By Rob Ollikainen and Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News
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Out of 72 categories, 25 feature Peninsula places in the top five choices as of Saturday.
The online poll began March 17 and runs through Friday. To cast a vote in any of the Best Northwest Escapes categories, visit http://nwescapes.king5.com.
Winners of the Best Northwest Escapes will be announced May 9.
Running in first place as of Saturday were:
■ The Cedars at Dungeness for best golf course.
■ Kalaloch Lodge as the best place to watch a sunset or storm.
■ Fort Worden State Park as the best RV park.
■ Lost Mountain Lodge of Sequim as the best bed-and-breakfast.
■ Olympic National Park as the best national park.
■ Olympic Hot Springs as the best place to skinny-dip (but road access to the hot springs' trailhead has been closed for removal of Glines Canyon Dam).
The Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival in Port Angeles was the second most popular food fair as of Saturday.
Only the Bite of Seattle had more votes for Best Food Festival.
This year's 13th annual Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival will be held Oct. 10-12 on the Port Angeles waterfront, produced by the nonprofit Olympic Peninsula Celebrations and the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Russ Veenema, chamber executive director, said a strong showing in the Best Northwest Escapes poll would “go a long way” to promote the event in the Seattle area, where many Crab Fest attendees come from.
“If we do well, we just get more press for it,” Veenema said. “That press would be very much appreciated by the event.”
Also in second place was Hurricane Ridge as a picnic spot, Olympic Game Farm of Sequim as a wildlife-watching destination, Olympic Discovery Trail for mountain biking, North by Northwest Surf Co. of Port Angeles for paddle boarding and LaPush as a surfing destination.
Port Townsend popular
Port Townsend received many votes in a variety of categories.
As of Saturday, Port Townsend was the second most popular tourist town and tiny town.
The Port Townsend Antique Mall was in fifth place for its antiques, and Fort Worden was in third in the best state park category.
Port Townsend is haunting, according to voters.
As of Saturday, Manresa Castle was in first place and Fort Worden State Park Housing and Bunkers in third in the haunted place category.
Elsewhere, Lake Crescent was the second most popular lake and the No. 3 destination for peace and quiet.
Lake Quinault Lodge was rated as the second most popular honeymoon destination and fifth best hotel.
Quinault was considered the fourth best river in the region.
Dungeness Spit had the third most popular hiking trail, and Dungeness Bay was in fourth place as a windsurfing destination.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Managing Editor/News Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3531 or at email@example.com.