I stated earlier in the year that my goal was to explore more of the Pacific Northwest when I’m not traveling somewhere, and I’ve been actively working on that. So far I’ve had the chance to explore Long Beach, Anacortes, Yakima, and Walla Walla for the first time, and recently I had the chance to experience a weekend getaway in Gig Harbor.
Gig Harbor is a cute town of about 9,000 people approximately 45 miles southwest of Seattle. You can either take the ferry from downtown Seattle to Bremerton and drive down, or drive around Puget Sound. I couldn’t believe I’d never thought to go here with how close it is. I had an amazing weekend exploring the town, so here’s all the places I recommend stopping at if you visit.
This trip was extra special because I not only got to bring my husband, but our two pups. Getting a dog sitter is always the dilemma if we want to travel together, so this took the hassle out of that completely. After some traffic through Seattle, we arrived on Friday afternoon to check in to our lodging. The Wesley Inn & Suites is part of the Best Western chain, which I don’t normally stay at, but I was pretty impressed with the room. It had a king-sized bed (which you can see my dogs enjoyed, although I’m pretty sure they’re not supposed to be up there), a fireplace, and a jacuzzi tub. I almost didn’t want to leave to explore the town!
Not only does Wesley the dog greet you when you check in, but if you have pets you receive these cute little treat bags. I highly recommend staying here next time you need a vacation and want to bring your dogs along. The staff was very accomodating.
7 Seas Brewing
After all that driving, you’re bound to be a bit thirsty. Head over to 7 Seas Brewing to try one of their taster trays. The brewery has a fun vibe, and children are welcome so families can hang out together. It was quite hard to pick just four out of their huge selection, but the Dunkelweizen was my personal favorite.
For dinner on Friday night, pay a visit to Tide’s Tavern. This waterfront building was constructed in 1910 and has gone through many changes, including originally being a grocery store. Don’t let the tavern part make you think all they have is greasy bar food though. I enjoyed a delicious smoked salmon linguine, and there was plenty of “non-bar” food on the menu.
On Saturday morning, you’ll wake up bright and early to go practice with the Gig Harbor Dragons. I had no idea what this was, but after a quick debriefing I was off in a boat with around 18 people.
This was such a hard workout! I’m the only one in the picture below laughing because I had no idea what I was doing or what I was in for. An experienced member was assigned to helping me with the different routines they did, and we went up and down the harbor for a good hour and a half. I loved that the group seemed to be friends as well, as they said they were headed to Tide’s Tavern afterwards for breakfast and Bloody Marys.
Head back to shower and dry off afterwards, and then go back into town for lunch at Devoted Kiss. Whether you want a giant Belgian waffle for breakfast or a huge tuna sandwich for lunch, this place has some of the best “feel good” cafe food around. It has a beautiful view of the harbor as well.
Destiny Harbor Tours
After lunch, you’ll walk down a block to meet your captain for Destiny Harbor Tours on the water. Hopefully you’ll have Captain Ethan, who is not only very informative but pretty funny too. The tour goes through Gig Harbor and explains the history of the buildings and the ships you see around you. After that, you leave the harbor to go out into the Sound. You have a good chance of seeing wildlife on the tour, as we saw two bald eagles and dozens of seals when we were out.
My favorite part of the tour was going by Salmon Beach, which is this unique community below. The only way to get down here is walking down a steep trail, which means you don’t want to forget anything in your car! I can only imagine how peaceful it is to live here though.
Olalla Vineyard & Winery
Nothing quite says Saturday afternoon like wine tasting, which is exactly why you’ll head to Olalla Winery. We had the pleasure of meeting one of the owners, an entertaining man named Stuart from Scotland. Him and his wife have run this winery for several years and do events on their beautiful grounds. I loved their Sauvignon Blanc so much that I bought two bottles to bring home with me!
Head back to your hotel to rest for a bit, and then make your way over to Brix 25 for dinner. You’ll feel the relaxing ambiance as soon as you walk in, and every person on their staff is so friendly. I started with the Poached Pear & Cambozola Bruschetta, followed by the Thai Curry & Coconut Steamed Mussels for dinner. Both were so unique in their flavors and I only wished I knew how to recreate them on my own. Don’t forget to end with the Dark Chocolate Crème Brûlée for dessert – you’ll be set for the night!
Netshed No 9
In the morning, check out of your hotel and head to Netshed No 9 for a late brunch. Once again you get a view of the water as you sip your morning coffee. I highly recommend starting with a skillet of the cinnamon rolls, as they’re pretty amazing. This is the type of place that puts you in a good mood when you start your day here. Now if only I could find a way to have that happen every day!
Gig Harbor Gondola
Before you leave town, you have to do one of the most unique experiences around. John “Cinque” owns and runs Gig Harbor Gondola, where he has an actual gondola from Italy that he uses for his tours. He even dresses up in a gondolier outfit and sings in Italian while you go through the harbor! It was such a treat to meet him and go on his tour.
The very last item on your list should be a quick stop at Heritage Distilling. They have so many different types of alcohol, from blood orange vodka to brown sugar bourbon. Even if you’re not normally a hard alcohol fan, I encourage you to at least try this place out. They can help you sample something you’ll like.
What’s your favorite small town to visit?
This post was in partnership with the City of Gig Harbor, but all opinions are my own.
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