golf apparel, or find a special gift for your favorite golfer, the Pro Shop is eager to accommodate your needs.

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After shopping at the Pro Shop surely you have worked up an appetite. Port Ludlow Golf Course is home to Niblicks Café which enjoys expansive views of the golf course. Serving breakfast and lunch daily, Niblicks features traditional clubhouse favorites, salads, and snacks.

Port Ludlow Golf Club is more than a club, it is a lifestyle. The club offers a variety of annual membership options that ideal for golfers who visit the course frequently and wish to take advantage of golf at a great value. As a member enjoy unlimited golf and no green fees, preferred tee times, access to play in member-only Port Ludlow Golf Club events, member only-golf clinics, and much more.

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With a golf course recognized as “Most Scenic in the World” by Esquire Magazine located just down the street…we know where you’ll be spending your days.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

A Peninsula on the Peninsula

Chances are you experienced the joy of crossing the Hood Canal Bridge. I jokingly call myself a “bridge photographer” as I’ve enjoyed and photographed many sunrises, sunsets, and boat crossings in my time on the Olympic Peninsula.

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When crossing the Hood Canal Bridge from Poulsbo, if you look to your right there is an island just off the shore. Funny thing though, it isn’t actually an island. It is a tombolo. What’s a tombolo, you ask…a tombolo is a peninsula at low tide and an island a high tide.

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This particular tombolo is located at the Wolfe Property State Park, just off of Seven Sisters Road in Port Ludlow – about a 5 minute drive from the Inn. This beach is fantastic for beachcombing, exercising your pup, a leisurely stroll, andshellfishing. From the beginning of January to through mid-May, the Wolfe Property State Park is fantastic for harvesting clams and oysters.  I know it’s hard to believe, but see these two land masses? That blank space between the two is the Hood Canal Bridge!

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Chimi the Cattle Dog, my most trusty companion, and I walked the shoreline at the Wolfe Property and had ridiculous amounts of fun. From the rocky beach terrain to finding a jellyfish to throwing sticks for Chimi to chase – we could have spent hours upon hours at the beach.

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Driftwood adorns the sand like artwork (is it just me, or does this piece of driftwood look like an elephant?) and the water goes as far out as the eye can see.

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We watched eagles and blue herons soar overhead and listened to the peaceful sounds of Mother Nature as we walked closer and closer to the access point of the tombolo. The tide was high, so we couldn’t cross over to the “island”, but our walk and experience was well worth the visit to the Wolfe Property.

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Next time you have a free afternoon or are looking to enjoy a unique geographic feature – head to the Wolfe Property State Park, it is a hidden Port Ludlow gem not to be missed.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Up for an Adventure?

For those who seek adventure and the outdoors, Port Ludlow offers a variety of activities and options to enjoy the wonders of Mother Nature. Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available for rent at the Marina. Knowing that people like to travel differently, there are 14 or 17 foot skiffs available that can accommodate a single explorer or groups of four. These small vessels are a perfect way to explore the waterways and coves around Port Ludlow.

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Once you are out on the water, soaking up the beautiful scenery and basking in the sun, make your way over to one of the hidden gems of Port Ludow – the Twin Islands. These are two wooded islets which are a gateway to a beautiful miniature bay. There is wildlife all around – eagles, sea otters, deer, fish, and the occasional beaver that might peek out to say hello.

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Another option – take a leisurely walk or a brisk hike on some of the 26 miles of maintained trails, including an interpretive hike to Ludlow Falls, and experience firsthand the magical views and abundant wildlife that surrounds Port Ludlow.

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Port Ludlow has an outstanding system of trails which wind through nearly all of the neighborhoods, along waterways, and through beautiful forests.

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Whether you’re in the mood for a scenic and leisurely walk or more strenuous workout, there are trails which appeal to both casual walkers and avid hikers. For instance the Around the Bay Trial is mostly flat, where the Timberton and Rainer Loop trails have substantial elevation gains. Get out and enjoy!

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A Truly Happy Hour

Have you been to Happy Hour at The Fireside?

Every day from 4pm to 6pm The Fireside has a rotating menu with $5 tapas and daily drink specials. I met up with a couple of co-workers for happy hour, and not to be redundant but it sure was a happy get-together.

The tapas menu was delicious and included dishes such as Grilled Asparagus with Port Balsamic Gastrique and an Egg Mimosa, a bread basket with local bread from Pane d’Amore bakery with Olive Tapenade, Hummus with Grilled Pita Bread, and Deviled Farm Fresh Eggs with Applewood Smoked Bacon. To sum it up in one word, YUM… and to top it off, the presentation was beautiful.

