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Weekend Cover Story

A little Scandinavia goes a long way

Short trips: Poulsbo

Northwest Guardian

Published: 02:23PM July 25th, 2013
A little Scandinavia goes a long way

Scott Hansen/Northwest Guardian

Visitors make their way along Front Street in downtown Poulsbo, which consists of a wide array of boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. This quaint, Scandinavian-themed town is nestled on the north end of the Kitsap Peninsula.

Sixty-five miles from Joint Base Lewis-McChord sits a quaint, Scandinavian-themed town famous for its history, fishing, shops and charm.

Poulsbo, Wash., is nestled on the north end of Kitsap Peninsula’s Liberty Bay. The town, founded in 1882, provides a perfect weekend getaway with its bounty of boutiques, art galleries and restaurants.

Just past the historic downtown sits shady Waterfront Park along the Port of Poulsbo’s boardwalk, a perfect spot for a leisurely picnic by the bay. Several boat docks jut out into the harbor, welcoming vessels from all over the Puget Sound. Visitors can spend hours walking up and down the docks just to admire the boats, or rent their own watercraft through one of Poulsbo’s many sports and marine shops.

The town also boasts a Marine Science Center, offering hands-on, educational fun for families. Kids can touch marine life in a tide pool, observe an octopus habitat and enjoy many exhibits and displays, including a whale skeleton. The free attraction is open Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There is also a variety of sweet treats to enjoy among Poulsbo’s many bakeries, creameries and coffee and tea shops. Sluy’s Poulsbo Bakery has been a downtown staple since 1966, and churns out fresh and flavorful baked goods like donuts, cupcakes, pastries and breads. Locals swear visitors won’t be disappointed.

Walking along Front Street, families can find many other activities. Paint pottery or create a mosaic tile piece at local businesses, admire the downtown murals or enjoy street musicians playing. Poulsbo also hosts several annual festivals, including the Annual Viking Fest in May when the town celebrates its proud heritage with a parade and several craft and food vendors. In December, boats are adorned with holiday lights for the Lighted Boat Parade. Families can enjoy hot apple cider and cookies as they watch boats cruise around the bay. Coming up August 16 to 18 is the Poulsbo Arts Festival, a celebration of handmade arts and crafts, food and live music.

About 10 miles south of Poulsbo is Bremerton, home to the Naval Base Kitsap and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The USS Turner Joy is moored in the water, an inactive 1957 Navy destroyer that now functions as a naval memorial museum. The in-depth tour takes museum-goers deep into the ship to view crew quarters, the engine room, gun towers and more. The museum operates daily year-round, but is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and Easter. Active duty military members enter free with a valid ID card. Children are welcome. For more information visit .

Known as “Little Norway,” Poulsbo has much to offer visitors, whether it’s for a day or for a weekend. Visit for information about lodging options.

If you go

To get to Poulsbo from JBLM, take Interstate 5 north to Highway 16 westward through Gig Harbor. Follow Highway 16 as it becomes Highway 3 and continues north. Exit on Highway 305 heading south toward Poulsbo and follow the signs to the historic downtown area.