14 of the Best Things For Retired People to Do Together
One thing you probably always dreamed of while you were working, is having time to truly enjoy life. Now that the long commute, and longer work days are behind you, you’ve earned your unlimited free time. While for some, that can mean boredom, with too much time and not enough to do, if you live in Port Ludlow, odds are, you’re not going to have that problem. Of course, having someone to do those things with makes it all the better.
Whether you want to spend time doing things with spouse, significant other, a friend or relative, Port Ludlow and the surrounding area offer so much to do that it’s going to be a long while before you can say you’ve truly done it all, and at that point, you might just want to start all over again.
Many Port Ludlow residents are boaters, in fact, the opportunity to enjoy boating just steps away from their front door, is what lured more than a few to this picturesque waterfront community. Even long before all of the homes and marina were here, Port Ludlow Bay was a popular destination for boaters in the Pacific Northwest. Lots of people decide to purchase their home here primarily because they want to live near the marina – and, even for those who don’t live in Port Ludlow, it becomes their favorite destination, with faster watercraft getting here in just an hour or two from Seattle.
If boating is one of the main reasons you’re here, spending your time with friends and family out on the water is a no-brainer. Depending on specific tastes and desires, you’ll have an extensive array of spectacular destinations to choose from within easy reach:
San Juan Islands. The San Juan archipelago is one of the world’s premier boating destinations. Tucked between the U.S. and Vancouver Island, Canada, the San Juan archipelago consists of more than 450 islands, with the most-visited including San Juan Island, Orcas, Lopez and Stuart Island. From Port Ludlow, depending on your speed, you can be at the charming seaport town of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, in a little over four hours. Dock at the marina and stroll through town, and explore museums, art galleries and eclectic shops, and dine at one of multiple eateries serving dishes based on local ingredients. In addition to cruising around the islands, you can enjoy some of the best whale watching on the planet, salmon fishing and crabbing too.
Victoria, B.C. The capital of British Columbia, Victoria, is located on Vancouver Island, about a five-hour journey away. This picture-postcard city and the surrounding area offers some of the country’s most dramatic scenery, with ocean or mountain vistas around practically every corner, along with flower gardens like Butchart Gardens, famous worldwide for its brilliant blooms.
Deception Pass State Park. Cornet Bay Marina, located on the north shore of Whidbey Island, is an ideal place to dock for exploring the adventures that await in Deception Pass State Park. About a 3-hour trip from Port Ludlow, it’s considered one of Washington’s most beautiful destinations. It features a saltwater shoreline with rugged cliffs that plunge down to meet emerald-hued waters, along with hiking trails and picnic areas.
There are lots of other great options too, including:
- The Hood Canal
- Gig Harbor
- Olympia and the South Sound
- Canada’s Gulf Islands
But what if you don’t have your own boat, or know someone who does? While the likelihood of that may be slim, considering the number of boat owners in Port Ludlow, if that’s the case, don’t feel left out if you want to get out on the water with some friends, because you can go sailing with Captain Bry, Bryan Diehl. Based at the Port Ludlow Marina, both novices and experienced sailors can enjoy sailing the area’s waters aboard the 26’ Hunter Sloop, Cygnus. A variety of cruises are offered, including crabbing, trips to Seattle to catch a Mariner’s game, holiday cruises and cruises around the protected waters of Ludlow Bay.
If you want to head out on your own, Port Ludlow Marina also offers rentals, including a 14’ aluminum skiff, ideal for an excursion around the bay. It can hold up to four people and has a 500-lb capacity. A 16’ fiberglass runabout is available too, and can venture as far as the Hood Canal Bridge to the east, and Mats Mats Bay to the north, carrying up to five people.
Kayaking offers yet another way to enjoy the water, and kayaks are also available to rent at the Port Ludlow Marina, with one- and two-person options that are comfortable and easy to paddle. You’ll be outfitted with a single or double kayak, oars, and life jackets. Even if you’ve never been kayaking before, you can try it as the Marina staff will teach you all you need to know to enjoy the tranquil waters and sandy shores of Ludlow Bay. If luck is on your side, you might just encounter the friendly resident seal that occasionally likes to get a close-up look at kayakers – even if you don’t, you’ll likely spot otters swimming around and a blue heron or bald eagle flying overhead. One of the most popular trips is the short journey to a magnificent cove behind two islands known as the “twins,” it’s a perfect spot for picnicking and capturing beautiful photos.
If you’ve caught the kayaking bug and want to join an organized kayaking group, Port Ludlow has its own active kayaking club too.
When it comes to hiking, Port Ludlow and the surrounding area have practically an endless number of trails to get out on, allowing you to enjoy the Great Outdoors and some of the most striking scenery the Pacific Northwest has to offer, while getting some exercise in too. It’s a great way to spend time with family members, including everyone from grandkids, nieces and nephews to your own parents, as just about everyone can do it, provided you don’t choose something that’s too lengthy or challenging. Get out there and spend time with your spouse, a friend or group of friends and have fun. You don’t have to travel far to reach a trailhead, in fact, there is an excellent system of paths winding through nearly all of the neighborhoods, with a total of 26 well-maintained trails. The trail committee continues to work on developing new trails as well.
