Port Hadlock & Chimacum, Washington | tourism guide
Experience the food Renaissance in the Chimacum Valley where the old world of artisan food creation is the new way to go. Pick up fresh goat cheese and meet the goats at the farm, sip hand-crafted ciders, witness the art of cheese making and try your hand at pickling. Then head up to Port Hadlock to play on the water, picnic on the beach and dig clams along the calm inland waters. The towns of Port Hadlock, Irondale and the Chimacum Valley, known locally as the tri-area, blend old town history and a past steeped in natural resource production with a growing population of small scale farmers revisiting authentic ways to produce food in a modern world.
The deep bay and flat spit of land that is now Port Hadlock, provided both moorage for the tall ships and suitable land for building; two natural features that Samuel Hadlock took advantage of when he built a lumber mill at the site in the 1870s. The mill became an important exporter of lumber with ships traveling regularly to San Francisco and as far as Australia. A town formed around the mill that included a post office, saloons and hotels to meet the needs of the growing population of laborers, sailors and longshoremen. Port Hadlock was a rough frontier town until the mill burned leaving only two buildings standing. With the loss of the mill, businesses moved uphill and formed the Upper Hadlock area. The old mill buildings now house the Northwest School of Wooden Boats and Ajax Cafe. In the late 1800s, an economic downturn caused by the failure of the railroads to connect the Olympic Peninsula with Seattle and Tacoma, defeated the area before the century was complete.
The Chimacum Valley, named for the Chemakum tribe that once lived on the land, has become a breadbasket for the Olympic Peninsula and beyond, producing grass fed meat, artisan cheeses and organically grown fruits and vegetables. The valley is the backdrop and inspiration for the book The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald, a humorous memoir published in 1945. The road that leads past the site of the old MacDonald farm has been named Egg and I Road after the popular book.