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                                                 Grilled Asparagus with an Egg Mimosa

The drinks were just as delectable with $5 wine and tap beers and specialty cocktails including cosmopolitans, margaritas, martinis, and more. My colleagues went with glasses of wine but I couldn’t pass up a Fireside margarita on the rocks with salt. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

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                     Fireside Margarita & Hummus with Pita Bread

We left in great spirits, planning for the next time we could meet up for tapas.

So the next time you have a free afternoon, perhaps spend it with your friends and neighbors having a happy time at The Fireside.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Traveling Back in Time in Port Gamble

Port Gamble, less than 20 minutes from Port Ludlow, is a U.S. National Historic Landmark and a fantastic place to spend an afternoon.

On a warm August day, I explored the quaint town full of historical buildings, quirky shops, and beautiful scenery – including a gorgeous dahlia garden outside the old post office now converted to a community center. Everywhere you looked kids were biking, tourists were exploring, and beauty was everywhere from the architecture to the dahlia garden to the views of Puget Sound.

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I started my afternoon adventure at the Port Gamble Museum. The museum which opened in the 1970s was originally an office for the Port Gamble mill. The museum features artifacts and creative vignettes providing the interesting and unique history of the area. One of my favorite vignettes was of Admiralty Hall.

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Admiralty Hall was a mansion that later became a hotel in Port Ludlow. The building was constructed by Cyrus Walker, manager of the Port Gamble mill. Admiralty Hall was built in 1887 and was approximately a block long. Admiralty Hall sat approximately where the Beach Club resides today. In 1914, the building was remodeled as a hotel. During the early stages of WWII, the Admiralty Hotel was sold for scrap and demolished.

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Many of the historic homes you see in Port Gamble were originally built in Port Ludlow and were barged over to Port Gamble, including the Morrill Pope House which was barged to Port Gamble in 1929. As you stroll through the town, there are signs out front of the historic homes now converted into businesses that detail the history of the residence.

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After window shopping at Mrs. Muir’s, Tango Zulu Imports, and a variety eclectic shops, I found myself in the Port Gamble General Store. The General Store has been a staple in Port Gamble since 1916. The current building is the 5th version of the store .The original building was constructed in 1853 on the mill site. Mill employees could pick up their paychecks or purchase coffee, groceries, clothing, toys, and tools. The store was serviced by settlers, sailors, loggers, and the S’Klallam tribe. After perusing the store I had worked up an appetite and headed into the restaurant. I enjoyed a delicious black bean burger and fries before leaving Port Gamble for the day.

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Visiting Port Gamble is a memorable excursion that will enhance you knowledge of the region while you eat, explore, and enjoy your way through this U.S. National Historic Landmark.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester

Paddling Ludlow Bay

In the Pacific Northwest when the weather hits 90 degrees, it is time to get in, on, or around the water. On a particularly scorching summer afternoon, my mother and I decided it was time to try paddle boarding. As this was both on our summer “bucket lists” and we needed reprieve from the heat it was time to get paddling.

We rented paddle boards from the Port Ludlow Marina. On a recommendation from the Port Ludlow Marina staff, I purchased a waterproof phone case so I could take pictures while out on the water. I highly recommend purchasing the case, as I was able to take some great shots out on the water.

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We headed down to the docks where the dock attendant gave us some a couple tips including starting out on your knees before standing up. My mom and I wished each other luck and got on our boards. Feeling a bit shaky at first, I stayed on my knees as I began to paddle out into Ludlow Bay and after about five minutes I decided to stand up. What was the worst that could happen? I would fall in the water on a 90 degree day?  I slowly stood up and found myself feeling as sturdy as I would have felt kayaking. It was truly amazing. I turned around to see that my mother was also standing. Balance is an important part of paddle boarding my mother’s daily yoga practice definitely helped her in this new activity. Spoiler alert: neither of us ever fell off our boards!

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Since we were beginners, in the truest sense of the word, we decided to circle the Marina. We enjoyed blue herons flying overhead, the sights and sounds of Mother Nature, the cool water splashing our feet on the board, and the beautiful views of Port Ludlow – picturesque views of the Inn, Totem Pole on Burner Point, and Ludlow Cove Cottages.

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Feeling steady on the board, I slipped the paddle between my feet and took photos of the beautiful August afternoon. As we paddled around the Marina we noticed a boat heading out into Puget Sound called “The Bucket List” – very apropos for our excursion.

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After about an hour on the water we returned back to the Marina. My mother couldn’t believe it had already been an hour. “It only felt like 20 minutes,” she proclaimed, a statement I completely agreed with. For the next few days I told friends and family about how much fun paddle boarding is. I truly look forward to my next experience paddle boarding Ludlow Bay.

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Paddle board, as well as kayak and watercraft, rentals are available at the Marina. Call the Marina Store to make your watercraft reservation at 360.437.0513.

Written by: Kaitlin Chester