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Charming Gig Harbor is easy NW getaway
Hidden, just off the 16 freeway going  1northwest out of Tacoma is a quiet little burg well worth a weekend getaway. In fact, it's the closest thing in Washington state to a New England fishing village.

It's easy to get to -- less than an hour's drive from Seattle in good traffic. And, as they say, getting there is half the fun. Just take Interstate 5 to Tacoma and then turn toward on Highway 16 to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

That's Galloping Gertie as it has been called since 1940, when the bridge collapsed in windstorm. Today, going across the bridge affords spectacular views of Puget Sound. And it just gives you a preview of the incredible beauty you'll find in Gig Harbor itself.

This is a small harbor packed with colorful boats of all kinds and scenery in every direction. It's one of those great strolling villages where it's good to get out of your car and smell the salt air and experience the great beauty of Puget Sound up-close and personal.

Gig Harbor is a town of only 8,000 residents. The atmosphere in Gig Harbor is perfect for that lazy day browsing through local shops, visiting local museums or just enjoying an impromptu picnic along the water's edge. If you're going to visit Gig Harbor there are a lot of choices on Airbnb, with prices ranging from $80 to $500 a night. These are homes, condos and rooms that are rented directly from the owners.

The Maritime Inn is a great downtown option or you might want to choose choose another waterfront hotel, the Waterfront Inn. Other options include the Inn at Gig Harbor with its plentiful historic photos on the walls and the Best Western Plus Wesley Inn & Suites, which is located a little further out from the downtown area.

Gig Harbor really makes you feel like you're on a vacation -- the fishing and pleasure boats are everywhere you look, set against incredible Puget Sound scenery. If you're lucky enough to visit during a sunny day, take a walk around the town. There are paved paths throughout town and, again, those views come at you just about at every turn.

You might try the Finholm View Climb, which is a 100-stair climb from street level to get you up to where you can get a view of the entire town. Skansie Brothers Park is down on the water and gives you a chance to check out the boats and piers and maybe even have a picnic in good weather. There are also some fun trails available at Donkey Creek Park that take you along the rocky beach.

There are several points of interest in Gig Harbor, including the Harbor History Museum. This has a very large collection of historical items, all related to the maritime industry. They're even restoring a boat. Or check out the Old Ferry Landing where the ferry from Point Defiance once docked -- before, that is, they built the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Also, throughout the Gig Harbor waterfront the city has installed Heritage Markers. Along the downtown corridor you will find these informative signs with photographs providing background and historical information.

There are great restaurants and bars in Gig Harbor and a favorite with locals and tourists alike is the Tides Tavern, where boats can tie up to allow their passengers to go inside for some tasty pub food and drinks. It's a festive atmosphere that brings people from all over the Tacoma area.

For more information, please visit www.Gigharborguide.com or phone 253-853-3554.
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