Enjoy boating fun, harborside eats and artisan spirits-sipping in Gig Harbor
Written by Cathy Carroll
When you’re in a place that shares its name with a bay, it’s easy to know how to divide your time. Summer in Gig Harbor means getting out on the water, in a protected cove in the shadow of Mount Rainier. It’s as much a seasonal treat as other liquid delights, whether it’s a melting ice cream cone or a chilled cocktail made with locally crafted spirits.
Head to Lee’s SUP at the mouth of the harbor to rent standup paddleboards and kayaks and go exploring. Meet locals—seals—as you paddle alongside them. Release your inner Gilligan or Mary Ann, even if you don’t have much boating experience. Rent an electric 1941 classic from the Gig Harbor BoatShop or Gig Harbor Boat and Kayak Rentals (a.k.a. Gig Harbor Yachts) rents Duffy Electric Boats outfitted with tables, ideal for a picnic or sundowner libations. Pick up a cocktail kit downtown from Heritage Distillery Co., a nationally known craft -spirit maker that began here. Sample flights of flavored vodkas, gin, the Brown Sugar Bourbon, or mark a cask of your own for aging a spirit you select, and you can tap into it on your next visit after you’ve aged a bit, too.
After a day on the water, soak up the local flavor at the iconic Tides Tavern, originally a general store built in 1910, where the calamari and “pound o’ fries” are crispy and the grilled halibut and clam chowder fit the maritime milieu. Try barbecue from Brimstone, wine and small plates at Morso Bistro, inventive Northwest dining at Brix25 or baked goods and sandwiches from Susanne’s Deli—try the locals’ favorite: whipped cream and strawberry cake.
As harvest season kicks into gear in September, venture out to Butler’s Farm on Peacock Hill, where the focus is on preserving lost varieties of apples—more than 400 in an espaliered orchard, evocative of a vineyard. Keep it old-fashioned, picking what you like and using the honor system, dropping your payment in a box.
For more information, visit www.visitgigharborwa.com