I love Port Townsend!

Port Townsend's Wooden Boat Festival, photo by Larry Crockett.
Port Townsend, WA is a small town situated amidst the abundant natural beauty of the Olympic Peninsula and the Strait of Juan De Fuca. The downtown is picturesque, the harbor is home to numerous wooden boats, and the people are warm and inviting. This community loves wooden boats, cares deeply about the natural environment, and is dedicated to the stewardship of both. In short, this is my kind of place!

The town hosts the largest and most exciting Wooden Boat Festival on the West coast, and I decided early on that Charlotte had to play there. Tom Dunlop, the author of Schooner, kindly introduced the film to Kaci Cronkite, the Director of the Wooden Boat Festival. Kaci enthusiastically embraced the idea of screening Charlotte at the Boat Festival, and shared the film with Janette Force, the Director of the Port Townsend Film Festival. Kaci and Janette began conspiring and before I knew it they had arranged to screen the film at both the Boat and Film Festivals — this was like winning the lottery … two days in a row! Needless to say, the screenings were wonderful.

Kaci and Janette are smart, passionate, energetic people who are tireless advocates for their organizations and their community at large. When I attended the Boat Festival, I realized that Port Townsend was packed with such inspiring and committed people. In many ways Port Townsend reminds me of Martha’s Vineyard. Both communities value and promote human decency, mutual support, personal expression, a can-do spirit, and living responsibly within the natural environment. These communities nourish their members and make important things possible. Local organic farming, wooden boat building, grassroots film festivals — you name it — wouldn’t exist without a supportive community.

I would like to think that the abundance of wooden boats accounts for some of the outstanding qualities I’ve found in each of these places. People who love wooden boats generally appreciate craft, tradition, community, beauty, the natural world and express these values in realms far removed from boats. Connectedly, the presence of wooden boats (and the boat wrights and boat yards that build, restore, and maintain them) radiate these values back into the larger community. To put it bluntly: good people love wooden boats, and wooden boats bring out our better selves. Can wooden boats save the world? Probably not, but the values they embody are essential for building communities that cultivate human happiness and well being, and that’s why I love Port Townsend (and Martha’s Vineyard).