By Susan Spano
June 3, 2012
Let's get lost in the Pacific Northwest, and I don't mean in Seattle or Vancouver, Canada. Little Gig Harbor — for most of the last century accessible only by boat — is a working fishing village ringed by tall pines on the ragged western edge of Puget Sound. Think sailboats, beachcombing, art galleries, a blessing of the fleet festival, fresh salmon, Washington state wines and the occasional glimpse of Mt. Rainier on the eastern horizon. At the far end of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge — famous for the collapse of its first incarnation four months after it opened in 1940 — Gig Harbor isn't easy to get to, about a 45-minute drive from Sea-Tac Airport. But it's worth it, as I discovered recently.
It has to be at the Maritime Inn (3212 Harborview Drive;  858-1818). Built a dozen years ago, it has 15 handsome guest rooms, all differently configured and decorated, some with private terraces, water views and gas fireplaces; rooms for two from $129, including a breakfast buffet. It's next door to Java & Clay Cafe, a coffee house cum ceramics workshop, and across the street from historic Skansie Brothers Park on the harbor.
Guess what's on the menu? Fish, of course, done with a Pacific Northwest flair at Brix 25° (7707 Pioneer Way;  858-6626). But don't turn your nose up at the meat; boeuf bourguignon is a Brix signature, luscious with a Washington state Pinot Noir. Before you take a table, stop at Morso (9014 Peacock Hill Ave.;  530-3463) to see whether a free wine tasting is in the works.
Saturday mornings. That's when the village is at anchor with festivals, art walks, runs, regattas and hands-on lessons for shipwrights at the Gig Harbor Boatshop (3805 Harborview Drive;  857-9344). You also have to see chunks of the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge dredged up from their watery resting place and on display at the Harbor History Museum (4121 Harborview Drive;  858-6722).
The lesson learned
It may rain. It often does in Gig Harbor. But don't let that stop you, because the cove looks swell even in shades of gray.
Two for a weekend, figure $600, airfare aside (about $208 round trip from L.A.). That includes about $350 for accommodations, a blow-out at Brix; a two-hour cruise with Destiny Harbor Tours ( 225-6306, $32 for adults); and a little of this and that.
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