Port Townsend : Washington


What It Is Like to Retire in Port Townsend

Port Townsend, Washington is located on the extreme northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, just across Puget Sound from Seattle. Port Townsend was a thriving port settlement before Seattle was founded.Unfortunately, the Union Pacific Railroad bypassed it, sending the thriving community into an economic tailspin. While bad for the people who lived here then, this event was serendipitous for the many baby boomer retirees who are now thinking about making it their retirement community.

The reason is that Port Townsend had an incomparable stock of great Victorian buildings and houses that were never remodeled or destroyed. Port Townsend is considered one of the prettiest towns anywhere, and keeps getting named to all of the "best 100 places to retire lists". Most of the town is preserved as a national historic district. It has an incomparable setting on the water and with views of the Cascade Mountains to the east and the Olympic Mountains on its west. Along Water Street the lovely brick buildings are home to bed and breakfasts, restaurants, offices, and galleries. Victorian homes and churches surround the county courthouse high above the water. Photos of courthouse and grand old building courtesy of Jeff.


Where to Retire in Port Townsend and Home Prices

There are active adult communities in and near Port Townsend (see link at left). Zillow.com reports the median home value has been on the rise the last few years, and was at $575,990 in mid-2022.


What Is Special about Port Townsend

Stock of Victorian homes and brick buildings. The town's National Historic Landmark status. Great views of mountains and water. Retirement community options. Recreation in the adjacent Olympic National Park. Port Townsend has been named to several "best places to retire" lists. Many activities revolve around the outdoors and parks: Fort Worden State Park, Olympic National Park, and old Fort Townsend State Park.

One of the special things about this community that no one is that it is an active artists' community. There are writers, singers/song writers and other musicians, dancers, theater folks, visual and crafts artists and more. The age of these artists is wide - from very young to those well into their 70s and 80s.


What Is Not Special about Port Townsend

Once you get here it is hard to get anywhere else - you need a ferry to get off the peninsula.


Who Will Like Retirement in Port Townsend

People who like the outdoors. Those who like living in and around beautiful Victorian homes. Small town living that is also seasonal.


Local Economy Is Driven by

Tourism, construction, healthcare

Climate and Physical Environment

Located on the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula, it is about 45 miles from Seattle across Puget Sound.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

There is a busy local artist and crafts population. The library is well financed. Nearby Fort Worden State Park has a thriving arts center called Centrum. Popular festivals include its Film Festival as well as the Victorian Spring Ball, a celebration of Port Townsend's early days as a seaport. Gallery Walks are held on the first Saturday of each month. Key City Public Theatre provided regular productions. Main Street is a popular place to visit a bookstore or grab a cup of coffee.


Port Townsend has a low crime rate as compared to the national average.


Medical Facilities

Jefferson General Hospital serves the community.


The local Jefferson Airport has air taxi service to various points. Although Port Townsend is close to the mainland, you must either make a long drive or take a ferry. So it can take a long time to get off the peninsula (should you ever want to leave!)


Valuable Links

Wikipedia on Port Townsend
Port Townsend City-Data
More community reviews at Topretirements
Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce Web site
Mini-guide to retirement in Washington

What people are saying about Port Townsend

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