Monday, May 28, 2007

Westport Wall Art (Murals of the Marina)

One of the most peculiar things about this little town is how common murals are on buildings. I am not sure if it is because of the haphazard way the town grew, or the "bootstrap" manner in which many businesses around here established themselves, requiring them to be resourceful in advertising, or maybe just an unexplainable eccentricity. But there is some very cool wall art in town.

So cool that I encourage any visitors to take the time to drive around and find these gems around town. Here are a few of my favorites:

On the Inn at the Westwind (also a great diner, especially for breakfast):

On the gift shop at Float 10 (in honor of the annual kite festival):

On the walls of the Ferry Office (this was painted in honor of the Washington Bicentennial

On the Mermaid Deli (just one sea creature on this building):

On the side of the Washington Crab processing building:

There are also murals on both surf shops in town (Steepwater and The Surf Shop), as well as other random buildings as you drive in on Montesano. Just another one of those things that make my new hometown special.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A note about where Westport came from

When we moved to Westport, almost 2 years ago, we didn't realize what a curiosity our little town would have among our "city" friends. People rarely know where Westport is, they usually think its near Ocean Shores (which its not) or that its a fishing ghost town (which it once was).

As the locals tell it, Westport was the Charter Fishing Capital of the World up until about the early 1980's. At that time, a Federal judge entered a decision (the Boelt Decision) which basically killed the fishing industry. It had something to do with fishing quotas, but I can't find the actual case reference (I haven't looked very hard) to verify this story. What I do know is that the Westport business community used to be completely fishing-centric, and it was hit hard in the early 80's: going from over 325+ charter boats to about 35.

So anyone who has visited Westport prior to maybe 2003 always has a pretty negative view of it as a vacation getaway. However, I can vouch for the fact that the economy in this town is diversifying, and the atmosphere of this town continues to morph as it grows.

It is still very fishing centric. Everyone that I work with is either neighbors with, married to, or used to be a fisherman. The charter offices still dominate the Marina district, selling bottom fishing, salmon, tuna, and the occasional whale watching trips alongside their hats and t-shirts and dramamine. But there is also a vibrant art community, as well as some other interesting retail spots in and near town.

Overall, its a small town that is blessed with some amazing natural resources (where else will you find a sandy beach and a full working marina within walking distance from one another) that is struggling to establish its identity. We have found a nice community here and are looking forward to having baby in a public school where his class size is 45 rather than 400. I do miss the anonymity of Downtown Seattle, where I could actually be in the grocery store without someone I work with inspecting my nutritional habits, but from a big picture point of view, we're glad to be here.