© 2010 Ellen Barone. Sunset Beach, Gig Harbor, WA. Textures by ghostbones.

A few weeks ago my New Mexico neighbor and I arrived in Gig Harbor, Washington, on a scouting mission for her new home. I had a vested interest in visiting the community.

A few years back I’d met Paula, from Gig Harbor, on a yacht cruise in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. On an easy evening kayak together, she’d regaled me with stories of her idyllic life on Point Richmond Beach in Gig Harbor. Paddling through turquoise seas, she told of quiet morning walks along the beach, of neighbors who waved a friendly hello but maintained a respectful distance, misty winter days, organic gardens and glorious sunset views of Mt. Rainier

The place stuck in my memory as somewhere I’d like to visit one day. So, when my widowed neighbor asked me if I’d like to come check it out with her, I jumped at the chance. I was not disappointed. 

Gig Harbor in reality had the same Norman Rockwell charm I’d imagined. It’s a place where healthy, happy people carrying recyclable shopping bags walk the harbor behind tail-wagging dogs. Where locals stop in for fresh seared tuna salads and basil pesto bread at Susanne’s Bakery & Deli. Or drop by the Java Clay Café and indulge their inner kid at a DIY pottery studio in the back while regulars sip the daily grind over the day’s gossip. 

I loved it!

But, Paula?

She’d moved the week before we arrived, according to her neighbor.


About Ellen Barone: Consumer travel expert Ellen Barone is the founder and publisher of EllenBarone.com and YourLifeIsATrip.com. Learn more here and connect on Twitter at,FacebookGoogle+ and LinkedIn.