In July 2016, the Black family kindly donated a ten foot high anchor to the Port Ludlow community. The historical anchor comes from one of the notorious hell ships – the Reaper.
The Reaper caught fire and burned out in Ludlow Bay almost 110 years to the day – July 21, 1906. The boat had caught fire at the Port Ludlow mill dock and after burning overnight, her lines were cut and she was taken to the other side of the bay and burned out. At low tide you can see glimpses of the Reaper’s remains.
In the late 1800s, Port Ludlow was known for its excellent ship building facilities. The Puget Sound Mill Company was in charge of construction of three masters, ten two-masted schooners, and the Kitsap barkentine. The Hall Brothers built approximately 31 vessels in Port Ludlow, many for the Puget Sound Mill Company.
Hell ships, like the Reaper, were known as ships with poor living conditions or had a reputation of treating the crew callously. During this time in Port Ludlow and Port Townsend “shanghaiing” was somewhat routine. When a ship was lacking in crew members, the merchants would send runners to brothels and bars along the waterfront and force them to work upon the boat.
Flash forward to the 1960s, when two members of the Black family were scuba diving in Ludlow Bay, discovered the Reaper’s anchor and retrieved it. It sat as an amazing historical relic at their family home prior to the family donating this unique piece of Port Ludlow history to the community.
The anchor is now displayed at the Port Ludlow Marina for visitors and locals alike to enjoy and learn more about the history of the hell ships and boat building in Port Ludlow.
The 3,600-square-mile Olympic Peninsula is surrounded by water, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the north and the Hood Canal to the east, all highlighted by the soaring Olympic Mountains sitting at its heart. Those who are fortunate to be living in Port Ludlow, the “Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula,” enjoy easy access to all this magnificent region has to offer, from sailing, boating and fishing to hiking wild shorelines and temperate rainforests, wildlife-viewing and so much more. This is a true outdoor lovers’ paradise, home to some of the nation’s most remote wilderness areas and unspoiled shorelines, yet it still provides a wealth of cultural activities, along with fantastic restaurants – many of which serve some of the best fresh seafood on the planet – and, a mild climate with more sun than Seattle in many areas to do it all in, thanks to the Olympic Rain Shadow.
There is so much to do here, you may want to start your own personal “bucket list,” as it could take a lifetime to experience it all.
Drive the Olympic Peninsula Loop
One of the top things to do if you’re new to the area, as well as for those who’ve been here a while and haven’t experienced it, is to take a scenic drive on the loop highway, the Olympic Peninsula’s only major route. From Port Ludlow, connect with it on highway 101 at the junction with 104, traveling counterclockwise through Sequim, Port Angeles and eventually Aberdeen, veering off at Highway 12, just west of Olympia, before connecting with 101 north along the Hood Canal. This is a great way to get a taste of what the area has to offer, before taking a more in-depth look at some of the favorite spots. You’ll pass through lavender farms that surround the small town of Sequim, and you can take a detour into Olympic National Park, heading up to Hurricane Ridge to enjoy a jaw-dropping panoramic view...
While there is nearly an endless list of reasons to love living in Port Ludlow, being so close to one of America’s finest national parks is surely one of them, with the three entrances to Olympic National Park starting just 15 miles from home.
This massive 1,442-square-mile park is larger than Rhode Island by 200 square miles, almost twice as big as Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and 300 square miles bigger than California’s Yosemite National Park. It’s also home to 49 peaks that soar more than 6,500 feet, many of which are rarely climbed due to isolation and sheer difficulty, and over 600 miles of scenic trails, much of which are designated wilderness by the National Park Service. What that means to you, is that unlike places such as Yosemite, where the crowds in the valley can be as thick as those at Disneyland, you’re probably not going to rub elbows with many tourists here, despite the fact that it’s the country’s fifth most visited national park. It’s also considered one of America’s most isolated places, sometimes even referred to as the “quietest square inch in the States.”
The park hosts everything from the towering jagged mountains and wild, rugged beaches to lush emerald forests, countless waterfalls, misty cliffs and more than 250 glaciers - Blue Glacier, located on Mount Olympus, is 2.6 miles long and is estimated to be the size of 20 trillion ice cubes. While most people head to parks like Yellowstone for wildlife, there is an abundance to be seen here too, from Olympic marmots and black-tailed deer to mountain goats, bear, Roosevelt elk and even whales, which can be seen swimming offshore along the Olympic coast during their migration seasons. Many bird species call the area home too, including bald eagles, northern pygmy owls, black oystercatchers, and more, with some 300 different species of birds found in the park’s diverse habitats.
While the Olympic Peninsula...
Olympic Peninsula Rain Shadow
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
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
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.
“I’m not sure what Napa Valley felt like in the days before the world really discovered California wines, but I’m pretty sure it’s close to the vibe that hard-cider lovers are feeling these days in Port Townsend, Washington.” – David Volk, USA Today.
And it’s not just in Port Townsend, hard cider is now an Olympic Peninsula staple. Cue the Olympic Peninsula Cider Route – the key to tasting, discovering, and exploring all things cider with three cideries located within 10 miles of each other.
Each cidery and tasting room on the route is unique & distinctive and well worth the visit. The three cideries are Alpenfire, Eaglemount, and Finnriver. I recently traveled the Olympic Peninsula Cider Route and had a fantastic time.
I began my trip at the Finnriver Cider Orchard in Chimacum. The orchard has over 5,000 organic apple trees and the historic feed trough has been turned into a gathering place for locals and tourists alike to enjoy the views of the Chimacum Valley and quite literally enjoy the fruits of their labor. The rustic and charming tasting room is inviting and a great place to learn about cider and the historic property.
I had the chance to taste Finnriver’s Artisan Sparking Cider, Golden Russet, Farmstead, Barrel Berry, Spirited Apple, and Pear Wine. Each cider and the pear wine were distinctive and delicious. And when you’re finished with your tasting, one of the kind and helpful employees will allow you to try tastes of what are currently on tap and you can enjoy your glass of cider in the historic trough.
While at the Finnriver Orchard, I highly recommend...