The local trail system is an important part of the community, even written into legal planning documents. There are trails for everyone from the casual walker or hiker, including routes that are almost entirely flat to more steep treks that are certain to challenge. No matter which you use, all offer quite the “wow” factor, no matter how short or lengthy the trail might be.
There are a number of short hikes that can be enjoyed, including the half-mile-loop Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail, the less than half-mile Gazebo Hill Loop, and the flat Montgomery Loop, which stretches for about three-quarters of a mile. Some of the best longer hikes are the Around-the-Bay Trail which is 5 miles when walked as a loop, the approximately 3-mile Rainier Loop and the Timberton Loop, a 5-mile circular trail that winds through the back country.
If you don’t know anyone that is willing to join you on a hike, consider becoming a member of the Port Ludlow Hiking Club. Members meet twice a year to plan future hikes, and select hike leaders, with a hike typically scheduled every other Friday. Most are selected from Craig Romano’s Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula guide. In addition to regularly scheduled hikes, the hiking club occasionally hosts “Adventure hikes,” at locations further away, such as Lake Quinault on the west side of Olympic National Park, or Mount Rainier. Club members book rooms at the same property for several days, for easy access to the area trails.
Biking has been growing increasingly popular among adults, and has actually been falling among children. In fact, those 60 and older now account for 22 percent of the growth of new adult cyclists. As recently as the Clinton administration, biking was for younger folks. Riding a bike over the age of 55 was very rare, and over the age of 75 was practically unheard of. Funny how much things change, but there’s a good reason behind it – bicycling is an excellent way to stay strong and fit, and even boost energy levels. Plus, it’s low impact as your legs never hit the ground. In addition to keeping you physically active, it’s a great way to be social too, inviting a friend, your spouse, kids or grandkids along to enjoy the sights and smells of the outdoors, the rush of endorphins that comes when cruising down the path, and each other’s company.
Many of the Port Ludlow trails can be biked too, and just as they offer to hikers, you’ll find flat routes, loops, scenic water trails, and others with substantial elevation gains of varying distances. The Timberton Loop Trail is an especially good one for buddy riding. It’s an old logging road that’s still used today for maintenance vehicle access to the golf course. Riding two side-by-side, you can easily enjoy a chat while pedaling through the trees. When you’re ready for a break, you might want to spot at the bench often referred to as “viewpoint bench,” thanks to its spectacular view, located near Ray’s Rock at marker No. 12. About 1.75 miles in from the trail ahead, on a clear day, you can see the Cascades, including Mount Baker and Mount Rainier.
The Port Townsend Bicycle Association hosts group rides, not only in Port Townsend, but throughout Jefferson County and beyond, making it worth looking into if you’re an avid cyclist. Sunday Road Rides offer a moderate-paced ride from the Port Townsend Food Coop into the rural areas of the county, providing a chance to make new cycling friends as well as to catch up with old ones. Rides leave from the coop at 9 a.m. every Sunday. Check out ptbikes.org.
If you like to golf, or want to learn how, Port Ludlow is a great place to be. The championship 18-hole Port Ludlow Golf Course, designed by highly acclaimed golf course architect Robert Muir Graves, offers challenges to golfers of all skill levels. It offers the ideal excuse for getting outside and spending time with a friend, playing over rolling fairways while enjoying impressive views of Ludlow Bay, Hood Canal, and both the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. The golf is ideally situated to help protect it from inclement weather, including prevailing winds.
Golf is something you can learn to play at any point in your life, and all of that walking is a great way to stay fit too. Even if your game needs some work, the social aspect makes it well worth playing, and improving your skills is something you can do at the Port Ludlow Golf Course too. Not only will you naturally get better with practice, but both private and group lessons that include golf etiquette, strategy, putting and chipping, are available to help you play your best.
The course also includes a pro shop with golf gear, clothing and accessories, along with a café. Niblick’s is a great spot to enjoy a bite to eat and relax before or after a round.
There are a number of other courses within an hour of Port Ludlow as well, including the White Horse Golf Club in Kingston, Discover Bay Golf Club in Port Townsend, Sky Ridge Golf Course Center in Sequim and the Peninsula Golf Club in Port Angeles.
Many Port Ludlow golfing enthusiasts belong to one of the local leagues, which is something else to consider, including the Men’s Golf Association, Women’s Golf Association, and men’s or women’s Nifty Niners, in which 9 holes are played.
While some people prefer to fish solo, it’s also an activity that can be enjoyed with a partner or two as well. There are so many opportune locations throughout the region, with everything from tidal rips, ebbs, back eddies, etc. which make for great fishing, but are especially good for fly fishing. In minutes, you can be down at the Hood Canal shores, its tributary rivers and streams – in fact, there’s more fishing there than anyone could do in a day, or even a year. You can fish saltwater, rivers, and even some of the lakes, all in the course of just a few days.
