04 September 2012

Gig Harbor

...but first, Tacoma.

In the family hunt for Charming Towns in Washington, waterfront Tacoma is at a disadvantage: it has gone directly from being a Mill Town to being a Commuter Suburb, without stopping at Charming in between. But they have done some nice things with it: the wreck of the former mill has been covered with gravel, carefully planted with resilient local species, and turned into a lovely park.
After the waterfront, we breezed through without paying due attention to the rest of Tacoma, except to note that the commercial lane just above the waterfront offers the service of about eight lawyers per block.

Gig Harbor is located just across the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The footage of the old Tacoma Narrows Bridge, "Gallopin' Gertie", swaying on the day it finally fell apart, is instructive. It is a staple of high-school physics classes.

Gig Harbor is Charming.

The entrance

 Gig Harbor is a natural harbor with a narrow mouth opening into Puget Sound. The town is U-shaped: it has no natural center but the harbor.
Gig Harbor is an honest-to-goodness fishing town, turning gradually into a retirement town. It is unmistakably Washingtonian - unlike Cathlamet, which is undergoing the same transition but which could be mistaken for Oregon.

I liked this statue:

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