Port Townsend offers holiday walking tours

PORT TOWNSEND — Sweethearts — and anyone who loves Port Townsend — are invited on a historical walking tour of downtown Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, and on the Presidents Day holiday Monday, Feb. 20.

These tours — free, courtesy of the Jefferson County Historical Society — will begin at 2 p.m. at the historical society museum at 540 Water St.

“What better gift to give your sweetheart than a walk through Washington’s most romantic city?” said Bill Tennent, historic society executive director.

Volunteer guides will give the one-hour tours rain or shine, he added.

The strolls are part of the “Light at the End of the Tunnel” campaign, Tennent said. A joint marketing effort by the city and the Port Townsend Main Street program, “Light” is designed to bring people downtown despite the sidewalk and tunnel construction work to begin Feb. 20.

Usually the tours are a summertime thing, given from June through September.

Port Townsend has been a landmark historic district on the national register since the 1970s, Tennent noted. It’s one of only three seaports with that designation; the others are Cape May, N.J., and Galveston, Texas.

The construction work starting this month is the first phase of a four-month sidewalk and street improvement project between Water and Washington streets.

The nearly $2 million project, funded by the city, also will fortify hazardous, unreinforced lids of tunnels to the shops below street level.

City officials have said that in some cases, the aging sidewalks over the tunnels are deteriorating to the point where restoration is needed to avoid sidewalk collapse in the event of an earthquake.

For more details about the walking tours and other Jefferson County Historical Society offerings, phone 360-385-1003.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

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