Those who live in Port Ludlow are especially lucky, as it would really take a lifetime to fish all of the spectacular waters found around Jefferson County. Much like the many bays, estuaries and shorelines that define the Olympic Peninsula, this county holds many hidden treasures waiting to be discovered.
Our local saltwater fly fishing opportunities include the chance to catch native sea-run cutthroat trout and salmon – in fact, fly fishermen and women are draw here from across the globe in hopes of catching a trophy salmon on a fly. Some of the best spots are just a short drive away, including Irondale Beach Park at Chimacum Creek, the Port Townsend Ship Canal between Indian Island and the Quimper Peninsula, Point Wilson and the Marrowstone Island Lighthouse.
If you’ve recently moved to Port Ludlow from another state, or are planning to, you can get your fishing license online here. Licenses are also available at Port Ludlow Marina.
Clamming, Crabbing and other Shellfish Grabbing
Port Ludlow and the surrounding region is ideal for those who like shellfish too – getting your own is a great way to save money, and have fun at the same time. Head out with your boots, buckets, shovels and crab pots if you hope to crab, and you can delight in the mouthwatering deliciousness of the area’s shellfish. Clams, crabs, oysters and shrimp can all be harvested seasonally.
There are some outstanding clam and oyster beaches close to Port Ludlow, including Shine Tidelands State Park, Wolfe Property State Park and Salsbury County Park. You can dig for littleneck clams, horse clams and butter clams at Fort Flagler State Park on Marrowstone Island as well as South Indian Island County Park. Crabbing, shrimping, digging for clams and oysters can be done all along the miles of picturesque Hood Canal shoreline.
Wildlife is abundant in Port Ludlow and the surrounding area, both in the water and on land. You’ll frequently see black-tailed deer, red squirrels, raccoons, along with the occasional coyote or fox. Cougar and bear live here as well, but they aren’t commonly seen. On the water, watch for the otters that are often spotted floating around in the bay, along with harbor porpoise and more rarely, gray whales. Bird life is especially plentiful with bald eagles, blue herons, hawks, kingfishers. osprey, and all sorts of songbirds, most often seen.
If you want to get an up close look at our region’s whales, you can go on a whale watching trip with Puget Sound Express out of Port Townsend. Orca whales, greys, humpbacks, minkes and porpoises are the stars of the show, depending on the season.
Beachcombing may be the perfect pastime for friends or partners to enjoy together. It combines easy exercise with a little bit of science know-how, and of course, lots of fun. Searching for seaside treasures may be something you loved doing as a kid, but it’s an activity that’s enjoyed by all ages. Some beachcombers are so serious about the pursuit they specialize in locating certain types, like shells, sea glass or driftwood. The Olympic Peninsula is home to many beaches that are ideal for beachcombing, in fact, just visiting any stretch of sand in the area can yield unique finds.
Port Townsend’s beaches are especially ideal for sea glass, and while it’s managed to stay a well-kept secret, we’ll let the cat out of the bag by revealing the very best spot. Go to North Beach, which is just west of Fort Worden State Park, and keep walking west, along the shoreline for about 90 minutes and you’ll reach the best place of sea glass in the region. During your stroll, you’re likely to find lots of colorful pieces along the way as well.
Throw a party at the Port Ludlow Marina
You’re retired now, which means you can also throw as many parties as you’d like. There’s no reason to worry about trying to squeeze in all of those guests, when you can host it at the Port Ludlow Marina. There are two areas that can be rented by residents, as well as visitors, including a covered shelter with picnic tables which includes a fire pit area and more tables along with bench seating, and a large tented area with a concrete floor that will hold up to about two dozen picnic tables, with room for live entertainment and dancing.
When the weather is frightful, or you’re just not in the mood to be very physically active, you can always play a game of cards together. Port Ludlow has a number of Bridge clubs, including “Casual Bridge,” good for beginners who want to learn how to play, hosted at the Bay Club on Mondays, “Duplicate Bridge,” also on Mondays and open to newbies as well as the experienced, and “Overtricks Bridge,” which meets at the Bay Club on Fridays.
Avid readers may want to join the local book club, which is open to all area residents. Bring a fellow reading lover to the monthly meeting where you’ll share a selected book and discuss your thoughts about it, information about the author and more.
We all need some pampering now and then, men and women included. The Ludlow Bay Massage & Wellness Spa is an ideal place for indulging in a little relaxation and treatments to enhance wellness, beauty and more. Everything from massages, mud wraps and facials to acupuncture, manicures and pedicures are offered.
Enjoy Performances at The Bay Club
A variety of performances are hosted at The Bay Club throughout the year, featuring everything from plays to music events, including orchestra, jazz and chamber music. The offerings are similar to the cultural events from Centrum at Fort Worden in Port Townsend, which also makes for a great day or night out, but on a smaller scale.