Looking for last minute Christmas gifts, or just want to get away from all the holiday mall mayhem? I have a great idea for those who are visiting or live in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. Visit the quaint, Norwegian settled seaport of Poulsbo. Here, the historic downtown area prides itself in its Norwegian tradition and presents itself to the public in Scandinavian flair. Each December, they have the Jul Fest, held in their large Sons of Norway Hall. The atmosphere in the town is definitely relaxed, and one will find the friendly locals casually strolling the storefront sidewalks each morning, sipping their coffees along with eating pastries from the famous Sluy’s Bakery. Did I say bakery? Yes, and this one is well worth the effort to visit. The bakery is home to the world famous Poulsbo Bread. This is one of those small town bakeries that has the big storefront window with every baked delicacy you can think of positioned right there in front of your eyes, beckoning you to step inside. And boy, if you can pass by without stepping inside, you’ve got some willpower! And right now they have plenty of fruitcake and gingerbread men to go around for everyone! Once you’ve picked out your favorite goodies to go, relax outside on one of the town’s many bright blue benches that are embellished with Norse Viking boats and relish your goodies.
The historic downtown area of Poulsbo has many small boutiques and shops catering to just about anyone. There’s even a shop that specializes in everything nautical. This is a real gem of a store! It’s these one-of-a-kind boutiques that make small tourist towns so special. If you love murals, there is a huge, colorful one depicting a Viking ship that takes up the full store front of Boehm’s Chocolates. If you don’t get too filled up with pastries from Sluy’s Bakery and candy from Boehm’s Chocolates, there is a nice choice of casual restaurants to fill your belly as well. No chain fast-food joints here!
After you done your shopping and eating, walk off some of those extra calories on the town’s Waterfront Park boardwalk along Liberty Bay. Parking is convenient and is free for three hours in a huge lot just behind the stores and restaurants along the waterfront and park.
Getting to Poulsbo is quite easy. It is located just off Highway 3 past Silverdale and Bremerton on the way to the Olympic Peninsula. You can also take the ferry from Seattle to Bremerton first. If you take the main Poulsbo exit, follow the sign to the Historic Downtown area. It will be the first right turn at the first signal. Follow the road to the end; then make a left turn on Front Street. This will lead you to the “Little Norway.”
All images property of Peggy A Thompson